In 2016 Apple has become a very different kind of company – the most valuable company in the world, it so happens. Over the past 40 years, Apple has gone from a struggling upstart challenging IBM and Microsoft to being a dominant platform vendor. A company founded by two friends who bonded over a love of hacking the long-distance phone network has become a major economic gatekeeper engaged in historic policy fights with the government. It is a remarkable, improbable success story.
After forty years, Apple is doing better than ever before – yet to me, it feels like they are doing worse than ever. To me, they reached their zenith about 12-15 years ago. I don’t like companies for how popular they are, how widespread they are, how successful they are. All those things are irrelevant to me. They have no bearing on my enjoyment of products.
To me, the highpoint of Apple was the PowerPC G4 era. The iMac G4, the iBook G4, the PowerMac G4, and the Cube. I owned all four of those, and still feel remorse for getting rid of them. I liked Apple because of the soul and emotion it used to put into its machines.
I like things that aren’t perfect. I like things that are inherently broken. It takes imperfection to notice perfection. I like things that could be better – but make up for it with a sense of uniqueness, personality, charm, quirkiness. Apple doesn’t make products like that anymore. Everything they make now is cold, calculated, beancounted. Their products no longer have any soul, any emotion, any individuality. It’s an endless parade of cold, dead metal.
I wish they’d loosen up a bit.