Why Apples Are for Creatives: The Truth, the Lie, and the Surprising Case for Universal Healthcare.

Apple computers are for creatives. 

 You know what I mean...

You know what I mean...

You often here that over and over again. Apple is what creatives use. Mac is the best system. Etc. 

It's hard to be critical of this statement in the world of professional photography or design. LOTS of people use Apple products, may it be an iPhone, Macbook, or iMac. 

But why? Ignoring the historical significance (Apple having build computers that could handle the tough graphic requirements of the past), Apple sits in a very odd place in the creative industry.

In a world where raw computing power under the hood should triumph over a polished modern exterior, we don't see that trend very often. PC / non Apple computers and laptops can be far more powerful at a cheaper price. So why aren't they adopted more widely?

Apple sits itself squarely in a 'Form over Function' argument. Their products look pretty and they are designed well. The strive for minimalism and easy of use. It is beauty in design. Now, functionally, some things may be all over the map (see: Apple Maps), but that isn't the primary concern of these products. The easy of use and modern exterior makes these a dream to look at and often a very pleasant experience to use.

This core philosophy, form over function, is often at the heart of designers. Architects, photographers, designers: we all want to make functional pieces of art, but we do need to consider the form. We want these things to look pretty. It comes naturally that someone who is in the business of form > function will use a machine built around that principle too.

 Forbidden fruit (Coincidentally an apple? I think not).

Forbidden fruit (Coincidentally an apple? I think not).

One big part of Apple's dominance in the creative world is what I call the 'Forbidden Fruit' argument. People know its expensive and over priced. People know its only for the elites. So that's why people use it: because it seems like the 'wrong' thing to do in some cases. It makes it appear like you are well off and have lots of cash to spend. Your business must be doing well, or you MUST be a great photographer if you own ____ machine. 

There's also the case for conformity. If everyone uses Apple, I should too, right? Ironically, in a world built around individuality, creativity, and fighting against the status quo (i.e, you're an artist), people tend to flock towards Apple. Apple has built a very loyal fanbase with many dedicated followers...and if you are in the creative industry, your competition or co-workers are likely using the system too.

This is a good and bad thing. On the plus side, Apples proprietary services work very well with each other. iMessages works great, along with other Apple programs which tend to work very well with their iPhones. This means you can easily translate or communicate with your clients, who are likely using Apple products too. 

The downside, in an odd way, is that if you arent part of this system, you are ostracized. I use a Samsung phone, and it often makes me stand out in a group of creative people, even if its for mundane activities, like texting contact information to each other in a photoshoot. 

Its peer pressure, but this time with lots of money and tech involved.

The thing that makes Apple so great is that so many people use it. Which is an equally good reason why you should use it too. In a weird way, it makes for a parallel with universal health care, or buying health insurance in general in America: The system would work great if everyone used it and bought into it. Although conversely, it means everyone has to buy into it, and it does, limit some freedoms. 

If people didn't use iMessage, there wouldn't be such a huge desire for it. If no one had iPhones, why would we even bother with iMessages? 

Apple's ecosystem works because it has lots of branches. Lots of users, and lots of programs that work in harmony. Once you break away from that harmony you just run into more and more problems. I have issues with my Mac and Android phone working well at times, so i'm either forced to buy an iPhone when I need a new phone, or buy a PC (it's going to be the later).

So is apple bad? Is it the devil reincarnate? No, of course not. Apple makes great products. Their laptops are built VERY well, and their screens are quite good (this goes for iMacs too). Their phones are often built quite well and run very smoothly. Everything works well together. Expensive, sure, but it works well if you constantly update the products and have the money to do so.

Now, on the flip side: I think a lot of work that people do (especially creatives) benefits from not being on the Apple ecosystem. You can upgrade computers more easily, have better options for screens or external peripherals (ex: you dont feel inclined to use the apple mouse, which isn't great for professional use), and it comes at a cheaper cost, which is great for your business. With Windows Operating System getting better and with more players coming into the ring with innovative products (Razer, HP, etc), the typical consumer and "pro-sumer" now have a HUGE array of options that can help their workflow. Want a laptop with a touch screen? Done. Want a laptop without a glossy screen? Also done. Want a wide, 21:9 monitor? Done done done. 

I think if you have the disposal money to spend, Apple is wonderful. However, in the long run, you'll realize that you spend many more thousands to run programs that maybe aren't as essential as you thought. Capture one Pro, the entire Adobe Suite, Maya, etc. all run on both programs. So realistically, the machine that allows for the easiest upgrades should be the system you buy into...but that's always up to you.

There's that irony in the sense that lots of people constantly complain about 1000 dollar Apple phones (One. Thousand. Dollars.) or overly expensive iMacs (which can't be upgraded), but continue to use these products. They don't see any other options on the horizon, so they continue to use what they like. For me, this is ironic because it seems to go against what most artists believe in, which is this sense of freedom and expression, this yearning to explore and try new things. Instead, we get conformity... now, its not a bad conformity, especially with regards to peer pressure in the industry or how a well oiled machine Apple can be...but its seems decidedly unartistic to blindly stick with one huge corporate conglomerate. 

Lastly, I think Apples recent decisions in their phone and laptops are reason enough for the pro users to not want them. The appalling lack of a headphone jack is just...stupid. And having a PRO laptop with a standard USB port? Without a dedicated Ethernet plug? You gotta be kidding me. Yes, they pave the future for better bluetooth or usb-c, etc etc etc. But in a creative world that is power hungry for better machines and that is constantly upgrading / changing, Apple just gets left behind in the dust if you look close enough, all while charging a premium.

Now, pitchforks down for a second.

While it seems like i'm hating on the Apple system, I do like what they do. Their operating system is fantastic on Computers, despite having some major limitations in some departments. I think the biggest problem is that people don't realize that there are better solutions out there. People are still stuck with the mindset that Apples are for creatives, or that they are far more powerful than their PC counterparts. This goes for phones too. 

So what should you do? Try giving both a shot. Try using an Android phone or a windows PC for a bit. Android / PC (i.e not apple) tends to be harder to use, but generally has much more flexibility than the Apple counter parts. Give it a shot the next time your Apple product needs replacing in 2-4 years because you can't upgrade it!