I Used To Hate Apple, And Now I’m A Giant Sell-Out

I wish I could say I was good with computers. My boyfriend is a computer genius, most of my friends are pretty savvy, and one of my best friends fixes famous people’s computers here in Paris (!!) and occasionally gets tipped in awesome products. I am literally surrounded by computer competence and general capability. I should, if by nothing but pure osmosis, have learned a thing or two about how my machines work. But I really haven’t, and though I have the basics bestowed on me by CS101 and can still whip up a thing or two in HTML if the need be (as any blogger should), I’m pretty clueless beyond that. My computers, from my IBM Aptiva to the 2010 HP laptop I replaced this Christmas, have all served me pretty well and, if they have fallen, it’s been for nothing other than my own incompetence. I’m pretty sure at least one or two went out during my Limewire-heavy days. I know, I know, I’m horrible.

And I always hated Apple. I had an iPod, though, so technically I should have had nothing but respect for the company that allowed me to have access to several thousand of my favorite songs on the metro. But I wasn’t about to buy a Zune (what am I, a hobo?), and I figured that one could still have the ubiquitous iPod and hate all things Apple. But why? If I’m being honest with myself, my reasons were three-fold.

  1. They were way too expensive for me. When I bought my HP two years ago, I bought one of the most expensive, and though it weighed about ~1200 pounds, it was awesome for watching movies, playing video games, and storing limitless amounts of whatever I wanted. In short, so much room for activities!! But “one of the most expensive” with HP was still significantly less than the entry-level Macbook. This was distressing.
  2. All the people I knew who had one were douches. I really feel like the 2007-2010 period was the heyday of flaunting all the sexy features on Macbooks that the rest of us weren’t privy to. These cool-ass chats, those endless Photobooth shoots, even just screencapping all the awesome things you were doing on your sleek-ass notebook, everything was fodder for the Apple humblebragger. And I was jealous as hell, because my computer, as good as it was in objectivity, was still wholly unsexy and rather utilitarian. Plus, as I mentioned before, it weighed about the same as a desktop computer. It wasn’t fair.
  3. I didn’t understand what made them so much better/justified the price. It pretty much just seemed to me like you were buying a sleek design, a general “image,” and entry into this semi-exclusive club that loved to engage in bi-weekly circle jerks if you bought a Mac. This only compounded my feelings of deep injustice about the whole issue.

But the time came this past winter when I was back in the States and desperately in need of a new computer, as the hinge/case on my HP was all kinds of messed up and my computer-repairing friend was circling around it like a vulture, looking to take it off my hands. Not to mention, given that I take my computer around with me everywhere I go, its weight was beginning to over-develop my right shoulder muscles and make me look like Quasimodo. It was time to pick the right one for me. And through much research and discernment, I settled on two or three PCs that seemed to fit what I was looking for. I had figured what I needed, I had set out a budget, and I was ready to make a smart choice.

And then I went to an electronics store and cuddled with the Macbook Air in the computer section, and all my reason went up in a small puff of apple-scented smoke.

It was just so pretty! And it had all these features that I didn’t really need, but that seemed awesome. It was all skinny and weighed only slightly more than a folder that I carry around with me that has about 10 papers in it. I felt that stomach-turning rush of infatuation, I couldn’t put it down, and sure enough, I went back home with a shiny new Macbook Air in my hands. And as I anticipated, it feels just so awesome. I can feel myself becoming a snob over absolutely nothing, and looking down on PC users in the coffee shop around me like plebeians rubbing some rocks together to send spark signals to each other. Is my actual computing experience better? Not really. I mean, I use some programs now (like Photoshop, for example) that I didn’t before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I could only imagine it would be similar. The ins and outs of actual use are pretty similar, and though this computer is quite impressive for its size, I don’t know that the price was entirely justified. In fact, it most certainly isn’t. But I don’t care. I can’t stop myself from being everything I hate and loving how I feel with this sleek-ass square of silver tucked neatly in my purse. It’s just so beautiful and awesome, and I feel more awesome because of it.

And to add insult to injury, I still think Steve Jobs was an enormous tool and the people who worship him, even worse. I wouldn’t have touched his stupid biography with a 10-foot pole, and think the hype surrounding him is far more inspired by his impetuousness and lifestyle choices than his work as a businessman. Also, he disowned his daughter, but what rich guy doesn’t do that at least a couple times?! The whole “culture” of Apple is something I greatly dislike, and think it’s founded on all the wrong ideas and pillars, and yet I find myself just as bowled over and taken in by aesthetics as the people I would seek to disparage. I am, for lack of a better word, one of them now. On the flip side, I respect Bill Gates enormously, and feel constantly guilty over having forsaken Microsoft (no matter how clunky it was becoming) for something I believe in so much less. But PCs just aren’t sexy the way Apples are sexy, and I can’t explain it.

