Few technology companies get into the news– for better or worse– as much as Apple. From scandal to accolades, from fake news to financial facts, Apple Inc often resides in the middle of our collective mindshares.
A few events in recent weeks popped up on my oddity radar screen and, combined, they seem to be at opposite ends of the information spectrum, yet, there they are, living in cahoots with reality.
Sales & Info
The first popped up publicly a few weeks ago when Apple announced its most recent financials for the previous quarter and last year. Apple is rich, Apple made a lot of money, blah blah blah. Oh, and the Mac had a record year. Really?
The second popped up when Apple introduced the highly anticipated 16-inch MacBook Pro which upped the ante in the specification wars. Well, we know specs don’t matter so what was eye-popping on the new MBP.
The keyboard. Gone is the Jony Ive Doctrine of thinner, lighter, faster, replaced by a little more pragmatism. The new MacBook does not have the much-maligned butterfly design of Ive’s era, but was replaced with… insert Mac360’s famous drum roll here… the iMac’s Magic Keyboard. A notebook keyboard from yesteryear.
Four out of five Macs are notebooks, and until the new MacBook Pro, all Mac notebooks featured the much-hated butterfly design you’ve read about for four years; the design that broke often, caused headaches more frequently, and cost as much as a used car to repair.
Basically, Apple admitted the design was faulty, despite two additional versions, caved into public pressure, launched a comprehensive repair program, and built a new Mac notebook with an old keyboard design.
The question that struck me after these events should be obvious to others.
Why did people keep buying Mac notebooks even after four years of butterfly keyboard problems that infected perhaps tens of thousands of customers in a high profile, highly public scandal?
Why would Mac customers continue to buy what was obviously faulty and discredited?
That consideration led me to the obvious. Nobody– and by nobody I mean most people— pays attention. From news outlets to TV shows to umpteen hundreds of bloggers who trashed Apple and the Mac’s keyboard problem, the general buying public was buying Mac notebooks in record numbers.
What’s going on?
The answer might be available in Jay Leno’s famous Jaywalking segment on The Tonight Show.
Leno asks people questions about current news and other topics in public areas around Los Angeles… Most responses are outrageously incorrect; for example, one person believed that Abraham Lincoln was the first president, and another could not identify a picture of Hillary Clinton. Sometimes the questions are of the “What color is the White House?” level, such as asking in what country the Panama Canal is located.
See the problem? People, in general, are not paying attention to the rest of life that goes on around them. I delayed buying a new Mac notebook because of the butterfly keyboard fiasco. I mentioned that to a friend, an iPhone 11 Pro user who gets a new iPhone every two years, who then asked if I was ready to buy now.
I said “No.” Why not? Because the Mac notebooks still don’t have Face ID. I want Face ID. My friend asked, “What’s Face ID?”
The world is a crazy, mixed-up, complicated place and there is just too much going on for people to keep up. All most people know is, “Macs are better than Windows PCs” and they don’t know why or how it matters.
A massive keyboard problem that makes the news just never sunk into the public’s collective considerations for the day.