As an Apple fan, I love former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s new guide for iPhone users who want to switch to Android. I miss the days when fans owned an Apple product for it’s coolness, not because they thought the product would make them appear cool. I miss the days when Apple wasn’t mainstream. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, I welcome an exodus of bandwagon iPhone adopters. If Eric Schmidt wants to help them pack, I’ll gladly stamp their passport.
Apple fans used to be insiders. We still are. At my high-school there were snowboarders and pseudo-boarders. Neither was better than the other, but this was a distinguishing fact. The first group bought snowboards from a particular brand because they felt it offered the best possible experience. A few people from the second group did the same because they wanted to project an image. The problem was, they didn’t shred. The moment they bought a snowboard they become snowboard owners, not snowboarders. The same concept applies to Apple products, or Google products or Sony products.
I used a Mac as a design student in college because it oozed design. It wasn’t a mere design tool—it was designed beautifully and design begets design. I didn’t use a Mac because I thought it would make me fit in. The crowds used computers running Windows. I was one of the crazy ones. I relished then, as I relish now, the opportunity to stand apart from the crowd. And there’s always a crowd. As Eric points out, 80% of the world “agrees on Android.” That number will never reach 100% and I’m glad there will always be nonconformists. The individuals who lead flocks rather than join them provide the world with interesting options. Individuals like Steve Jobs.
When Jobs and his cadre established Apple they were thinking different. When Apple was separated from Steve, a bite was taken out of more than just Apple’s logo. Apple fans, Steve’s fellow mavericks, remained faithful but were looked upon as outsiders. As Apple’s products began to stray, enough of Steve remained to keep the dream alive. Though it nearly died, Steve returned and Apple revived. Now Steve is permanently separated from Apple, but again the mavericks remain. As portions of this pattern repeat and Apple enters it’s second post-Jobs slump (if only by not introducing a new category-defining product like the iPad as quickly as the world has come to expect), there’s more than enough of it’s founder baked into the brand keep the dream alive. Surely new ideas are hatching as well. I take Apple’s lull in first-gen product launches as a sign that the emerging ducklings have been wisely thought-out and will not turn out ugly. Some people won’t wait around to find out, but I will.
I believe in the abilities of Tim, Jony and the entire Apple team to produce one more thing that awes. I believe Apple University will keep the culture of innovation innovative. Like the turtlenecks that wrapped Steve’s collar, I believe Apple’s new campus will encircle bold new ideas that will again change the world.
I also believe Eric’s opening statement, “Many of my iPhone friends are converting to Android,” is false. In reality, iPhone users drawn to Android can’t be converted as they never were disciples. They were iPhonies.
Did Jobs hate Android? Perhaps. Do I hate Android? No. If you want to embrace Android, I won’t try to stop you. I also won’t be Siri to see you go.