Is Apple “Catholic”?
The unfortunate resignation of Steve Jobs as Apple’s CEO (he is now chairman, but clearly not with the same impact on the company and, I am very much afraid, not for long anyway) has reignited the old controversy whether Apple be Catholic and the PC world protestant.
I would, in the half-serious, half-joking spirit in which these comparisons are made, wholeheartedly agree.
I see the similarities as follows:
1) Apple is based on the leadership of one man. What made Apple such a wonderful weapon is the total commitment to what Steve Jobs thought right. Whilst you cannot make any serious comparison with a Pope, the contrast with the atomised PC-World is undoubtedly there.
2) Apple had a, as far as I know, unique product politics; that – following Steve Job’s creed again – you got an extremely limited palette of products.
There is only one iPhone. Granted, you can buy the old one, but basically your type choice is limited to the choice between the old one and the new one. Even in the choice of colour you are very much constrained. Compare with Nokia & Co., or with the PC producers. Apple didn’t try to please you. It brought its new product on the market and shouted: “Convert yourselves!”
The masses obliged, and believed.
3) Apple had a “love it or hate it approach”. There were no compromises. You had to accept the entire creed. Once bought an iPhone you were locked into the world of Apple apps, once again following the idea that what Jobs thinks is right, and it must be right because it’s what Jobs thinks. An entirely different planet from the anarchic, extremely fragmented world of, say, android.
4) Apple wasn’t easy. Jobs didn’t do things halfway, and he always did things his way. Consequently, he spent mind-boggling amounts in R&D, for which his clients were obviously called to foot the bill. And he gave the world extremely sleek products, for which the same clients were asked to separate themselves from an additional, substantial chunk of cash. Like the Church, Apple offered you a world of uncompromising beauty and superior intelligence, for which there is a heavy price to pay. But with Apple you couldn’t even try to dodge the unpleasant bits; you couldn’t be an apple-follower” in name only”: the phone or other device you had in your hand showed which creed you subscribed to.
Yes, there are some similarities in the comparison.
It is sad to say that – Jobs’ health problem notwithstanding – Apple seems to be in much better shape and to have a much more dedicated following than the Church. It clearly shows that the Church has no Steve Jobs around.
But on the other hand, who has…
P.s. and, obviously, one more thing. Steve Jobs is dying. I hope he uses what probably are his last weeks wisely. I will pray for him.