John Robb uses his ipad
John Robb uses his ipad

Whilst LTW boss John Robb has argued that Apple are ‘The Beatles of these times’ and wonders how he could do all his creative stuff without Apple, David Newbury disagrees with him…

John Robb uses his ipad
John Robb uses his ipad
The death of a man in his 50’s from cancer is a truly awful event. My heart goes out to those close to Steve Jobs, an innovator, a loved family man. Thousands die each year from pancreatic cancer with each death affecting family, friends and loved ones, but the death of Steve Jobs affects not only those close to him, but also the victims of a culture subjugated by Apple.

Jobs’ impact on the 21st centre is unarguable: He created a culture of the throwaway and the elitist-a society trained to obsess over the ”Ëœshiny shiny pretty nice’ like a missionary showing a candle to the imperial colonies. Each new Apple product is launched with the pomp and ceremony of the World Fair and immediately renders redundant all previous models.

The recent launch of the iPhone 4S will generate millions for Apple-from people who ready own iPhones- purely for a better camera and a faster chip. The iPad 2 is just a thinner version of the original with a camera. This is Apple’s legacy, have an idea-rehash it over again, make people spend more. Technology became disposable and therefore passé. The wonders which enable blogging on the go, is now so engraved on society that creative writing, thinking and comment is diminishing.

The Daily Mail’s recent online publishing of the wrong Amanda Knox verdict exemplifies the fall in standards Apple’s access to information has created. The need to know information NOW means the checks which took place in journalism is no longer there- such a false piece would never have seen the light in purely print. As with the Primal Scream/ Theresa May debacle-a spot of research would have revealed it was The Dandy Warhols, but a retweet on an iPhone meant it was suddenly unsubbed truth.

Apple’s obsessions with making content available to everyone all the time could potentially affect our legal system. The naming of super injunction claimants on Twitter is a libel and something professional press wouldn’t touch (Giles Coren doesn’t count) but throwaway consumerism still wants it and iPhones and iPads enable it. Ed Milliband recently said Journalists should be licenced, which is a stupid idea of course. Journalists are trained professionals and a NCTJ and NUJ card should cover it. Licencing Bloggers on the other hand”¦..

Besides, Jobs’ products are expensive. A decent Macbook is a grand, iPad £500, and an iPhone on a contact around £150. Only a few people can afford new products. Yes it’s cheaper for older ones, but these are obsolete- it’s like buying a band’s bargain bin first album when they’re on their third. Apple addressed this by releasing iPod Nano’s and Shuffles, but are these entry level products for kids or merely the Aldi of technology?

There is a privileged elite who can have these pretty things while the rest make do with clunky old PC’s. As John Robb mentioned in his tribute, we used to carry around type writers-with no delete- but at least it proved a desire and determination to write. Nowadays, 147 characters poked into an iPad is merely a hobby under the pretence of authority.

Then there’s iTunes. 69p a song. Surely songs are worth more than that. 99p for a 7inch felt like a scandalously cheap theft, but at least it was a badge of honour. There’s no need for a digital vs physical debate, it’s over. Just try to make sure you buy music through Pledge Music and honour Record Store Day, at least then your money is going direct to grass roots music rather than a multi-billion dollar mega corporation. Actually, don’t bother. Just download an app of record your own song in Garageband, everyone’s a creative now so it’s bound to be just as good as The Clash, Pulp, or anyone on your most played playlist.

And that’s Jobs’ legacy. Creativity is throwaway. Why have professionals when you can do it yourself- as long as it’s pretty and user friendly its legitimate. A billion voices battling for attention, but who’s really caring.

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  1. Your point about technological evolution is interesting, but it’s a common business model. Of course a business will aim to sell you a product, improve it, and sell you a better one. The same is true in the world of vacuum cleaners.

    However, I’m confused. If “everyone is a creative” why are the records I listen to all really great? Surely the odds say my ipod should be overflowing with awful music.

