One more thing
Despite what we’ve seen in many Westerns, living in the Old West wasn’t much fun. Life was cheap, times were hard and people didn’t smell so good. I reckon it was particularly bad for the gunslingers – the good ones, the ones who lived long enough to become legends. What a pain in the backside their lives must have been, their fame ensuring that wherever they turned, some hip young gunslinger would be there to try and take them on.
And eventually, one of those youngsters would win. The legend would have an off day, distracted by a whisky hangover, thoughts of lusty maidens or the kind of severe toilet disasters you’d be bound to encounter in an age of poor sanitation. A moment’s hesitation, a failure to check behind a door or underneath a horse, and some bum-fluff beard in a black hat would pop six shots through your skull. Apple probably knows how that feels.
I’m writing this in the middle of an online storm about Apple’s software, with many people suggesting that if Apple treated hardware the same way it currently treats OS updates it’d be shipping MacBook Airs with missing screws. I’m not convinced that Apple’s quality is in precipitous decline. Hasn’t it always been pretty ropey on the software side, especially when that software connects to web-based services? MobileMe, anybody? But there have been plenty of high profile problems with OS X and iOS.
If the best its competitors could come up with was Windows Vista and BlackBerrys, then that wouldn’t be a problem. But while some rivals are still pulling their guns and repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot – I’m thinking of something beginning with “W” and ending with “indows 8” – others are getting better at what they do. Take Android, for example. Five years ago the OS was a mess and the phones a joke. Not any more.
Maybe it’s that Apple is trying to do too much. Or maybe it’s that Apple’s popularity and click-worthiness means molehills are being blown up to mountain size for traffic. Either way, I’m reminded of our grizzled gunslinger. Apple really can’t afford to have an off day any more. Because while the company still makes the best stuff, the alternatives have got an awful lot better – and they often cost an awful lot less too.
Nowadays Apple is the legend that everybody wants to take on, and some of the youngsters hiding behind horses and saloon doors are pretty good shots.
Apple is the legend everybody wants to take on – foes are hiding behind horses and saloon doors