You want to be cool. Trust me, you do. Lucky for you, we live in an age when preferred social status is just a few hundred bucks and a trip to the Apple store away.
Seriously, what is it with the BS marketing by Apple and all the resulting BS techno-babble that results when their simple-minded consumer base can’t seem to find anything better to do than prattle on and on about the greatness of their purchases?
Honestly, I think it’s just the shock that Apple’s group of flunkies found themselves capable of creating a halfway-decent product for the first time in three decades. For the majority of my life, Apple has always represented the dumbed-down, idiot-proof side of the computing world (sort of the AOL of hardware, if you will.) If you were too stupid or your needs too simple to justify buying a real computer, you bought a Mac. At least they were still a company who was trying to sell their product based on its actual functional merits at that point though.
Then came those stupid iMacs. A CPU and a monitor housed in a plastic case colored to look like a deformed creamsicle? Please stand-by while I wet myself in excitement.
Then there was the iPod, the iBook, the iPhone, and the iBex… no wait, scratch that last one. That would be the Mac version of a Siberian mountain goat (and let’s not give them any ideas for new product development.)
Damn, I was too late.
Either way, it was around that point that the company started advertising their products not as faster, more efficient, or really better in any way. Macs were simply advertised as being cooler than the alternative.
Every niblet of information about a Mac product became infused with euphemisms and buzz-words that all implied that Apple users were somehow chic, edgy, or otherwise anointed as the leading edge of some new social movement. With the iMacs it was always “They looks so cool.” No they don’t; they look like packaged frozen dairy treats (as previously noted.)
For the first several years after its release, all I ever heard from iPod users was, “The interface is so intuitive.” Intuitive? Do these people even have a concept of the meaning of that word? What aspect of the stupid dial on the front of an iPod is intuitive? If you want to move down the list of songs, dial clockwise. To move up the list, counter-clockwise. Easy to use? Yes, but not all that innovative and certainly not intuitive. If the interface of the iPod actually worked on intuition, then there would be no physical interface on the device. The iPod would simply divine which song you wanted to hear and play it without any input from the user at all.
Now the stupid iPhone is all the rage and I cannot turn on the television or go out in public without being bombarded with idiots espousing the greatness of their fancy new phone. All the iPhone owners want to tell me how, “It’s like having an iPod, a cell phone, and an internet browser all in one.” Really? So, you mean it has the exact same functions as 95% of all cell phones sold in the past three years with the added bonus of requiring all updates and maintenance to come from Apple and all music added to the device to first be changed into some stupid format using more of Apple’s proprietary software… and I will look totally cool if I own one? Wow! Now all I need is some friends so I can call them and be seen using my cool phone in public.
Every time Apple releases a new product it’s like rush week in some idiotic fraternity where the only way to ensure you have friends is to run out and buy exactly what everyone else is buying as soon as humanly possible.
Perhaps the pinnacle of Apple’s campaign to become the epitome of coolness though is their latest batch of television advertisements. I will admit that the two guys who stand against a white backdrop and proclaim in turn, “I’m a PC” and “I’m a Mac” were amusing the first time I saw one of these ads… maybe even the second one I saw invoked a light chuckle from me… but things have gotten out of hand now.
I get it. The Mac is hip and cool; the PC is nerdy and lame. It’s the same message you have used in every one of these commercials just stated in a slightly different way. The thing is, computers (regardless of who makes them) are not cool. I work with computers all day and then waste countless hours using them in my free-time every evening and not once have a I ever sat down at a keyboard and thought, “Now it’s time for me to really look smooth.”
Have you ever gotten a date because of your computer? Have you ever gotten laid because your CPU came in a colored plastic case as opposed to a metal one? Have you ever heard someone utter the words, “Damn, I’ve got to party with that guy, he owns an iBook”? No. Of course you haven’t. Nobody has or ever will hear that about their computer. You can’t make it sexy like a Ferrari or a $500k Rolex because, at the end of the day, it is still a computer, it still is not cool… and neither are you.