I’m a card-carrying MAC hater. I leap at every opportunities to take pod shots at Apple, much to my co-workers chagrin. But when challenged to justify my hate, I would shout something nonsensical as a distraction and quietly make my escape.
It’s a very difficult thing to rationalize my dislike of Apple in a world that has gone MAC crazy. I’ve never bother to articulate the reasons even to myself—though the feelings was always on the tip of my tongue.
But spurred by an new email by Google (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/meaning-of-open.html) that echo some of my sentiments, and for my own sanity, I will now attempt to formulate a cohesive and personal argument against Apple.
- Apple makes great products.
- Their design standards are impeccable.
- Their technology enhances the way we live (through their functions and raising the status quo for everyone else).
These are my opinions of Apple, which makes my distaste for them a kind of personal crisis that strikes the very core of my values, design or otherwise.
What Apple represent to me is a singular vision of the future. The iLife that seems inevitable, and as designed by one man. A cult that demands complete submission for better or worse. Their message is: subscribe to Apple or be left behind.
Apple.com with its rounded corners, gradient chrome, reflections and whitespace transformed much of the internet and modern UI design. As a result we are surrounded by glossy reflective things at every turn, a patented Apple shine that I’ve come to resent, even in my own work. It’s too slick, too sterile, detached from reality.
One formative painting teacher taught me that when art is overly polished it becomes narcissistic and distant. Apple’s aesthetics, while beautiful to be sure, doesn’t always connect with me, and I fear for a future where everything glows so brightly. It’s…inhuman.
In the past when arguing against Apple I would be hard pressed for a counter-example. Microsoft’s ineptness and general apathy only strengthen Apple’s cause. But with Google’s rise to eminence I finally found my champion against an Apple dystopia.
It is clear that the battle ground is set between the two giants. For me the battle is one about the fundamental ideas of design, and how it will shape our lives.
To speak in details about the matter is something I’m not ready to do. It’s a profound riddle that I’ve only begun to unravel within my own head. But on the surface the contrasts between a world as brought to you by Google or Apple are as follow:
- Google is about ‘openness’ and accessability : Apple is exclusive, premium, members-only
- Google technology is empowering (chat, mail, docs, map,…), and driven by cooperation : Apple technology makes us dependant, and is controlled by a dictatorship
- Google’s design aesthetics are approachable and relatable : Apple designs are elitist and utopian.
This is not a battle of good and evil. They are both corporations out to make a buck. It is about different schools of design, and which one can you live with?