The Apple in Eden?


I posted a draft of this on Google+ in reaction to comments on Dan Gillmor’s post about trends in Apple’s hardware and user interface.

Most of the comments from +Chris Pirillo ‘s repost of this seem to focus on why Apple stuff should only be bought by people who like it, or sentiments to that effect. For me, as usual, I’m in the middle.

I started with PCs way back. Waaayyyy back. Switched to Macs in the late 80s for job reasons, and never really looked back, but maintained my ‘bilingual’ proficiency. However, recently I got both an iPad and an iPhone, and find myself both delighted and alarmed.

The reasons +Dan Gillmor explains are part of the picture. I like Apple. Regarding content on their mobile devices, they have taken on the role of a benevolent dictator, as has Google with ChromeOS. I am willing to include that aspect as a PART of my information environment, but I really want a more open environment, and I really want more control over my information environment. I recently read the series by Allan Wallace about a societal crash following abuses in a heavily controlled information environment. Not that well written, but the premise is EXTREMELY credible, based on what I’m seeing recently, both in technology and in libraries and publishing. I read every word of every volume, and highlighted heavily.

In addition to those, I’ve recently stumbled onto tools and sites like GoodGuide, which test, analyze and share analyses of health, environment & social consciousness in products and companies. I was shocked, absolutely shocked. I’ve always thought of Apple as the good guys, counter culture, socially aware and responsible, and now I am really questioning that assumption.

GoodGuide: Apple Computer
GoogdGuide: International Business Machines Corporation
(Yes, this is comparing apples and paper, but it is still interesting.

So it’s complicated. Right now, I actively use 3 Apple devices, with 2 more in the house and half a dozen more in pieces in the garage. It is hard for me to even consider that Apple might not be as shiny and crisp as the outer layer appears. One of the researchers I know currently testing the eco-safety of the iPhone told me we have a duty to pressure companies to be more responsible with managing e-waste through the entire lifecycle of a product, and that includes e-cycling when the consumer is done using it. At the very least, we need to be pressing Apple and all computing and electronics companies to be more responsible in that area. But as a benevolent dictator determining what goes in the App Store and on our computers? I definitely want to have multiple alternatives, easily accessible.


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