27 January 2010

Apple: Your Crack Supplier

Well, today Apple announced their new iPad - another device in their long line of CamelCase-named gadgets, computers and services. And according to the live blog presented by Engadget and their first hands-on review of the tablet, as expected it is another colossal failure by Apple - yet I know consumer whores the world over will gravitate to it, attracted by the prospect of a higher social status from merely owning it. The hardware is simple and quite nice looking, although its design was essentially taken from the iPhone - a design which hasn't changed in years. It was as if the engineers took an iPhone, placed it on a copier, and blew it up so that the device was about 10 inches tall. But the hardware severely lacks in comparison to many devices already out on the market - a marque of Apple in touting their so-called "new, bleeding-edge devices" which actually have quite antiquated hardware specs. And besides the hardware, the OS remains as crippled as its smaller cousin, and from first reports, multitasking and displaying Flash content on the unit is currently not possible. For a device that is supposed to allow you to surf the net, being able to listen to music and interact with Flash-based websites is a humongous disadvantage.
I announced my distaste with the device (which has almost always been the case - except with their AppleTV, which I feel is a great piece of hardware, crippled by its meager software offering, but luckily can be hacked to use much more robust media center suites) on Twitter & Facebook, and was responded to by my uncle, who is a convert-of-sorts to Apple's legions of consumer zombies.
Here is the conversation:
  • Me: Twitter: And... the #iSlate is just an oversized iPhone. Not very original, Apple.
  • Uncle: Hater!!!
  • Me: You know me. The only thing from Apple that I own is my AppleTV, and that's been hacked - I just wanted the hardware; the built-in software could bite the big one. Ask yourself these kinds of questions: what hardware can Windows/Linux run on versus that of OSX? Can you install anything you want on your iPhone without violating the DMCA? Do you like being told that you only have a choice of color? Just remember Apple's policy: "The consumer doesn't know what they want - and even if they do, its wrong."
  • Me: Oh, and almost forgot the most important question of all: do you enjoy paying too much for the hardware you do get? I didn't think so. Apple = the crack addict. You buy from them 1 time, you're theirs for life. iPod/iPhone/iPad<-->iTunes Where's your options? Oh, that's right, you have none because now you're addicted to their consumer crack and their your only supplier.
  • Uncle: Dude! SHUT UP!! Go back to your code writting, you know make a mistake on line 67 when your are at line 546! Go back to reading your 0's and 1's. Obviously Apple & AT&T know something we don't. AT&T stock jumped, what does that tell you?
  • Me: That investors know that people are going to be the consumer whores they are and buy it. Just because stocks jump doesn't mean that the device is any good - it just means that there is money to be had.
After writing it, I realized just how much Apple could really be considered a crack addict. I realized that if you ever buy anything from Apple, you are pretty much stuck always buying from Apple, forever. Its like you get hooked, but many times not the way you want to. For instance, if you buy an iPod or an iPhone, you must sign up with iTunes to be able to buy digital downloads of the music or videos you want & don't already have. Granted, I understand that you can import your own library of MP3s, but when it comes to being able to play the music or videos you buy from iTunes, you're pretty much stuck with only being able to play them back on an iPod or iPhone, so you can't use your own devices, thus limiting your freedom of choice. A person becomes addicted to crack in a similar way - you want to try some crack for the first time (music/videos), the supplier sells it to you pretty cheap (iTunes), you become hooked and keep going back to your supplier, though it begins costing your large sums of money (loss of freedom of choice), and if you switch suppliers (especially if you've been a customer of theirs for a while), they'll kill you (loss of your library since it isn't portable).
The problem is even more exasperated by their computer hardware. Say you want OSX because it is more user-friendly for your mom to use, or runs certain programs better (video editing suites). Well, you can't just go buy OSX and install it on any old thing - you have to use their computer hardware, and you have no choice. Granted, there are people out there who have managed to get OSX onto systems other than iMacs, Mac Books, or Mac desktops, but doing so is in violation of their licensing terms and the DMCA, thereby illegal. On the other hand, other operating systems are (mostly) hardware agnostic, and even Windows 7 can be installed on a Mac! And what's worse is the Apple hardware offerings are way overpriced in comparison to other hardware that you can find - most often 2-3 times more expensive!
Some Mac fanboys froth over everything Apple, to the point that could be labeled obsession. I know I've been called an Apple hater, a Microsoft fanboy and nearly everything in-between, but the truth is that I merely speak the truth of the unfair and consumer-unfriendly sales and marketing tactics of Apple. I really have no problem with their hardware, and have actually been known to marvel in some of their creations despite the majority of them lacking many of the features and specs I have come to expect from other manufacturers, but their licensing and restrictions imposed by and on their software have irked me to pure hatred. As an American - hell, as a human being - I enjoy my freedom of choice and will frequently pick the most flexible, cost-effective solutions to suite my needs. Seeing so many people give in to the flashy, trendy marketing hype Apple gives on their products makes me realize that people are making decisions that are having adverse effects on the advancement of technology. They make their decisions to buy their products merely on this compulsion to give in to Apple product desires; they have become the Apple crack whores.

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