The Cupertino revolution

You can’t ‘think different’ if you are the establishment

There is a strange but poetic justice in the course of history. A strange cycle of events that is best described in Orwell’s thrilling novel 1984 about the rise and fall of the working class. How the word Revolution means the “rotation” of forces in power. How the underdogs work their way up against the hated upper class, how they seize power and in the end become just like those they hated so much. The circle is complete as they in turn are overthrown only to have everything start over again.

I remember a time when this little computer firm from Cupertino was the underdog. When only a small and shady circle of die hard users believed in the quaint little computers with their fruity logo. I remember a time when this specific brand was reserved for graphic designers and dusty university professors who touted them as “the intellectual bling” of the upper class.

It was a time where Redmond and their window to the world ruled supreme and the biggest was going on was between Netscape and Internet explorer. Torvalds and his geeky invention were reserved for the bearded few and we thought things would never change.

I have seen the star rise over Cupertino and watched in enthusiasm, then in awe, then with fearful eyes how Apple became the richest company on the planet, in the lifespan of the average pet cat. I would have never thought it would go THAT fast.

I wake up in a world where Blackberry has fallen from grace, Nokia is struggling and Windows fights valiantly, trying to sail their ship through the rough sees of change.

Now I wake up in a world where you can buy a Mac on every corner. Every kid who had an iPod now sports an iPhone and the word is out to make “iPad” the generic term for all that is tablets. I wake up in a world where Blackberry has fallen from grace, Nokia is struggling and Windows fights valiantly, trying to sail their ship through the rough sees of change. A world where a man who has been to space is upsetting the bearded Linux community as he sets his Ubuntu distribution on a very different road.

But in the shadows of the Apple sunrise appear the first wrinkles of age. Hairline cracks in the marble foundation of their users. A result of the fast changing times.

One of those cracks separates the “ old-school” Apple fans from their new Apple consumers. While the fortress of die-hard fans has held its ground over the years, staying true to the cupertino law .. I now start to see two types of Apple consumers. The ones that buy it because its Apple, a brand they believe in. The ones that call “Steve” and “Tim” by their first name as if they are close friends. The ones that stand by every decision Apple makes and get in line at 5am to buy their newest products. The old school guys.

They don’t care about the brand, they care about the product.

And then there is the “other” Apple user. A number far greater then the dying old-school fans, far greater then the creative hipsters and more numerous then those who knew Apple when it was nearly dead. These are the new Apple consumers. They buy and iPad because its an iPad, not because its an “Apple iPad”. The ones that could care less what colour of socks Tim Cook wore on the Keynote. The ones that come to the Apple store, on launching day at 3pm, to pick up a device thats on the shelf. Heralding the extinction of their predecessors, these are the new Apple consumers. They don’t care about the brand, they care about the product.

The great thing about history is that it repeats itself. As the Cupertino stock-rocket shoots towards its Aphex, I know that the ‘underdogs’ are being transformed by the power they have acquired. How the term ” Think different ” no longer applies if your product is the MAJOR product on the market. And like a teenage girl who becomes a woman overnight, so has Apple reached puberty with the coming of its first Flashback Trojan. The old underdog has become the establishment. The old establishment has become the underdog… And the revolving doors of revolution are set in motion again.

We live in interesting times of dramatic change where the fight to stay on top is punched out in ever shorter rounds. We sit by the sidelines and cheer on our heroes, wether they be the reigning champion or the underdog… And times go so fast that its hard to keep track who is who.