A few days ago I ran across a funny image that poked fun at the age-long rivalry between Mac users and… well, pretty much users of everything else.
The image itself was not new — I’ve seen it before — but was nonetheless quite funny. And, most importantly, it got me thinking about how different the psyche of the average hard-core Mac user is compared to that of the average user of pretty much everything else.
Now, before you accuse me of being a brainwashed, ignorant Windows user, let me give you a few disclaimers. I own both a Mac Mini and a Windows 7 laptop. I own an iPad and an old iPod but still rely on my Nokia for smartphoning. So, I’m not an Apple fanboy but am not an Apple hater, either. In fact, I consider myself pretty balanced in my attitude towards electronic gadgets using all kinds of operating systems.
But let me get back to my story. So the image reminded me how Windows users have always had this remarkable sense of self-irony. They are not afraid to admit deficiencies in their laptops. They get frustrated sometimes, but most of the time they find computer problems somewhat endearing… And they find it challenging and empowering to fix (or hack) something on their computers. Just look at the comments below the “Can Your Mac Do This” funny image and you’ll come across so many light-hearted jokes. Look a bit deeper and you’ll also find the occasional Linux user who would admit that his/her OS of choice is not omnipotent.
Now, turn towards the typical Apple crowd and you’ll see a very different picture. The same image has been posted on Mac forums and has stirred numerous scathing and completely uncalled for remarks. What’s more, tell your fanboy friend that something made by Apple broke down or did not work properly, or took too long to install — and you will be asking for trouble. You’ll be summarily accused of heresy and ignorance, lack of coolness and creativity. You’ll be told that you are so “2000 and late” (if I can paraphrase Fergie’s lyrics from the Black Eyed Peas 2008 hit song Boom Boom Boom).
“So why is that?” I started asking myself. Why do Apple users always feel the urge to preach as if they were on a mission to convert the world? And why do Windows guys and girls prefer to sit back and simply enjoy the show?
Throughout the ages, people have worshiped many objects – they worshiped the Sun, the Earth, other neighboring planets, the ocean, various animals. But never before, have they worshiped a fruit. But in the past decade or so, that has taken place and a new cult has arisen — The Cult of the Half-Bitten Apple!
I believe this advent of the Half-Bitten Apple cult is the main reason why fanboys are so headstrong and narrow-minded about their disdain for anything non-Apple. They dismiss Windows without truly understanding the capabilities of the system. They talk about the “Blue Screen of Death” forgetting that this has really not been a problem since earlier versions of Windows. They say PCs suck, ignoring the fact that PC does not stand for a Windows machine but is an abbreviation for a “personal computer” of which Macs are a subsegment. They forgot that their beloved brand was actually behind putting together one of the earliest PCs on the mass market. They turn a blind eye on the crashes that take place in OS X (oh, yes, I know only too well that constantly rotating colorful sphere that replaces my mouse’s cursor and just keeps spinning and spinning…) They reject to listen about the lack of a proper “cut” functionality built into the file management in OS X, which makes it cumbersome to move files from one place to another. They say Windows’ desktop is flawed because it looks cluttered with icons, failing to admit that this is more likely due to the aesthetic deficiency of the user than to a system failure. On the other hand, they rush to proclaim the equally cluttered screens in iOS as ingenious.
But enough with my examples. I think you all get the big picture. Apple is just a large corporation, just as focused on making money as any other PC-maker is. And Macs, iPhones and iPads are simply machines meant to serve us and not devine objects meant to be worshiped. The sooner we all get to grips with that, the better for everyone. Otherwise we all risk becoming part of the proverbial story by Hans Christian Andersen about the Emperor’s New Clothes, applauding the Emperor for his new clothes because that is what is expected from us, and failing to warn the Emperor that he is, in fact, naked.
Comments are always welcome – even from die-hard fanboys. 🙂
P.S. This is my first post written on my iPad. I have to admit it took me longer than one should expect for such a short post. It took me some ingenuity to link to that funny “Can Your Mac Do This” image. It turns out hyperlinking a word in the native WordPress app was almost impossible. After all, this is an Apple device and “it just works!” (Pun intended.)
P.P.S. I found a few unfortunate typos after I posted this. Sorry – that is the downside of typing on an iPad. It’s funny that I am using my good old Nokia N900 to edit the post and correct the typos. So here you go — sometimes even non-Apple products come handy. 🙂