The brand promise of Apple

This is an Apple ad:

Done by Apple. More on that later.

So, last night I was out to dinner with a bunch of smart people. Folks who run their own companies. Folks who have helped many companies get started. Tech companies.

Of course people started talking about my Apple problems. Everyone at the table is a Macintosh user. What was fun is that at one point people started telling me about the problems they have had with their Macs. Many with far more serious problems than I have had.

I tried to turn on my video camera. They all instantly shut up and said “no video.”

Why not?

I dug a little more. It was because they all blamed themselves for the problems of their Macs and I think they also bought into the “Apple cult” which says that if you use a Mac you must be cool. Heck, look at that ad again. Who is cool? Not the PC user.

Now THAT is “brand promise.”

We believe Apple’s marketing so deeply that we aren’t willing to question it.

And then there’s something else. Apple has an ARMY of people who are anonymous who will come and call you every name in the book. I know. They hit yesterday here. I deleted them all, but, dozens, if not hundreds, of comments calling me every name in the book.

They hit over on Andy Beal’s site too. He got tired and just closed the comment thread over there.

The common thing about most of these comments is that it’s MY FAULT that my Apple machine is having trouble.

See, on my Windows machine I’m willing to accept this. After all, I know that Microsoft can’t really test every combination of hardware out there. My Windows machines can take dozens, if not hundreds, of different video cards, sound cards, hard drives, memory configurations, etc. The thing is on my Mac I didn’t load any third-party RAM — Apple’s brand promise is that you never will need to open your box to customize it. Heck, the iPhone goes further. You CAN’T customize it and if you try you have to “break” into it. I’ve never opened the box, or tried to do some weird stuff. I’m even pretty protective about what I load on this system. Why? Cause my world has moved to the Internet and browser-based apps. No need to install tons of software like I used to on my Windows boxes.

I watch that video over and over again and I get really pissed.

Pissed enough to say “screw you Apple” all over again.

Some of you (hi Fake Steve Jobs) misunderstood my point about Apple PR’s not wanting to give me free or loaner hardware. See, I know Apple sends free or loaner hardware to certain journalists. But only those it deems “important.” Steven Levy. Walt Mossberg. Those types. They got iPhones two weeks before those of us who were “unimportant” could BUY them in the stores.

The point isn’t that I want free (er loaned) hardware. It’s that Apple uses that free hardware to MANUFACTURE the “myth” of Apple as being great, and good, and “cool.” Also, if these guys want to get more free or loaner Apple hardware before the rest of us they need to make sure not to point out too many flaws in it. Yeah, they can point out a few, but they know they got picked because they generally write pro-Apple stuff. It’s a reason why I don’t want free stuff and why I waited in line to be among the first in the Valley to have my own iPhone.

Again. Brand promise of Apple. Only those who will give Apple a fair shake will get the goods. When Fake Steve Jobs says I’ll never get invited to another Apple press conference again he isn’t too far from the truth! Retribution is a bitch.

UPDATE: That’s not totally fair on my part. I know these journalists will report when they are sent something that doesn’t do what it promises. I need to correct this post. The journalists don’t get free products that they get to keep (most of the times). They do send them back. I’m sorry to the journalists who I made this point about. Walt Mossberg has an ethics statement where he talks about this.

UPDATE 2: Ryan Block, who writes for Engadget, has a good set of replies to my claims above.

It’s the brand promise of Apple. You will have to BUY your Apple after those “famous journalists” get to use one for free for two weeks and you vil like it. Oh, and you’ll beg to be let into a Steve Jobs keynote because you vil want to sit at the feet of Jobs and drool on the floor like the idiot blogger you are.

Just remember the brand promise of Apple, OK?

1. If your machine behaves badly it’s your fault.
2. Any idiot can use an Apple machine (that’s what they tell you before you buy one) but if your machine crashes then you must be a “genius” to fix it (they have bars at stores now where you can “borrow” a genius, but only after waiting in line — my son twice has been turned away from genius bars because they were too busy and was told to “come back tomorrow at 10 a.m.”). Oh, and if you are having problems at 10 p.m., and dare tell people on your blog about your problems you’ll get tons of abuse back “how DARE you be an Apple user and not know you needed to flash your PRAM.” Translation: any idiot can use a Mac, but not really.
3. If you dare complain about the brand promise you’ll get pounced on by hoardes of annonymous astroturfing Apple FanBois.
4. If you don’t get the brand promise of Apple don’t attempt to point out that the ads are ridiculous. Instead, just leave the cult and go back to using that “inferior” machine you used to use.
5. Check out my new Mac, with its cool brushed metal surface and the light-up Apple logo.
6. If you use an Apple machine you will be as cool as Kevin Rose.

Baratunde has it right when he says “I hate the smugness of Apple.”

Oh, and to the guy who says I’m a Microsoft shill. You better check your facts there. Over the past year I’ve spent more than $10,000 on Apple products of MY OWN MONEY and if you include the machines I’ve bought for PodTech, I’ve spent more than $20,000. Not to mention my son and I spent two days in line waiting for our iPhones. Now if THAT is what you call “shilling for Microsoft” I wonder what “shilling for Apple would look like?”

I guess I just am not cool enough to like my Mac. I’m back on my Sony Vaio, which has never crashed the way my Mac did the other night. It also never has needed to have its memory and graphics controller replaced the way my Mac did. And its USB ports work, unlike those on my son’s computer. But it decidedly isn’t cool.

It doesn’t come with the brand promise of Apple.

Oh, and back to that ad at the top of my blog? Have you ever met the PR guy for Microsoft? That’s Frank Shaw. A really nice guy. He even has a blog (idiot! — Apple hires all the “cool” PR people and they never will do a blog) Who does PR for Apple? Katie Cotton. She’s a LOT closer to the PR lady in that video above, which is TOTALLY ironic — watch this video again and compare to the ad above. Brilliant marketing.

416 thoughts on “The brand promise of Apple

  1. Now Apple is well recognised brand for its iPOD & smart phones than its Laptop …
    in OS section LINUX will outcome all other OS including MS.

  2. Now Apple is well recognised brand for its iPOD & smart phones than its Laptop …
    in OS section LINUX will outcome all other OS including MS.

  3. I was curious. Why are you getting “pissed” when you watch that ad? Is it because you too have unconsciously bought into Apple’s branding scheme and also unconsciously expect to be “treated” better?

    I’m actually a fan of Macs and have been since 1989 but I’m not one of those fanatics though I have only owned and used Macs. In fact I criticise certain aspects of the Mac too. For instance, recently on Apple forums, I made a note that it seems Microsoft has a better response time in sending out security patches than Apple does. That immediately got me flamed. Without paying attention, a user said how could I compare Windows to OS X when Windows is a much better operating system. And then, another said Windows has more flaws in it than OS X and so Apple does not have to put out as many security updates.

    But all of them missed my point.
    a) I was not talking about Windows or OSX. I was talking about the COMPANIES called Microsoft and Apple

    b) I was not comparing Windows to OS X. I was merely comparing the response time to security flaws between Microsoft and Apple.

    c) Whether Windows is more flawed than OS X is totally beside the point of my conjecture.

    Now, I would not find it ridiculous if someone said, “Well, actually if you look at such and such, you would see that Apple response is quicker…etc. etc.” That would be sticking to the topic and my contention of the speediness of response to security flaws.

    Sometimes I also find it very curious that certain segments of consumers are so attached to a brand that they have to defend it. Wow, capitalism has really brainwashed a lot of us here.

    P.S. And again, all of this is coming from someone who only uses Macs and has been since 1989. And I do prefer Macs over PCs, but it is not to say that there isn’t something from the PC world that Apple can learn.

    Pride comes before a fall.

  4. I was curious. Why are you getting “pissed” when you watch that ad? Is it because you too have unconsciously bought into Apple’s branding scheme and also unconsciously expect to be “treated” better?

    I’m actually a fan of Macs and have been since 1989 but I’m not one of those fanatics though I have only owned and used Macs. In fact I criticise certain aspects of the Mac too. For instance, recently on Apple forums, I made a note that it seems Microsoft has a better response time in sending out security patches than Apple does. That immediately got me flamed. Without paying attention, a user said how could I compare Windows to OS X when Windows is a much better operating system. And then, another said Windows has more flaws in it than OS X and so Apple does not have to put out as many security updates.

    But all of them missed my point.
    a) I was not talking about Windows or OSX. I was talking about the COMPANIES called Microsoft and Apple

    b) I was not comparing Windows to OS X. I was merely comparing the response time to security flaws between Microsoft and Apple.

    c) Whether Windows is more flawed than OS X is totally beside the point of my conjecture.

    Now, I would not find it ridiculous if someone said, “Well, actually if you look at such and such, you would see that Apple response is quicker…etc. etc.” That would be sticking to the topic and my contention of the speediness of response to security flaws.

    Sometimes I also find it very curious that certain segments of consumers are so attached to a brand that they have to defend it. Wow, capitalism has really brainwashed a lot of us here.

    P.S. And again, all of this is coming from someone who only uses Macs and has been since 1989. And I do prefer Macs over PCs, but it is not to say that there isn’t something from the PC world that Apple can learn.

    Pride comes before a fall.

  5. I am a composer/performing musician. I “switched” in 1994 (from Atari – after the company’s demise). I look back to OS 7 – I skipped OS8 and OS 9 and then OS X in the first release. The last time my Mac crashed was a long time ago, on holiday in Denmark (version 10.2). I spend a lot of time helping friends and colleagues (whom I converted) with their Macs. OK an old Epson scanner doesn’t work with Leopard, but everything else does… The problem lies with the companies who don’t update their firmware for Macs. As a part of my work, I have to sit in front of a PC with Windows XP using Excel and Co. This usually produces an extremely bad mood….. In my experience, working with Mac lets me be creative, Windows gets in the way of my creativity. Microsoft Works – but only sometimes.

  6. I am a composer/performing musician. I “switched” in 1994 (from Atari – after the company’s demise). I look back to OS 7 – I skipped OS8 and OS 9 and then OS X in the first release. The last time my Mac crashed was a long time ago, on holiday in Denmark (version 10.2). I spend a lot of time helping friends and colleagues (whom I converted) with their Macs. OK an old Epson scanner doesn’t work with Leopard, but everything else does… The problem lies with the companies who don’t update their firmware for Macs. As a part of my work, I have to sit in front of a PC with Windows XP using Excel and Co. This usually produces an extremely bad mood….. In my experience, working with Mac lets me be creative, Windows gets in the way of my creativity. Microsoft Works – but only sometimes.

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