So, I realize this is kind of an unpopular position right now what with everybody in love with their products, but I’ve got a confession to make – I hate Apple Computer. I’ve hated everything Apple since high school. But I might, MAYBE, be considering a MINOR change of heart.
Here’s the deal. Back in the day (let’s say, 1981-1982), when I was an impressionable 5 years old, my parents bought me my first computer, a Commodore Vic-20. I had to literally copy and type line after line of text from a BOOK onto the computer screen to MAKE a game to play. A single keystroke error meant the game wouldn’t play. Of course, “game” meant something like “draw a blue line”. When I shut the computer off, the game disappeared. After a while, we got a peripheral CASSETTE TAPE DECK that contained a SINGLE game already programmed on it, and took a good 3-5 minutes to load. WAY better than half an hour of typing!
Fast-forward to 1987-1988 (Living On A Prayer!) and my middle school, progressive for its time, had a room full of green-texted black screened monster PC’s that ran Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego off 5 1/4″ disks, and had an afterschool club for tiny elementary-school aged Dungeons and Dragons players (I never did understand the appeal of that game).
When high school came, I got my first desktop computer of my very own. It was a second-from-top-of-the-line, 486 SX 33MHz (yes I said MHz, not GHz, – and no, we couldn’t afford the DX2 66MHz) but it had a FULL COLOR 15″ VGA monitor. It cost my parents almost $3,000 in 1989 dollars, they considered it an investment in my future.
Oh, my desktop was badass and I was a geeky little 9th-grade dynamo. I traded files and played text-based games via BBS’s. I once even connected a microphone and had a very crackly, laggy phone conversation with a friend one town away VIA COMPUTER RUNNING THROUGH DIAL-UP. Yes, I had a perfectly good phone right beside me, that I had to unplug to use the computer, but long-distance calls, even to the next town, were expensive, yo! A free local call to the local modem farm was free! (except for the monthly access fee, of course) I dabbled in ANSI artwork, I twiddled with autoexec.bat and config.sys, I pirated my first copy of Windows 3.11 from the kid down the street.
Essentially, I learned a new language and literally grew up with computers. Friends traded disks to share programs, non-telephone conversations developed via caveman-esque online forums, one-color monitors turned to 16-color. My first laptop had DUAL 3 1/4″ floppies (no hard drive, of course).
Then, one of my very best friends parents bought him an Apple Macintosh Classic II 16MHz and everything went to hell in a handbasket. Here’s how typical conversations went between me (486SX owner) and him (Mac owner):
- 486SX: Your computer has a nice compact form! You need to borrow some disks?
- Mac: Nope, none of your programs work on my computer.
- 486SX: Oh, weird. Hey, doesn’t your screen have color?
- Mac: Nope.
- 486SX: I’m confused. Is that seriously a 9″ black and white screen?
- Mac: Yup.
- 486SX: Oh. Ok, whatever. That’s a neat drawing program you have, can I steal it?
- Mac: Nope, none of my programs work on your computer either.
- 486SX: Are you sure? That canâ€™t be right. Just gimme the disk and Iâ€™ll… wait… where’s the eject button?
- Mac: There is no eject button.
- 486SX: Are you sure? That canâ€™t be right. Just right-click and choose “eject”.
- Mac: There’s only one button on my mouse.
- 486SX: Your computer doesn’t play nice with other computers, has a 9″ black and white screen, and is too cheap to include an eject button or a second mouse button? Your parents paid HOW much for that?
- Mac: Shut up man, Macs are cool. Macs are the future.
Let’s extrapolate to future products, shall we?
- Mac: Check out my new iPod!
- 486SX: Cool! Where do you get your music from?
- Mac: I am forced to pay $1 for every song via iTunes.
- 486SX: Are you sure? That canâ€™t be right. Oh, BTW, your battery’s running out, you probably need to switch out the AAAâ€™s.
- Mac: I can’t. The battery isn’t replacable.
- 486SX: Your music player doesn’t play nice with other .mp3 players, MAKES you pay for songs, and is too cheap to include a replacable battery. You paid HOW much for that?
- Mac: Check out my new iPhone!
- Android: It’s got a small screen, none of the apps work with other phones, youâ€™re STILL forced to buy music from iTunes, it only has one button, and you STILL can’t replace the battery. You paid HOW much for that?
Fine, you get the idea. So what, after all these years has made me take a (brief) pause to consider buying an Apple product? In a word, Instagram.
I’ve got an ORIGINAL Motorola Droid, which really seems like a relic now that it’s been on the market for (gasp!) three whole years.
Apparently, or so Iâ€™ve learned, Apple engineers have managed to stuff the world’s ONLY good cell phone camera into the iPhone 4S. Then some dudes came up with a software program – Instagram – to showcase it, and their program went viral. Instagram photos are ALL over Twitter and Facebook, and it annoys me. That an Apple product has a truly superior piece of HARDWARE in one of their devices that, to date, has no equal – the camera.
Fine, it’s true. Neither Motorola, nor Samsung, nor LG, nor any of the other cell phone manufacturers can seem to make a GOOD camera that matches that inside the iPhone.
Am I going to get an iPhone because it has the best camera on the market?
Seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened.