Today, what we are experiencing is the absorption of all modes of expression into that of advertising.
Jean Beaudrillard, 1981
It is 2011. If not addicted to i-phones and i-pads, the “gallery, office, workshop, library, tourist map, journalist camera and microphone and etc” in the pocket, we are in search of what resembles them or surpasses them in form and function. Market- and media-analysts watch Apple’s fluctuations closely, as after nearly 30 years, it still leads on the edge of technology. But how did a gadget become a forceful cultural phenomenon of our industrialized lives? This essay provides examples from marketing strategies of Apple, drawing particular attention to the corporate’s alliance with Hollywood, in order to outline the metamorphosis of the little user friendly Apple Macintosh personal computer into an i-phenomenon. It all started from a simple ad in 1984 when Apple Macintosh launched an anti-establishment campaign to conjure a cult of nonconformists that would push the boundaries of ‘late capitalism’ into creating successful political economies, based on promoting imaging of imagined individual differences through mobile, versatile, connected, and highly profitable screens of Apple.
The Super Bowl Sunday of 1984 witnessed the most extravagant television advertisements of the history of television to date: Apple Macintosh’s ‘1984’ ad. With an unheard budget of $750,000, and with help from the director of The Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott),—the emblem of postmodern cinema—Apple Macintosh corporation set the stage for a “Think different!” campaign. The ‘1984’ ad was paid for only once. It ran for 45 seconds during the Super Bowl commercial break. It stirred such a controversy that several news agencies replayed it on that night, gathering Apple over five million dollars worth of free publicity.
The ad suggested an Orwellian world where the Mac was the last alternative to IBM’s computational totalitarianism. Conceived by the art director of the Chiat-Day advertising agency, the ‘1984’ was enthusiastically endorsed by the founder of the apple Corporation, Steve Jobs. It was reflexive of the Apple’s culture. It resonated with Job’s passionate speech in the Apple’s 1984 shareholders annual meeting about Mac’s rebellious intentions against the dominant modes of computer industry:
“ … It is now 1984. It appears that IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers after initially welcoming IBM with open arms, now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future and are turning back to apple as the only force who can ensure their future freedom [long pause] … IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns at its last obstacle to industry control, Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right?”
However, direct opposition to the Big (Blue) Brother’s computational hegemony was not all that Apple’s ‘1984’ campaign achieved. More subtly (and far more importantly) the ad positioned Apple in direct relation to “screen”. It utilized the cinematic device to its advantage, communicating by perpetuating screens, while cunningly claiming to emancipate the masses from the hypnosis of screen.
The camera of the 1984 ad panned through a large and dark convention of lethargic skinheads in monochrome uniforms—their gazes selflessly glued to the screen. The images of hypnotized masses were inter-cut with the shots of a female athlete—dressed in color, carrying a sledgehammer. Armed guards were chasing her as she was running towards a screen on which the Big Brother said:
"Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory thoughts. Our Unification of Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people. With one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"
At this moment, she threw the sledgehammer at the screen. The screen exploded into a white light. The light stormed the faces of the impassive skinheads. And then the ultimate message:
“On January 24 Apple computers will introduce Macintosh and you will see why 1984 will not be like 1984.”
This essay aims to explore Apple’s corporate vision and agenda in relationship to “screen”. It suggests that, as evidenced by their introductory ad, Apple’s marketing strategy has invested both culturally and technologically on selling “freedom”, and that it has made freedom synonymous with “the freedom of the screen”. To capitalize, as successfully as Apple has, on “screen” is a testimony to the undeniable extent of our generation’s capture by the screen.
The Apple has not just flooded our markets with gadgets. It has endowed us with iphenomena. The iphenomenon can be defined as the metamorphosis of the Mac-technology to Mac-medium to Mac-message and vice versa. The cultural industries of our age (the virtual reality, instant communication, reality TV, Hollywood hegemony, even simulated battlegrounds to train our armies) are heavily invested in simulation and simulacra. In this context, the case of Apple is particularly noteworthy because, despite successfulness, no other computer manufacturer has been able to raise itself to such a ‘divine’ stature that conjures the “Cult of Mac”, a community of Mac users with a loyalty of religious proportion!
Today, very few dispute the revolutionary impact of the Mac technology on individualization of the sound and image. No other information corporation has devoted as much thought and resources to screen. In a world connected by information highways—where we see ourselves and the others through the virtual windows that collapse the dimension of time and space—by screens that it builds, those that it appears on and those that it represents or ‘liberates’—by deinstitutionalizing them and bringing them to the households—Apple has become a formidable force in today’s culture economy. Therefore, the iphenomenon fits the model of a Jamesonian postmodern phenomenon: a corporation at the injunction of culture, technology, media, entertainment and capital.
But how did the iphenomenon succeed in economic (or more accurately capitalist) integration of digital technology with cultural enunciation? In Simulacra and Simulation (1981), Baudrillard drew attention to the new technologies that created possibilities for real actualization of that which constituted the “science fiction” imaginary of the past. With the aid of technology, simulation could fill the gap between the real and the imaginary. Therefore, whereas in a world dominated by the principle of reality the imaginary used to be the alibi of the real, in a world controlled by the principle of simulation the real became the alibi of the orders of simulacra: naturalistic (i.e. founded on the image, in imitation and counterfeit, yet harmonious and optimistic and belonging to a imaginary utopia); productive (i.e. materializeable by the machines within a whole system of globalized production) and informational (i.e. hyper reality and cybernetics with an aim of control.)
In that sense, iphenomenon invokes overlapping orders of simulacra. First, it pioneers (and mass produces) technologies that allow for simulation, imitation, creation and cybernetic communication. Next, it employs different forms of displays to showcase the simulated and utopian imaginaries that instill the cultural image of their technological (and thus economic) development. In this way, the iphenomena create imaginary utopia, which actualize on the screen.
The screens of Apple are numerous. They are not only hardware: the high resolution, flat screen, 32 inch remote controlled computer monitors that blend well into the décor of the living area of a modern home; they are also the robust and easy-to-use interfaces to Apple’s software products designed for ‘personal’ multi-medial production of sound and image. But the most important screen between the Apple Corporation and the world is the screen of advertisement. Advertising is a synergistic window through which the product incorporates culturally- and socially-specific idioms and in turn, becomes incorporated into a cultural form of expression itself.
The advertisement strategy of Apple has been iconoclastic for most of its history. With a half bitten apple for a logo, Apple has stated its defiance of the established order, as that of individuality and creativity.
The Mac is also feminine: it is light and bright and can be customized to floral colors. Although in the ‘1984’ ad, Apple introduced itself as the rebellious athlete female who dares to liberate the technology from the hands of a few somber men.
The Mac users are nonconformists. With the “Think different!” motto, showing the apple logo on images of remarkable celebrities such as Miles Davis, Cesar Chavez, Amelia Earhart, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Albert Einstein; Jane Goodall, Mahatma Gandhi, James D. Watson, Pablo Picasso and Jim Henson (and Kermit the Frog), and “The Power to Be Your Best” it has marketed itself as the toolkit for the elite.
Macintosh advertisements have operated as political propaganda as well: cinematically stylized, using messianic voice over, expressionist mise-en-scenes, Eisensteinian montage, and borrowing the images of the iconic figures of the popular culture (such as Einstein, Martin Luther King), are few examples. Ironically, by borrowing from propaganda style, it has also forged its political identity—masking its corporate reality and its capitalist agenda.
Besides the visual style, the messages of Apple advertisements are also politicized. Most of Apple ads emphasize the “i”. They highlight the power of the individual, the energies of countercurrents, the liberation of the ‘self’ from the ‘mass’. In persuading the individuals that they need to rescue their individuality, Mac’s ads speak to the concerns of the postmodern culture: the anxiety of globalization.
In The Cult of Mac, Leander Kahney, draws attention to the countercultural roots of Apple to the 60s and 70s, when the making of personal computer was considered activism along with political protest, music and drugs (p23). According to Theodor Roszak, the bohemian rebellion of the 60s, in search of a postindustrial alternative not only had an organic and green root, but it also germinated into inventive technophilic outbursts. Roszak observed that in those days:
Side by side with the appeal of folk music and primitive ways, handicrafts and organic husbandry, there was a childlike, Oh Wow! confabulation with the space-ships and miraculous mechanisms that would make Stanley Kubrick's 2001 and the television series Star Trek cult favorites, and which would eventually produce the adult audience for (and the producers of) Star Wars in the later seventies and eighties. The same eyes that were scanning the tribal past for its wonders and amazements were also on the look-out for the imagined marvels of what George Lucas would one day call "Industrial Light and Magic."
For technophiles in the counterculture, a mix of rustic savvy and advance technology could have synthesized into utopianism, and result in “something like a tribal democracy where the citizenry might still be dressed in buckskin and go berry-picking in the woods: the artificial environment made more artificial would somehow become more . . . natural.”
In Roszak’s account, to this brand of techno-idealist activism, belonged the development of personal computer, a tribal-exercise of sorts, undertaken by talented university drop-outs (such as the founders of Apple, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniac) working from their home garage, who believed digital data would bring about the postindustrial promised land: with computer terminal as the center piece of electronic populism, the personal computer would give the millions access to the databases of the world, making them self-reliant citizens, who would communicate and share vital data and information across networks that the power elite in the corporation and in the government denied them. The technological activism went as radically as to suggest: “clever hackers would use IBM's video terminals, AT&T's phone lines, Pentagon space shots, and Westinghouse communications satellites to penetrate the classified databanks that guarded corporate secrets and the mysteries of state; and armed with information, they would overthrow the technocratic centers of authority.
As a pioneering enterprise of this technophilic rebellious society, Apple had earned the political forum for promoting itself with a countercultural identity. With the ‘1984’ commercial, Apple declared war on the ‘big brother’ and introduced the Mac personal computer as the screen-breakers. With the “Think Different” campaign it aligned its revolutionary aspirations with iconic figures such as Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Einstein, Chaplin, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Ali and Hitchcock, as “the crazy ones”, the rebels, the misfits, the trouble makers who “see things differently”; “don’t obey the rules” and have “no respect for the status quo”; those whom you can “quote or disagree with” but not ignore because they “change things” and “push the human race forward. And as some may see them as the crazy ones we [Apple] see the genius in them, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Behind the intellectual mask of these politicized ads, rest the interests of a corporation devoted to selling computers and raising the stakes of its shareholders. As Baudrillard writes: “the most interesting aspect of advertising is its disappearance, its dilution as a specific form or medium” and thus “it is no longer a means of communication of information” but “its own commodity” which is “in unison with the social.” This is the point where the propaganda and advertisement converge, and this convergence “defines the society in which there is no longer a difference between the economic and the political—since the same language reigns both; a society where the political economy becomes literally realized.”
Apple’s advertising campaigns of ‘1984’ and “Think Different” illustrate Baudrillard’s view. Neither of these ads is attached to a material object, to the actual consumer product that is promoted on the screen. Instead, by omitting the image of the actual computer machine from the ads, and replacing the object with a subject, the ads become timeless and ideological idioms of the postindustrial culture economy, broadening the reach of the computer manufacturer to the domains of social and political.
But if Apple ads never show the marketed objects, how can the consumers recognize the look and develop a desire for the feel and style of the product that sits behind the half-bitten Apple logo? Through screens of popular media! By appearing on films, news casts, sitcoms or TV series.
Kahney lists a number of web sites that are dedicated to detecting and apple computer appear on TV shows. According to the Apple web site, Macs have been featured in more than 1,500 TV shows and movies since 1980s. Most of these machines are simply loaned and freely shipped to Hollywood studios; and are occasionally purchased by the producers. The Apple logo scored a big hit in Forest Gump. Macintosh computers had starring roles in films such as You’ve Got Mail, Mission Impossible and Independence Day. They were prominently present in hit shows such as X-files and Seinfeld, and they are indispensable motifs in 24, Sex and the City and Felicity.
But simple appearance on entertainment screens is not enough; Apple computers are not just props, but motifs. According to Apple’s product-placement manager, it is not only the vigorous product-placement efforts of the Apple that makes it the almost ubiquitous computer of the Hollywood screens; rather, it is the “Apple’s brand that makes a statement about the character in the movie.” Furthermore, Mac’s unique aesthetic particularly appeals to the director and set designers who also use Macintosh computers in different aspects of the production. Close relationship of Apple with Hollywood—the image industry’s Big Brother—is noteworthy as it projects the image of Apple’s political economy onto the screens of the cultural industry.
