Apple-centric America

by John Carlsen

Imagine for a minute that a man walks down the street and encounters a line of “trendy” people. With nothing better to do, this man joins the line and proceeds to wait with everyone else until the line starts to move.

Many questions pass through this man’s mind as the line slowly moves toward its intended destination somewhere in the distance.

“Where is this line going? What’s at the end? Is there a new roller coaster downtown? What about some conference where the meaning of life will finally be revealed? Are they handing out free coffee?”

The end of the line is near, and he can finally see the peculiar box of glass into which the line goes. There is piece of fruit hanging on the building’s exterior and it’s rather odd to the man that a glass box would resemble an apple tree in some bizarre future.

Over the course of four decades, Apple Inc. climbed the ladder from garage workshop to world’s most valuable company and created an obsession that defines tech and culture in America.

According to CNBC’s All-America Economic survey, “half of all U.S. households own at least one Apple product.”

A brisk walk through the halls of our fair institution reveals students of all kinds sitting, standing and walking into other people. The common thread that ties them together is made of aluminum, silicon and glass: an Apple product.

These products are extremely useful in college. They provide enhanced learning for many if not all of the students who use them and a welcome respite to endless lectures and class discussions. In our homes they link us to our family, friends and favorite entertainment. The many positive things these products do extend even further into global fields such as aviation, medicine, elementary education and fine art.

Tony North, a custodian at UVU, recently demonstrated that Apple has become engrained in our culture. He said, “If George Clooney makes a playlist on iTunes, is it called Clooney Tunes?”

This is the obsession that defines the world we live in. The “cult of Apple” means something here.

The iPhone and the iPad have become status symbols, not unlike Rolex or an Ivy League education. Six-hundred dollars later, the iPhone, in particular, is quite the status symbol—it is sleek, slim and packed with more features than a Subway sandwich. Unlike the sandwich, though, this Apple is sour.

Unfortunately, Apple is not the only technology company that exists on this planet. Numerous other companies provide similar services and products. Many of these companies strive to create a user experience that rivals or surpasses Apple’s own expertise. Often, what hurts these companies is the popular belief claiming Apple got there first.

When was the last time the news covered an Android device or a PC with as much religious fervor as Apple received from the media over the past decade? If so, was not the product itself compared to Apple? There seems to be a trend that every tech article, story and video mentions Apple or its products at least one time. Apple has become the biggest meme of our time and we don’t even realize it.

During the third quarter of the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple aired one of the most famous commercials of all time. It was a reference to George Orwell’s literary classic “1984.” The commercial showed a grey and dull society controlled by Big Brother. Everyone has shaved heads, wears the same clothing and has strange gas masks.

A woman in a white tank top and red shorts runs through the corridor carrying a large hammer. Police in riot gear chase her, but are unable to stop her as she throws the hammer at a large screen showing Big Brother’s speech. The screen explodes as the people receive a new outlook on life.

Is this too familiar? Just take away the gas masks and replace them with any contemporary Apple product. Apple would have everyone become the people in their commercial: iPhones in every hand, iPads in every bag, iMacs in every home and iPods, with their chintzy buds, in every ear.

Consider this the next time you see an Apple product, and you’ll be surprised how quickly that will happen.

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