I used to think that it was easy to market to me. That I’d buy anything with a sticker that said “new and improved” or “20% more real cherry flavor.” Now, it’s because I know I am a hard audience. That if you’ve won me with your wordplay, you have accomplished something because I do not suffer fools gladly. In order to be a wordsmith in my world, you have to earn the “smith.” You have to show me that you sweated over this ad and it’s actually the best you’ve got and you’re proud. When an ad hits me just right, I feel parental toward the writers and choking up with pride. The feeling in me is always Don Draper watching Peggy Olson…. “Think Different.” “Crazy” for Apple Computers. “1984” for the Macintosh. These ads are all for Apple because I like shopping for technology the best, and they put out stunning commercials.
What Apple ads don’t do is work on me. You do not need a Macintosh for anything, ever. It’s the same chipset as a Dell or HP or whatever so there’s no practical difference between buying a Mac and buying a PC…. the Motorola PowerPC chip vs. Pentium debate was worth having, and I wonder if M2 and ARM are going to come to blows in the same way. I doubt it. Linux has so much that will run on bare metal without having to rewrite software that MacOS just fails all the way around. That translation layer between hardware and software takes most of the power difference away because the OS may be written perfectly, but it’s going to take app developers a while to catch up. There’s just no reason to install MacOS as your main unix box when you can get rid of that translation layer altogether with ARM. I also hate not having a desktop and having the graphical user interface on my desktop feel like an iPad. Lastly, I don’t need a $4,000 Facebook machine. If I wanted to edit video, I’d still go with Linux over Mac software because I can download it for free without stealing. I suppose what I’m saying is that Jonny Ive has made Apple money because there was a market for great design in computing. I’d rather have computers I can work on myself. We are not the same. There is nothing like praying that plug and play works, but then also being able to find the drivers you need and they’re generally only a few megabites- came on a floppy disk or CD that you lost after you made a disc image and put it on your Google account. Learning to compile drivers and download dependencies like a boss. It’s the basics, and it’s more than most people could do and I’m proud of it.
Doesn’t mean the marketing at Apple isn’t inspiring, though. Apple products are great for the people who don’t want to be me. I can hate the player, not the game. They’re winning and I don’t mind being the underdog. I just like what I like. For instance, there are way better MP3 players than an iPod because the iPod died a slow and horrible death without ever supporting SD cards or terrestrial radios. MP3 players that run on linux (Android) can hold as many songs as you can throw at it because most support up to 512 gigs’ worth of music…… or be able to hold your entire library at full quality with no degradation of quality? Being able to rip your own collection and sneaker pimp the rest while never having to change the disk inside the mp3 player *ever?* People don’t do that anymore, but they still do if they’re nerds and my age. (I also know how to rip DVDs at full quality as well.)
What is even having a portable music player and not being able to listen to NPR? At the same time, MacOS is unix. They just don’t want to play. No one in my world wants to fool with that. Desktops are serious business, and by limiting home repair and making the computer report to the mothership, they’re convincing people that’s normal. It’s totally normal that your computer wants to know everything about you….. so it can create an ad profile for things you don’t need so they can sell you more stuff through your Facebook machine….. for which you spent way too much money.
But damn are those amazing ads.