A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Sometimes I think I’m the only person on this planet who’s fed up with Apple. Yeah, yeah, yeah — I know! They’re the uber coolest company of all time; they invented all the iCrap that nobody but your grandma uses anymore and oh (like I could ever forget) Stephen Jobs never wore a tie! But for God sake’s, guys! Get over yourselves! You’re not a religion, no matter what your basement dwelling followers tell you. In the real world, above ground, the only difference between Apple and every other Tom, Dick and Harry tech company is price. Apple stuff is so wildly overpriced it’s a wonder anybody at the iStores, from manager to minion, can even look at themselves in a mirror in the morning. Saying Apple is proud of their products is like saying Kim Kardashian is a media whore. D’uh!
Normally, I leave Apple alone. Way back in the day, I had a Mac — I loved it – but I grew up and outgrew my burning need to “share” odd photographs, soft core porn and my particular taste in music that week. However, yesterday (believe me, the date doesn’t matter) Apple introduced yet another new iSomething and I wondered what it was. Then, like a perpetual old fool, I took a gander. Apparently, this most recent Galileo moment in electronic history is a new iPad, which looks so strikingly similar (inside and out) to the old iPad as to be the same machine. In fact, aside from a memory tweak, it is the same machine. Yet, despite this obvious sleight of hand, the reviewers were going on as if the da Vincis down at Cupertino, CA had just revolutionized computering in the 21st century. According to them, this was the greatest human achievement since triple bypass surgeon — at merely twice the price. Nor were they done! After singing iPad 4’s (4.5? 5? 29?) praises until they got writer’s cramp, they went on for seven or eight more paragraphs in speculative hallelujahs about what Apple was going to come up with next. It was like listening to Tom Cruise talk about L. Ron Hubbard.
I’m not very tech savvy, and I don’t want to go all Dennis Miller on the thing, but let’s stop for a minute and take a look at what we’re dealing with here. Essentially, the iPad, in whatever number sequence Apple wants to give it, is an oversized, overpriced smart phone that doesn’t make telephone calls. It’s as big as a turkey platter with more memory than any average human being can possibly use, a camera that can pick out nasal hair at 50 paces and solid walls of Benny and the Jets sound, if that’s what you’re into. However, with a price tag that would bankrupt a Mexican drug lord, it doesn’t give you anymore battery life or connectivity than my $49.00 Samsung – which, BTW, fits in my back pocket. iPads are so conspicuously large you can’t manipulate them with fewer than three hands. Plus, even though they weigh less than lunch at Taco Bell, their side to side size dictates they don’t actually fit anywhere. This sheer unbendable volume makes a mockery of their primary purpose – portability – and there are no other redeeming features, like a workable keyboard, to compensate for that. In a reasonable world, iPads would be the new Betamax — with a commensurate consumer shelf life. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a reasonable world.
I’m not dissing Apple just for the hell of it. I’m not a committed Android, Microsoft, Blackberry or anything else, user. Honestly, I don’t know enough about what makes what work electronically even to have a choice. However, I do know a con job when I see one. For my money, when you have two items that look the same, act the same and were probably made in the same factory, but one costs more than three times as much as the other one…well…B. T. Barnum was definitely right.
It’s obvious; the real thing Apple is selling is “cool.” So be it. If you can sell the sizzle off a bad cut of meat, you’re a crooked jerk, but all the more power to you. My problem is the boys down at the Apple clubhouse think they don’t put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us. And every time I mention it, I get the Stephen Jobs/Johannes Gutenberg lecture. I agree; the guy was a genius, but that doesn’t give him (or his post-mortem company) the arrogant right to gouge everybody. But what really burns my bacon is that even though most people outside the Apple cabal realize it’s not the one true path to enlightenment nobody is willing to admit it – except, maybe, me.