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VALUES EQUAL PROFITS

APPLE CASTRATO

I learned recently of a late 19th century Russian sect, the Skoptsy.

The Skoptsy were a radical sect within the larger Spiritual Christianity movement in Tsarist Russia, best known for practicing castration of men and the mastectomy of women in accordance with their teachings against sexual lust.

Let’s now consider Apple bloggers.

No, wait. First, more on the Skoptsy, as I find this notion of genital mutilation so abhorrent and shocking and unnecessary, yet am mildly fascinated by a human’s commitment to their ideals so dearly that they would literally emasculate their body.

The Skoptsy referred to themselves as the “White Doves.” Their aim was the perfection of the individual, by eradicating Original Sin, which they believed had come into the world by the first coitus between Adam and Eve. They believed that human genitals were the true mark of Cain, and that the true message of Jesus Christ included the practice of castration, that Jesus himself had been a castrate, and that his example had been followed by the apostles and the early Christian saints.

The Skoptsy, we are told, totaled 100,000 members at its peak, a shockingly high number, but Soviet oppression and reality ultimately brought an end to the movement. Apple’s newest iPhone includes an OLED screen, a charging plate, and no home button. Just like Samsung’s device, from 2015.

And?

Loop Insight:

“Stop stealing and pay the money (Samsung.)”

Stratechery:

“Delight”

“Apple at its Best”

“Samsung doom”

This is what passes as thoughtful analysis.

I thought we’d be farther along than this, honestly.

Of course, when analyzing the largest conglomerate in the world you must also consider more than just product. For example, as a progressive American who believes we should take care of everyone and everything forever and ever — and know this, I am happy to pay my fair share, please, tax me more, I have enough, I want to make sure others can get a leg up and climb the ladder, that’s what an inclusive, tolerant, equal America is all about.

Six Colors:

“I’d argue that it’s the responsibility of the people employed by public corporations to use every single legal option available to reduce their companies’ tax burdens.”

Of course he would.

Daring Fireball:

“The problem isn’t Apple’s tax structure, it’s U.S. law.”

These statements are exactly — literally, exactly — what I would expect the PR representative of (any) large global conglomerate to say. Basically, LOWER THE TAXES AND THEN WE’LL PAY THEM!

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I can use an iPhone and note just how much Apple’s newest device borrows from Samsung, or others.

I can be proud that Americans in America built Apple Inc — while simultaneously decrying that the company now does everything it can to skirt our tax laws.

I understand the benefits to many, including myself, of an interlocked global economy, but am rightly concerned that Apple’s outsourcing of iPhone manufacturing to China directly limits the opportunities for many here in its home country. Oh, and I can be doubly concerned about what China might be doing with Apple’s tech given that its government has literally outlawed anonymity on the web and does not allow for do-not-track.

And every single Apple blogger and every single Apple fan and every single Apple user should have the courage to state these.

I understand. You want something to believe in. You want a tangible representation of what you hope will be the future — and you want others to know that you are on the right side of history. Fair enough. But we need to demand more completeness, more honesty, more facts from those who speak for and about Apple. We are vigorous, complicated, grown human beings, not self-infantilized adults insisting anime is captivating when really it’s just a sad, small escape from the tumble and rough of the world. iPhone delights you? Really? Okay, fine. But also call out Apple’s contorted privacy stance. Believe no other company makes products as magical as Apple? Sure. Now deride the company for depleting its focus on irrelevant content deals and Hollywood star fucking. Think having the very latest iPhone, along with the Apple Watch and those earbuds reveals you as a person of matter and means? Well, I can’t help you with that but you can still — believe me on this — find it in yourself to call out Apple for spending billions inside an anti-democratic country.

If you believe Apple is the best there is think of how much better it could be if you were honest with them.

And if you make your money by promoting Apple, I completely understand any hesitancy you may have in criticizing the company. But care about your readers! Consider your values! Maybe broach these subjects by simply linking to an alternative view: a report on China’s web practices, say, or an analysis of the plight of the working class in America. Couch your barest of suggestions for doing better in terms of a slavish concern for everyone, nobody can fault you for that.

