Save me from iMadness


Since I make my living through the use of web technology, you'd think I'd be slavering all over myself like one of Pavlov's dogs to get my hands on the new iPad. In fact, I'm already getting emails from people assuming I stood in line overnight in the driving rain to get my hands on its shiny skinny surface. Wrong. In fact, I don't care much about it at all.

I'll let that sink in for a minute. Despite what Time, Newsweek, CNN and the whole drooling, simpering blogosphere have to say for themselves I just… don't…. care.

There are a few reasons I am not jumping on this particular bandwagon, and I know I'm not alone. It's just that those of us who refuse to worship at the altar of "i" get labeled Luddites and the cool kids (including my own daughter) shake their heads and smile condescendingly.

So, in defense of those of us who have the crazy idea that our self-worth is not dependent on the gadgets we carry, here's my rationale.

I don't buy into the whole Apple is good, Microsoft is evil thing

First, I don't buy into the whole "Apple is good, Microsoft is evil" thing. In fact, this is one of the most glaring corporate examples of the Jedi mind trick ever.

Remember when Obi Wan looked at the guards and said, "these aren't the droids you're looking for"? Well Apple saying, "we're not evil" while sending the storm troopers out on 16 year old programmers, charging a pretty hefty premium and not letting any other device access their stores, music and apps is a pretty close second.

Microsoft may be a lot of things (arrogant, bloated and incompetent come to mind) but they almost singlehandedly democratized computing and launched the million or so small software companies out there by throwing their code open to the world.

Secondly, (and how do I put this delicately) the thing is bloody expensive. The low-end model costs about $500 US. Maybe you have that kind of money to spend on one tool that does what the other tools in my arsenal already do but I live in the real world with rent, bills and a kid about to go to college. I have a phone, a laptop, a music player (not an iPod, and I know how uncool that makes me) and they all work fine. When they need to be replaced, let's talk.

Finally, I'm just not an early adopter. My experience with my daughter's iPod is a great example of why. She got one very early on (okay I won't spend money on my toys. My kid's is another story) and it immediately had problems.

The early versions had battery problems (oh that's right, Apple products don't let you swap out batteries. When they're dead you have to replace the whole expensive shebang. Sure glad they're benevolent and think only of us or someone might think they were evil), software problems and were glitchy with my PC (me and 87% or so of the market).

In fact, the first couple of versions had problems. Then they went to the iTouch and all kinds of people with perfectly functional music players suddenly had to have the latest version because that little wheely thing was suddenly passe.

In the new world of electronic toys (I'm sorry, personal computing devices) when you have version 1.0, 1.1.16, 1.2.58, 2.0 and so on, only a true sucker would pay top price for the first version of something that will be changed, fixed or otherwise mutated in a matter of months.

When it works, when the technology settles into a groove and the price comes down to something I can stomach, THEN I'll jump on it.

Until then, I'll stream podcasts from my computer while eating a sandwich at my desk. I'll listen to music on a small device that plugs into my ears just like an iPod but isn't, I'll make phone calls and answer email on my laptop and my Blackberry and I'll read books that come on paper and don't require batteries. (Did I mention that when the Apocalypse comes and power shortages are the norm, all of you smug weasels with your "electronic readers" are truly screwed?).

Nothing personal, but I'll just keep clear of the iMadness for a while yet.

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About The Author

Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel

Wayne Turmel is a speaker, writer and co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute. He’s passionate about helping people present, sell and lead people and projects using today’s virtual communication technology. His books include Meet Like You Mean It - a Leader’s Guide to Painless and Productive Virtual Meetings. Wayne is based in Chicago, IL.

Older Comments

'A true sucker' - good description of the lemmings who are buying this useless gadget. Maybe in a year's time when they've all been left in the bottom of cupboards and forgotten about, someone might ask how they were ever dumb enough to fall for it. Chocolate Teapot, anyone?

Nicola London

Good stuff, Wayne.

On a 'meta' level, it's important to understand there are those whose inner sense of emptiness can only be filled with stuff...regardless of how they rationalize, justify and otherwise force their decisions to appear 'logical.'

peter vajda atlanta, ga

Spot on ! I've been drinking out of a chocolate teacup for years and the taste experience just gets better and better...

Charles Wimbledon

Very poor account - light on logic, light on accuracy ... IBM invented the sector, Microsoft are/were a software company and had no hold on the design of the PC. IBM and Apple went different ways and decided to make the devices - became hardware companies. So the stage was set between hardware and software companies.

IBM eventually withdrew. Apple almost went out of business (until Jobs returned). Microsoft prospered - although the lack of quality control of the resulting hardware (Microsoft could only influence) created a very difficult market - Microsoft did well to support all of the combinations of hardware - it still made for a difficult to maintain, fragile, expensive to maintain system - almost everyone on the planet has experienced that.

Then Apple decided not to make business code - they moved to Open Source OS X (more open than Windows 7). They improved it and contributed it back.

Apple's strategy changed - they decided to focus on Media. Music, Photos and now Books, Movies, Apple University. i.e. Content. (rather than software for business apps - Microsoft's business). They have created devices to capture/display that media.

Apple's ability is to make devices that do not look like computers - ipods, ipads and provide easy mechanisms for the content distribution e.g. billions of music downloads.

The ipad will be another revolution - it's not too expensive - same price as W7 slates. Its open enough - anyone can write apps for it (just like W7) - they have commoditised software e.g. charging $10 for word processing software.

Apple's hardware is the best in the industry - they have a very good 3 year return/replace policy. Apple gets a bad rap for the up front cost of their hardware. $500 for a PC vs $1300 for a comparable MAC. People don't include the cost of maintenance - since we moved to MACs we spend very little time troubleshooting computers - the Cost of Ownership of a MAC is far less than a PC - many studies demonstrate this.

Its early for the iPAD. Lots of apps will appear - I like it because non computer people can browse the web, send emails, watch video, listen to audio - share family photos etc... It opens a market beyond computers for people to be connected.

Paul Vancouver

Why is it that Apple fanboyz all seem to need a sense of humor transplant?

Mark Lewis

Wow. In four years I've never had this much commentary, this soon, on a post. Yes, Paul, much of what you say is true (and a 500 word article will by definition be shallow and miss technical detail and valid points) and I don't pretend to be a techy...which is exactly the point. Comparing the iPad to a W7 slate is only helpful if I knew what a W7 slate was. Not everyone drools for the latest toys. Sure, if someone gave me an iPad would I play with it? Absolutely. That's a hint by the way..... after all I'm obviously a powerful media figure. Apple?

Wayne Turmel Chicago

Surely as one who makes his living through the use of web technology ( and who in management circles doesn't these days?) your first thought should have been to Google W7 Slate.

Meredith UK

Meredith, I did Google it immediately upon reading and before responding in my post. Now I'm smarter than I was before. It was the acronym that threw me off, (and if you've seen the stack of stuff I've been reading about this you'd know why confusion is not an unusual state) which is kind of my point about those who live for gadgets vs. us poor mortals who merely use them to do our jobs and get on with what passes for our lives.

Thanks to all of you for reading, responding, agreeing or disagreeing. It's the conversation we appreciate most of all here at MI.

Wayne Turmel Chicago