2010-Jun-28, Monday

thorfinn: <user name="seedy_girl"> and <user name="thorfinn"> (Default)
Hi. I keep seeing a lot of "Apple are stupid" comments going around the place.

Don't get me wrong - there are certainly a lot of rabid and stupid Apple fans out there. But there are a lot of rabid stupid Google fans, or Microsoft fans, or Linux fans out there too. There's plenty of stupid to go around for everyone, and it's not magically unique to Apple.

This "Apple is stupid" meme seems to primarily be based around the idea that Apple's latest product release doesn't have some common feature that "everyone else has", and therefore they must be stupid.

The lack of certain common features in a variety of their products is not stupid on Apple's part. It's an absolutely crystal clear, conscious, heavily researched, deliberate, end user tried and tested decision to keep the feature set and number of options down to a useful minimum.

The simple reason for that is that they do not wish to present the average consumer and user with choice paralysis. Most normal people open up a common application or system options dialog box and go, "argh, what the hell do I have to tweak, I see six million options none of which are what I care about?"

That's what Apple are avoiding. If you open up an Apple product, the odds are you'll be able to figure out how to use its basic functions without needing to read a manual or search for instructions. Contrast that with my latest recently work acquired Nokia phone, where I, a hardcore geek who has owned several Nokia phones, had to open the manual to figure out where the power button was.

This difference is precisely because they're willing to cut features that "everyone else has" when they are reasonably certain those features are not actually a common use case, and particularly so when there is some alternative method to get to that use case that isn't too bad.

Yes, that means that you (and me, and everyone) probably have some pet desired feature or features that don't exist in Apple Product Du Jour.

You know what? That's fine with me. And if you don't like the featureset offered by a particular product, nobody is making you buy it. There are plenty of options elsewhere.

That kind of gap is also what the third party software market exists to fill - whether it's the hundreds of thousands of apps on the iOS app store, or a similar volume of mac freeware and shareware apps, or the vast volumes of Windows and Linux applications out there, etc.

I don't know any geeks using any operating system who don't immediately go and install a bunch of third party stuff to make things go the way they want to. And the set of stuff they install? All different for each of them. Doesn't matter what OS you're using, everybody does that.

Essentially, the fact that some product doesn't have some features you desire doesn't make it stupid. If you need those features, then just get them elsewhere, don't complain that product is stupid, when those features are available from somewhere else.

So can we stop calling Apple (and anyone that happens to use their stuff) stupid now?


ETA: I totally don't mind if you call Apple annoying for what they're doing. That might even be true. Stupid is just not factual.

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