Perhaps I am simply more cranky and crochety these days than I used to be, but earlier today one of my international pen friends asked me about my thoughts on Apple and my reply was not particularly kind. My general comments were that I disliked using Apple, that I disliked the way the company operated, and that I sought to avoid using Apple products of any kind (including the iPhone) if at all possible. Perhaps this is among the harsher views one can have about Apple, because truth be told my dislike of them is not due to the way their company acts in terms of its practices with suppliers or working conditions in factories or anything of that kind. Nor is their technology noticeably worse than that of others , although I haven’t found it to be better either. So what is it that makes me so viscerally opposed to Apple? I thought it worthy to explain, at least to myself, knowing that Apple has many fans among tech users.
It is perhaps easier to frame the question of why I dislike Apple so much by pointing out at least some of the reasons why I do not dislike them more than other companies. As I have already mentioned, I do not find their technology to be any less well-functioning than others, although certainly I have not found it to work better, certainly not to justify the cost premium on their overrated products. Even so, I have found irritations with using their products, such as the way that their default mouse only has one button (instead of two, as I like to right click) and the way that they operate in a proprietary fashion is also something I have found more than a little bit irritating. There has always been an alarmingly large gap between the way that Apple (and its fanboys/fangirls) have hyped their products and the modest to disappointing reality of how their technology actually operates, and that certainly plays some role in my dislike of them.
It is certainly clear that my dislike of Apple is not because of the size of the company. Apple has always had a smaller share of the market than many of its competitors. Apple is certainly smaller than Microsoft, another company whose products I dislike, and am willing to tell them to their face when they are brave enough to ask for customer feedback. But I do not have the same visceral distaste for Microsoft that I do for Apple. Certainly I am not a fan of their company, nor do I think well of their bloated operating systems or their tragically inept offerings in other software segments, but I do not go out of my way to avoid Microsoft as a whole even if I have little fondness for them. Even though I tend to greatly enjoy open source technologies given my general personal bias towards openness and transparency, even there one has to deal with big companies like Sun Microsystems, but although that company is large, I have nothing particularly bad to say about them either. Neither do I have anything bad to say about Intel except that I wish they made better chips so that I would not have to replace computers so often. Where is the quality control, people? Even so, I have no particularly dislike towards these companies even if I find their products occasionally disappointing.
So if it is not a hostility towards large companies or a particular gripe about performance, what is it about Apple that rubs me the wrong way? I would have to say that it starts with their fans. I am, in general, somewhat disinclined to enjoy fans of particular companies. I consider myself a person whose general partisanship is fairly modest, but I am fully aware that when I am in fan mode that I can get pretty obnoxious as well , even if I am not in that mode very often. Apple has a particularly polarizing fanbase that has done the company no favors. There are some people who, perhaps to justify to themselves and to others the immense expense for buying their overrated products, wax on way too eloquent about how good their products are, to the point where the rhetoric far outpaces the reality. Listening to Apple fans is like listening to the fans of Bernie Sanders in the last election, where one hears praise that is way out of line with the reality, and where one is irritated to the point of being offended with how clueless the people are about reality. In large part, it is offense at the people who talk up Apple and its offerings that has soured me on the company. If its fans were less obnoxious I would dislike the company a lot less. Apple belongs with the Dallas Cowboys as being a brand which I dislike largely on account of others trying to force it unwillingly down my throat.
And given my life history, it is that aspect of coercion that is most troubling. I would like to think that I am in general an open-minded enough person that I would not unfairly reject something that was objectively superior. I would also like to think that I am someone who would be willing to fairly judge something as being good for some sorts of people even if it was not for other sorts of people. I would come to these judgments and conclusions the same way I do about everything else, through observation and testing, through reading and research and so on. But I will not be pushed into liking a given product just because someone else says so. In fact, the more I see that kind of bullying and coercive behavior about a brand, the more mocking its fans are, the more they brag about how awesome they are and how awesome what they support is, the less likely I am to want anything to do with that brand whatsoever. And so it is with Apple: if their fans were less irritating and offensive I might think of them the way that I do about many other tech companies as having uneven performance but a focus on innovation that was commendable. Instead, I want nothing to do with it, its products, or its partisans. I would be happy for the world to be rid of all of them. Perhaps it will not always be this way. One can hope, after all, that a company as creative as Apple would be able to encourage its fans to work harder not to alienate those who are potential neutrals or friends. And if it figures out how to do so, it can hopefully spread that strategy to similarly obnoxious brands and fandoms.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: