I come to praise Apple not bury it. I type on an Apple laptop; the keyboard is dynamite for a speed typist such as myself. I compose music using Apple’s Logic software on an iMac.
But I don’t have an iPhone or iPad or iPod. Probably never will. Why? I don’t need them. Moreover, I am suspicious of them and their progenitor. In a telling moment from Jobs’ biography, the guru recounts with a certain maniacal pride a story from one of his legendary vacations during which he spends most of the time working. Jobs observed some geezer making tea in Istanbul and he quickly lost interest in the whole production of preparation and serving. He began to think out loud that the kids of Istanbul or Rome don’t give a rat’s ass about tea either. They want global pop culture delivered on sexy gadgets. Local culture is boring. It’s irrelevant.
Only a deracinated, Type-A American dork like Jobs could be that dismissive of local culture and place. His was a contemptous, cynical McWorld mindset – in the end, kids around the world will be shopping and listening to pap on his gadgets, turning their backs on their grandparents’ traditions, heritages and religions. Even if the iPhone can be used to “televise” the revolutions of, say, the Arab Spring, eventually when peace breaks out, Apple will be there to make sure Syrian kids share their hipster tours of the war ruins via Instagram. Or videos of a cat riding around in a Damascus housewife’s Roomba. Apple is not in the business of selling gadgets, Jobs implied; it’s in the business of creating its own breed of humanoids, valuable only for their susceptibility to novelty and junk culture. The kids feel a need to sacrifice privacy in order to share their chatter and their rubbish. Jobs wanted to help, looking on with a knowing grin, right next to the cash register.