Monthly Recap: Apple’s Future, Costa Rica, and The Whingers

We just returned from a two week Spanish Immersion school in Costa Rica. Speaking Spanish for 8+ hours a day was an intense experience to say the least, not to mention the culture shock involved in living with a Costa Rican family. To summarize, the school was outstanding, but the capital of Costa Rica is nothing like the beach areas tourists typically visit, but this post is not meant to be a travelogue. Maybe the biggest cultural difference we found is that nobody complains in Costa Rica. They don’t complain about the horrendous traffic, dirty streets with huge holes and no sidewalks, the poor quality of food, the rain that falls everyday in October (and doesn’t fall at all in the summer), or the steel bars protecting every home and business. They just don’t complain. In fact, they are proud of their country and often boast about the biodiversity, the temperate climate, universal healthcare and education, and political stability. There is certainly a bit of denial going on, but the message is so consistent, it’s impossible not to be charmed by their “Pura Vida” attitude.

In contrast, Apple released a new MacBook Pro last week and the whingers came out in force. The “Keynote Megathread” on Reddit has over 4,000 comments, most of which say the same things: it’s too thin, it’s too expensive, it doesn’t have USB ports, it can’t support more than 16 GB of RAM, whine, whine, whine. Of course, Reddit is a bubble universe of its own where outspoken minority opinions can get blown out of proportion, but it is a good way to find out first hand what the tech community is feeling. A contrasting post, “I work in Hollywood and everyone is really excited about the new MBPs” was a nice reality check. The author made an outstanding observation:

I had gotten sucked into the Reddit hive mind and convinced myself I was dealing with a large representation of the population. I am not. A certain handful of people are attracted to reddit, and a smaller handful actually take the time to post, and post negatively at that.

Finally, after watching the Apple Keynote and reading dozens of articles, the post, “Apple’s Future is Ear” from Tech.pinions seemed to say it best. In four parts, John Kirk analyzes the history of the current structure of Apple product line (including the controversial risks they’ve taken along the way), the current state of technology, and tries to predict the future Apple is heading toward with or without the approval of self-proclaimed “experts in the field.” It’s a very long read, but well worth it for the wonderful quotes alone. My next post will explore how that future is intimately entwined with acoustics, so stay tuned.

Apple is taking a risk by ignoring the whingers, but as Geena Davis (and many others) famously said, “If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.”