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7 anti-Apple cliches that need to die
TUAW ^ | 29 May 2010 | Chris Rawson

Posted on 05/31/2010 8:14:20 PM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast

7 anti-Apple cliches that need to die

by Chris Rawson (RSS feed) on May 29th 2010 at 8:30PM

PC vs. Mac flamewars are older than the web itself, but it seems like the more popular/successful Apple gets, the more heated the argument gets on both sides. Almost any debate about the relative merits of one platform or another is guaranteed to degenerate into an all-out shouting match.

In the midst of all the fighting and name calling, the oddest thing happens: almost every time, you'll see a lot of the same points being raised by both sides again and again. Some of these points are so tired and worn out, they've reached cliche status.

In online debates, there's an informal rule known as Godwin's Law, whereby if you invoke references or comparisons to Nazis or Hitler, you've automatically lost the debate. I say the items on this list have become so worn out they've reached automatic rhetorical failure status on their own. I know that every time I see one of these points appear, I immediately stop any serious consideration of any other arguments from the person who brought it up.

I'm focusing on Apple haters and their cliches for this article, but don't get the idea that Apple users aren't just as guilty of cliche-ridden arguments when they argue against using Windows. If, for example, you're an Apple user and you do any of these things:

-- Cite the Blue Screen of Death (or BSOD, as he's known to his closest friends) as a point against Windows
-- Insert a dollar sign into Microsoft's name (Micro$oft, M$)
-- Use "clever" alternate spellings of Windows (Windoze and other less family-friendly revisions)
-- Call Internet Explorer "Internet Exploder"

you're employing a heavily-cliched, Godwin-esque talking point, too.

Read on for the seven deadly cliches of anti-Mac attacks.

1. Fanboy

Long ago this word actually meant something, as you can discover in this excellent article from Technologizer, but it's become so overused in the past few years that it's become meaningless. Once upon a time, "fanboy" as an insult meant someone had an overweening and maybe even creepy obsession with something or other. Maybe you had a Klingon-themed wedding, complete with uniforms, makeup, and vows in the Klingon language? That would have made you a Star Trek fanboy (we prefer the term "Trekker," good sir). If you spray-painted a big number "3" on the side of your Ford and had an entire set of Dale Earnhardt commemorative plates in your den, that meant you were a NASCAR fanboy.

But "fanboy" has been used so much in Apple vs. PC wars that it's lost its flavor. "You're just an Apple fanboy," is a dismissive debate tactic, used to imply that someone is so blinded by their love for all things Apple that they'd say or do anything to support the company and its products. I don't deny that there are Apple users like that out there, but "fanboy" has been spread so thin that almost anyone with a positive opinion of Apple's products is saddled with that label. It's even reached the mainstream press now, and as all internet veterans know, once something goes mainstream, it's played out.

"Fanboy" is so tired that I've started something new: if I see any anti-Apple argument longer than a couple sentences or so, I start scanning for that word first. If I see "fanboy" written anywhere, I don't even bother reading the rest. The worst thing about "fanboy" is it's really just the pot calling the kettle black. If you're willing to dismiss someone else's opinions because you think they have some kind of cult-like obsession, there's a good chance you've got one, too.

2. Kool-Aid

Speaking of cult-like obsessions, I've lost count of how many times I've been accused of "drinking the Apple Kool-Aid." This cliche got its start after nearly 1000 members of the Jonestown cult drank poison-laced Flavor-Aid back in 1978. It's meant to imply blind devotion, with the idea that Mac users are all members of some kind of crazy, wide-eyed commune with Steve Jobs as its inspirational but depraved leader.

I'll admit we don't help matters much ourselves: lots of Mac users turn into platform evangelists, sometimes to an irritating degree, and we've even adopted the term "Cult of Mac" to describe behaviors that really could be described as "fanboyism." But just like "fanboy," the "Kool-Aid" thing gets said at least 100,000 times a day on the internet, for the same reason as "fanboy" -- a means of dismissing the other side's points because you think they've been brainwashed.

Guys, "Kool-Aid" has lost its punch. Besides, I prefer the Apple Colt 45. It works every time.

3. No games

Ever heard this one? "Good luck playing games on your overpriced Fisher Price laptop, oh wait, there aren't any, hahaha." My copies of Civilization IV, Bioshock, and now Portal say otherwise. Macs do have far fewer games than Windows-running PCs, and even though Valve just launched Steam for the Mac, PCs will probably always have more games than Macs. That said, things have improved since the early- to mid-2000s -- the last time this argument had some merit. Fewer and fewer AAA titles are PC-only these days, and considering how successful Steam for the Mac has been so far, the days of the Mac as a neglected gaming platform are over.

