Apple Hates You
August 6, 2019
"The power company hates me," my friend said.
"Really?" I prompted. I knew they didn't.
"Yeah," he said, "they're shutting off my power next week."
"For no reason?" I asked.
"Well, I haven't paid them in months," he said. "But, I'm never there. It can't be much."
Somehow, in his mind it was personal. They were shutting off his power because they hated him.
A month before, the Dean was kicking him out of school.
The Dean hated him too.
Actually, the Dean had put more time and effort into keeping him in school than my friend had.
And the power company? They didn't know him well enough to hate him - yet.
If I may digress for a moment...
After Kim died I changed the gas bill from her name to my name.
They insisted on coming for a final reading and closing out her account and starting mine.
"Can't you just change the name on the account?" I asked.
No. They couldn't.
Who did they think had been paying the bill in the year since she died?
In fact, if they looked back over the past 16 years of our account in this house, they would see both of our names on every check used to pay them.
They came out and calculated our final bill and mailed it to Kim.
I received it and paid it with a check with both of our names on it.
They sent me my first bill and required a deposit because I was a new customer.
For three months I paid my bill and a deposit.
I thought this was horrible.
It was offensive.
It was insulting.
I imagined all of the widows much older than me on a fixed income for whom this would have been a burden on top of losing their spouse and having to figure out all of this billing stuff.
I never thought it was personal.
I never thought anyone at the gas company hated me.
I just thought they had a bad system with bad policies and staffed it with people without the power to change the system.
And that brings me back to today.
I spend most of my time teaching public and private classes and speaking at conferences on developing for Apple technologies.
I am an unabashed Apple fan-boy.
I've taught iPhone classes since the month that the NDA was dropped and we were allowed to publicly teach these classes.
I used to teach in Objective-C. Now I teach in Swift.
When I taught in Objective-C, the language looked so different to most people that I warned them that on day one of the class they would be translating from their language to Objective-C and back again and think, "this is stupid". On day two they would be able to read Objective-C but they would still find writing it awkward and on day three they would start to think natively in their new language.
New things are hard.
People often feel comforted if they can complain about it.
Over the years I picked up this habit when I got to teaching something I knew was strange or inconsistent for the audience.
I pause and ask, "Why is it like this?"
I wait a beat and say, "because Apple hates you."
I take another beat and gesture at the room and say, "I don't mean they hate you in general, I mean they hate you in particular."
Whether I'm actually complaining about an API or softening the blow for this unfamiliar thing, the moment passes and we move on feeling we're all on the same side.
I used to say, "Please don't tweet that." But someone always does.
Somewhere there's a file on me at Apple.
Apple doesn't hate me.
Apple doesn't hate you.
I have a friend I used to work with whose name I won't mention because he now works at Apple.
Years and years ago, he and I went over to Apple to meet the engineer responsible for Quicktime for Java.
I don't remember if the engineer worked half time on the product or one-quarter time on the product. It wasn't a lot.
I remember he was mostly sympathetic to our comments but he had a very limited amount of time and once he was done handling bugs that arose he had little or no time to implement the features he wanted.
My friend and I used Java on the Mac and ran a large Java web site. We were used to hearing about what Apple wasn't supporting.
In those days we wouldn't hear "Apple hates us", we'd hear "Apple doesn't care about (this or that)" followed by a long list of reasons they should.
My friend would listen more patiently than I. And then he would quietly ask, "how does (this or that) help Apple sell more computers?"
Sure, a lot of us loved Java in those days and a lot of us wanted to do our Java development on the Mac, but how did that help Apple sell more Macs?
No evil intent.
A simple razor which, when applied rationally, leads to decisions that we don't like.
This often led to decisions that many at Apple didn't like - but they were the right decisions for the company at that time.
The power company didn't hate my friend.
The Dean actually liked him.
Apple doesn't hate you.
When I say they do, I'm saying more about us than I am about them.
Though now that you've tweeted that "Daniel said Apple hates you" eleventy-billion times, I'm pretty sure...
Apple hates me.