I like my MacBook Pro. I don’t have to worry about all those viruses that take down my dad’s Dell when he’s scrolling through Elvis slideshows on Life.com. Plus, compared to the crumby Acer I used to have, the speedy startup time has saved me – and I’ve calculated this – at least six weeks of my life. The simple austerity of the design is nice as well – a welcome contrast to the often clunky crap slung at us by PC manufacturers. But Apple is starting to piss me off in ways less sophisticated technology companies can’t.
Rumour has it that Apple is trying to develop a technology that would enable them to shut off an iPhone if it were used to film a concert “illegally.” I’ll spare you the details but, suffice to say, any future Barry Manilow concerts wouldn’t be making it to YouTube. Which sucks.
When I have to start worrying about when and where I can use my device based not on the law or the content owner (whole other issue), but on a third party manufacturer’s initiative, then I have a problem. I have a problem because we’ve gone to a whole new level of this post 9/11, quasi-Orwellian society that’s being built around us. Shit, in Chicago they have more than 10,000 “security” cameras trained on different public spaces. But if I want to go out and get a delicious hot dog and an audience with Oprah, I can curse the municipal government and get over it. But once autonomous companies start restricting my ability to steal I get pissed.
By market value Apple is now the second largest company in the world, behind Exxon. They are in the business of advanced communication, which means they want us to want to share as much of our lives as possible, because we’ll need a vehicle with which to do it, and damn it if their products aren’t the best. This is all a bit paradoxical considering Apple is also in the business of absolute opacity when it comes to the inner workings of their company.
Sadly, if this is true, Apple will probably get away with it. Why? Because they’ve built up a cult-like following. If Steve Jobs had come out and announced May 21st was doomsday, I have no doubt bunker manufacturing would have become a very lucrative industry. That whole issue with iPhones collecting location data? Sort of swept under the rug.
The true mark of an asshole is their belief that everyone else is an asshole, and Apple meets that requirement. Apple is an asshole for suggesting our gullible, unfulfilled lives, which are taking place in an era of vapid desire, would be poorer without their products. Apple is an asshole for monopolising and digitising what seems like every tangible part of our lives. But, most importantly, because the rumour that Apple may/could/might/will start encroaching on our lives just a little bit more isn’t much of a surprise, they are this week’s asshole.