Monthly Archive: October 2010

Why people love (to hate) Apple

Apple. People love them. Or hate them.

apple_basketI remember seeing the famous 1984 advert to launch the Mac. The same year, I’d done computers at school as an ‘O’ level ( failed dismally) which entailed writing lines of text on a BBC computer to make it read my name across the screen. In addition, bizarrely, I was deemed to be too intelligent to learn to type! (and what do I use everyday – that’ll be a keyboard then!)

Roll on a couple of years and I was studying graphic design. In 1987 I used my first Mac. There was just one in the department. I’d been trained to put all those publications that we all see and use everyday – by hand!

This was different. On this little box you could type text. You could create perfect boxes. It was tiny – it had a black and white screen. Wow!

A few years later, after being palmed of with a PC with a 4mb hard drive to run 3 CDs of the famously rubbish and unwieldy Corel Draw, I got a Mac. A beige Powermac 7100. It was amazing. I could actually design. However, there was one or two limitations. You only run one piece of software at a time. Photoshop would take an age to process (off to make a cup then!)

And I’ve been through various stages of Macs – grey G3, blue G3, quicksilver G4, Mac Pro, G3 iMacs, current iMacs, various Mac laptops.

And each one has got better and better and faster and faster. And when you need to buy a new Mac you have a choice of three, with all the internal processors, cards, drives etc. To do the job you need to. No shopping around for components and hoping they’ll all work.

For me a Mac is a practical tool. It has little wow factor. I don’t really care what it looks like – I need it to deliver for me. And it does. Today I can design real time, at incredible speed.

But those of us who have used Macs know a few…..

  • Never buy the first model – there’s invariably a glitch. The second version is invariable fixed and working.
  • Apple sometimes go mad. Remember the Cube. As fast as a large G3 desktop, with tiny internal fans, there was scratches on the plastic case, part of the manufacturing process. It didn’t take off. And the PC/Mac. That didn’t last either.
  • Apple are innovative. They’ve continually pushed the boundaries, and okay, on occasions it doesn’t necessarily work. But their passion to drive forward interaction, pushing the boundaries not only of hardware, but software infrastructure too.
  • Once you’ve used a Mac you’ll never use a PC by choice again.
  • They don’t take fourteen hours to boot up.
  • They are beautifully created and designed.
  • They last – I’ve a 10 year old G3 iMac. It’s a tad slow – but it works better than most new PCs.

Apple have always been ‘out there’. They take risks, and develop concepts that only Apple would think of doing. They may not have the best MP3 player, but the iPod changed the world.

Phone’s were made by phone companies, not IT companies. And then came the iPhone. And it changed the way people thought about their phone and the entire industry is playing catchup.

And I’m typing this up on an iPad. And yes, I’ve broken my first rule of never buy the first model.  It’s cool, but limited. The next model will be awesome. And I’m in awe of the potential of how this little gizmo will (has) change(d) the world again. For many it looks like a big iPhone. For me, after all these years it bring an exciting and truly inspiring future.

People may love to hate Apple. But they inspire change. And we wouldn’t be in the same world without them.