The Apple Store: Where Intelligent People Go to Die

What is it about Apple that causes otherwise intelligent people to throw away all trace of common sense? We all know that Apple has done very well for itself, turning around from a mere 4% market share in its computer division in the 90s to having a very viable and sustainable (and diverse!) product line.

Steve Jobs is no dummy. Somehow he managed to break the digital music divide between consumers and the music industry with iPods and the iTunes Music Store. Then he came at us with OS X, the operating system that marked the departure of the Mac OS trying to emulate Windows to stay afloat and go back to its own philosophy about how an operating system should work. Then he gave us Intel-powered Macs which was a smart decision way too far past it’s time.

Now we have iPhones and video iPods and touch screen iPods and iWork ’08 and iLife ’08 and the list goes on. Apple is a smart company. But with any company that releases hardware and software, they are plagued by bugs, oversights and flaws that sneak into Revision A of the product. We all know not to buy revision A stuff. No one waited in line for Windows since the days of Windows 95. We know there are bugs. We wait. Smartly.

However, Apple products incite a certain stupidity in people that encourages them… no, forces them… no, not even that – compels them to go to the Apple Store and buy the newest product on the day of launch or soon thereafter.

Most recently, the Applegasm has surrounded the iPod Touch and the new video iPod Nano. Not long before that, insane lines across this great nation extended out from Apple and AT&T Wireless stores everywhere in anticipation of the iPhone.

Inevitably, the wait for OS X Leopard (the next-gen OS X operating system) will be notable when it is released sometime next year.

Smart people ask why. Intelligent people don’t ask, they just buy.

Apple makes good products, but they are not flawless and almost inevitably are worth the wait. For instance, folks who had an Applegasm over the iPhone for $500 or $600 can now get the same phone 3 months later for $300-$400. People who bought it at full price can get a $100 rebate.

Early adopters of the Airport Extreme router (of which I do own) claimed incompatibility with the Xbox 360 wireless adapter.

First generation Macbook Pro owners (of which, again, I am one) cannot enable their wireless adapter to be 802.11n compatible. Waiting for the second generation fixed this problem.

Early adopters of the iPod nano found that their screens were defective and cracked. I can testify to this as I personally owned a first generation Nano who had its screen crack.

Folks purchasing the brand new iPod Nano may be surprised to know that the old method of connecting Apple A/V cables to the device to gain “TV Out” access (watching video from the iPod on your television) no longer works and that a new component that is not yet available is needed to use this functionality. This has been confirmed by Apple tech support.

The bottom line is that Apple products, as with any computer company, need some time to settle and work flawlessly. Yet so many people ignore this when it comes to Apple. I’ve been frustrated in recent days by observing the reactions of some folks on Twitter and across the new media landscape as they throw away their common sense and exchange it for Apple lust. My frustration is increased knowing that many of these same folks do not need their brand new Apple device as only months earlier they had similar Applegasms over the iPhone, the 80GB video iPod, etc.

I personally know kids who would love to have a simple 2nd generation iPod Nano but live in a household that struggles to put food on the table. Is the insane gluttonous debauchery really needed? I’d encourage folks to give their used device to one of these kids if you insist on wasting money on the new Apple device that you really don’t need.

Finally, a sobering thought: For the $400 needed to buy a new iPhone, $100 (approx) it costs to have an AT&T plan to use it, you could feed 5 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a year (per UNICEF). Think about it.