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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.