A New, Unforeseen Threat to Apple Appears

Apple retail stores are preparing for long lines ahead of today's "hello again" product announcements

Three very interesting articles converged this week to suggest a change in the currents of thought that flow through our Apple lives. The first is this survey from The Verge that reports on “How Americans really feel about Facebook, Apple, and more.

Apple Park, Apple's new San Jose headquarters, opens in April 2017
Apple’s spaceship building at Apple Park.

Backdrop: Recent political events, the evolution of social media and social influence and the rise of the industry’s tech giants into powerful forces threaded into our lives have resulted in sea change in attitudes about tech and the tech giants, according to these findings.

The Verge writes:

We wanted to know how you felt about these companies. So late last month, The Verge partnered with Reticle Research to conduct a wide-ranging survey on the public’s attitude toward some of the biggest names in tech.

The troubling results for Apple are surprising. Of course, people continue to stand in lines for Apple products, and few other companies can claim that. However, the insertion of a massive influx of opinion and high tech initiatives by Amazon, Facebook and Google have diluted the once simple memes of old: You were either a PC person or a Mac Person.

The very first chart from the survey reveals that Apple has no monopoly on consumer feelings about trust. This shouldn’t be, and the mind reels. But there it is. The rest of the charts tell additional, depressing stories about how people feel about Apple compared to the other tech giants.

Trust in the tech giants
Image credit: The Verge

The internet, iOT, AI and other advanced technologies have allowed the various tech giants to flood the market with all kinds of gadgets and services regardless of whether they are wise and helpful products. Like Amazon Key. In turn, the powerful social discourse about these products and services by users and tech writers has created a multitude of emotions and beliefs that are no longer evidence-based. That, in turn, has created feelings about Apple that professionals who truly understand Apple don’t experience..

In ironic, infinite regression, The Verge’s survey is a great example of the very kind of internet discourse that I’m describing.

The Apple Double Standard

Another good example of the social discourse that threatens Apple is explained in this week’s article by Neil Cybart at Above Avalon. Apple Is Facing a Double Standard.

However, a trend has developed where a number of tech companies are said to be outperforming Apple. Despite being cast as leaders, these companies aren’t judged by the same high standards as Apple. Microsoft, Samsung, and Google are said to be one-upping Apple in core competencies like hardware and design. Yet, these companies don’t face anywhere near the amount of criticism thrown at Apple.

Author Cybart goes on to explain in detail how many of the criticisms of Apple are done with a certain pseudo-authority of absolutism. Meanwhile, other companies, listed above, who aren’t doing all that well with their products compared to Apple, are cut huge slack and “graded on a curve.”

Left unabated, this constant barrage of emotional evaluation of Apple appears to be affecting the opinions of consumers, as described in the survey by The Verge with which I opened this article.

Dated Half-Truths

A final example of the confusion and shifting consumer attitudes is exemplified in this terrific analysis by John Gruber. “Face ID FUD.” There, author Gruber explains how misunderstood half-truths and dated information coming from Apple’s supply chain get turned into what appears to be authoritative criticism of imminent Apple problems and potential failures.

iPhone X Trade-In deal for T-Mobile.
Plagued! Doomed! How can it succeed? Oh, wait.

The Mac Press, if you can call it that, has dozens and dozens of experienced technical journalists who understand Apple. However, their competent voices, like their professional counterparts in political news coverage, are often drowned out in a barrage of social media reports told by amateurs full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.

We’ve endured the art of Apple bashing in its simplest forms before, but the sober minds of informed customers has always prevailed. However, just as scientists, with quiet, intelligent competence, are being drowned out by political partisanship and showmanship, Apple, I worry, may have increased difficulties with a coherent, widely recognized narrative about its offerings that resonates widely and profoundly with consumers.

Fortunately, the huge popularity, quality, and advanced technologies of the iPhone are holding the fort. Apple hardware speaks volumes about the character of the company amidst a rising cacophony from all others.

Next Page: The News Debris For The Week of October 23rd. New thinking about the future MacBook lineup.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD



It’s the greater and not the lesser arc of time, which has seen an overall expansion in human rights, women’s rights, child protection laws, education and access to health care over the past century that gives me hope and optimism about the future, episodic societal fevers of the mind and soul notwithstanding.


There might be something of the game “King of the hill” and Americans’ love of the underdog in this. Could it be that there is a point where someone or something, a business, makes too much money? Or has too much control of a marketplace? – perceived or not. After reading this column, I went back and read E.A. Robinson’s “Richard Cory” (1897). Cory’s death doesn’t elicit any upset or remorse from the narrator, just a simple telling of fact. More than sadness, the poem seems a warning about envying the wealthy. Sometimes good enough is good enough. Americans have… Read more »

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: The issue regarding popular perception about Apple and how that is shaped through the interplay with social media is complex and not without relevance to Western partisan politics, particularly in the US. As troubling as some of the Verge’s poll findings might be for Apple, they should not be surprising, neither should they be seen as inherently bad prognostic indicators for Apple. Both Neil Cybart’s article on ‘Apple facing a double standard’ and John Gruber’s piece on ‘Face ID FUD’ provide excellent dissections of the many issues at work that help to both shape popular perception and fuel social… Read more »


Sadly, even if irrational group-think is transient by nature, it can last long enough to cause great damage. Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s comes immediately to mind.


