Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why I don't like Apple

My girlfriend and I sometimes debate on Apple. Actually, each time she complains about the slowness of her current computer and the question of buying a new one comes up. She wants to buy a Macbook because they are beautiful. I try to convince her to buy a PC and use Linux. I'm a fervent advocate of open source but my point is that a tool doesn't need to be beautiful but functional. Of course, Macbooks are functional. But the added beauty comes at a cost and doesn't improve the function, to which she disagrees. That reminds me of these students that think beautiful and expensive pencils and notebooks will better motivate them to work. Then the debate takes usually a more philosophical turn around the usefulness of beauty, and as such goes away from the real problem.
The real problem is that Apple succeeded in creating a real cult around its products that makes people pay for an added emotional value. And the cult of objects and the emotional link with them is just something that bothers an anti-consumerist like me. Particularly with objects that remains just tools and have such a short lifespan.
I like my laptop (an Asus) because it followed me in my professional travels and many of the places I lived. But I'm not saying this created some emotional link. I just like it because it was sturdy enough not to break. According to my girlfriend, this is a pretty ugly laptop.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, as the girlfriend in question, I'd like to respond to a few things here.

    One, even though aesthetics do enter the equation, I don't want to buy a Macbook "because they're beautiful", but because I've been using Macintosh computers for more than ten years, I'm familiar with the OS and environment, and I genuinely enjoy the user friendliness. I'm not a super geek and it's a "language" I understand.

    And for the rest, we'll just have to agree to disagree on the importance of beauty and design in everyday objects. I guess it's a matter of different values.

    I do agree that the emotional, cultish following of certain Apple enthusiasts can be annoying, but it's unfair to say that all Mac users are irrationnally attached to Apple products. It's like hating a music band because of a minority of rabid fans, and not because of their music.

    And yes, your Asus is pretty ugly :-)

    PS: I do like using Ubuntu, and I could always install it on my Mac ;-)