    That’s because I am still lucky enough to have access to curation and subjective taste. Lowering the barrier for entry to the arts isn’t a bad thing. You still have a choice.

  2. Not sure I really see the point in a lot of what you saying. The stuff about journalist tweeting isn’t really an Apple thing. And your sign off saying that Jobs legacy is ‘Creativity is throw away’ I disagree with. The Mac has always been at the front of the design and creative industries. It revolutionised how artwork was produced, from the old school way of long laborious paste ups at a drawing table, suddenly the Mac arrived and became a creative tool for graphic design, typography, photo retouching, newspaper and print production.

    • I can appreciate that Apple and their rivals have made the dissemination of bad information a lot easier and more widespread now than ever before, but also everything good too. And that’s always been the case with any form of communication tech or media. It’s people who abuse these things, not the things themselves. It’s like claiming the inventor of the screwdriver was somehow responsible for the Yorkshire Ripper – and just as inaccurate.

      Who has ever said anything posted on the Internet was Gospel anyway? As Jon above said, it’s up to the individual to self-audit and curate anything piece of intelligence that drifts through your transom.

      Besides, Apple doesn’t have the monopoly on ‘obsessions with making content available to everyone all the time’ – curiosity is a simple human trait. If you weren’t to find out some spurious piece of slanderous gossip from a Mac you’ll find it out on a PC, or the papers, or word of mouth.

      You also contradict yourself somewhat by saying that thanks to Apple, everyone has access to information all the time — yet also state that Apple products are only available to a privileged elite.

  3. This reminds of the Greenfieldism story. I point to Apple and I point to the Daily Mail publishing false stories. That’s all.

    Apple’s existence doesn’t result in the Daily Mail making up quotes and events, neither does Apple, or an iPhone, account for every retweet on Twitter. The link is entirely spurious.

    “There is a privileged elite who can have these pretty things while the rest make do with clunky old PC\’s”

    Now you just sound a bit jealous, rather than constructing a decent argument for PCs over Macs. For what it’s worth I have a MacBook Pro and a PC that’s been built and rebuilt over the last 8 years or so – the PC is still used for around 90% of my day to day work. On the road though I’ve yet to find a PC laptop, for the same price, that outperforms the MacBook – and I’ve spent most of my life during and since university hating Macs.

    True Apple churn out new products when they’re not really needed, but so do Ford, Dyson, HTC, Sony… the list goes on and on. This was happening long before Apple’s popularity hit the current high that it dwells. Claiming this is Apple’s legacy is a bit far fetched in comparison. My iPod is years old (pre-video classic) and it still works. I haven’t felt the need to ditch it at any point as it still works perfectly well. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Love from a Blackberry, Linux, Windows 7 and Apple product user.

  4. You can’t blame a product for its output – when D H Lawrence was castigated for the “obscene” Lady Chatterly’s Lover, no-one thought to lay it all at the feet of a fountain pen …

  5. Spare the mawkish condolences, this is a poorly thought out and written piece. Nearly as bad as the retweeting of misinformation that the author criticises and which has nothing to do with apple.

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  8. This is spot on. Steve Jobs did incredible harm to ordinary computer users. No company, not even Microsoft treats it’s developers and users like the enemy the way that Apple does. It’s not really an issue of creativity, it’s an issue of freedom. Freedom to use a computer in the most open way possible to maximize and fully utilize your investment in it however you wish.

    Apple computers and iPads are the most locked down devices ever seen in the mainstream computing industry, they rival government systems and dummy clients. Apple users are hustled into a virtual prison. Steve Jobs wanted it this way and he wanted to exploit the average user – without any technical ability – and force them to spend absurd amounts of money just to have a decent average everyday computing experience.

    Get Linux or FreeBSD, look them up. FreeBSD is actually the operating system that Apple bases Mac OS X on, however FreeBSD is 1000x times more powerful. If you don’t know enough about computers to use those, just go with Windows. I can’t believe I just said that!

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  13. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

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