Negativity as a Default

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Apple Malaise | Becky Hansmeyer

Maybe it’s just me, but the Apple news/developer community seems to have settled into its own particular, cozy brand of misery as of late. And sure, 2020 is off to a bit of a slow, dismal start––it appears the world is going up in flames, both literally and figuratively, and the Apple rumor mill, which once brought us a bit of cheer throughout the winter doldrums, is now greeted with a general sense of weariness and indifference.

And here’s Joe Cieplinski’s response:

We reward people for complaining, and we shame anyone who says anything positive.

Things sway back and forth over time, and I actually don’t think we’re in the worst place the community has been in recent history. Looking back a couple years, there was doom and gloom about Apple being so far behind in software quality, innovative features, in Siri in general, and that Google was blowing them away with new and exciting features. Seriously, listen to some tech podcasts from 3-4 years ago (ideally before that year’s WWDC) and you’ll get some of the most dire Apple talk you’ve ever heard.

But Becky is definitely right that there is a culture of cynicism in the Apple world that I think is largely driven by social media, where snark is rewarded more than insight. The default position I think most people feel like they need to have is to be negative about everything. Nevermind the fact Apple has a long track record of making things you like and you would rather die than use a competitor’s products, you gotta be negative to look “unbiased.”

Being 100% on board with everything Apple does is swinging too far the other direction, and those people exist with takes like “X is a dumb feature, now Apple has done it the same way as everyone else and I love it!” 🙄. Striking a balance can be tough, and I think there are certainly people out there (including me) who balance enthusiasm with criticism, but you never have to go too far to find voices that feel like they’re just complaining and that makes them the smartest guys in the room.