Besides, show me how many PC or Mac gamers only game on their computers. I've got a PS3, Wii, DS, and iPhone, with a grand total of over 150 games between all of those platforms. Gaming on my Mac is kind of an afterthought; until Portal came out for the Mac in early May, I think the last time I did any serious gaming on my MacBook Pro was in December of last year.

My consoles are for games, my Mac is for work, and my iPhone falls somewhere in the middle. But that doesn't mean I never game on my Mac because there's "no games" for it -- there's now more games for the Mac than I even have time to demo, much less play.

4. One-button mouse

This one is older than dirt and only half as tasty. What's funniest about the "one-button mouse" argument is that Apple's Magic Mouse and trackpads now essentially have no buttons, so we should be talking about a "no button mouse" instead, right?

I'll admit that Apple's obsession with killing off buttons is a little weird, but it's had zero effect on my workflow. My MacBook Pro's trackpad is configurable to an almost excessive degree thanks to multitouch and tools like BetterTouchTool. Right now I can click, right-click, middle-click, scroll, three, four, or five-finger swipe in four different directions, pinch, expand, rotate, four-finger tap... and those are just the options I've enabled. With multitouch, my trackpad can recognize up to eleven different points of contact, meaning the possibilities are nearly endless. All of that on a trackpad with only one button.

Say what you will about Apple's war on buttons, but I've played all the way through both Bioshock and Portal using just my MacBook Pro's built-in trackpad, with no external mouse. That's not something I'd even attempt to do on a non-Apple trackpad, no matter how many buttons it comes with.

5. Any reference to 1984

Ever since the App Store launched, with its draconian and often Byzantine rules on what is or is not acceptable in the store, roughly 574,892 articles have come out retreading the 1984 theme. Apple kind of brought this one on themselves with that Super Bowl ad 26 years ago; iconic as it was, you just knew people would someday jump at the chance to get all "ironic" and say that Apple is now the "Big Brother" they once decried. Which is exactly what's happened, of course, because not a week goes by now without at least five articles mentioning Steve Jobs and Big Brother in the same sentence.

Here's a quick challenge: name the protagonist, or any other character besides Big Brother, from Orwell's novel... without using Google or Wikipedia. If you can do it, then kudos to you: go right on using that epic cliche of a comparison. Although last time I checked, nobody's going to storm your house, put a gun to your head, and direct you to and force you to buy anything it sells. Additionally, Apple still doesn't have an equivalent of Room 101 at the Cupertino campus. Maybe they'll announce it at WWDC.

6. "Apple is the new Microsoft"

Apple isn't the new Microsoft. You know why not? Because other than Windows 7 and Office, the "new" Microsoft doesn't know how to make a successful product. The Zune tanked. The KIN will tank. Windows Phone Blake's 7 (or whatever they're calling it this week) is going to tank. The Xbox, for all the market penetration it has, is a loss leader for Microsoft even after five years on the shelves. Internet Explorer's market share, which was overwhelming ten years ago, is inching downward toward 50%. Apple's market cap just surpassed Microsoft's, and the reason why had just as much to do with Microsoft's financial free-fall as it has Apple's ascendance.

If anything, Apple is more like the old Microsoft. So fat with cash it can buy just about whatever it wants. Dominance in at least one industry, thanks to the iPod. A tight grip on public mindshare of what a smartphone is and is capable of doing, because of the iPhone. And yes, I'll admit it: a growing overconfidence, bordering on arrogance.

Apple isn't the "new" Microsoft. It's got far more in common with the Microsoft of the mid-90s, when it was on top of its game and had yet to be smacked down by regulators or competitors. But the comparisons run thin when you look at the numbers behind them, because unlike mid-90s Microsoft, Apple doesn't have a monopoly on anything. Worldwide Mac marketshare is near 5%. The iPhone's worldwide marketshare among smartphones is about 16%, and something like 2-3% when we're talking about cellphones as a whole. iTunes Store sales account for about 27% of music sold in the US. The iPod is the closest thing Apple has to a monopoly, but even that has a 70% or so marketshare -- not the massive dominance of Windows or Office.

Mid-90s Microsoft was a colossus, capable of steamrolling the competition into dust. Its reputation was earned and deserved -- I mean, it got to the point that Bill Gates even demolished Homer Simpson's half-baked little startup. The Apple of 2010 wields a lot of power, and it sometimes does it in a very heavy-handed manner... but name one thing Apple's done that even comes close to what Microsoft did to Netscape Navigator.

