Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. -- Apple ad, 1997.
My first computer was a 33MHz Macintosh Performa 637-CD. It had 8 megabytes of memory. It was one of the newer Macs that featured a CD-ROM drive. We bought Apple's 2400 baud modem as an accessory, and signed up for eWorld.
The one thing that got me into exploring computers in the first place was learning how to hack the game Escape Velocity using ResEdit, Apple's pistol-without-a-safety tool that was supposed to be for developers but available to anyone. (I became an expert at fresh-installing MacOS 7.5)
At the time, I was about as fanboy as they came. This was around the era when Apple was long considered the walking dead, only kept standing by the mercy of Adobe continuing to release Photoshop, and Microsoft, possibly to keep the antitrust litigators out of their ass, publishing Office for the Mac. Being a Mac user in the late nineties, you had this feeling that you were on the side of right — that the competition wasn't about megahertz or gigabytes, but that the counterculture was the spark that would give way to the natural order of things. We thought we were on the ground floor of the inevitable.
Apple now stands as a monument to the failure of that free-thinking counterculture. We thought that freedom from the tie-wearing, meeting-holding, memo-dictating corporate world was going to be the catalyst for utopian computing, and that Steve Jobs had the vision for how it was all going to work. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but that utopian endgame is quickly de-evolving into a dictatorship.
It started with Apple's tight control on the iPhone app market, the approvals process, and the well-manicured app store. Now, Apple is not only dictating what applications may or may not run on the iPhone or iPad, but they are also dictating the language in which apps must be written. Their justification for all of this is "for the good of the user", but it might just be the capstone delusion of an aging hippie who never got a chance to run for Congress. I predict that within five years, Apple will begin telling development shops what kinds of apps they should make. Why? Because it will be "good for the user", and you know, Mr. iPad developer, apps that are good for users usually sail right through the approvals process. Apple's iPhone/iPad department will be renamed Central Planning, and may God help you if you cross them.
I could be wrong, though. The backlash had been pretty severe, to the point where it may be getting to Steve Jobs. Take, for example, a recent e-mail exchange he had with a Gawker reporter, in which Jobs took a shot:
By the way, what have you done that’s so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others work and belittle their motivations?
Back when I was writing Uncov, I would see this particular flavor of ballache pretty frequently, and it was a very good indicator of the person's nerves. The thing is, being a CEO, you need to be able to let the critics roll off your back. We talk shit, it's our job, and the bigger the shit we talk, the more we get paid. Most executives know this, and don't respond to us trolls. It's only when they're starting to wear down do they bust out the Teddy Roosevelt man-in-the-arena speech. (By the way, Theodore Roosevelt was shot in the chest once, and proceeded to deliver a speech with the bullet still in him. He left the bullet in his body until his death seven years later. Executives: That shit's hard core...you are not TR.)
I will still probably buy an iPhone some day because they are very cool. However, I will never develop for it, because I'm a crazy one. A misfit. And I'm not fond of rules.
Now where did I pick up that idea?