A Thing About Apple by Someone Who Doesn’t Know Anything About Apple

The largest company in the world announced that they would be releasing a new operating system update this summer, and one that more effectively married their mobile OS with their desktop OS to the extent that it will track and keep everything you’re doing in their half-a-million square-foot server farm in North Carolina, protected by your single login that also has financial access for you to purchase more music, movies, TV shows, “apps” and computer hardware via the Apple Store.

This is not meant to be some alarmist call to arms, it is merely a statement of fact. If you use Apple computer and entertainment hardware, you’re using Apple services to keep track of everything, as well as potentially house everything on Apple’s online servers. And Mountain Lion, as Apple calls its OS X update to 10.8, intensifies and increases that reliance to an extent potentially much deeper and stronger than the relationship that you have with any other vendor.

I’ve seen some equate this on-going evolution as an attempt by Apple to develop its own social network. It is not, because it differs in a very special way with the first and foremost goal of a social network, being that services like Facebook want you to share your everything with them and with everyone else, while Apple is only seemingly interested in getting you to share your everything just with them.

Why are they interested in doing that?

First thing that comes to my head is benign. They just want to, as a business, try to ensure that you’re fully invested in their hardware and services, and a very good way of doing that is to offer to keep all your stuff tied to an account they control. You log in to your Apple account with your Apple ID and then elect to allow them to store your stuff for you for nothing. If you want to use iTunes Match (and, hey, Apple, when are you renaming that little feature, anyway?) you pay an additional fee, but that’s primarily (or so one thinks) so that Apple can recompense the artists whose music you are holding a small fee for holding it. So, hey, nice, I’ll do that, I like artists and musicians and they deserve to get paid for the stuff they make that I like.

But everything else up in the iCloud is yours, and therefore you. Your documents, your contacts, your bookmarks, your games, your scores, your music, your movies, your TV shows – virtually anything and everything that can be digitized, as well as the records of your usage of said digitized data – it’s all up there in Apple’s Cloud.

How I feel about it is this:

Privacy is overrated.

I don’t think we have privacy now, we have the illusion of privacy. What, you don’t think your government is already tracking your whereabouts? Safeway isn’t tracking your spending habits? Google doesn’t know what porn you like by type and frequency? Your car is keeping track of your driving, and how fast, and how far, and where you go so if and when something happens, your car can tell the police. Your phone is constantly telling your phone company about you. And so on, and so forth. You may choose to turn a blind eye towards it, but you know it’s happening.

My P.O.V. on this whole thing is, “So what?”

And the reason I say this is somewhat personal. I think that our secrets destroy us. Both as individuals and as a society. And I base this on being a gay man in a society that would sometimes/often prefer to ignore that about me, or prefer that I shut up about it, so that it can continue to judge me.

Oops, I went there and this was only going to be a thing about Mountain Lion.

Okay, deep breath, regroup, rewind, back it up to the cloud, start again.

For whatever reason, and I have nothing whatever to back this up with facts or numbers, I feel okay about handing Apple these reins even though I’ve made a very direct and cognizant decision that I feel exactly the opposite way about Facebook and Google, though perhaps it is because Apple isn’t interested in broadcasting my facts and figures in the same way I believe Facebook and Google are.

Because they are.

And another thing.

The other thing of (partial, glancing) interest is the retitling of everything from an iThing to a Thing. iCal is Calendar. iChat is Messages. This makes perfect sense as it’s kind of silly/stupid to brand utilities like contact lists and calendars. It isn’t as if you’re doing something extra-ispecial in an iCal that you can’t do in a Calendar, particularly when the experience still sucks so badly.

Honestly, if anyone at Apple is reading this, please for the love of everything holy fix your fucking calendar app. I am so, so, so, so tired of clicking on a date and having the frustrating experiencing of not actually beng able to do anything until I re-click on the date after I’ve already attempted unsuccessfully to add a new appointment. That thing sucks.

Other than that, I’m meh about Mountain Lion. I assume it’ll be another cheap update (particularly after having to spend $90 to get a Windows license for my Bootcamp instance even though I only use my Windows 7 system once on this computer, but the stupid Microsoft servers don’t know the difference.

Oh! And if you’re even considering leaving the world of Apple because you don’t want them all up in your face with Cloud-based services hovering over your shoulder, I urge you to go fire up Windows 7 just once and not start crying like Cinderella’s stepmother when she realizes just how ugly and worthless her operating system is.

That is all.

February 16, 2012

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