I feel like an enormous ass hat, having given in to something so utterly constructed. People will try to justify Apples to you until they’re blue in the face, but we all know that for a majority of users, it’s far more about image, aesthetics, and design than it is about the actual function of the computer. People pay more for a name, a feel, a product that says something about who they are. And even though I love my Air, I certainly don’t like what it says about me. Ugh, I need to take a shower. TC mark

image – Millind Alvares

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Anonymous

    Don’t worry, the exact same thing happened to me. I can’t believe that after 10 years of PC’s and laptops and hating Apple, this Macbook Air is actually the most exciting piece of technology I have owned!

  • GIRL

    In case you didn’t hear, Steve Jobs died. I believe “was” would be the correct verb. Also, how dare you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/neusdadt Arbie Baguios

    Two words: good branding.

  • legit

    Yes. Amen, Chelsea.

  • Michaelwg

    I’m just slightly baffled you didn’t think to sub in your LEFT shoulder once in a while, silly Quasimodo

  • http://twitter.com/bowendesign Benedict Bowen

    As an illustrator, I have a hand-made (out of plastic bottles, cotton socks and sticky-back-tape) PC and recently invested in a Macbook Pro so I can run around with it drawing in different places (mainly on desks). I have to say, I do love using it, but they’re really not as great as people like to say. I’d say I’m a reasonably advanced PC user so some functions I require (merging folders is a PAIN) are flummoxingly absent, but otherwise I’ve had minimal issues. The fan kicking in when the secondary graphics card starts being used is noisy and the CD drive is appalling, but… it’s just so shiny. SO SHINY. If the Macbook Air had a proper GPU I’d be so there – not ideal for graphics nuts…

  • Ben Cunningham

    It’s all about design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product. Every successful consumer technology company of the future will win by out-designing its competitors. It is not a trivial detail nor is it independent of function.

  • Guest

    I love my MacBook Pro and will probably buy another after this one (after several years, I hope) kicks the bucket. I used my parents’ large, painfully slow desktop PC while I lived at home, and once it came time to pick a laptop for university, my dad was adamant that I had a reliable computer after all the horror stories he’d heard about HPs catching on fire (what?) and Dells wiping your entire harddrive with no provocation. So far my Mac experience has been pretty good, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Apple store service, which kind of justifies the price of the computer in my mind. Also it’s puuuurdy. 

  • Jim

    10 years ago, I worked in a environment where I had a Mac and a PC. As I had no prior Mac experience, I stuck with the PC. Or tried to, but I ended up learning how to use the Mac while the PC was rebooting. After a year, I never touched the PC unless I had to open some file from a crappy obscure, Windows-only program.

    I realize your post is tongue in cheek, but a large amount amount of Mac users are not anything like what you and so many others portray them to be. Must you turn your nose up to every Honda Accord you pass from the driver’s seat of your Ford Focus? Do you judge those who have forged Wustof knifes because you are stuck using stamped and serrated sheet metal to saw through your produce? Apple makes superior products. The market sets the price. Be happy you have decided to invest in a quality product, backed by excellent support that will actually be worth something when you  wish to sell it and upgrade in 5 years.

  • JO

    well written article as always and i’m sure the love-hate attitude toward apple is a sentiment shared by many. however, i completely disagree with the idea that the “hype” around Jobs was due to his personality. Was he impetuous? sure. Did he make weird lifestyle choices? absolutely. Was he a maniacal, crazy leader? What CEO isnt. But these things don’t change the fact that his BUSINESS decisions changed the face of computing, music, and telecom. Becuase of him, Apple is the single most valuable company in world (from a financial standpoint). That’s not hype. 

    Dude was a genius.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Think Different.  Think ThinkPad. 

    • Bro

      Amen, brother. Amen.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/WordNerd Ethan

    commodity fetishism in the digital era

  • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

    I find myself in the same scenario. I have an iPod (I used to have a Touch and it was stolen, so now I have a Nano), and I do all my work in a sweet sweet Sony Vaio Z which people will have to pry from my cold fingers, but I’ve been looking at an Air (and sighing) for the longest time.

    Ever since Windows 7, though, I find myself having trouble adapting to OS X. Any tips for the switch, Chelsea?

  • Katemccambley

    adobe cs is torture on a pc.

    • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

      Disagree wholeheartedly. I use both platforms and would rather design on a PC. But that’s my personal preference; I only wanted to say it can be done.

      *preemptively ducks at all the shoes about to be thrown in my direction*

    • yeahouwl

      totally agree. there are just some things a pc can’t handle.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, like AutoCAD. Oh, wait…

  • http://www.facebook.com/heavenspawn Raph G. Doval-Santos

    The culture of Apple you describe isn’t just about flaunting a sexy brand. When they made the Apples to the way they are now, the wanted a machine that was different from the then-Microsoft dominated world. And having survived through generations of Windos OS’es that did nothing but make life difficult for me, taking my Mac with me is a blessing. Still hard to argue with 5 years, no virus attacks! [Compared to my desktop Windows PC’s breaking down every year.]

