I'm only brand new to these forums, but I've had something on my mind for a while and I'm keen to find what a Mac-friendly audience thinks about it.
How do I put this? It may sound very obvious, but I've noticed a massive change in the general perception about Apple over the last few years. I would say that the change is pretty recent (that is, I first really noticed a substantial change around the time that Apple launched the iPad in 2010).
If you think back to the pre-Jobs Mark II period in Apple's history, the company was really beloved. It had almost become a kind of cult interest, I'd say; so much so, that you only have to watch Steve Jobs' first press conference when he returned as CEO and see the reactions of the audience (especially when Microsoft was mentioned). At that point in the company's history, it had a reasonably small but apparently really rabid fan base.
Fast forward to the early 00's. I'm really talking about the period between the first iMac and iPod through to the introduction of the iPhone. In terms of public perception, it almost seems that Apple were at a peak - that is to say, they were widely respected and I think there was really a growing appreciation of the company in the broader public. Yes, they'd become mainstream, but in the best possible way - widely seen as leaders, where their focus on design seemed to be very broadly appreciated.
Come 2010, and you start seeing a lot of chatter on the Internet about iPad being "just a very large iPod". There seems to be growing cynicism. It's as though a certain proportion of enthusiasts just aren't listening, or are tired of seeing Apple as the flagship of consumer technology.
Fast forward to now and what do we see? Apple is still massively popular in terms of actual sales and so on, but if you look at the enthusiast community online (I guess I mean the "tech enthusiast" community), you see enormous vitriol being spouted regularly about Apple. No matter what they do, no matter how good or bad it is, many comment threads online are caustic.
My examples are all anecdotal. Engadget honestly reviews an Apple product, and talks evenly about its pros and cons. They give it a good score - because it's a good product. But the commentary from the public is filled with...well, hate. Engadget has become an Apple puppet, didn't you know? Everyone is an iSheep. Nobody who is sane could ever choose an Apple product over the competition because it doesn't have fifty billion extraneous features.
This phenomenon isn't just prevalent at a site like Engadget; I only mention them by way of example. Go to almost any place (other than an Apple-centric site like this one) where you see a positive review - or sometimes even any news item - and you're almost guaranteed to see vitriol being spouted everywhere.
I realise that there's a sense in which this kind of discussion is pervasive across almost all kinds of blogs and community forums; partly, it's the nature of the Internet itself. But there's definitely a growing anti-Apple bias out there, I think. I see it not only on the Internet, but in "the real world" too. I have actually had friends with Samsung Galaxy phones almost dismiss me for owning an iPhone - as if I'm some sort of consumerist idiot who has been brainwashed by corporate propaganda. Can't it be that I actually deliberately choose iPhone because, for me, it's the better product? Apparently not.
It goes without saying that Apple is a) not perfect and b) that plenty of criticisms can be made about its products or its general approach. Of course, there have been issues, and of course, there are aspects of their business that many legitimately have a problem with.
But still, I ask the question: why the very significant shift from reasonable levels of respect to almost irrational hate?
I have many theories about this, but I think the most significant one is simply what one might call the "tall poppy syndrome". That's a phrase we use occasionally here in Australia, and it seems to apply to the situation I've described above.
In a nutshell, I am thinking that the more a company is an underdog (especially in the tech world), the more rabid and enthusiastic is its fan base. Remember when Microsoft was often referred to online as "Micro$oft"? (Note that I objected to this ridiculous attitude too). You may also notice that this reference is never made now - perhaps because Microsoft is almost the underdog itself now.
It is now so widely accepted that Apple is a dominant/powerful company that I think many people actually deliberately turn away from it for this reason.
I find it ironic that some suggest that iPhone owners (or Apple product owners generally) are shallow people only seeking social status or whatever, when these very people seem to incessantly prattle on about how great their device is and they imply that they are somehow "in the know" or part of some silly counter-culture because they aren't buying the "popular" phone.
What are your theories? Have any of you noticed this trend - and do you even agree that it is a trend?
I'm curious, because it sometimes frustrates me. Although I'm defending Apple in this case, I am certainly not a "blind Apple fan". I just don't like irrational unfairness of this kind, especially when journalists are repeatedly beaten over the head for offering an unbiased opinion of a product.
Edited by Ingsoc - 4/6/14 at 9:08pm