7. Smug Mac users

This last one needs to die for a different reason: because unlike any of the others, this one is often true. Mac geeks, you're all guilty of this. So am I, right now, in this article. There's me, something like 700 words ago: "I'd never try to use the trackpad on one of their laptops, hur hur hur." We look down our noses at Windows and computers without Apple logos on them. We justify paying a little more for our Macs by talking about build quality, reliability, and the ability to run OS X with the same borderline snooty tones as BMW owners describing the merits of their cars versus a Ford. "Macs never crash," we lie. "OS X runs so much better than Windows," we say through clenched teeth, right before adjusting our ascots.

The "Get a Mac" ads didn't do our image any favors. I'm glad those ads have been retired, because I hated them for the same reason a lot of Apple haters did. John Hodgeman's PC character was a loser, but he was a loveable loser, the kind of character a lot of us geeks can identify with. Justin Long's Mac character, whether intentionally or not, radiated smugness. I may be a Mac user, but I'd rather have a beer with "PC" than frappuccinos with "Mac" any day.

I think this smugness, whether it's perceived or actual smugness, is what fuels most of the anti-Apple hatred these days. If you don't own an iPhone and have no intention of buying one, then it's no skin off your back if Apple runs its App Store like "Stalinist Russia" or "Nazi Germany" or "North Korea" or whatever bit of hyperbole is in vogue this week. If you don't own a Mac and don't want to, then why does the opinion of a measly 5% of the computing world even matter? I'm willing to bet it's in large part because of the Smug.

So there you have it: six cliches that need to die because they're inherently dumb, and one that needs to die because it's sometimes true. Go ahead and keep using them if you want, but at this point it's like busting out the "cabbage patch" in a dance contest: may be good for laughs, but no points awarded. As always, feel free to disagree with me, because what do I know? I'm just a smug, Kool-Aid drinking fanboy, who never gets to play any games on his one-button computer thanks to Big Brother Steve and the New Microsoft.

TOPICS: Computers/Internet; Education; Religion; Test Topic, Ignore It
KEYWORDS: 1984; 1buttonmouse; apple; bsod; fanboi; fanboy; flamewar; haters; ilovebillgates; iwanthim; iwanthimbad; koolaid; m; mac; microoft; microsoft; microsoftfanboys; newmicrosoft; nogames; smug
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast
"the stunt Apple pulled shutting down the Atari 520 ST"

I don't remember that and have googled a bit to no avail. Could you provide a summary? Thanks in advance.

He can't. It never happened.

41 posted on 05/31/2010 11:40:05 PM PDT by Swordmaker (Remember, the proper pronunciation of IE isAAAAIIIIIEEEEEEE!Apple could simply require that any iPho)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast
John Hodgeman's PC character was a loser, but he was a loveable loser, the kind of character a lot of us geeks can identify with. Justin Long's Mac character, whether intentionally or not, radiated smugness. I may be a Mac user, but I'd rather have a beer with "PC" than frappuccinos with "Mac" any day.

But think, these characters were created by Apple!
42 posted on 05/31/2010 11:51:42 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: PJammers
you have to buy the software that come with it.

What nonsense is this? Apple included other browsers with equal billing until MS decided to quit developing IE for Mac. There are zero blocks or other hindrances to a long list of browsers from operating freely on OS X. This isn't the case when MS was hammered for predatory practices that actually built in FORCED use of IE - it was made inseparable from the OS, and blocks were actually placed within Windows that prevented other browsers from fully functioning.

If there is some other "forced buying of their software", then PLEASE point it out.

43 posted on 05/31/2010 11:54:31 PM PDT by TheBattman (They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature...)
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To: wendy1946
You left out GANGSTERISM, i.e. the stunt Apple pulled shutting down the Atari 520 ST around 86 when it appeared that Apple would need four years to come up with anything comparable. THAT is the main reason I don’t have anything to do with Apple or its products.

Demonstrate, don't merely allege. I read everything Atari in the 80's and don't recall this. I used the Atari 1040ST for MIDI recording.
44 posted on 05/31/2010 11:55:09 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: thecabal
What is it with Apple fanatics need to constantly, publicly, and very vocally justify their OS choice/lifestyle?