You wish Apple pays more taxes because…

You want manufacturing moved out of China because…

You’re smart enough to figure this out. And you’re not bad people. Right?

IF IT AINT FIXED BREAK IT

Apple released the iPhone X with Superbowl-like pomp but little circumstance last week, the very same week it reminded us that it makes a lot of money, more money than any other (publicly listed) corporation in the world.

And?

Yes, I’m bored, and I suspect so are you.

It’s now rote. It’s now sadly predictable. LOOK AT ME!

LOOK!

I have the new iPhone!

This is the iPhone X. TEN! EX! Ha!

ARE YOU LOOKING!

SEE! ANIMOJI!

I HAVE FACE ID AND YOU DON’T!

This is what they want you to spend $1,000+ on?

What need is the newest iPhone fulfilling? What hole is it filling? You’re not more empowered, you’re not more connected,  you’re likely not more creative, you may in fact become less so, so enamored are you with the new and the shiny and playful.

The great irony of Apple is that it finally has the resources and user base to create the future, but it no longer possesses the vision.

Apple can’t even get the UI right for the *tenth* incarnation of its own iPhone.

Watch Apple’s own UI tutorial video. Yes, yes, the Genius is lesbian, that’s how you know Apple is on your side, the right side of history. Fine. But its product? Watch. No, wait. Hand your shiny new iPhone X to your mother or father or your son or daughter. Now have them watch this video, and play along. The entire UI is a shocking mess, hot garbage, it’s almost a parody, a thing someone in a college dorm might make to mock Apple.

Swipe from the bottom, then pause, then swipe…

Swipe down from the top right.

Press firmly on these buttons…

“To turn your iPhone off, press and hold the side button, and either volume button, then swipe.”

I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!

Want to use your $1,000 iPhone X to make purchases?

“Double click the side button, glance at your iPhone to authenticate, and hold your iPhone near the terminal.”

Magic!

DEAR LORD, HERE, JUST TAKE MY CREDIT CARD!

There are times when I get angry, but I am not angry now. Just disappointed. Again.

What is Apple’s purpose?

Outsourcing all its manufacturing to anti-democratic China? Dodging Europe’s tax laws? We know the company makes more money than everyone else, which is absolutely an achievement, but for us, those of us who remember when Apple was about more than making money, about more than having lines of business that — as the cheerleaders never tire of telling us — are bigger on their own than competing conglomerates, where is the joy?

U2, still the biggest band in the world, has released several new songs.

Each sounds exactly like a current U2 song.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. U2 knows what it’s good at, understands what it’s great at, desperately doesn’t want to disappoint its fans, obviously fears not making enough money to keep the entire U2 ecosystem well paid and happy, and the new music is, well I suppose it’s fine. But it’s not going to nourish your spirit. It’s happy background noise, which, fair enough,is a positive in this overwhelming world, but also a reminder that neither U2, nor Apple, are going to get us to that next signpost, nor even point the way there.

Apple is our General Electric.

It doesn’t know us, it doesn’t care to know us, we are its market, one of many, but we are also — still, for now — it’s most important market.

Fine. Let’s start making demands.

Rush Limbaugh, the popular American conservative radio host, is probably Apple’s biggest fan. Certainly, he’s the iPhone’s most vocal cheerleader. Limbaugh also loves capitalism and professes his joy in “criminal” profits, which no doubt Apple Inc, world’s largest, richest, most profitable corporation, has in spades. But I wish Limbaugh would take Apple to task for its betrayal of its roots.

We can!

Let’s all of us — including the cheerleaders who in all other ways insist they are “progressive” — demand Apple move its manufacturing out of China, the very country that has outlawed access to information its ruling government finds displeasing and which does not allow anyone to opt-out of its personal web tracking, and which is devouring America’s and Europe’s patents and innovations and very best technologies.

Let’s all of us — including the cheerleaders who in all other ways insist they are “progressive” — demand Apple pay its fair share of taxes.

Let’s all of us force Apple, and I am not sure how we do this, to end the primacy of ecosystem profits and focus instead on usabilitiy, user experience, and use cases.

Let’s make Apple care about us, not just our checkbook.

Apple has lost its way. Let’s help them find it again. We’ll all be the better for it.

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