Why iHate Apple

I hate Apple. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

I hate the fact that “iPod” has become a generic term. The correct term for such a device is PMP — Portable Media Player. Many companies make them, you know. The iPod is just one brand, and an overpriced and proprietary one at that, purchased primarily by people who don’t know any better.

Everyone I know rolls their eyes and looks at me condescendingly when I start ranting about Apple products. They assume I’m an old, stubborn curmudgeon who just doesn’t like anything that’s new or popular.

They’re correct, but it’s more complicated than that. Let me explain.

No pain, no gain

I first started working with computers in 1980. I cut my teeth on a TRS-80 Model III with 16K of RAM and a cassette recorder for data storage. Those of us who spent untold hours in the pale glow of primitive machines like this acquired a fundamental understanding of how computers work, underneath all the pretty layers of graphical interfaces like Windows and OS X. My computer expertise is self-taught and hard-won, and I’m justifiably proud of it.

I have three personal computers in my home, two of which I built myself. I own a PMP — a Creative ZEN. In fact, I bought my first MP3 player in 2000, before the iPod even existed. (Yes, it had a 6 GB hard drive in it and weighed ten pounds, but I recognized the potential of the device and knew the trend was coming.)

My high-definition home theater has been pieced together over the years from individual components, all chosen based on the absolute best bang for the buck, and it works quite well.

All of my technology purchases are meticulously researched. How can I have a shred of respect for some clown who walks into a store and says, “Give me whatever everyone else is buying”?

You don’t get to take pride in something unless you’ve worked for it. Don’t be giving me crap like you’re cooler than me when the biggest decision you had to make was which color your iPod should be.

Apple fanatics and I have something in common — we’re both insufferable. The main difference is that I have earned the right to be insufferable. iDorks have no justification for their smugness. They don’t have any inclination to actually learn about technology, what with them blowing all their spare time and money on entactogenic drugs and body modification.

P.T. Barnum was right

Anyone who knows anything about technology knows that Apple products are ridiculously overpriced. Apple has learned that morons will happily pay extra for cachet, imagined or otherwise. But the main reason I won’t have anything to do with Apple is because I refuse to be locked into a proprietary platform.

The iPhone is still tied to AT&T as its sole service provider, nearly a year after its launch. If you want an iPhone, you have to pony up for a two-year AT&T service contract, like it or not. You can unlock, or “jailbreak,” your iPhone, but then you’ve run afoul of your lord and master Steve Jobs, and besides, your phone can then be “bricked” by the next firmware update.

The iPod itself is undoubtedly a fine specimen of technology. What I object to is iTunes. I don’t want to be tied to a single vendor’s application for accessing my digital music. FairPlay, Apple’s digital-rights management (DRM) solution, has ensured that millions of downloaded iTunes tracks will never play on anything but an iPod. And while Apple is moving away from DRM, do you think they’re just going to replace your purchased tracks with unprotected ones for free? Would you be willing to move to another vendor’s player if it means you have to repurchase all your music?

Do you enjoy having your balls in a vise?

I buy CDs and rip them myself to MP3 format, which will play on anything. The only way Steve Jobs can take away my tunes is by breaking into my house.

Just in case you think this is no big deal, you should know that Microsoft shut down its MSN Music store earlier this year, and announced it will no longer support the retrieval of license keys. This means that after August 31, folks who purchased tracks from MSN Music will be unable to transfer them to any other computer than the one on which they were originally authorized. If that computer dies, their music goes with it.

So I’m not just picking on Apple. I hate Microsoft too. Their anti-competitive behavior in the late eighties and nineties was legendary, and it left us reliant on Windows and Office software that gets more expensive and runs more slowly with each new version.

Herd mentality

On May 22, Engadget.com reported that a tremendous line formed outside the flagship Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York City. For no apparent reason. The store had nothing new or special to offer. Most of the people in line didn’t even know why they were there.

Sheep. The quintessential Apple consumers.

In September of last year, roughly three months after the iPhone was first available, Apple dropped the price of the 8GB model by $200 in anticipation of the holiday season. Smart move. However, the early adopters who had paid full price for their iPhones were outraged (“Baaaaaaa!”). Apple had to pacify them with store credits.

Sheep with a sense of entitlement. Go figure. Grizzled veterans like me know the first rule of consumer technology: You pays your money, you takes your chances. But not iDorks. They’re special.

Rumors are flying that a new iPhone model is forthcoming that will work on advanced 3G wireless networks. And when it arrives, current iPhone users will be demanding a free upgrade, plus dinner and a handjob.


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