Everyone I know and those who talk about me will say I’m an Apple fanboy. I mean, a real one. It is no joke. I’m not shy to admit it. I wrote about this on many occasions, like in my comment On Tim Cook’s interview with Kara Swisher. Yet, I can be very critical too, like in “Tim Cook’s Apple — Sadly Not About Products Anymore” Oh, and when going through the list in “The Perfect Apple Enthusiast – Find Out Where You Stand,” I scored well over 90%.
Why do I like Apple so much, in bad times, in good times, and for so long? Why am I relentlessly defending the company’s choices, popular or unpopular? Why am I such a zealot, an evangelist of this American icon? Why is Apple taking so much space and time in my life? What does this passion for Apple tell me about myself? There has to be a reason for all this, right? I tried to find the roots of my passion for Apple. And I think I have succeeded. Let’s dig in.
A Simple Equation
When thinking about the roots of my passion for Apple, I can put my finger on many triggers. Writing them down trying to classify them helped me create a mental model which is made of three main axes: humans, arts, and the environment. Let’s visit each of those axes.
At the center of everything Apple does, humans take a significant place: privacy protection, diversity promotion, enhancing people’s lives, user experience, and so much more. Accessibility features in their operating systems are a testament to their leadership in putting the human, whatever their abilities, at the forefront. I would argue that humans are the starting point of everything else at Apple. We all know or should know that Apple is a significant partner with (RED) as seen in this YouTube video highlighting fifteen years of collaboration. This collaboration started under Steve Jobs’ leadership and has only grown since he died. It’s a meaningful testament to Apple’s core values. They don’t have to do that.
I consider myself a creative person. For as long as I can remember, Apple has been associated with all art forms, from music to photography to design, etc. Creative people were mainly attracted to Apple because of its power to create, and Apple’s products were always enabled. No wonder why I feel at home in Apple’s ecosystem.
Here’s a short story. When I attended high school (1985-1987), I worked part-time at an Apple dealer as a salesperson. The store was located in the biggest shopping mall in the city. It attracted a lot of walk-in traffic at the time when personal computers were all the rage and still a novel thing (a Radio Shack located in the same mall was selling TRS-80s, an audio-video store was selling Commodore 64s and VIC-20). As people entered the store, after a few minutes of chatting with them, I could tell whether the person was fit for the Mac. Most people looking to buy a Mac had a creative side or worked in a creative field. These people always loved to talk about their passions. They had so many stories to tell. At the time, desktop publishing was popular. As a desktop publishing system, the Macintosh was unique and without competition. As a salesperson at this Apple dealer, I’ve sold the Mac story to creators, writers, artists, art teachers, etc. It was fun chatting with them and selling them the Mac story. This anecdotal story tells the intimate relationship between Apple and the artists, the creators.
Apple’s push to protect the environment started under Steve Jobs’s leadership. At the end of each product announcement segment, Steve would review a table of environmentally friendly attributes of the product, like mercury-free, PVC-free, etc. Under Tim Cook, environment protection, sustainability, and resource renewal were added to Apple’s mission. Over the last decade, Apple transformed itself into a powerful corporation that made carbon footprint reduction its ultimate goal. Each year, they show their progress and what’s next for them to tackle. Some would argue this is all about marketing. Maybe. But what’s wrong with that if it also helps fight the climate crisis?
Apple takes position. They are not afraid to try new things, small or big. Think about the USB port introduction in 1997. USB ports replaced everything else. Think about the AirPods introduction in 2016. They are everywhere. The world is more wireless than ever. Think about the iPhone introduction in 2007. Well, you know what happened since then, do you? What about the Mac in 1984: a game-changer. Apple is opinionated
Putting it all together
To better help me present the reasons behind my passion for Apple, I put together a diagram that shows those three axes where I can root my passion for Apple. Apple’s core values resonate with my own values and interests in life. Try to find a company of this size (or smaller actually, it doesn’t matter) that cares about the environment (even if it helps their bottom line), who tries to put user privacy at the center of so many design decisions and cares about providing great user experiences from the moment we enter one of their stores to the moment you turn on a new device and start using it. Some would argue it’s all made up; it’s marketing 101. Apple doesn’t really care about those things. To them, I would say bullshit.
With Tim Cook as a CEO, Apple’s interests in the environment and privacy protection intensified; they became an integral part of Apple’s products. I would go as far as to argue that these values are becoming product features. In some ways, when you’re in Apple’s ecosystem, you vote with your dollars for the company’s decisions to promote these interests. It’s a bit like sending money to Greenpeace.
Apple products help make my life easier. They enhance it. They are empowering me and my creativity. They act as powerful enablers. Apple creates experiences
Passion is caring
My father was an architect. I grew up watching him create, draw and imagine buildings of all sorts that enhance people’s lives and support their journey. How is this related to Apple’s vision? It’s about enriching people’s lives, too. How much do you think I care about the design and experience when I go to an Apple Store? I care a lot. All the details make a difference, some small, others big. That’s why I value Apple’s efforts and attention to detail in its products. They care. It’s never perfect, but I appreciate their commitment to trying hard. They fix many of their mistakes, big and small, albeit not fast enough.
When someone talks or acts passionately, he or she will grab my attention. It was true with some of my past heroes like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Steve Jobs. It’s true in my professional life, too. When a company shows passion for design, I notice and get hooked.
So, there you have it. The roots of my passion for Apple are broad and deep. They grew for decades as Apple evolved and flourished. I’m passionate about Apple because Apple shows passion in what they do. Apple’s passion for what they do echoes their desire to care.
Credits: Images from Apple.com. Header image by Hussam Abd on Unsplash.