Before various readers start to doubt the soundness of my mind, I wrote this article completely sober and without the influence of any other hallucinogenic substance at exactly 9:15 a.m. in my hotel room in Seoul, where I currently am staying for a Samsung event.
In the past 30 years of my life, I have never had such an intense and emotional Love-Hate relationship with any other company except Apple. And with damn good reason! I will attempt to explain myself.
The ’80’s & ’90’s
1984 was the year I first came into contact with Apple Lisa and Apple IIc. Both platforms fascinated me from the first second! The IIc didn’t just look absolutely amazing (with the Hartmut Esslinger Frog design), it made my C64, from a technical standpoint, look extremely old. Whether it was the Apple color monitor, or the folded over lower back LCD screen, the IIc was for a computer from a completely different and for me at that time, financially unattainable world.
Yes, and then there was the Lisa! Fat and bulky, with a NEM installed S / W monitor, incredible 1 megabyte of RAM and a fan! If a computer is already in need of a fan, then that device must come straight from the designs of Satan himself and the power that computer must have under the hood would be something that could cause a global catastrophe!
But what was even more exciting about that computer, was the combination of mouse and Finder (then the Lisa UI). It opened up a new universe to me in which I was in command. I could actually click on documents, folders, files, and the tasks I required would be done. Witchcraft …. at least!
If I remember correctly, Lisa cost at that time beyond 10 000 Marks and that was way out of my league as a young student.
2 years went by and I was able, thanks to piggy banks, money from the heavens, summer jobs and an extremely supportive grandfather (who would be damn proud if he could read these words now) to buy a Mac Plus. Behold Atari ST, Amiga, C64, CPC 664, Sinclair QL User … and indeed you have the Motorola 68000 but my Mac was still somehow a little different.
I was so proud and happy to use my Mac for almost 5 years. Jaaahaaa …. welcome to the 80s and 90s, the decades in which one can buy a computer and still have it half a decade, afterwards without falling behind the trends. A time when the marketing agencies of major manufacturers tinkered around with the idea of clothing (I had miscellaneous Apple sweatshirts and even an Apple vest with built-in speakers!) And you weren’t constantly harassed by people trying to tell you why it is important to buy a new computer, which is 10% faster.
Apple was so damn cool and I devoured just about every book on Jobs and Woz (the latter was for me anyway, always the more clandestine). I had Apple stickers on my textbooks for English class in a time when classmates asked why you slam a picture of a half-eaten fruit on your notebooks and whether it was a Boskoop or Golden Delicious.
Honestly, when I think about this great time, I get little goose bumps today. All the evenings with friends, where we played (via AppleTalk) “Maze Wars” on our Macs, or with a 300 baud modem, explored the mailbox landscape. This time we used PageMaker to edit a local newspaper for computer geeks, which was then printed on DIN A5 (we originally tinkered around with Printfox on the 64er).
Damn, I was an Apple fanboy, but without any mad bias against Amiga and ST users. Compared to today’s Internet age, there was no bashing, name calling or arguing in the pubs over operating systems or companies. We were just computer geeks, who over the weekend turned on their devices and played games or had Demo parties. Yep, those were the 80s. We had computers and there was no copt write protection preventing us from breaking into your programs.
The “New” Apple
Somehow Apple and I fell out of touch with each other. In the mid 90’s I got my first x86 with Windows 3.11, I played around with OS / 2 but somehow it all so clinical. The old demo and cracking groups no longer existed, copy-parties gave way to in the raves in the Netherlands and somehow something was missing in this magical moment … For me the PC meant that the computer experience was no longer emotionalized and I didn’t even notice.
In 2006, a Mac finally came back in the house and that was the Mini, which was mainly because we wanted to crib a few more details for our epiOS system. The mini was the first of its kind and it looked like this:
Dual Core VIA C7 Mini-ITX board composite with our own Gentoo Linux, two 2.5-inch Plattem in RAID 0, which was encrypted “on the fly” with a 128-bit AES Encryption.
