How Can We Tell if Our Love for Apple is Logical or Biased?

5 minute read
| Particle Debris

In a deep sense, this item is about Apple. We are biased towards Apple products for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s because we became enamored with an Apple II or Mac in our youth and stayed with what we learned and loved first. I see this, in a positive way, with many of my guests on my Background Mode podcast.

Tech love

Is it real love? Or cognitive bias?

Sometimes, the technical superiority of an Apple product in an important respect earns our loyalty. It could be because the underlying UNIX (FreeBSD) of Apple products is appreciated by a technical person who’s accomplished with UNIX. It could be graceful, simple, beautiful design. It could be better overall security. It could be the customer service. Or the friendly retail stores.

And yet, so much of our dialog about technical companies and products relies on hearsay and issues we don’t have direct experience with. In those cases, it’s all too easy to assume that biases founded in technical experience can be confidently extended to opinions about related technical areas.

It often goes like this: We love what we know. We rationalize decisions.  If we decided not to buy brand X, brand X must be inferior.

You’re In Denial. (No I’m Not!)

Recently I have come across this cognitive bias issue is several different ways. The first is an introductory interview with Nobel prize winning Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman: “Kahneman: Your Cognitive Biases Act Like Optical Illusions.” In that article there is a nifty optical illusion that’s an analog to a cognitive bias one might form. You’ll be intrigued, I promise.

Next, Michael Lewis has written a book about that very decision making process explained by Dr. Kahneman,The Undoing Project. Here’s a great introduction via Bob Cringely. “Welcome to the Post-Decision Age.” That article will also get you started. A quote:

Our decision-making processes, such as they are, are based on maximizing survival not success. Early hunter-gatherers weren’t so bothered with optimization as just not being eaten. This put an emphasis on making decisions quickly.

Of course, we flatter ourselves that we’ve had 10,000 years, perhaps 500 generations to get beyond rash judgments about survival, but, seriously, how much time do we really spend pondering our deepest judgments about each other and about tech? Given the time spent with work, family and Game of Thrones, do we really spend hours researching the relative merits of the companies we like and the products we select? Or how we’ll respond to a tweet. Or the decisions of government?

The above resources are a real eye opener and help explain why there is so much bewilderment about why people buy the products they do and why they’re loyal to certain companies and bad-mouth others. It’s at the core of many things you read here at The Mac Observer and everywhere else.

Next page: The news debris for the week of January 23rd. Apple’s Tortoise and Amazon’s Hare in the race for Home Automation.

8 Comments Add a comment

  1. JustCause

    Love is never logical.
    Apple’s commercials are often emotional/musical because it bonds us to their products.

    Personally using scripting/automation I’ve made a career out of doing things that made others looks slow, very slow.

  2. “For instance, APFS can’t be used on startup disks or Apple’s Fusion Drives, and filenames are case-sensitive only. What’s more, APFS formatted drives are not recognized by OS X 10.11 Yosemite and earlier, so you won’t be able to transfer files to an older Mac using an APFS drive.

    Apple hasn’t yet told us if these limitations will be removed before APFS makes its public debut. For now, we can only wait and see how things progress.”

  3. LV_Doc

    There is a third category: practical. I bought my first Mac in 1987, so it was the first OS with which I became familiar. I invested in a lot of software to go with it. That practice simply continued over the years.

    Now, at this point, I’m not as happy with Apple as I used to be. I want to be able to theme and tinker with my OS. All these customizations doors have been slammed shut. I don’t blame Apple for being alert to security issues and doing these things. But couldn’t they at least loosen up and provide safe theming, etc. options for us to play with? Why are we stuck with drab gray? Seriously, my first Mac was black and white for heaven’s sake. For years, we fought for color. When we finally got 256 colors, we were ecstatic. Now we’re back to grayscale?

    In many ways now, Windoze might offer me more options for what I want. But I am so, so heavily invested in software for Mac that I could not afford to make a switch. So I don’t stay for emotional reasons. And whether “practical” is the same as “logical,” I can’t say.

  4. dhp

    “How Can We Tell if Our Love for Apple is Logical or Biased?”

    If your love for Apple is logical, you don’t automatically buy the Apple product in every category. For me it’s choosing the Roku over Apple TV. I would love to have seamless iTunes integration and Airplay, but overall the Roku won out. (N.B. I first bought a Roku box before Apple TV existed, but I’ve bought another box and a Roku TV since.)

    I hadn’t been paying a lot of attention to iMacs and recently discovered the elimination of upgradeable RAM on the 21.5-inch models. It’s very possible my next Mac won’t be an Apple machine.

  5. dhp
    They made the 21″ iMac non upgradeable?
    wtf?
    Got a 27″ iMac in November. I’m glad I didn’t wait for the iMac updates that are supposed to appear this spring. I have a feeling they will be locked down and adding larger HDD or RAM will be expensive.

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