In fact, Apple is not only related to Hollywood through product placement strategies. Apple is also married to Cinema in technological partnership. To grasp the implications of this partnership, one needs to regard the cinema industry through a post-celluloid lens and consider the revolutionary impact of digital image production on Cinema (pioneered by digital special effects of George Lucas’ Star War). Recalling Roszak’s account of the infatuation of the hippie technophilics of the 70s with science fiction, then Baudrillard’s definition of science fiction as the convergence of utopianism, technologism and virtual-realism provides a model for understanding Apple’s cultural relation to Hollywood.
George Lucas is the icon of Roszak’s thechnophilic revolutionaries. The formal revolution created by the digital special effects of the Star War, not only created a cult-like fandom amongst the consumers of the science fiction movies, but also spawned research and development in Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Lucas’ computerized effects company, and THX, the advanced sound system for theaters, and a small lab (later becoming Pixar) specializing in digital animation. In an interview with the Time magazine, Lucas states: “all of those [technologies] were designed really to make the process of making films easier and at the same time make the quality higher.” Lucas’ vision of the digital filmmaking and film distribution, aimed at independence from the old and sluggish studio systems, resonates with those ideas promoted by the Apple. Apple’s ‘1984’ add had pledged to liberate the computation from the Big Blue brother, IBM; and Lucas had aimed to liberate the screen from the massive infrastructure of the Hollywood studios. It was not a coincidence, hence, that Apple’s founder Steve Jobs, invested in Lucas’s offspring, Pixar, which later revolutionized the animation industry.
In an interview with the Fortune magazine, Steve Jobs outlined the similarities between his computer company and his film enterprise:
I've always said that Pixar is the most technically advanced creative company; Apple is the most creatively advanced technical company. At Apple we come at everything asking, "How easy is this going to be for the user? How great is it going to be for the user?" After that, it's like at Pixar. Everyone in Hollywood says the key to good animated movies is story, story, story. But when it really gets down to it, when the story isn't working, they will not stop production and spend more money and get the story right. That's what I see about the software business. Everybody says, "Oh, the user is the most important thing," but nobody else really does it.
To compare the interface of the computer with user through software, with the interface of the cinema screen with spectator through story, underlines Apple’s philosophy on the nature of the image consumption in today’s culture economy. Whereas the apparatus of the cinema screen mediates information, representation, emotion and intersubjectivity through the constructs of the narrative (visual and lingual), the software interface of the computer screen also mediates expression, creativity and communication by means of lingual (e.g. programming codes) and visual (graphic libraries) construction of narratives.
In spite of partnering with the Dream Factory, Apple is not an advocate of a passive visual culture. In fact, Apple has been the advocate of “creativity for all”, promoting its image not only as the liberator of the computer screen from the totalitarian practice, but also as the empowering facilitator of the visual communication. The slogan of the “power to communicate” in many of Apple’s advertisements, has been almost always synonymous with the “power of visual communication”. Whether Marlee Matlin (Hollywood’s speech and hearing impaired star) heralds the power of communication, or an elementary schoolboy raises to stardom after showing digital pictures of his summer vacation in the classroom, Apple’s computer screens are unmistakably the message themselves. They allow abstraction of oneself into multimedia images. The image of self, thus becomes the message. By circumventing the costly and cumbersome institutions of sound and image (such as studios or TV networks), the Apple provides a democratized system of enunciation. However, in addition to giving the user the toolboxes of image making (i.e. a language and a voice to express himself), Apple screens are also the portal of cultural (and commercial) consumption. They open perpetually and bidirectionally; from the society onto the individual; from the cultural onto the technological; from the political onto the commercial; and vice versa.
In spite of the slogan of the “power to communicate”, the actual power of communication remains in the hands of Apple’s technologists. Every innovative and exclusive technology enhances the opportunities for marketing and cultural negotiations. An example of such bargaining advantage is the merging of Pixar (a satellite Apple entity) with the Disney and the ABC network. In the cultural conditions of perpetual pastiche and parody, the digital creates infinite opportunities for mutating and transmuting the subject matter, hence confusing the lines of authorship and ownership, thus endangering the margins of economic profit. It is thus not surprising that the majority of the cinema industry is suspicious of the new media technologies. However, for Apple that enabled over 25 million walking DJs—the proud owners of the pricy ipod—it is the natural course of evolution to adapt the moving pictures to portable screens worn around the necks and the waists of a generation obsessed with mobility and ubiquity. So where does Apple get the moving picture from? From merging Pixar with Disney, and gaining access to enough visual material (Disney libraries as well as ABC network shows) to exert influence on other visual culture industries and thus to further push the development of personalized screen and personable content for those screens. But what are the cultural implications of this new development?