Nevertheless, the Mini was just on another level. Small, smart processes, quick and so very beautiful. It looked to all the details even to the to the USB connectors. There it was again, this special feeling that with certainty here was something special to hold in my hands that was pretty close to perfection. It was Apple again.
Then Came the iPhone and everything was…
somehow different. I lived in East L.A. and I was invited to a Steve Jobs Keynote a few hours after the official launch. The slides were simple and Steve was more charismatic than I had ever seen him. “Yes, they just made history,” I thought, but I had no idea what Jobs and his team had unleashed.
Before the next flight to Germany, I immediately bought another 2 iPhones at an Apple Store in New Jersey (at the time I was living around Newark) to sell on Ebay. Of course I have played around with the devices before hand and what can I say …. yes, I’m repeating myself now for the third time, but the “Apple-feeling” was back. This little gadget in front of me was a device like no other, and the next few years would reveal more and more.
I do not remember exactly what provoked the split between Apple and me, but suddenly it seemed that every Apple keynote was an arrogant “One Man Show” of Steve Jobs. I almost had the impression that with the worsening of his physical state his speeches were becoming more aggressive. Then the biting, spitting Steve came to be. He declared war on the competition and become the sole “decision maker” in the world of consumer electronics.
More than once I was overcome with the thought, and I wondered why Steve actually developed into such a fundamentalist ass and lost sight of what made Apple so different and appealing. Cupertino became the company they caricatured in their famous 1984 commercial. However, what seemed even more catastrophic for me, were all the iSheeps (and avid Apple users will now bash me in the comments, not that I care … just read on), that Apple suddenly discovered flocking around.
Suddenly, Apple was hip and its contemporaries had to recognize that the iPhone had everyone going crazy. Now it was explained to you why Apple is such a cool company and how everything else is junk.
The arrogance that radiated from Jobs in his speeches came to its apex and the sheep became like a cult that did not allow any other platforms to exist, and that I think is my problem with Apple.
The radicalism, the ultimate tunnel vision of the administration and hard core Apple users has not only scared me, but above all things, startled me and even led to dozens rants.
Apple and the Tech Blogger your trust, have in the last 10 years, been as close and as far apart as South America to Africa in periods of continental shift. There the former pioneers and now Pirates of Silicon Valley, have grown stronger and stronger as they curl their fists tightly around the “walled garden” they’ve built in the market. And here I am, a former Apple fanboy who believes in open source and free Markets.
The end is the beginning is the end …
And now I have been testing the new iPhone 5 for the last 2 days and in the next month the “4-week test” (“ITRY was already occupied by the colleagues of Giga ^ ^) will be completed.
The iPhone 5 is the best little piece of haptic smartphone hardware that I could ever hold in my hands. The processing quality not only sets a new and higher standard, which is for me (like in the first MacBook Air) pure Techporn and the performance of the platform sets the bar so high that the competition can catch up only with the next generation … if at all.
No, I don’t like iOS 6 and I am not a Mac OS animal. I’m on my Windows 7 devices, and I’ve got some Ubuntu netbooks and above all so many damn Android smartphones and tablets.
Since the release of Jelly Bean, my quad core smartphones are in the drawer and I’m using it again with the Galaxy Nexus because JB is just so much fun and I do not use an app that even remotely needs a quad core platform.
But then I look back on the iPhone 5 and return to it with something akin to fear. What will happen if I get used to iOS 6? What if the 4-inch form factor is simply the perfect size for me? What if …
The iPhone 5 is the greatest smartphone on the market by far, but it’s created with the wrong OS and it’s from the wrong company.
Or maybe not?
Anyway I want to twist and turn it, I have to thank Apple for the iPhone 5. Not only does it provoke that strong “I want it” feeling, but it also shows that Apple has become a very “normal” manufacturer. The supposed magic has finally disappeared with the passing of Steve Jobs, as the iPhone 5 is, apart from the sensational A6 SoC, a predictable development, can without even a rudimentary revolutionary factor.
Somehow this makes Apple, for me, more sympathetic
to be continued …
(Translated from the German by Sascha Pallenberg)