Modern-day Apple

Uncategorized Jan 16, 2024

(I’m stealing the title of this post from the closing sentence of this one by Yilei Yang.)

I don’t have anything to say about Apple’s new guidelines for external purchase links on the App Store that smarter people than me aren’t already saying. It’s exactly what we all knew Apple would do.

What I do want to comment on is the juxtaposition of the two most recent posts on Daring Fireball tonight.

At the end of the Disney post, John ends with:

Does it make the movie you’re watching any better to see it while sitting in an immersive fantasy environment? No, of course not. But it’s a lot of fun, because it’s so intricately detailed and well-done….

I don’t know why people lose sight of the fact that having fun is one of the very best parts of being a human. The Disney+ app for VisionOS is fun.

He’s exactly right. We have astonishingly powerful supercomputers in our pockets, on our wrists, and sitting on our desks that routinely perform tasks indistinguishable from magic. I think many of us often forget that. Everything they do quickly becomes commonplace and boring.

And there’s no better antidote for that than fun. Software should be fun, goddammit.

I wrote two years ago:

I struggle to find delight on a grand scale in modern software. Every incremental step, year over year (from all companies, this isn’t just about Apple), seems to be focused on removing emotion and affection from our devices rather than finding ways to strengthen that bond.

Where’s the fun? Where’s the experimentation? The joy and playfulness?

 …how software makes you feel is just as important and necessary as what it lets you do.

And yet, as I move on to reading John’s post about the new App Store guidelines, all I can think of is how modern-day Apple is one giant corporate contradiction. The same company that builds the technology to watch a movie in front of a Tatooine sunset is the same company removing all of the joy and fun out of the process of building that sunset.

Modern-day Apple is its own binary star. One fueled by creativity. And another fueled by arrogance.