On the way into work, sitting in traffic behind a dump truck, in a mood as dark as the overcast morning sky, I slowly became aware of the Apple logo right in the middle of the battered rear gate. It was all I could do to move fast enough, to grab my camera out of the seat next to me, get the lens cap off, focus, and finally grab the exposure. I quickly got around the truck and into clearer traffic, but I kept thinking of the Apple logo on that beat-up, heavily used dump truck. It slowly grew into something of a metaphor for me about today's Apple.
About As Big As They Come
Before I start trashing Apple, let me get the obvious out of the way first. Apple's making money hand over fist, selling crazy numbers of iPhones and iPads, always going up, quarter after quarter, year after year. Their stock valuation had them worth more than the country of Poland in February. And most significantly, tickets to WWDC 2012 sold out in two hours. At US$1,599/each. Just as just about everybody wants to buy an Apple product, just about every developer wants their shot at making money developing on Apple's platforms. Everybody's blinded by the light.
What's Wrong, Then?
Remember the original Spider Man movie, the one with Tobey Maguire in the title role? How many times did we hear "With great power comes great responsibility?" (so many times it was satirized by Weird Al). Well, this is real life, not the movies, and Apple doesn't give a damn about the intersection of great responsibility with great power, unless it's the responsibility to "increase shareholder value." That's their only responsibility now.
Without any exceptions Apple has been really swinging its more-than-considerable power around. From their highly restrictive, "curated" App Store (and iBook store), to their suing everybody in sight over Android and a multitude of minor petty patents based on a lot of non-Apple prior technology. A scorched-earth policy started by the late Steve Jobs and lustily continued by the current ruling elites within Apple. Because That's What Steve Would Have Wanted (TWSWHW).
Apple has morphed from the near-death underdog of the late 1990's, when Steve first came back as interim CEO to the abusive behemoth standing bestride the tech and consumer electronics world, the early 21st century version of Microsoft or IBM. Steve morphed from a smiling, friendly chubby-checked geek to a gaunt embittered old man, and he soaked Apple to the core with that attitude before he died. A Dorian Gray kinda company that changed from something beautiful, sleek and bright into something old, hulking, and beat to hell and back. Like that dump truck I was sitting behind this morning.
What to Do, Then?
Oh, I'll fume over the injustices and write tepid, ineffectual little rants like this one in my small corner of the web. I have my family, my community and my job to keep me busy. I'll do well just trying to help all of that along, especially in these highly poisonous and partisan times. And when I need a break, I'll come home and cook some (healthy) food for my wife and I and anybody else who wants to sup with us.
And then clean up the dishes. Looking at a clean and tidy kitchen always seems to help.
- Apple Changes Siri’s Embarrassing Nokia Favouritism - http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/apple-changes-siris-embarrassing-nokia-favouritism-78210
- Apple patent spats finally pay off - http://www.bgr.com/2012/05/16/apple-htc-evo-4g-lte-one-x-launch-delays/
- Judge: Ample evidence that Apple "knowingly joined" e-book conspiracy - http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/05/judge-ample-evidence-that-apple-knowingly-joined-e-book-conspiracy/
- We don’t need more tech giants like Apple - http://www.computerpartsgreenvillesc.com/we-dont-need-more-apples-and-other-tech-giants/
- THE COUNTRY'S PROBLEM IN A NUTSHELL: Apple's Huge New Data Center In North Carolina Created Only 50 Jobs - http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-new-data-center-north-carolina-created-50-jobs-2011-11