A precedent model for implications of enterprising the mobile image projection is present in the development of 16mm film industry. The 16 mm projectors are credited for creating the condition for proliferation of an independent and nomadic type of image industry, whose success forced the main industry to make formal adjustments to the content they produced. Creation of the mobile image industry, therefore, is likely to have a revolutionary impact on the entertainment and communication industries of our time. Similarly, the cultural industry of portable screens will demand new norms of aesthetics and set new formal standards. It will inevitably influence the visual culture.
The fact is that Apple has a leading edge in pioneering the technologies of Quicktime, ipod and ilife (a cluster of impeccable and free sound and image viewing and editing software: itunes, imovie, idvd, iphoto and Garageband). In addition, it has alliance with diverse elements of the culture industry, be it graphic artists, Hollywood producers, music industry or university campuses. It is also worth mentioning that Apple sprouted from the green and organic revolutionary mentality of the 70s, a trend which is gaining popularity in the current politics of West versus East, armament versus environment—with global warming replacing the civil rights on the centre stage. Therefore it is highly plausible that Apple will play a pivotal role in formation of the contemporary cultural landscape. However, I suggest that the corporate practices of Apple will be somewhat different from the preceding late-capitalist traditions.
Since inception, Apple has marketed its iphenomenon as the independent thinker’s rebellion against the established order, as that of individuality and creativity, as “the computer for the rest of us”: the feminine (in a male-dominated world of computer geekery,) the non-conformist (in the world of IBM and Microsoft’s monopoly) and the progressiveness. The greatest irony in the story of Apple, however, is that it has forged its success, under the monopoly of a guarded logo, which connotes anti-popularism, “the computer for the rest of us elites”. At the same time, Apple owes much its success to the ideological practices of the ‘late capitalism’, a term used by Jameson to describe the theory of postmodernity as the gradual de-affirmation of cultural and economic levels; the economic gradually becoming cultural and the cultural gradually becoming economic. Whereas the cultural economies of the postmodern era have moved towards globalization, blurring of the difference and total ubiquity; Apple has awaited its fortune for the next wave of post-industrialism: the deglobalization.
In fact, their marketing strategy corroborates this claim:
Regis McKenna, the architect of the marketing strategies of Macintosh, developed concepts such as “MacMessage” and “knowledge worker” to stratify the product’s market. In his 1991 book Relationship Marketing he describes that in 1982, as they brainstorm on generating a consumer base for the products, they “decided that Mac's target audience would not be a traditional market segment;” and as “Mac cut across the usual boundaries” they needed to come up with a "concept market," which instead of being divided along demographic or geographic lines, are divided along 'psychographic" lines; including people with similar attitudes and beliefs. For Apple, the target was defined to be the Knowledge-workers described in Apple’s internal marketing plan as:
"Knowledge workers are professionally trained individuals who are paid to process information and ideas into plans, reports, analyses, memos and budgets. They generally sit at desks. They generally do the same generic problem solving work irrespective of age, industry, company size, or geographic location. Some have limited computer experience-perhaps an introductory programming class in college-but most are computer naive. Their use of a personal computer will not be of the intense eight-hour-per-day-on-the-keyboard variety. Rather they bounce from one activity to another; from meeting to phone call; from memo to budgets; from mail to meeting. Like the telephone, their personal computer must be extremely powerful yet extremely easy to use."
Not only the marketing strategists of the Apple narrowed down the potential markets for their product; but they also insisted on promoting it as radically different from other market standards such that when dealers and users spoke about computers, “Mac would stand out.” To force this distinction, they went as far as to invent a new language for description of their products in order to prevent people from “comparing operating system versus operating system, keyboard versus keyboard.” To insist on a culture of difference in 1982, at the onset of the globalization discourse was a remarkable strategy that would prove its effectiveness in a quarter of a century later. I would suggest that merchandising the “difference”—the cultural signature of the postmodern; as opposed to “unity” which was the economic objective of globalization—promoted a shift from late-capitalism to a new era of market economy, neo-capitalism.
