A Few Words on Apple and Fiction

Blogsurfing led me to a post by “HCI User Advocate” about his private hell in switching from Windows to Mac. Then today I learned that you can finally buy microphone attachments for 5th generation iPods. Time for an entry about Apple. When the battery died on my old 3rd generation model, I went ahead and bought a new one because Apple promised decent-quality recording, which would be great for interviewing people. Except that neither Apple nor any third party vendor produced a microphone attachment for 5th generation iPods that would allow you to voice record. Now, well over a year since the “new” video iPods have been out and advertised with recording capability, you can–I’m told–finally record on one.

After switching back and forth I am a dedicated Mac user, mostly for the pleasing interface and for the fact that Macs are less likely to get viruses. You don’t need a lot of tools to be a professor, but a computer is one you can’t live without. But I’ve also been repeatedly burned by the company, and a quick scan of Apple’s own user fora reveals that there are plenty of users who have had similar experiences. Most scandalous is when Apple clearly knows about a defect but officially denies its existence. If that weren’t enough, a recent Greenpeace report ranked Apple pretty low on the scale of environmental performance for computer companies. Granted, the survey was pretty limited, but still.

All this is to say it’s important not to confuse a series of slick advertising campaigns, clever lifestyle marketing and oceans of white plastic with terms like “clean” or “ethical.”