Because Windows users seem to be hell-bent on throwing insults and accusations at Mac users on a regular basis. As has been pointed out right here on FR on many occasions - attacks by Apple users on Windows/Microsoft and their users are very hard to find. Yet direct attacks ON Apple and their users are quite easy to find (this thread is an example of such). I have been called gay, childish, and many other "names" simply for being an Apple fan. Yet I have never used such terminology towards Windows users.

45 posted on 05/31/2010 11:58:05 PM PDT by TheBattman (They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature...)
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To: RayChuang88

You could use a basic two button + wheel mouse without installing anything on 9.0.4. Probably earlier, but that was the only Mac I ever got to try it on...the (considerably!) older ones didn’t have USB ports.

46 posted on 06/01/2010 1:34:15 AM PDT by Fire_on_High (Trijicon, the scope of CRUSADERS!!)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast

I have both..

47 posted on 06/01/2010 3:45:03 AM PDT by DollyCali (Don't tell God how big your storm is...Tell the storm how big your God is!)
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To: aruanan; RightOnTheLeftCoast; Swordmaker
Here's what I remember from the times, more or less and you have to go back to around 1978 or thereabouts to grasp it:

The first generation of microcomputers were based on 8-bit chips originally devised for traffic-light controllers and the like. Intel came out with the first 16-bit microprocessor in 78 but the segmented-memory architecture was so fubar that the entire community of OEM microcomputer makers out in Silicon Valley looked at it and looked at the specs for the 68000 and said thanks but no thanks, we'd rather wait the two years and if Intel had been a Japanese company at the time the board of directors and owners would have committed sepuku at that point since that clearly would have been more shame than they could have lived with.

Thus the natural decision of the 300 or so companies making microcomputers at the time was to let Intel die. IBM then stepped in with the PC and reversed the entire natural market decision and the one company which was in a position to make any sort of a mass market computer using 68000 chips and challenge IBM on the point was Apple, which thereupon produced two 68000 computers (Lisa and toaster-mac) which were so pathetic they convinced most of the world that the 68000 chip itself was a bad idea. In fact both computers used the 68000 chip itself to generate graphics, remnant compute power being less than a 2mh trash-80. Decent memory and disk capacity were conspicuous by their absences, the two joke machines having only one very slow floppy disk.

Then, in 1985, Atari came out with a totally gorgeous microcomputer, the 520ST, which was what the PC should have been from day one: an 8mh 68000 chip, a real graphics card, a real color monitor, the GEM GUI environment, a fast floppy and a good hard disk available at realistic price.

Apple, realizing that they would need four years starting from then to produce anything similar, hauled Atari's reps into their offices in Cupertino and demanded both money and a list of crippling changes to the GEM environment, threatening to tie the thing up in courtrooms for ten years otherwise, and Atari and DRI caved, i.e. the consumer never got to see anything like the full capability of the ST.

This was similar to Msoft's tactics in shutting down the good version of OS-2 in 93. The problem of course is that the next time the United States needs to wait four years for Apple or Microsoft to catch up, it might be somebody in India or China who catches up.

But the thing that gets to me is Apple playing games like that and then calling themselves the 'counter-culture' computer or 'the computer for the rest of us(TM)'... What do they mean by the 'rest of us'? The Cosa Nostra??

48 posted on 06/01/2010 4:15:58 AM PDT by wendy1946
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast
I’d add: “Macs are expensive.” (Corrected version: Apple doesn’t sell cheesy low-end crap.)

Buying Apple is a total rip-off for many computer users and I have a good example. I have a friend who has been wanting to get on the internet for a while and do other basic things such as email, writing a letter then printing it and mailing it

So this week we are going to Staples where there is a $300 Compaq desktop. Has 3GB memory and will easily handle whatever he does
He wants a big LCD monitor so we are probably going to get him an Acer 23" LCD for $157

Total bill is $457 and no way Apple can compare to this. What you malign as cheesy is good enuff for most people
Actually his total bill will be $257 because via his credit card he has $200 in Staples gift cards
Apple will never accept gift cards because they are the world's premier floggers of over priced schlock, not Compaq

The anemic MacMini comes with no keyboard, no mouse, no monitor. So if you bought one + an LCD monitor you would be out $800-$900 or so

49 posted on 06/01/2010 4:30:04 AM PDT by dennisw (History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid - Gen Eisenhower)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast

“that Apple is now the “Big Brother” they once decried. Which is exactly what’s happened”

.......thereby validating that cliche’ as truth.

