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The Apple Takeover: Silent but Deadly

Photo Credits to:  https://goo.gl/s9kxzC

Crazy Sign Guy. “The Evil Empire Apple.” Wordpress, Wordpress, Feb 18 2012

Photo Credits to: https://goo.gl/s9kxzC

Chris Uustal, Staff Writer

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The launch of the most recent line of iPhones has brought to the forefront once again a silent but deadly shift in the consumer electronic space which truly lies at the core of Apple’s success: ignorance.

I am speaking specifically to the frequent confusion by the average consumer between an Apple product and the larger technological category in which it resides. Many people look at any tablet and call it an iPad, look at any smartphone and call it an iPhone, and look at any laptop and call it a Macbook. Though I find this varies to a degree between the different tech categories depending on the demographic of the audience in question, it has a present effect nonetheless. This is not out of malice, but instead out of sheer ignorance on the hand of the modern consumer, an ignorance which has been propagated by more ignorance. Apple has reached a level of popularity and omnipresence in America that this type of ignorance has become the norm instead of the exception, and most people who care enough to know any different on the topic are also educated enough to understand what the uneducated consumer is trying to convey. A tech-savvy user can easily translate Grandma’s request for “a cheap, new iPad” as “the cheapest tablet she can play Candy Crush on.” This has led to a culture where the majority of people are either ignorant or don’t care to correct their inaccuracy, and the minority of people are educated but don’t wish to cause a scene over a statement they already understood.

Had this trend exhibited signs of dying off with an older generation who were only introduced to technology in the later years of their life, this would be different; however, this ignorance has been not only passed on, but also magnified in the next generation of children being born and raised today. With so many parents turning to technology to preoccupy their children, and so many children becoming increasingly familiar with technology at such a young age, I find it isn’t uncommon at all now to hear a child only a few years old call out, “want iPad, want iPad,” when referencing any form of tablet, ingraining this falsehood into the next generation of children.

The real danger I want to focus on here is the position that Apple has been able to put the average consumer in through ignorance alone. As a result of this ignorance, this confusion and likening between any Apple product and the larger tech category in which it resides, when many people go out to buy a new product in that space, they aren’t asking to buy a tablet, but instead they are specifically asking to buy an iPad, or an iPhone. If someone walks into their local Best Buy to buy a new tablet, but they don’t know the difference between the general term of a tablet and the specific product of the iPad, they’ll ask the sales representative where they can “buy an iPad.” Naturally, they are then directed to an Apple-only product section where they can then browse new iPads along with a whole host of other new, shiny Apple devices. You can even see that Apple is well aware of this power they hold by keeping the consumer in ignorance, because they intentionally block off their products from the larger selection of electronics which are available in each space. In most stores, Apple doesn’t allow their products to be sold right next to non-Apple alternatives in the space, but instead requires that they are sold in their own little display which is clearly different in style to the rest of the store, making the consumer resistant to leaving that area, as they have now been led to believe their only options are already presented in front of them. Therefore, while many people may not have the financial means to afford even the cheapest products Apple offers, they come to believe that the Apple products presented before them are the only options they have, unaware of the larger variety of products available.

Now, you, the reader, might have a number of questions. Are consumers really falling for such an obvious deception? Could Apple products just genuinely be better than all the other options in the space? Is this really all that bad? Well, just think about how many people you know who, when faced with the question of buying a new laptop, immediately turned to Apple’s Macbook Air. That laptop is using the same hardware it had when it launched nearly a half decade ago, but Apple is still charging the same starting price of $999 for it like it hasn’t aged a day, ignoring the fact that superior alternatives in every way are available for less than half the price outside of the Apple space. So yes, people do fall for this deception all the time, and no, Apple products are not just genuinely better than all other available products. Instead, many people either believe they don’t have a choice, or they don’t want to go through the effort of purchasing a high quality alternative, instead opting to pay the “Apple Tax” and make the shopping process simple.

As for the question of whether or not this is really that bad, it’s terrifying, as this is the definition of being anti-capitalism and anti-consumer. The whole point of capitalism is to allow what consumers to view as the best company to strive while companies the public disagrees with fall by the wayside; however, Apple has been able to corner the public in ignorance, essentially destroying the capitalism which is supposed to counteract their anti-consumer policies. When this is combined with their refusal to allow anyone but themselves to repair their own devices and their obvious disdain towards any form of compatibility with any product they don’t sell, a topic which will be saved for another article, it starts to paint a clearer and clearer picture of exactly what Apple has done to reach their trillion dollar mark, cornering consumers and praying off the ignorance of the average individual for their own monetary gain.

Now, I want to make clear that I don’t entirely blame Apple for this. Many people don’t really care how powerful their laptop is or whatever it needs to do to make it work; they just want something that looks pretty and does what they need it to do, which is usually nothing more than Netflix and email. Admittedly, Apple does have one thing that is consistent: all of their products are “good” devices. Though they are almost never a good value for the device being sold, you can almost always rely on an Apple product being at least “good,” insofar as that it won’t give an awful user experience. There are so many options out there in the Windows space for laptops and in the Android space for tablets and smartphones that it can be overwhelming to someone who doesn’t know their way, and it doesn’t help that on top of that there are a bunch of terrible options in that space as well. Many people cite the reason that they use Apple devices is because they bought a non-Apple device once a decade ago, said it got slow or unusable in some fashion, so they moved to an Apple device and never had the same issues. While it usually turns out that they were comparing a $1500 Macbook to a $400 Windows laptop with suspicious origins, the issue of buying a genuinely good quality and value Windows laptop always presents a challenge most people are unwilling to tackle, instead taking the easy, but expensive, way out.

All in all, I’m just calling the average consumer to be more educated about the products they are buying. If you want the new iPhone just because it makes you look cool, have at it; in that case, Apple is selling something that genuinely no other company can. However, if you are a young student either coming into high school or looking at college on a budget, don’t think that Apple products are all there is. Yes, there is a whole minefield worth of awful off-brand products out there, but, with just a little bit of research, you can find some genuinely good quality products for a good value available from companies that don’t try to intentionally take advantage of their consumers. Just because something like Windows or Android isn’t what you’re used to doesn’t mean that it has to immediately be so terrible and awful and confusing that you could never acclimate to it. Literally billions of people out there use these things every day and swear by them, myself included, so just give them a chance and be patient in trying to learn something new. Try to educate yourself so you can save money not only for yourself and those around you, but also you can be a part of a change for the better for the consumer and the tech space as a whole.

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