Crestfallen

So yesterday happened. This happened. Ugh. Whatever. Apple’s made bad decisions before and they’ve survived.

But this is not a post discussing the Watch. Well, it is, sort of. I want to talk about the event itself.

Apple hyped the shit out of this. Their invitations were sent out indicating that this was going to be held at the Flint Center, where they announced the original Macintosh. It’s a bigger venue and it invokes bigger kinds of product announcements. OK, fine.

Not only did Apple have a livestream (of sorts), they also had their very own liveblog about the event. That’s a first. Whatever.

The presentation starts with an Ok Go-esque inspirational video describing how we can make the world a better place (together!). I mean, I’ve seen these kinds of videos before – they make you feel good about buying Apple stuff and working on their platforms. Just like the one that shows how blind people can finally use their iPhone to go for walks in the forest. Standard fare.

So then the event really starts.

Blah blah iPhones blah blah Pay blah. Whatever, everyone’s at this event because they want to see what Tim Cook is going to announce that will change Apple’s history. They want to see the next chapter in their story, or whatever. So at the “end” of the presentation, Tim Cook does “one more thing…” And it’s here in our story that I begin to have a problem. But I’ll finish recounting the events, first.

Blah blah Watch blah blah Pay with Watch blah.

So it’s a wearable that does … what the other wearables do. (I promised myself I wouldn’t complain about the goddamn watch – that’s another blog post). Near the end of the presentation, Cook says something… interesting.

So now, the foundation of Apple is built on the best personal computers in the world, the Macintosh; the best tablets in the world with iPad; the best phones in the world with iPhone …; and now adding Watch.

The foundation of Apple. The foundation of Apple. Really. You know how something becomes the foundation of a company? By being a unparalleled success. Like those iPods that you kind of failed to mention there. The Watch isn’t even launching this year and you’re saying that it is now part of the foundation of Apple? Right up there with iPhones?

Uh huh.

OK, well at this point U2 comes on and I turned off the livestream. But I was thinking about this. About what Tim Cook said there, the hype, the anticipation, everything. And I got a bit upset.

Tim Cook used the “one more thing…” line that Steve Jobs was known for. It’s been about three years since Jobs death, which I think is a bit soon, but it’s his choice to use it. What bothered me, though, is that invoking Jobs’ words was just part of the large machine Apple designed to hype up this announcement. He knew that nerds would go crazy over those three words, so he used them. Regardless of whether or not you hold Steve Jobs in high esteem, the decision to use those three words is a calculated move designed to increase people’s awareness of this product.

And that’s when it kind of hit me.

Apple is just a company.

I like Apple as a company. They make fantastic products. They run their company in ways that I admire. But more than that, I had always kind of thought that while other companies were just in it for the money – Samsung is an easy target here – Apple was in it for something else. I was tricked into thinking that Apple’s motivations were somehow more noble than those of Samsung. But they’re not. They’re both just companies and they both just want to make money.

Those videos I mentioned earlier? The ones that make us feel good about being iOS/OS X developers? The ones that make us feel good about buying Apple products? They’re only there because Apple wants to make more money. That’s all. Like, “hooray blind people use iPhones” and everything – I’m really glad that Apple makes their devices accessible – but I don’t really believe Tim Cook’s assertion that they don’t consider the ROI of accessibility. Not anymore.

So yesterday happened. Apple showed its cards, the whole of Twitter exploded in one giant nerdgasm, and I realized that they’re just a company like any other.

And it broke my heart a little.


Posted on September 10, 2014