Studies of Life

Learning by doing.

Why Applefans do not understand Apple

08 June 2011 by Jim

Personal technology like phones, computers, music players and tablets are heralded as something revolutionary which changes mankind deeply for the better. Apple is one of the best examples of companies trying to revolutionise the personal technology landscape, because the final goal of their engineers, is the creation of an imaginary entity ever more similar to a conjunction of iOS5 and OSX, a unified operating system for every personal Apple device built upon the same principles of usability and beauty.  As the iPhone demonstrated really impressively with only one button and a huge touchscreen, the philosophy of these devices is the software, the inherent way of using the product. Many competitor devices have better hardware, but nowhere else does everything work as flawlessly together as with Apple. This makes a four year old device like the original iPhone still a viable alternative for me personally to what the competitors are showing, even though they are catching up. But the fluidity and beauty of the iDevices is uncompromised and for me, worth the money. Older devices do not get all the new features, and so the older iPhones are left out of new iOS versions, because fluidity and good usability are a priority over new features, and that is a very wise decision.

What many fans of Apple, especially those waiting a whole night to be the first to use the product, and those installing software prematurely on their devices to get at new features, even though it is not yet released to the public, do not understand, is that their behaviour is contrary to everything Apple stands for. Of course the marketing machinery wants the company to prosper, and so we’re all told to buy shiny new things, however the core philosophy of Apple is minimalism and harmony, not fanaticism and new features over usability. Developers are a special case, as are those who simply buy to be happy. If you get satisfaction from buying personal electronics, you may of course do so. And if you like seeing all the new features, by all means do. But do not pretend to be an an adept of Apple-philosophy against others, and do not try building your brand on being “Apple”. The developers and engineers at Apple work with their devices, they appreciate the ease of use, but most users who buy it as a popular device, something everybody thinks is cool, are really removed from that way of living.

Of course Apple devices are not the only instance where a technological innovation is misused and its positive effects on humanity thereby limited. Look at the printing press. When it was invented, people dreamed of a highly-educated world where each human would be able to study and become an intellectual. Fast-forward a few centuries. Is everybody an intellectual nowadays? Of course not. Look at Wikipedia. All human knowledge freely accessible for everyone: that was the dream. Does everybody look everything he does not understand up in Wikipedia? Do most people even read an entire Wikipedia article per week, as they watch hours of TV? No, certainly not.

And why is that? Because people are not perfect, and given the means to study everything they want, they will not study everything, and given the medicaments to treat every illness, they will still not go to the doctor to treat everything, and given the technology to save time and energy, they will not take full advantage of that, and along with improved lifestyle due to an iPad with which they could read a newspaper, they will turn to games and play instead of reading intelligent, profound things. Not everyone is an intellectual, and not everyone needs to be. But an educated human being, as most can be, even if they do not see it as a priority, is something else than what 99% of modern men and women are.

The benefits of technology are still there of course, but in order to maximise them, children should be educated in school as to how to adopt new technology, how to use it and live with it, and how not to become mindless consumers who buy to buy and not to use.

Education is enormously important when people should be taught how to use technology efficiently, and giving them a million of apps to download on the iPhone will not make them more productive or happier if they do  not know how to get the most important things done with their 3 main apps. Therefore I call for more disciplined use of technology, less consumption and more creation, less complication and more minimalism, so that the great works of our age can actually take root in our lives and develop their full potential of improvement.

NB: I myself was thinking about installing iOS5 earlier than in fall, and I myself watch TV. I do not claim to be perfect in the sense of this article. But I do claim that in order to tell what the result of 2 +2 is, one does not need to be a calculator.

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