Anti-Apple: Has The Worm Turned?

After an amazing year for Apple in 2004 many of us imagined big things for the firm for 2005 as the New Year approached. Even PSFK. Then, as the bells…

After an amazing year for Apple in 2004 many of us imagined big things for the firm for 2005 as the New Year approached. Even PSFK. Then, as the bells rung midnight on New Year’s Eve, something seemed to happen: Apple started to look a little grumpy, look a little bit greedy and look a little bit like its old nemesis Microsoft.

Yes, we know we heard the ‘good news‘ last week about some new Apple products and, yes, the reaction was ‘warm‘ but something started us wondering: PSFK can’t tell for sure but… we think we’ve noticed a critical shift in opinion against Apple. Yeah. Sorry.

One of the biggest signs, of course, was the reaction by the blog community to Apple’s attempt to sue the 19 year old blogger, Nicholas Ciarelli, who runs ‘ThinkSecret’. Apple claims that the site was giving away Trade Secrets when it released news about forthcoming product launches at the end of last year. All the commentators reacted including Godin, Ochman, Gillmor – and the press even noticed. Anastasia Goodstein at youth monitor Ypulse suggested that if Apple wants to keep its elite status among youth they should consider backing off from legal challenges to blogs like ThinkSecret.

But it’s not just the reaction to the law suit that sends signals about the precarious state of Apple’s image. Here and there, we spot negative comments about the mass market fascination of the little white box(es) – check out this cheeky manifesto. And this parody of the Apple store suggests just how absurdly the brand could stretch itself (and there would still be buyers!).

And then there’s the whispers about Apple’s less than fair behaviour. One blogger discovered a hidden feature in the Ipod: the ability to record high quality audio. After creating a hack he says:

"I suspect the next version of the iPod won’t allow booting in to Linux and/or this type of recording. Enjoy it while you can. With all the podcasting people out there Apple should consider not crippling our iPods so we can all use iPods to record, Apple could do this now with a simple software update…or I guess I can keep booting in to Linux and never update this iPod or just buy a cheap recorder."

Hang on a second: doesn’t that all sound like an opinion that most folk, we’ve been told, hold about the behavior of Bill Gates and gang?

(And just look at the 100 or so further comments around the hack).

Of course there will always be some grey hairs who ‘believe’ but one can’t help but think that two white ‘phones jammed in the ears is getting to look a little bit ‘chav‘.

Still not convinced? OK, let’s do some numbers. Technorati is a frequently updated mega-directory of blog posts. If we compare the number of posts that mention ‘I Love Apple’ versus ‘I Hate Apple’ we find that a 4:1 Love/Hate Ratio. Pretty good, yeah? But that means nearly 20% of those blog posts mention hatred towards Apple. That’s a pretty big proportion, no?

‘I Love Apple’ Count : 237 less 14 for Apple Cider less 17 for Apple Pie

‘I Hate Apple’ Count : 49 less 1 for Apple Pie

Ok, ok. So it’s not the 1:3 Love/Hate ration that Microsoft has on Technorati:

‘I Love Microsoft’ Count : 62

I Hate Microsoft’ Count : 156

…but does this ratio and Apple’s 4/1 ratio reflect what we’ve all been told all along: that everyone loves Apple and everyone hates Microsoft?

We’re not too sure anymore. Times are a-changing and maybe the worm is a-turning too.

All you iPod and iMac fans – we’re sorry: it’s just something PSFK feels is going on. Anyway, maybe it’s time for a change. Apple has been so ‘early 00s’ anyway. Shouldn’t we have a new iMedia champion for the next half of the decade?

And who would that be out of all the possibilities?? Erm, damn, it could even be the dull hardware yet amazing service provider Dell!

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