  • Tressie

    “Apples are sexy.” My Trademark Law professor says that all of the time! haha

  • steph

     I disagree with this. I had an ipod too just like you, for years, and just decided to get a macbook a few months ago. It’s more than just the image and aesthetics of the computer. Sure if you find it sexy then great. But aesthetics has a purpose. It was designed not just as an eye candy but for a function as well. And for the OS function itself, it’s helluvalot better than windows. it’s functionality and ‘friendliness’ to computer users is plainly superior to a PC. it’s got all these useful and awesome features that maybe you havent explored, so I suggest you explore a bit more, and if you don’t like it no one’s stopping you from going back to a PC.

  • Catherine

    I love my Zune. 

    • Bro

      It’s easily one of my favourite things in the world.

      • Catherine

        Agreed, Bro. I’ve had mine for years and she still runs like a dream. Also you can’t beat the price of $250 for 120 GB

      • Guestropod

        That’s the price of a 160GB iPod now 

      • Bro

        lol, you don’t quite get it, do you. 

      • Guestropod

        yeah, ‘don’t quite get it’ is pretty much the story of my life

      • Bro

        And oh my god, the Zune software. It actually does make iTunes look like Excel or whatever that other one made by Apple is. Pages? numbers? Something like that. 

        I call mine Zooey :D 

  • Bro

    Don’t you dare hate on the Zune. It is beautiful. 

    I love your articles. 

    BUT NOT YOUR DISDAIN FOR THE ZUNE.

  • Girlwithcomputer

    When I was living with an ex, we bought a new iMac and I swear to you we never had to restart it once for the entire year we lived together. It never froze, it was never slow, and yeah it is pretty and does cool stuff too. Buy I would definitely buy another iMac just knowing that I’d never have to restart it.

  • http://twitter.com/KarolineZ Karoline Zacharer

    I don’t have a Mac because it’s sexy, I have a Mac because it’s the only computer I’ve ever known. My dad has been a Mac guy since 1984, so we were raised with Mac computers in the home. I went to college and got my first MacBook with some  scholarship money, not because I liked the way it looked, but because I literally get lost when I use a Windows. They’re just not user-friendly and I think the Mac is the easiest thing going.

  • Gregory H.

    I dislike when people make flippant remarks about design and aesthetics like those factors arent of utmost importance when deciding what we choose. Wanting to have nice looking things ( and subsequently, being seen with nice looking things) is not shallow, and shouldnt be thought of as such, it’s the reason we buy the types of clothes and things that we do. In addotion to having a great operating system and user friendly interface, Apple makes really well designed products, that counts for something. I know buying into something so ubiquitous can seem like you’re just another seat on the bandwagon, I know I wrestled with this before I bought a Macbook too, but I really dont think there should be anything wrong with wanting a well designed piece of technology.

    (BTW, I think we should keep anything negative about Steve Jobs to ourselves out of respect. All in all, he was just as flawed as any of us, and he’s not here to defend himself. Even if you dont personally agree with his practices, it’s just kind of in bad taste to voice them. )

  • Indiferenc

    Macbooks and I phones are McDonalds, easy to use, easy to swallow, pretty on the outside, so substance or flexibility. PCs and androids are independent, exciting, customizable, and far more powerful machines. Now, I know Apple machines are still very good machines, but owning one is like being a bug, you’re just attracted to something shiny. Over priced, pretty, no substance, easy to use…like if Lindsey Lohan needed money and turned into a hooker

    • JO

      The Apple to McDonalds comparison is an awful one. They have two completely different business models.

      Wait,  you actually meant to compare Apple to McDonalds because they’re both leaders in their respective businesses and set the standard for other companies to follow?

      Ok, this makes perfect sense then. Carry on. 

  • Ab

    You respect Bill Gates but don’t respect Steve Jobs?  The iPhone changed the way the direction of the phone industry & changed the way we tele-communicate as a society.  Not to mention that tablets have been around for years and were a pointless product until the iPad changed all of that and brought that entire market back to life.  I hate the macbook pro-toting hipsters who think they’re cooler than everyone because they have an apple but let’s face it, they’re going to feel that way no matter what.  I’m an Apple fanboi for sure but in my field (audio engineering) they are far more stable & appropriate.  If you spend $2,000 on macbook pro and then use it to surf the internet and check emails, you’re a jackass who just wasted $1,400.  The fact is, whether you’re talking computers, phones, tablets, or MP3 players, every company that isn’t Apple makes a product that is an Apple ripoff.

    • Itreallydoes

      That’s the way the wind blows. I’m relatively young but I remember how it used to be. Bill Gates was the unquestionable villain CEO of “Micro$oft” attempting to destroy anyone who didn’t play by his rules.

      Yeah, today Bill Gates is basically just a philanthropist but 8 years ago he was a relentless foe to anyone who thought software should be free or at least not locked down with monopolistic licenses. Everything from his “humble” beginnings to the creation of windows is filled with devious trickery and corporate exploitation. This continues today by means of patents and Bill Gates attack dog and successor Steve Ballmer.

      At the same time his software made the personal computer accessible in ways that might not have been possible otherwise.

      Yesterday it was Microsoft and AOL, today it’s Apple and Facebook. People are always gonna hate #1, look at the USA.

      /ducks

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    There’s a new apple product that lets you take a shower while still surfing the web. It’ll be obsolete after you take your shower though. 

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