I’m convinced that behind every insult masks a personal insecurity. At the crux of my claim lies a crucial assumption–I believe no one is born to hate. I take a quick glance at newborns to verify my hypothesis. Is anybody born evil? Born to cause harm? Born to hate? So why do people become repulsed or fatigued by a brand over time? Why do people wish ill for an American corporation that produces technological goods and offers digital services for the masses?
For a long time, the answer eluded me. This is because people often hide their irrationality through cold-hard facts. Nobody will ever admit to disliking Apple because of an emotion they feel. Instead, they will say that Apple products are overpriced. They will say Apple has failed to stay on the cusp of innovation since the passing of Steve Jobs. They will say Steve Jobs excelled as his role as CEO but at the expense of his moral dignity and obligations to his family, especially as a father. While all these excuses have their own color of validity, it does not explain why people love to hate Apple.
There are simple generalizations that guide us in the right direction. Everyone enjoys a good underdog story. Watch a dozen popular sports films and this will become readily apparent. Apple used to be that underdog back in 1983–they used that status to their advantage during an infamous “1984” Superbowl ad–and they inevitably had fewer haters during their rise to fame. It’s the same reason why people love to hate the New England Patriots. Apple was seen as out-of-the-box, rebellious, and well, hipster. They were not yet seen as the champions of the tech world.
Apple fanboys from years past have expressed great remorse over being left behind by their once-favorite company. I have listened to YouTubers lament over their break-up with the “new” Apple, how it has turned for the worse since their honeymoon days. When in actuality, it is in all likelihood the customer’s perspective that has changed, not an entire company sustained by the same CEO for a majority of its lifetime. Say what you want about Tim Cook but he has maintained the same core philosophies of Apple since 2011–at least from a managerial standpoint–even sometimes at the costly expense of the company’s ever-growing consumer base.
No, I think the only reason that explains it all for me boils down to a conversation of fairness. The iPhone should have never succeeded. A phone for $499? Available on a single carrier? The pundits from technological-savvy communities cried foul as they emptied their wallets, secretly hiding their glee for a smartphone that was truly five years ahead of its time. The iPad should have never succeeded. It’s just a bigger iPhone. There isn’t even a way to expand storage through an SD card. And yet, it became arguably Apple’s best selling product, debuting at 3.3 million shipments in its first 3 months on the market. It turns out that the greater public does not care about ports.
Apple has proved doubters wrong time and time again, and I believe it is starting to get on people’s nerves. It seems like anything Apple pushes out becomes popular despite its drawbacks and objective flaws. And as they see a company receive what they consider special treatment from so-called “Apple sheep,” they start to lash out and fixate on the negatives instead of the positives, they begin to love to hate Apple. It doesn’t matter that Apple is one of the most environmentally-friendly silicon companies out there on the planet, opting to use recycled aluminum on even their most beloved product lines. It doesn’t matter that Apple has become more philanthropic under the leadership of Tim Cook, contributing millions of dollars in non-profit organizations by matching employee donations to various charities. It doesn’t matter that Apple cares more about user privacy than Google and Facebook, implementing the harshest regulations under their iOS and MacOS platforms. What matters is the price tag. That is the bottom line, the end-all-be-all, the reason why Apple has forgotten them, left-them-behind, and become evil. It is Apple who fixates on money, not the customers who complain about their lack of it, right?
By now, it should become fairly transparent that I do not love to hate Apple. Some would say I love to love Apple and it would probably be advisable to question my own biases while digesting this opinion piece. Regardless, it doesn’t really matter if my analysis of the human psyche is compelling to you or not. I believe we all owe it to ourselves to ask the all-important question: why would we ever want a technology company to fail? I do not buy products from certain companies but I never wish for them to fail. If anything, I hope they succeed so they push the rest of the industry forward, providing alternate options for the ever diverse needs of the consumer. Instead of asking if Apple is evil, perhaps a bit of introspection would be more appropriate first.