Why do people hate Apple?

Why do people hate Apple?
I know why you’re here, you know why you’re here, so let’s get right to it. Apple is a very divisive company. It has millions of fans but also millions of haters. Under every article, video or social media post that’s related to Apple, there are always comments from both groups, and the same battles are often fought between friends in real-life as well. We’ve already discussed what aspects of the brand make it so loved, but now it’s time to flip the coin and see what people have against it. But let’s begin with some fundamentals...

Is Apple really a hated brand?

In a recent research paper called “Consumer Brand Hate: Steam rolling whatever I see” by S. Umit Kucuk (Psychol. Mark. 2019;36: 431–443. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21175) as part of survey around 500 people were questioned about their feelings towards brands and their habits when it came to brand hating. Here’s what the study found out:

Being in front of Walmart, a company famous for paying wages so low, its employees have to use food stamps, speaks volumes about the amount of hate Apple is gathering.

Why is Apple the target of so much hate?

Because people tend to hate those at the top

Let’s talk a bit more about the “Negative Double Jeopardy”. The term was coined to reflect the fact that the most valuable brands get the most hate. From dedicated anti-brand Twitter accounts and Facebook pages to full-blown websites meant to accumulate people’s disdain for a brand, popular companies are magnets for hate. The reason for that could be because they’re associated with corporate greed, questionable tactics or something else. As long as an entity is at the top of a positive chart, tons of people will dislike it even if it’s only because it’s there. This is nothing unique to brands either. We see it with teams that dominate a certain sport, or athletes that win gold medals multiple years in a row.

Apple has been on the top of many charts – and for a long time now – which has helped it accumulate not only a devoted fan base (more on that later) but many passionate haters as well. They can find plenty of reasons for their feelings, so let’s continue down the list.

Because Apple is the other team

People get oddly attached to the products they use despite the large corporations that provide them rarely reciprocating in any meaningful fashion. That’s doubly true when it comes to tech and even more so when we narrow things down to smartphones. Smartphones have become such an essential part of our lives that if someone insults our device of choice we take that as an insult to us personally.

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When it comes to phones, there are two very distinct teams: Apple (or iOS) and Android. And while the Android team is fragmented into subteams like Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi and so on, when Apple is on the horizon, they unite powers against the common enemy. Armed with facts, biases or just plain insults, they dive into battle. Sometimes the wrong logo on your smartphone is all that’s needed to get sucked into an argument about which tech is superior.

Because Apple is the epitome of consumerism

Depending on the price of its stock, Apple is often the most valuable brand in the world, which basically means it’s winning at capitalism. And it’s doing that not only by selling millions of products but by also feeding people the philosophy that its products make us better humans. You’ve probably heard things like “give people wonderful tools and they’ll do wonderful things” said during their presentations. And while that statement is not a lie, we can agree that the average Apple user isn’t doing wonderful things with their iPhone or MacBook. But by using every marketing tool available and sprinkling superlatives generously across its website and commercials, Apple has successfully conjured an almost mystical aura around its products to make them seem more appealing.

Those that aren’t lured by that aura, however, find it more appalling than appealing and for them, it’s all that is wrong with the modern world and our obsession with material goods. Spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars for something that has much cheaper alternatives is unacceptable for them and just plain wrong. No brand should be put on a pedestal because they’re all just parts of corporations looking for profit.

Speaking of putting on a pedestal...

Because of Apple fans

We’ve all had that experience where we like something but we find its fanbase so annoying that we’d rather stay away from it than risk being associated with it. And for some people, that’s definitely true when it comes to Apple fans. Their devotion to the brand often reaches cult-like levels and the way they praise every product released by the company no matter its objective qualities or faults can be repulsive.

Even if your feelings towards Apple are rather neutral, encountering an Apple fan that’s trying to convince you how amazing its products are, as if they’re receiving a cut from the profits, can make you dislike the brand.

Because they’re not part of Apple’s target userbase

Apple is often criticized for artificially limiting what users can do with their devices. From being unable to put shortcuts for apps wherever they want to not having a “send via Bluetooth” feature, there are plenty of things that can easily be implemented but Apple refuses to do so. This often angers more advanced users because they feel like Apple is treating them like they don’t know what they’re doing. And that’s not far from the truth. Apple’s userbase covers every imaginable demographic, and the majority of its users are not only far from being advanced, they have no ambitions to become such. They want a device that’s simple and easy to use and does the few things they want from it well enough.

If you’re someone who’s often driving offroad you wouldn’t be mad that the new Toyota Corolla is not 4x4, so why be angry at Apple for offering something that’s clearly not meant to satisfy your needs as a smartphone user?

Because of Apple’s questionable practices

A massive conduit for Apple hate is some of its business practices that don’t seem to match the company’s rhetoric about they’re doing everything with the user’s interest in mind. Slow chargers in the boxes to nudge you to spend extra on faster ones sold separately; low base storage on iPhones so you’d go for the more expensive version; CPU throttling due to a degraded battery making you consider a new phone sooner and battling the right of independent repair shops to fix broken Apple devices are just a few things that are objectively not in favor of users and yet are part of the company’s handbook.

Those are all legitimate reasons to dislike Apple and they have pushed a number of users away from its ecosystem over the years. As you’ve probably noticed they’re all meant to inflate the company’s profits or what people usually see as greed. The fact is that no matter how noble Apple’s intentions may be, it’s still a publicly-traded company and every quarter its executives have to bring good news to the investors or they’d be in trouble.

Now that we’ve mentioned money...

Because Apple’s products are not affordable

Apple products are expensive and that’s by design. You’ll never hear the word cheap during an Apple presentation, there’s only “less expensive”. The brand offers high-end products and wants people to know that from the price tag if not anything else. Of course, not everyone is able or willing to pay those prices. Naturally, that leads to hate because the company has put a barrier that prevents certain people from getting into its “walled garden”. Overpriced is a term often used to describe Apple products. Can they cost less? Probably. Apple is working with some of the highest profit margins in the business. At the same time, it’s the third-largest smartphone maker and as long as its sales numbers show that more than enough people are okay with the current pricing strategy.

Those are only a few of the reasons people usually hate Apple for. There’s an abundance of them and surely you’ve heard plenty more. Perhaps you’re part of the anti-Apple movement yourself? If so, feel free to share what’s pushing you away from the brand in the comments below!

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