Adopting Jameson’s discourse, “globalization is a communicational concept, which alternately masks and transmits cultural and economic meanings.” The communicational aspect of globalization, invested in cybernetic revolution of our times, however, is different from the role that media played in the earlier twentieth century. Whereas the communicational development of the modernist era was one of “enlightenment”, today’s developments are of new technologies of information and “the positing of an enlargement of communicational nets has secretly been transformed into some kind of message about a new world culture”. On the other hand, the computerization of production has also led these networks to “swell with the commerce of some new and allegedly more flexible capitalism”. Thus transforming the communicational concept into a vision of the world market and “it’s new found interdependence, a global division of labor on an extraordinary scale, new electronic trade routs tirelessly plied by commerce and finance alike.”
From this point of view, the cultural content of this new communicational form turns into a “postmodern celebration of difference and differentiation”, where “all cultures around the world are placed in tolerant contact with each other in an immense cultural pluralism,” from which emerges an “immense range of groups, races, genders, ethnicities, into the speech of the public sphere”, leading to “a worldwide growth of popular democratization.” The economic content of this communicational concept, however, becomes more darkening and opaque, because “what comes to the fore”, according to Jameson, “is increasing identity (rather than difference): the rapid assimilation of hitherto autonomous national markets and productive zones into a single sphere”, a forced integration into a world-system from which de-linking is unthinkable and inconceivable.
Within this context, Jameson extends Mandel’s notion of “late capitalism”—the third stage of the quantum leap of technological development under capital: Steam-driven engines in the 1850s, machine production of electric and combustion motors in the late 19th century, and the machine production of electronic and nuclear-powered apparatuses in the second half of the 20th century into his postmodern theory, which notes a paradoxical bifurcation at the level of communicational technologies with gradual de-affirmation of cultural and economic levels; the economic gradually becoming cultural and the cultural gradually becoming economic.
If we agree with Jameson’s critique of the dichotomous nature of postmodernity: the cultural celebration of difference and the economic homogenization of the consumer taste, then the recent developments in our cybertechnology have been successful in democratization of expression but they have also raised the postmodernist cultural anxieties associated with hegemony of the economic globalization. In such environment, what better adjustment for the capitalist than to venture on providing every individual—who is given a voice on the global network of new communication technologies--with means of customizing their own banner? If economically-forced loss of identity pains the “knowledge worker” of the postmodern era, why not market to him the machines that facilitate seemingly independent production of the much cherished postmodern difference? The capitalist cultural revolution initiated by steam machines, electric machines, electronic machines and communication networks, is thus leaping onto a new stage: development of difference-making machines. Whereas the late capitalism constructed a vision of success and personal happiness through acquisition of commodities that are developed for politically neutralized new markets—through processes of homogenization and globalization—the neo-capitalism heralds the power of individual’s unique creativity. Neo-capitalism, therefore, describes capitalism’s transgression from “marketing individual products to masses” to “mass-marketing production tools to individuals”.
The advertisement strategies of Apple and the successfulness of its i-campaign, provide a proof of the efficacy of such neo capital practices. The diehard members of the Mac community are not only those who seek their identity in the green, rebellious and pretentiously avant-garde corporate image of Apple; they are not only those who enjoy the aesthetic elegance of the actual products or the humane interface of the virtual ones—these costumers still belong to the late-capitalist camp. The slogan of “Think Different” and “The Power to Be Your Best” conjures the “knowledge workers”: the artists who have an entire sound and image editing table on a portable machine, and the application and software developers who can expand the possibilities of their machine by tools they can easily created and integrate in their Mac computers. A survey of the Cult of Mac and the testimonies of the users reveals that providing tools that allow for independent and inexpensive (or free) making of image and software—the two most important commodities of the new world markets—is the basis of the customer loyalty, and perhaps a sign of a shift towards a do-it-yourself market economy, which valorizes the individual creation—compilation, montage, parody or pastiche—above the totality of particular mode of consumption.
To quote Alan Kay, one of the pioneers of computer’s graphic interface technology, “The best way to predict future is to invent it.” Andy Hertzfeld, one of the founding members of Apple, summarized Kay’s lecture in the Creative Think seminar (1982) in one page and distributed copies of that sheet in apple the next day. The following is transcribed from the picture of Hertzfeld’s handwritten notes.
