I have been an Apple follower and believer for many, many years. But when it actually comes to evangelizing about Apple I am usually one of the coolest cats on the block. I never preach to friends or acquaintances about Apple’s products’ attributes. I simply use my devices, others see it, ask questions, and either come on board, or not. No sales pitches necessary. I happen to think Apple has superior devices compared to others, but I perfectly respect people’s choice to buy another brand. Sincerely.
So I was most surprised last week when a casual chat with someone I had never met before turned into a brief but caustic mini-argument about Samsung vs Apple. I didn’t recognize myself. I actually started arguing with someone about Apple. This had never happened to me before.
It started with a simple question. Why didn’t I choose a Samsung phone over my iPhone? Before I could respond, she added: “take a look at my Samsung (it was Galaxy SII I how believe). It has lots of things an iPhone doesn’t have.” And she proceeded to show me how she could erase a gmail message directly without archiving it (as on iPhone) Huh!?! Did she really think that Samsung was better because it did gmail differently?
I retorted: “I don’t use gmail that often – I wasn’t aware that you could actually erase an email in gmail” and then quickly added, “but I don’t think Samsung isn’t innovative. What has Samsung invented?”
“They’ve invented lots of things – look at their new products – the Galaxy Note, the Slate!”
Ok, I’d heard about the Note but I had to admit I never heard of this Slate she was talking about (now I’m wiser). She went on and on about how revolutionary the Slate was, how it has a full windows version on it yadda, yadda. OK, so of course I countered with the iPad. I mean who could beat the iPad right? I mentioned it had sold 33 million units since April 2010 and that the Android tablets had sold only a few million (this was a guess on my part based on what I had read).
“I mean we’d have to see how many Slates would Samsung sell. I only know the Galaxy Tabs have not been selling that well compared with the iPad.” I offered.
“Well it only just went on sale,” she responded. “And if we’re talking sales then I could mention that the iPhone is not the best seller in its category. Samsung phones outsell it.“
She got me. Of course I can’t argue about superiority on the basis of sales if it applies to one device but not to another. I tried to counter with an Apple-makes-more-despite-market-share but couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
“And besides”, she pummeled on, “what innovation are you talking about with Apple. Did you hear how they manipulated the photo of the Samsung in their court fight?” She was referring to this incident, which I only vaguely remembered, and in any case not enough to counter with anything.
I then began what would be a weak attempt to bring up the fact that Samsung’s designs were suspiciously similar to Apple’s, especially since the advent of the iPhone in 2007 but she brushed me off quickly, too driven by her own passion for Samsung.
This could have continued in a poisonous direction, but luckily she had no desire to continue. I suspect she lost interest in me as a person, having already sized me up. Drat. We ended on a polite note, with me conceding politely with a “we’ll see if Samsung disrupts Apple at their own game.”
Afterwards I thought a lot about why it had riled me so. I guess it was a combination of different things. In part it was the relentless provocation of my partner, in part it was because it made me feel almost at a loss, at a disadvantage, despite the fact that I spend way too much time reading tech blogs. Not only should I know a lot about this topic, but I should be able to communicate lucidly. Ultimately I felt frustrated I could not convey an intelligent way of reasoning in defense of Apple.
I wish I had pointed out the reasons why personally believe in Apple. I should have mentioned the ecosystem, the ease of use, the aesthetics and the holistic Apple experience in which I had already invested. The way the iPod changed my life and opened up the way to a hobby I never knew would be important to me.
Have you ever argued with someone about Apple or one of its products? What should I have done? I’d love to hear feedback…