The Democrats have a habit of taking over institutions like schools and newspapers. They turn them into compromised spam servers for liberal messaging. People continue to trust them because they still bear the same name as they did in the past. This was being expanded to businesses under the guise of “millennials trust companies that are activist.”. And activist stockholders were pushing for it. But this coincided with a sort of “great awakening” to fake news, and distrust of elitists. So now it was stopped mid-track. Similar to NFL, the compromising of the server was stopped half way. Apple surely… Read more »


Most of the tech elite billionaires are liberals. Look at how there is almost no diversity of political opinion among tech billionaires. All of these billionaires are fervent Hillary supporters: Bill Gates Tim Cook Jack Dorsey Sergei Brin Larry Page Elon Musk Mark Zuckerberg Peter Thiel demonstrates this. He’s a tech billionaire who didn’t support Hillary, and he became notable as the only one who didn’t. Hillary Clinton is synonymous with these billionaires. Instead of being politically neutral, these companies has made themselves a conceptual part of Hillary / DNC. That means they stupidly put themselves into a position where… Read more »


Sadly true. It’s why for a long time companies tried to keep politics out of their public image.


And by the way geoduck you are a prolific commentor on here and I always appreciate reading your stuff up


I posted a reply to you but accidentally put it in the main thread


Lately, the tone of reporting at The Verge has turned decidedly anti-Apple. Their recent Apple product reviews show a strong anti-Apple double standard and the tone of their Apple coverage in general is sneaky and dismissive. Simultaneously, The Verge ran a large number of exclusive ‘First Look’ articles about Google’s fall product offerings. These articles featured extensive behind-the-scenes interviews with Google staff and pre-launch access to the new products. It’s no surprise that these articles read more like long form advertisements than journalism. More troubling, The Verge’s recent coverage of Google’s post-launch problems reads quite a bit like FOX News… Read more »


As we are irrelevant to the market especially if you are over 50 and 60 – the kids are smarter and less prone to the BS that Apple and Microsoft flaunt, the news is ubiquitous – ALL tech has it’s share of problems – Apple releases bug fixes every day for security it seems, the Cloud services have all been hacked right? Yahoo, Gmail iCloud the Credit bureau – and Apple has destroyed a great computing OS because of their myopic iPhone fetish probably because kids don’t buy computers anymore I dunno. (can anybody find “delete messages from the server”… Read more »

Lee Dronick

the kids are smarter and less prone to the BS

Not true.


No, they aren’t. If anything, they are more susceptible. In my experience (and I have reasons to believe my experience is broad in this area, which I can’t elaborate on here) most young people will accept anything, they question nothing, and they have no desire to make the effort to questions anything. It is just the way they have been raised. This notion of the über- conscious 21st century youth genius is pure myth – seriously: forget the fact that 17 year-old kids don’t know how to tie off a balloon, and consider that their technological literacy is at about… Read more »

Lee Dronick

Social media had so much potential to be truly egalitarian, but the opposite has happened,

That reminds me of the opening sequence to movie Idiocracy where nature rewarded the most prolific breeders and not the brightest among us.


What still amazes me is that people actually trust Facebook!!

Lee Dronick

I use Facebook, but I sure don’t trust them. I get my news from outside of Facebook.


There’s been a number of stories in the news about the perceived threat from big tech companies. Usually they’ve been in the form of inaccurate reporting and a failure to filter from Amazon, FaceBook, Twitter, Google and Apple. Apple? Apple makes computers. They aren’t a social platform or a place that published articles. It’s all just felt more than a bit weird. I’ve seen a lot of this Apple bashing online. One comment that I literally found funny was the guy that proclaimed that the iPhoneX was a complete flop. The display was crap, the notch was beyond annoying, and… Read more »


It’s weird, the level of anti-Apple vitriol seems to coincide with the coarsening of public discourse and the rise of Trump.

I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t something scary happening to society as a result of excessive use of social networks on mobile devices.


Sadly yes, society has become quite scary. And I do put it up to Social Media giving a platform to the crazies. There was a story on CBC yesterday. Apparently people who were shot a month ago in Las Vegas are now getting online abuse, even death threats from idiots who are convinced that it was faked. In their mind Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and all the rest of these shootings never happened. They believe that anyone who posts their experiences are “crisis actors” and are part of the conspiracy. While we always have had “that crazy guy on… Read more »