May 28, 2019

Note: I originally wrote this for a first year college writing course. The goal was to write an essay of praise about someone or something, and so while there are a lot of things I hate about Apple (*cough* unreliable keyboards *cough*) I focused on all the good Apple has brought us. I hope you enjoy my attempt at pretending to be a complete Apple fanboy!

Today, our lives are dominated by a few large technology corporations. Amazon controls the e-commerce industry, Google has a monopoly on web browsers and search engines, Microsoft Windows is the most-used desktop operating system. But no tech company has made as significant of an impact on our personal lives as Apple. By melding together the liberal arts and humanities with clever technology, Apple has continued to change the relationship we have with our devices—from the Macintosh in 1984 to the Apple Watch in 2015.

The Macintosh

Apple has always been committed to bringing accessible and intuitive technology to its customers. In the early 1980s personal computers were mainly used hobbyists and nerds. Apple changed that with the Macintosh computer, bringing personal computing to the mass public. Before computers like the Macintosh, the only way to control computers were through strange magical incantations like “grep” or “ls”. The Macintosh was different. Each program or task had a familiar and direct real-world analogue—you could create a “document” and place them in “folders” or throw them away in the “trash”. You could have never used a computer before and the Macintosh would still feel familiar- greeting you with a friendly smile.

The iPod

In 1984, the Macintosh changed the way people use computers, but Apple’s story does not end there. In 2001, Apple created the iPod—changing the way people listen to music forever. With Steve Job’s same intuition for thoughtful and easy-to-use design, the iPod’s portability and “click wheel” mechanism revolutionized people’s ability to listen to music from anywhere. No longer did we have to carry countless cassettes and CDs just to listen to 20 songs---right in our pocket was the potential of more than 1000 songs. Many have tried to match the popularity of the iPod, but none could. Only Apple itself could create a product more popular than the iPod.

The iPhone

In 2007, Apple announced three devices: “a revolutionary phone, a touchscreen iPod, and a breakthrough internet communication device”. These were not three devices, but one: the iPhone. No other device in the 21st Century has come close to changing the daily life of every single person as much as the iPhone has. The iPhone was the most personal computer—there was no keyboard or click wheel, but direct interaction through a tap of a finger. Like the Macintosh before it, the iPhone brought in a new and more intuitive way to interact with technology. “Slide to Open” it said, and with a slide of a finger a whole new world was opened.

The iPhone changed everything. For the first time in history, people had access to the whole knowledge of the internet, could talk to their friends, listen to music, read a book, and from anywhere in the world. For the first time in history, anyone could be a photographer or a videographer with a device cheaper and more portable than any DSLR camera. Now, smartphones are so ubiquitous that non-smartphone phones are being called ‘dumb phones’. Samsung Galaxy, Huawei Mate, Google Pixel, and simply every single smartphone in the market today has its roots in the original iPhone.

The Past

Despite the success of the Mac, iPod, and iPhone, there have been multiple times in Apple’s history where all hope seemed to be lost. During these times, when at the absolute bottom, Apple continually persevered and rose up like a phoenix from its ashes. In 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, leading to a twelve-year dark period of confusing product lines and failures, finally culminating in near-bankruptcy. But in 1997, the prodigal son returned when Apple bought Steve Jobs’ new company, NeXT, bringing not just Steve Jobs back to Apple, but also Scott Forstall—who was largely responsible for making the iPhone what it is today.

The Future

In 2011, the death of Steve Jobs brought doubt and disbelief from the media of Apple's continued success without its visionary leader. Many of Apple’s rivals awaited the return of the 1990’s Apple. But Apple was in good hands with its new CEO: Tim Cook. By staying true to their core values and limitless perseverance, Apple proved naysayers wrong and continued to innovate---creating even more personal and accessible products, such as the Apple Watch. It was first new product after Steve Jobs’ death and was initially met with criticism for being too slow and lacking vision. These criticisms did not stop Apple, and they continued to refine and improve their product to satisfy the needs of their customers—such as with health features like heart-rate monitoring and built-in EKG. Another example is AirPods—criticized at launch for being ugly and having weak battery life, now being heralded as the most innovative product Apple has recently released. Anywhere you go, you can find someone wearing AirPods.

Aside from their dedication to innovation and health, Tim Cook’s Apple added another value to its list—privacy. In today’s world, personal privacy has become a controversial issue. It seems as if every week, there is some news story about some new way Facebook is stealing its users’ data. Google, with their control of the browser, is also able to track every webpage anyone visits—creepily using that data to sell to advertisers. As if taken straight out of a dystopia, Amazon and Google with their Echo and Home devices now have the ability to always listen to every conversation in your home. Big Brother is always watching. Apple, on the other hand, is dedicated to privacy. On their text and video messaging platforms, iMessage and FaceTime, everything is encrypted so not even Apple can read or listen to your messages. All the commands given to Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, are processed on-device so that Apple is unable to listen in on conversations.

With well-designed, easy-to-use products and dedication to its customer’s satisfaction, privacy, and health, Apple has truly proved itself as a driving force for good and social change in our present-day society.

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