Apple has always been a fashionable company. They have always focused on design more than their competitors; they have presented their wares as distinctive in their creation, marketing, and use; and they have set themselves apart through attention to detail. These choices were almost never popular when Apple made them; get rid of a floppy drive, an optical drive, an old port, or stop supporting your aging OS and people lambast you as a poor steward of your consumers’ best technological interests. Of course, those same people almost always come around and Apple’s difficult decisions become the easy standard to follow. Based on Apple’s ability to pave the way for new technological innovation, the Apple Watch is largely seen as a middling product by Apple, too focused on fashion and not enough focused on the technology itself, but Apple has always been fashionable; this preference toward the aesthetically pleasing didn’t start with the Watch.
Stephen Hackett has written extensively on Apple’s History, so I would be remiss not to at least mention his work. Stephen’s most recent project dove head first into the iMac G3 and the machine continues to astound in design, technological trade-offs, and advertising. Although the story of Andy Warhol marveling at the Macintosh is well documented, the iMac G3 might as well have been one of his artistic installations. The iMac G3 is often discussed as the computer that saved Apple, which is interesting insofar as the computer eschewed many technologies that were standard for the day, the most memorable of which was the floppy drive. Also interesting from a technology standpoint was the fact that the iMac didn’t come with a way to write data onto any other form of media, so the absence of a floppy drive meant a harder sell than one might think today.
My first Mac was the PowerBook G4 I took with me to college. I used that computer well after I graduated and was still able to sell it for a good amount when I did. While the PowerBook didn’t have obvious trade-offs necessarily (the lack of certain display ports notwithstanding), models of the MacBook line that superseded it did. When the optical drive went away with the first generation MacBook Air, I immediately said good riddance, but that is not the case for some, as the 13” MacBook Pro that provides a built-in optical drive is still sold at this time. That being said, Apple’s portable computer line has continued to differentiate itself by the amount of computing power fit into the smallest of packages and Apple’s preference for thinner and lighter in portable computers has never been a secret.
Arguably, Apple’s first wearable was the iPod. The iPod Shuffle originally came with a lanyard, versions of the iPods Nano and Shuffle could be clipped on. Prior to the Apple Watch, there was a plethora of options for strapping an iPod Nano to your wrist. White headphones were the ubiquitous sign that you were in the know on well-designed, fashionable technology, even when it was not considered the best technology available.
Apple shows its attention to detail and design in everything it does, so it shouldn’t be surprising that their advertising shares that same penchant. Below are representative ads from the above-discussed technologies (and an couple extras for comparison) that show this preference. Most of these ad campaigns are now considered iconic.
Mac vs. PC
The thesis of this post, if there is one, is Apple’s historical leaning toward the fashionable. The Apple Watch may be the first technology the company released with the intention of being sold within a fashion context, but Apple has always been a fashionable brand and focused on those details that made products better and more desirable, even if that meant potential pain points that initially chose form over function. Traditional technology brands like Microsoft, Palm, or Blackberry laughed at the iPhone because of its price tag or lack of a physical keyboard, but in the end were seen rushing to catch up with Apple’s innovations, both technologically and aesthetically. Just ask Andy Warhol and the billions of other people who have decided Apple products are right for them.
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The Challenges of 2020
TL;DR: Follow this link.
One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the “all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.
My wife and I meet with my “home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.
I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.
In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.
These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.
I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:
Thanks to a $10,000 ‘matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our “2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.
KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.
Thank you for your consideration.