Apple: Ego and Elegance

I have struggled lately with Apple. For one, I am completely intrigued by the company and their products. On the other, I am completely scared of them.

Before I explain this comment, let me tell you how Mac vested I am. Not much, actually. The only Apple equipment I currently own is an iPod, and at that their low priced Shuffle, which does the trick for me because I am deathly afraid of breaking the screen and this one doesn’t have an LCD display. I have owned two of these, the first and second generation models. The first did the trick but after a while didn’t function correctly. I am soon in the market for a new laptop, however, and am intrigued by the Macs.

Apple poses a strange juxtaposition for me, as I started to say before. For one, I am completely intrigued by the company. It’s hype is amazing. More importantly, though, its design and software is unbelievable. There are very few companies who do this well and, frankly, it is very hard to do. I have often thought about interesting consumer electronic products but it is such a difficult market for a start-up. Apple’s form and function is through the roof. It works well and is sexy as all get-out, a killer combination for consumer electronics companies.

On the other hand, Apple scares me. If the egos there are this big with 7% market share, what would it be like if they had Microsoft’s share? I hate to think of that beast.

I mentioned earlier that my first iPod stopped working correctly after a while. It would forget its shuffle spot if I turned it off, making me start at the top of the play list again. I found a number of references to the problem on the web and no fix, just work arounds. Nothing from Apple, though. No acknowledgment of the problem, no fix for it, nothing. The device wasn’t even a year old when it started happening. Apple’s response, which you can’t email them anyway without paying them, was buy version 2.

But here I am, knowing that Apple will treat me this way, and still looking at a laptop from them. Ugh… I must be crazy to help feed that ego!

4 thoughts on “Apple: Ego and Elegance

  1. It’s more attitude than ego. Big companies tend to not acknowledge problems until they become widespread. This said, if your iPod stopped working normally under warranty, they should have fixed it. Did you go to an Apple Store and talk to a “genius”?

    About Apple laptops — I’m primarily a Mac person and even though I do some Windows stuff, I now do them on Mac too. For the last two years before I got my shiny new 8-core MacPro, I have been running on all my Mac, Palm & WM software development tasks on a MacBookPro, running Windows in a VM when I needed it. Works great for Windows Mobile softwqre development. Bonus, when running Windows in a VM you can have several separate images for different tasks and when it goes nuts, just scrap the image and restart from a backup.

    The one thing I have with Apple products is hardware and software elegance. As a software developer, it is something that matters a lot to me. Even when you get deep down into the developer tools that Apple provides, you’ll find that they worked hard to make them powerful AND elegant at the same time.

  2. Elia,
    Excellent article. I think your comments are very thought provoking. I am definitely one of the Apple “fanboys”. I have owned Apple computers since 1989. Unfortunately however I have always worked in a PC world. I am an MCSE and have been networking PC’s since Lantastic in the 80’s. Apple can DEFINATELY be frustrating, however compared with Dell, Gateway, Cisco, 3Com, Cabletron, Acer I find their products to be far superior and their support much “cleaner” and simpler to use…however I love your point “what if” they had 35% what would they be like then?
    Thanks for the blog and on an unrelated note – when’s PowerOne coming to the iPhone? I LOVE PowerOne and can’t wait to have it native on my iPhone so I can stop dragging my old Palm around just so I can have PowerOne with me.



  3. So, I broke down last fall and bought a MacBook Pro. After using PC’s basically my whole life except for a brief period in college and my first job (at motorola where we made the chips for macs at one time), I am now a true mac convert.

    yes, apple has a big ego, but shoot, they have it for a reason. my MBPro is FANTASTIC. I run windows in a VM for my consulting gig, but if not for work, i would never use windows again.

    Get a mac.. you won’t regret it..

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