Scoble vs. Apple
Scoble’s Mac crashed, Scoble rants — par for the course. (Earlier this year he had it out for me, too, but cooler heads prevailed.) But he did bring up a lot of interesting points, some sound, some not.
Robert, as someone in the media who works with Apple (just as I work with dozens, if not hundreds of other companies), here’s some of what you’ve got wrong (and right):
[At dinner with a bunch of "smart" entrepreneurs] “I tried to turn on my video camera. They all instantly shut up and said ‘no video.’” – You’re damn right they did! They’re smart, and they’re entrepreneurs. What person with a startup would want to go on a tear against a major company they might one day partner with, be acquired by, lose employees to, etc.? No smart businessperson — especially someone out on their own — would go on camera trashing Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc., unless they wanted to make headlines that might reflect poorly on them later. I doubt it’s as much to do with the cachet as you think.
If you want to hear people (trash) talk, talk to tech journos, whose jobs it is to be honest and on the record about tech companies. Let me put this another way: don’t be surprised all the time when people don’t want to go on camera for the ScobleShow, not everyone wants their every conversation and criticism preserved as public record.
“Apple has an ARMY of people who are anonymous who will come and call you every name in the book. I know.” – Oh yes, they definitely do, and they say the same to me. Although there are also tons of people on the other side of the camp who call me an Apple fanboy, so it’s good times. It’s the whole Mac vs. PC thing, and it’s so tiring. Besides, exactly what did you think was going to happen when you ranted about Apple? Bill Gates would send you flowers?
“The common thing about most of these comments is that it’s MY FAULT that my Apple machine is having trouble. See, on my Windows machine I’m willing to accept this.” – Wait, huh? You’re willing to lower your standards of what’s an acceptable user experience just because it’s Microsoft? No, no, man. You’ve got it the wrong way. Every company and product should be held to the same standards of quality. I don’t really care what they chose their hardware ecosystem to be like, crashy is crashy, good is good, smart is smart. But that’s besides the point. The point is all computers have failures, and you shouldn’t be angrier or more disappointed when it’s either your Mac or your PC.
“See, I know Apple sends free hardware to certain journalists. But only those it deems ‘important.’ Steven Levy. Walt Mossberg. Those types.” – Yes and no. Yes, for a journalist, Apple has the highest barrier of entry of any company out there — that’s no secret. I actually don’t think that’s always bad thing, there’s nothing worse than fighting for a seat at a keynote with the dude whose friend started ultragadgets.blogspot.com last week and needed a correspondent to fill in, you know? Go on…
“…they know they got picked because they generally write pro-Apple stuff.” – While it’s also true Apple hand-selects the publications it chooses to interface with, I don’t think that’s wholly true. Two reasons. First: Apple interfaces with a lot of press that are by no means going to give them an easy go of things. Ars Technica, for example, is invited to all their events, and Ars is an upstanding and skeptical publication. Another example: right before my Leopard briefing out walks my pal Harry McCracken. Do you think friggin PC World is generally expected to write a gushing review of Apple hardware or software? (Yes, I know they did — and we were all pleasantly surprised, so what does that tell you?)
Second: Look at who gets the iPhone in advance. Mossberg, Pogue, Baig, Levy — the Wall St. Journal, New York Times, USA Today, and Newsweek. Now, it’s not like anyone can pretend that Pogue, for example, doesn’t make money from writing books about Apple products. And there’s no question that the core iPhone audience is at sites like Engadget — but it’s also not like these publications aren’t paragons of print journalism! I’m obviously all for new media being placed on level ground, there’s nothing I’d like more than to get early review units from Apple just like I get them from every other company. But let’s not forget the net those four publications cast, which I’d estimate covers something like 60-75% of all consumed daily / weekly US print news media. Getting your product out in front of people is what will sell units, period.
“It’s a reason why I don’t want free stuff and why I waited in line to be among the first in the Valley to have my own iPhone.” – Well, that and the fact that you’re not a professional consumer electronics reviewer.
“Only those who will give Apple a fair shake will get the goods.” – I think you’re trying to say only those who will favor Apple will get the goods. I can’t say conclusively there, but I do know that I’ve written very critical reviews of Apple hardware before, and yet their team still works with us. So I don’t think it’s as bad as they get a wrap for. Again, I just think the selectivity level is far higher.
“You will have to BUY your Apple after those ‘famous journalists’ get to use one for free for two weeks and you vil like it.” – Um, oook. I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to be on Steve’s shortlist of early-seeds for gadgets, but let’s be fair here, every consumer electronics company in the business seeds review units to high profile publications. That’s their job. It sounds like you’re bitter that Apple isn’t seeding MORE early-release hardware like most other CE companies. I hear that, everyone in the biz does. But everyone has their way. TiVo, for example, wouldn’t work with Engadget at all until only recently. Crazy, I know, but companies just do their thing.
“Any idiot can use an Apple machine (that’s what they tell you before you buy one) but if your machine crashes then you must be a ‘genius’ to fix it” – Ha! That’s an amazing turn of phrase. Well played.
“my son twice has been turned away from genius bars because they were too busy and was told to ‘come back tomorrow at 10 a.m.’” – As a former tech at a walk-in repair facility (CompUSA) I’m not sure where I see the problem. If you don’t schedule an appointment in advance and aren’t happy to wait in line behind the other people being serviced (many of whom DID make an appointment), then your best bet is to come back later. This is the same as any other tech services company or chain.
“If you dare complain about the brand promise you’ll get pounced on by hoardes of annonymous astroturfing Apple FanBois.” [sic] – Sounds about right.
“If you don’t get the brand promise of Apple don’t attempt to point out that the ads are ridiculous.” – While I love Hodgman and find the ads amusing, if not sometimes hilarious, they are indeed also ridiculous. They perpetuate the same tired PC / Mac negativity that fanboys and pundits have been feeding off of for literally decades. It’s a tired argument. Both platforms do amazing things, both take different approaches. Both are good for whom they’re good for, and when I look for new writers, I look for cross-platformers — especially those who run the wildcard third option: Linux.
“If you use an Apple machine you will be as cool as Kevin Rose.” – Wait, are you harshing on Apple or Kevin, now?
“I’m back on my Sony Vaio, which has never crashed the way my Mac did the other night.” – Really? I’ve owned two Sony Vaios and they’re the most near-impeccably designed, absolutely dreadful machines. See also Jeremy Toeman, who at first LOVED his Vaio (like we all do at first), then grew to hate it something fierce. Not that Apples are necessarily better, that’s not the moral of the story. The moral is lots of computers have issues, not just Macs. And I do still miss my Vaios. (I gave my last one to my mom, so at least it’s still in the family.)
Ok, everybody feel better now?