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Is It Cool to Bash Apple?
By: Maryann Fabian
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Remember when it was cool to like Apple? When people used to proudly put Apple stickers on their compact cars and notebooks (the spiral-bound kind) in school? Times have changed. So do people look at Apple differently now that Steve Jobs is gone? Or are we just between revolutions in innovation — no new successor to the iPod, iPhone, iPad to cheer?

CNN.com said last month that “Apple has more or less abandoned its position as the standard-setter…and become just another trend follower.” Ouch.

Another case in point: the new “Designed by Apple in California” TV ads. Last year, Apple’s Tim Cook announced he would “bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac” and see that at least one Apple product was made in the USA for the first time since the 1990s. Cool, right? People love taking pride in American-made innovation. Cook told All Things Digital, “We are investing 100 million to build a Mac here in the US. It will be assembled in Texas, include components made in Illinois and Florida, and rely on equipment produced in Kentucky and Michigan. ” We now know that it will be the new Mac Pro line of “power tower” desktop computers. According to the New York Times, it makes good business sense, too. The labor cost of producing one of its biggest (size-wise) products in the U.S. is only slightly more than the cost of shipping the product by air from China or wherever, so it’s a win-win. Apple gets to say “made in the USA” and not have to worry about their orders taking more than five days to arrive.

Here’s the strange thing: The new made-in-the-USA TV ads were said to be the company’s “lowest rated” ad according to a survey by Ace Metrix Inc. So, where's our national pride all of a sudden? Don’t we Americans love our Fourth of July, red, white and blue, baseball, Apple pie, and Bruce Springsteen?

Surprise, surprise. Surveyors Ace Metrix are not an objective third party. The company lists Samsung as one of its top clients. No coincidence — it said earlier this year Samsung topped its list of “most effective” mobile phone ads. Hmmmm. But, in another case of lazy mainstream media reporting, the story was picked up over and over worldwide without anyone checking out the connection.

Then there’s the ridiculously desperate Microsoft Windows 8 ad that mocks Siri for not being able to “do two things at once.” Microsoft has its own set of woes and yet, like a name-calling third grader, it decides to spend money making fun of Apple.

Add this to spring’s Congressional shaming. The entire Fortune 500 uses the same playbook when it comes to taxes that, oh, by the way, Congress itself wrote into law. Why pick on Apple? Would Steve have sat through hours of harassment by Congress? Then add a dip in stock prices into the mix, no new products to speak of, and suddenly the shine is off the Apple. In fact, it looks like it’s under attack.

We Apple diehards have been here before, in the lonely days before the iPod came out and the world caught on to our secret. We have confidence that the most valuable brand in the world will bounce back. Maybe under timid Tim. Maybe not.


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About the Author
Maryann Fabian is a copywriter who has crafted the voice of some of this country's best brands.
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