This designer’s healthy Apple relationship

The first Mac I owned was the original iMac, complete with dial up modem, which I purchased in 1999. The iMac transformed my life from a struggling illustrator working dead end jobs to pay the bills, to a, doing pretty good thanks, graphic designer, web designer and illustrator. So I am grateful to Apple, and Adobe for allowing me to teach myself to become a designer. They both got a fair bit of my cash in return, however together with the internet, still relatively new back then, they most certainly transformed my professional life.


My friends, the bad Apples

I have a couple of good friends who are from the world of web development.

The ones who can fix technical problems, talk the language of PHP, Javascript, Python (I think they make a lot of this stuff up to be honest), who absolutely don’t like Apple products. They are good people, and on occasion they tease and try to provoke me for being an ‘Apple fanatic’.

After a beer or two, they will start on the Apple fanboy bullying. They will use phrases like ‘specs’, ‘ram’, ‘graphic cards’, ‘hard drive capabilities’, ‘dungeons and dragons’. I’ve no idea what any of it means, but I smile politely at the teasing as I don’t know when I’m going to need them to fix a bit of PHP or help move furniture up to my flat on the fourth floor.

apple support desk

I am however no angel in the art of Apple bating (it’s a thing). A couple of times, when encountering IT support professionals in a workplace for the first time, waited for them to set up my computer, thanked them for their help, then deadpanned  ‘any chance of a Mac instead?’.

And I know I’ve made an enemy for life. I can’t help myself.

Mac snobbery

I have also experienced, Mac snobbery from other Mac owners. ‘Oh do you like Macs too’, said with a sneer and a look of disdain. I haven’t experienced this for a few years, probably going back to before the iPhone became quite so ubiquitous.

I found this amusing on a number of levels. Not being competitive or considering any product to define me, plus as a designer, that people with a couple of Word files, photos and music on their computer, consider themselves to be the true Mac user, and better than me. I just find it a bit weird.

I had a fun experience once in a Mac shop that was part of me aging. I was in the repair department a pair of quite young people behind the counter were pretty disrespectful towards me as a customer, it wasn’t a big deal, but a little irritating. I needed my phone fixed, they then needed my Apple ID to get into my account. I happened to look at them at the point they must have gained access, this hadn’t crossed my mind that it would affect them, nor do I think it of any merit, however, they almost took a step backwards when they saw quite a few Mac products, this freelance designer owned and had purchased down the years presumably on my account.

Low and behold I got some respect. That tiny ‘victory’ is laughably pathetic, but ‘a win’s a win’, so I took it! (Maybe non-competitive when it suits me.)

The Steve Jobs problem

The other down side with Apple is the Steve Jobs problem. Steve Jobs was a great man, but he left behind another legacy that he shouldn’t be proud of. And I am not referring to those tacky Apple stickers that come with every product.

apple stickers

The final piece in the jigsaw was dropped into the conversation during a client meeting on an unusually difficult job. A very likable person, unaware of the problems he was creating. The previous couple of months of nitpicking and thoughtlessness, all made sense.

‘In that respect, I’m a lot like Steve Jobs’.

Aha, he’d read Steve Jobs’ book.

Suddenly, all the other clues were obvious. The black polo neck sweater. The unshaven look, The Mac Book, a complete lack of consideration or respect for another professional’s time or skills. As if on reading about an often nasty, difficult, person, thought, now there’s a role model.

This was an exceptionally intelligent and talented person in their own field, but this person also considered themselves a designer. Because Steve Jobs.

We should all read about Steve Jobs, learn about the man, admire his incredible legacy, enjoy his products if you like them, but don’t try to be like him.

Exceptionally talented people can be kind, generous, respectful and of course modest. Take it from me…


My portfolio.

You can read more about Iain Cameron here.