As I’ve written before, I have a love-hate relationship with Apple. I think the company makes terrific products and it does a great job of looking out for its customers in disputes with the government over issues such as encryption. However, Apple’s executives often exhibit a real snootiness about other companies’ products that extends at times to those companies’ customers. The basic message that I often hear communicated from Apple executives is something along the lines of, “Isn’t it sad that all those poor peasants out there don’t know any better and are still using Windows and Android!”
This was driven home to me earlier this week when Apple’s Phil Schiller said that it was “really sad” that there are more than 600 million PCs still being used that are more than five years old. In other words, if you bought a new PC all the way back in 2011 and it still works perfectly well to meet your needs, Schiller believes you’re in a “sad” situation and you should shell out big bucks for a shiny new iPad Pro.
This isn’t the first time Apple execs have demonstrated elitist attitudes about other companies’ products. Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2013 dismissed the worth of low-cost Android phones being sold in emerging markets by calling them “junk.” Design guru Jony Ive, meanwhile, snickered at Motorola’s Moto Maker program that let buyers customize the looks of their devices by saying the company was “abdicating [their] responsibility as a designer.” Ive has also ridiculed cheap Android phones for being “anonymous, poorly made objects” while adding that “it’s tempting to think… the people who use them don’t care – just like the people who make them.”
Yeah, Jony, or maybe the people who use them can’t afford an iPhone and are just happy to have an affordable device that will connect them to the web?
These are the sort of attitudes that would have earned Apple execs places in Monty Python’s competition for the Upper Class Twit of the Year trophy. They also reinforce the idea that Apple these days is less about changing the world and more about affirming its users’ own sense of superiority as an exclusive clique of well-to-do techies.
While I use and love a lot of Apple products, it’d be really nice if Apple executives stopped looking down their noses at people who choose other brands for whatever the reason.