When I see the Apple ads recently and they are either quoting Dead Poet’s Society (1989) or redoing an ad they did with U2 (product of the 80s no less) in 2004, I can’t help but think, “When did Apple become the old?” What’s more, when did Apple become synonymous with reactionary? It doesn’t feel that long ago that Apple was producing the products that made me go ooh and ahh. I know that Steve Jobs was an inspirational leader and a visionary, at the very least in his ability to make planned obsolescence seem cool. But since his death, nothing that has come from Apple is all that inspiring or alluring. Was all of that innovation, new product mojo all brought to the table by one guy? If so, Apple is doomed.
In Apple’s history there have been missteps, the Newton springs to mind. But since the iPod they always hit the right notes, iPhone, iPad, even AppleTV seems to have a dedicated audience. However, since Steve Jobs died, the products that have been exciting haven’t been coming from Apple. The smart watch, the larger smart phone and the more adaptable pad all have come from Apple’s competitors. I’m sure plenty of Apple aficionados can tell me why the Samsung watch isn’t that good or that the Surface from Microsoft isn’t worth the money, but that is so much inside baseball. Even if the products aren’t as good as the Apple responses (and what is the Apple response to the Surface? the Mac Air? meh.) those products are the more attractive.
It’s fair to say that I’m getting pulled by the power of good ad campaigns, and I suppose that is fair. However, it was Apple who once made those hip ads that inspired my curiosity and seek out the new products. Now, nothing from Apple is new. the iPhone is on its sixth generation. I can’t think of anything besides Harry Potter that I was excited about by the sixth installment. Even more, Apple’s roll out of various new items and OS has been riddled with glitches and snafus, if not just a tone deafness that had been more associated with other tech companies.
It comes back to Apple and its partnership with U2. It feels like a sad attempt to appear young and hip, and bringing out a dinosaur, kind of like being told as a kid how great Elvis was; sure he was super famous, but he was an old man in a jump suit, just not my thing. Even though I’m at the heart of U2’s demographic, I can’t imagine I was who Apple was trying to get. Instead, Apple and U2 are the object of ridicule from younger folks and they have reminded me that I’m getting old. Good job Apple, one side of the divide thinks you’re lame and the other is pissed that you’ve pointed out my combover.