Aside from investors who are accustomed to reaping a profit from their investment, it’s actually good for customers to worry about Apple’s health.

Apple's Health

Throughout the year, but especially leading up to Apple’s quarterly results, Apple is under a microscope to assess whether the company is operating in a healthy fashion. There’s a lot of investment money at stake, and no one wants to bet on a losing horse in the high tech race.

The Customer Side

Those financial analysts create analysis material that percolates down to journalists who cover Apple. But when Apple appears to be having occasional difficulties, their reports tend to echo the financial analysts for interesting social reasons. Their worries aren’t really parallel to or based on the financial analysts. They write worrisome stories because 1) It seems more learned to be concerned than to be happy-go-lucky and 2) they’re really appealling to a more general concern. That is, when Apple sneezes, we all worry about catching a cold. And that’s good.

The healthy reasons for that are many.

Apple has woven itself into the fabric of our lives. If Apple slips a stitch, we suffer. For example, if you forget a FileVault password, your data is gone forever. If your Apple ID account becomes badly corrupted, you could lose access to all your syncing, your ability to install new OS versions, your music and videos. At least for a time. Decades ago, if you damaged your favorite movie DVD, you’d simply buy replacement plastic.

The walled garden is a lovely place until something goes wrong with the garden’s life support.

This didn’t used to be. The limited degree of internet infiltration into our lives in the past meant that we could easily change banks, favorite retail stores, and even the home’s primitive game-playing console without penalty or compromise. Dump the TRS-80. Buy an Apple II. Not any more. Lost your iPhone? If its security were mismanaged, it could be a family disaster.

In fact, every once in a while, you’ll find an article that tells a story about an experimental divorce from the Big Five: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Here’s a particularly good one over at Gizmodo that’s still in progress. The divorce is really, really hard to do.

Apple’s Responsibility

So often, a corporation that seeks to involve itself in our lives for a profit forgets (or is forced to forget) the responsibility it has the customer. When things go badly, we sometimes get a perfunctory “sorry.” And that’s about it.

Apple store at Park Meadows Mall, Lone Tree, CO
Welcome to the doctor’s office.

Apple has, on the other hand, worked really hard to not only build great products, but to take its responsibility to us (and to the planet) very seriously. In writing.

And so, when we see Apple experience some occasional headwinds, we start to think about how that might affect us as customers. Will a key, beloved service be terminated? Will Apple lose interest in the 35 year-old Mac? Will regulatory presures or lost lawsuits, in turn, affect our own creative abilities? Or financial fortunes in business or development? Will Apple always be able to continue building new products that make our lives better? (That’s why journalists continue to beg for more innovation.)

Or heaven forbid, could it all collapse? What would a future of Windows PCs and Andoid smartphones mean for us?

If tech journalists sometime seem overly alarmed about the smalest flub by Apple, it’s not because they’re being overly dramatic for the sake of page views. (Well, sometimes.) It’s usually because they know how much we depend on Apple in so many little ways. Given the history of civilization and corporations, we tend to react to every little Apple trouble with seasoned worry.

Modern internet technology has wired us that way.

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