As soon as the news of Steve Jobs’s death hit the headlines, tribute facebook statuses and tweets were unstoppable. Apparently, Steve Jobs was an ‘innovator’ and a ‘legend’ that ‘transformed’ the way we look at personal computers. All of a sudden, everybody seemed to be an expert in computer technology and macfans were sprouting out of every crease. I own a MacBook, and an iPod, but I am quite happy to admit that I don’t really know what Jobs’s contribution to technology entailed. Apart from setting up a massive empire that has gained cult status despite its increasing commercial success, Steve Jobs was just the head of yet another company. But let’s look at this cultural phenomenon a bit more closely.
Mac users are generally considered to be hip, cool and creative types – the kind that edit videos and music on their laptop, instead of slowly sinking into the black hole that is the spreadsheet. I’m serious. There are videos about this.
Everyone knows just how much Apple products have been adopted into modern culture. The war between winsters and macsters is far from over. For some reason, the stereotype that mac users are somehow cooler than windows users seems engrained in modern society. Admittedly, mac users tend to have more money (which is why they can afford to own a mac) which in turn means that they are likely to spend more money on their appearance and social life. But that still doesn’t explain why they need to dress in a certain way, or behave like any other brand, and people who use them, are inferior. I think the biggest problem is that most mac users are hipsters. If you are a hipster, chances are that you own at least one (or three) apple branded products. But what once started as a small-ish company that merely offered an alternative to the monopoly of Bill Gates has now turned into an annoying, ever-present business card for people that want to be ‘different’. It seems that the only way you can make your creativity credible, is by using a mac to edit/cut/re-draft whatever ‘art’ you think you are doing. No mac? Sorry, but you’re obviously not cool enough.
I own a mac because I like their simplistic layout and overall appearance. Yes, I do want my laptop to look as good as it works, and yes, I am aware that I probably could have gotten a much better computer for my money had I chosen to opt for windows. What saddens me is that all this stereotyping is causing Apple more harm than good. Instead of appreciating these products for what they are – well made, designed pieces of technology that are easy to use in everyday life – they have become a mere accessory of every hipster from here to down under. But what is even more baffling is that everyone who wants to be seen as your archetypical mac user usually has left-wing political views and is concerned about the environment and ethics. Do I really need to point out to you how much money Apple makes off guys like you? I’m not even going to mention the child labour and environmental issues.
Luckily, Steve Jobs’s death is old news now, and the wave of macfans has reduced. All that is left now are the usual macster, whose prime habitat is the coffee shop, you know, so that everyone can see how creative they are in public.