According to Bill Thompson, the BBC’s technohippy-in-residence, Apple has changed the world more than punk. Eh? Whilst I for one wouldn’t want to pretend that punk was a substantial social revolution, can someone tell me how Apple specifically have changed the world? Thompson certainly can’t, other than to suggest that “Apple, uniquely among computer companies, is cool with those who know nothing about operating systems [and] care little for user interface guidelines.” Well whoop-de-doo, that’s like saying Ferrari is cool with people who couldn’t tell you how the four-stroke cycle works.
It seems that Apple have single-handedly done bugger all to change the world – they’ve just put stylish plastic cases around stuff that was happening anyway. Thompson refers to Apple’s employees as “hardware punks,” yet Apple could hardly be less “punk.” Punk was about promoting anarchy, empowering the disenfranchised, smashing The System. Apple is about proprietary formats and content control, which is about as diametrically opposed from anarchism and disestablishmentarianism as you could get. At its head is one of the richest men on the planet – I don’t recall the Clash singing any songs inciting the listener to form a global business based on intellectual property protection and put a practically unthinkable amount of cash in the bank.
I wonder when the nerd community will stop the gratuitous sycophancy surrounding Apple and realise it’s largely just pretty boxes?