50 posted on 06/01/2010 4:35:41 AM PDT by TheRobb7 (Being asked to produce I.D. is a burden that falls on everyone)
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To: Swordmaker
But when one configures a Windows PC to match the components and specs of an Apple computer, the prices are often within 5-10% of each other... higher or lower... competitive.

Ok, I'll bite: what makes you say that? I went to Apple's website and built an iMac. It cost $2000 with no upgrades. I went to HP's site and built an similar computer. $1,149.98, including HP's overpriced monitor that I could buy elsewhere for less. Oh, and I got a free upgrade in RAM, so the HP actually has better specs. And HP's optical drive is faster.

I think Apple makes some slick computers, but I'm just not sure how you can say they are comparably priced. Heck, with an iMac, you have to buy the most expensive one before you even get a quad core processor. That is seriously lame. I bought my "bargain basement" HP, as you call it, for something like $650 and I got a quad core processor.

51 posted on 06/01/2010 4:56:57 AM PDT by Publius Valerius
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To: dennisw
The anemic MacMini comes with no keyboard, no mouse, no monitor. So if you bought one + an LCD monitor you would be out $800-$900 or so

Not so anemic. The reason it comes with no keyboard, mouse, or monitor is because it was designed for people whose computer went out and still had a functional keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
52 posted on 06/01/2010 5:22:39 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: Gun142

With the popularity of Apple retail stores it is unsurprising that Best Buy would not sell a ton of Apple stuff. As far as I know the student discount is only available at Apple stores, and so it is likely that anyone who knows anyone with a student ID would buy from there.

With the popularity of the iPhone and iPod it is getting harder and harder to find people who aren’t previous Apple owners.

53 posted on 06/01/2010 5:36:54 AM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You ever thought about being weird for a living?)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran

A few years ago you would have been correct in stating there is a difference but 180 degrees off as to which way the difference lies - as Intel Processors are Little Endian and PPC processors Big Endian. Now that Macs use Intel processors, you’re wrong in a different way because they’re all Little Endian.

54 posted on 06/01/2010 5:43:28 AM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: aruanan

Not so anemic. The reason it comes with no keyboard, mouse, or monitor is because it was designed for people whose computer went out and still had a functional keyboard, mouse, and monitor. >>>>>>>>>>

Yeah their 6 year old Dell died and they will use the same 15” square aspect (CRT?) monitor with Mac Mini. Riiiiiight! Plus I was not aware that Mac Mini came with two PS2 ports

Amusing how you are describing Apple’s typical parasitism here.

55 posted on 06/01/2010 5:45:22 AM PDT by dennisw (History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid - Gen Eisenhower)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast

Microsoft is like the USSR and Apple is like People’s Republic of China. By that I mean disliking one doesn’t mean you have to like the other or the other way round.

I don’t happen to like either company, although I do admit to using both of their products.

56 posted on 06/01/2010 5:46:05 AM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: dennisw

As a very happy Mac Mini user I can assure you it’s not “anemic” in anyway, shape or form. I do pro sound/studio recording via Logic Express with mine and have never had a problem with it. I just released a CD of Faith-based music earlier this year which was recorded, mixed & mastered on my Mini.

I also play a fun 3d mmorpg called Warhammer on my mini and have a blast doing so. I have a very nice Logitech keyboard, HP wireless mouse & an inexpensive LCD monitor I’ve had for a few years from my pc days connected to it. I am VERY happy with it.

57 posted on 06/01/2010 6:31:25 AM PDT by TheStickman
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To: dennisw

All those themes are true plus the one about Apple marketing to an urban, female, gay, hip, artistic, younger demographic.


Ain’t capitalism great!!!!

Find and exploit (in the economic sense) a market better and faster than your competition.

Are Apple haters anti capitalist?!?!

58 posted on 06/01/2010 7:17:14 AM PDT by dmz
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To: TheBattman

And Apple’s software isn’t exceedingly protective? As a matter of fact Apple Corp likes it that way so they can charge more for it. And that isn’t predatory?

They created a mystique about a product through superior public relations, get enough people to buy into it, then price gouge them.

59 posted on 06/01/2010 8:02:18 AM PDT by PJammers (I can't help it... It's my idiom!)
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To: PJammers

A full OS X license is $129. A Home Premium Windows 7 license is $199. The more similar Windows Ultimate is $319. Who is price gouging on their more expensive software?

Also, there is no serial number to enter with OS X. If you were so inclined you could buy the single user license and install it on as many computers as you want.

60 posted on 06/01/2010 8:10:57 AM PDT by Mr. Blonde (You ever thought about being weird for a living?)
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