Alan Kay’s Talk at ‘Creative Think’ Seminar 7/20/1982
Outline of Talk: the real software issues
The best way to predict future is to invent it
Humans like fantasy and sharing;
fantasy fulfils need for a simpler, more controllable world;
sharing –we are all communication junkies—we have an incredible disparity of sharing (easy to take in, hard to give out)
Magnetic fields—find a central metaphore so good that everything alignes to it, design meetings are not necessary. Should be crisp and fun.
Smalltalk [the software invented by Kay] is object oriented but should have been message-oriented
Snobbery- turn up nose at good ideas, must work on great ideas, not good ones
Appreciate mundanity –a pencil is high technology
One goal: disappear the computer into environment
It’s all software—it just depends on when you crystallize it
People really serious about software should build their own hardware
Final Advice: content over form, go for fun.
Borne from the fantasies of a generation of post-industrialist utopian technophiles; the founders of Apple appear to have had aimed at making the medium of computer into the message. Belonging to the communicational revolution of the 20th century, the medium/message of Mac has laid its foundation on the territory of the neo-capitalism: on the one hand it has aggressively promoted the value of cultural difference, on the other hand it has characteristically invested in technologies (as well as marketing strategies) of interaction with screen, which allow perpetual reflection and re-articulation of the postmodern subject through experience of sight (and of course music). Yet at the same time, it has plotted the monopolization of this difference-making empire by building from the same bricks of which all the institutions of capitalism are made: the market economy—this one invented in the laboratories of simulacra, where creativity is encouraged by to each his own simulacrum …
 Andy Hertzfeld has captured the memories of the founders of the Apple corporation in Revolution in the Valley. (RIV) See pages 181-184 for the history and hype behind the ‘1984’ commercial.
 ibid, pp 220-223.
 Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, translated by Sheila Faria Glaser, (University of Michigan Press,1994), p. 122.
 Ibid, p. 121.
 “Think Different!” was a television advertisement in the late 90s. The almost lyrical voice over read:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some see them as the crazy ones, We see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, Are the ones who do.”
 This ad was one of the most famous slogans of Apple. It had an intellectual montage of the sources of power and passion in nature (lightening, waves, horses, moon) and culture (orchestra, car racing, bullfighting), intercut with images of a finger (reminiscent of DaVinci’s Creation of Adam) that reaches to click on an off-screen mouse button. This vide is now available on YouTube at URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6en41wUeRu8.
 Theodor Roszak’s book From Satori to Silicon, is electronically reproduced and available at http://library.stanford.edu/mac/primary/docs/satori/taste.html
 Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, translated by Sheila Faria Glaser, (University of Michigan Press,1994), p. 90.
 Ibid, p. 80.
 Leander Kahney, The Cult of Mac, (No Strach Press, 2004), p. 69.
 ibid, p. 70.
 ‘A Conversation with George Lucas’ , Time Magazine, (2006), Web Exclusive.
 ‘How Big can Apple Get?’, Fortune Magazine, vol. 151, no 4 (2005), p66-76.
 This ad was about simplicity of creating multimedia images, It featured a little schoolboy who used Mac to edit the videos of his summer vacation. The ad was titled “to show and tell better”. This vide is available online at URL: http://pulsar.esm.psu.edu/Faculty/Gray/graphics/movies/show_and_tel...
 Haidee Wasson, ‘Electric Homes! Automatic Movies! Efficient Entertainment!: 16mm and Cinema's Domestication in the 1920s‘, Cinema Journal, vol 48, no 4, 2009, pp. 1-21.
 Regis McKenna, ‘Relationship Marketing : successful strategies for the age of the customer’ (Addison-Wesley, 1991), p. 194.
 Ibid, p.193.
 Ibid, p.194.
 Fredric Jameson, ‘Notes on Globalization as a Philosophical Issue’, in The Cultures of Globalization, (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998), p55.
 ibid, p. 56.
 ibid, p. 57.
 Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, ed. 10, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), p 35.
 Andy Hertzfeld, Revolution in the Valley (O’Riely Media Inc, 2005), p. 114.
 ibid, p. 115.
Making the Macintosh, Technology and culture in Silicon Valley; a project tracing the history of development of Macintosh, from technological development to marketing, to culture. http://library.stanford.edu/mac/index.html
The electronic Archive of Mac video clips maintained by Gary L Gray, associate professor in the department of engineering and computer science in Pennsylvania State University: http://www.esm.psu.edu/Faculty/Gray/movies.html
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