The UX of Criticizing Apple

By | June 28, 2010

I spent two years (1992-1994) in Buffalo, NY.  My first conversation with a native Buffalonian went like this:

Me: Hi, I’m Glen.
Buffalo: Hi Glen, where are you from?
Me: Just outside NYC.
Buffalo:  Hmmm.  The wings suck there.  Pizza too.  Plus did you know the Buffalo Bills are the only NY football team.  The Jets and Giants are in New Jersey.  Buffalo is awesome!

Ok, so what happened here?  Why did every native of Buffalo get really defensive when talking about NYC?  How did the Buffalo Bills become synonymous with people’s personal identity?  Why are wings and pizza so important?

I think the root of this was that Buffalonians were insecure about their identity living in a really depressing situation.  Buffalo’s glory days are behind her.  Unemployment is very high.  The weather SUCKS by any normal person’s measure.  It’s a sad place to be.  How can any city live in the shadow of NYC; the metropolis; the Big Apple?  So people get defensive about every perceived slight.

I recently got an Apple iPad and was evaluating it according to the only method I know how: A crit.  A crit is short for critique and every art student learns how to do one in high school.  You are overly critical and nit-picky during a crit.  You try to poke holes in the art for the purpose of making it better.  A crit is designed to make the piece stronger, not to make the artist feel badly.  I am critical of every product and service I use because it helps make the world better.

It’s not personal.  I constantly evaluate everything around me with an eye towards how it works well and not so well.  I did this the other day with the iPad.  The next thing that happened were a bunch of Apple fans (short for fanatics) telling me how much the iPad rocks and how everything else sucks.  It was like Buffalo all over again.

I’m not saying the iPad sucks.  I am saying that it seems to be a tweener in size and power that make it’s usage questionable.  I am exploring it’s usage in the best way I know how; by using it.  Don’t be critical of someone’s first impressions.  They are important clues to how the device can improve.  The iPad will get upgrades in the coming years as will netbooks, e-readers, phones and other devices.

Be critical of your world.  Be critical of Apple.  Be critical of yourself.

7 thoughts on “The UX of Criticizing Apple

  1. mdmadph

    Don’t be surprised — I was just reading an article today about how overreacting to things is now the norm in culture.

    Reply
  2. rutger

    true words 🙂 noticing similar behaviour with droidism atm. It’s getting quite hard to get any real reviews with useful discussions when it involves these products.

    Reply
  3. Brandon L. Golm

    Pretty sure we can all agree that the best pizza is at La Manda in Tarrytown NY.

    Reply
  4. Brandon L. Golm

    BTW, Glen,

    Your comparison is naïve at best. You say you wrote a “crit” about the iPad, and you’re comparing that to telling someone from Buffalo that you’re from NYC.

    It seems to me that what really happened is more like “Hi I’m Glen, I just visited Buffalo and here are the 6 things that suck about Buffalo. 1) I couldn’t find the sky …”

    The Buffalo story you told would be more like saying “I just got an XYZ tablet, and the iPad fans yelling at you about how awesome the iPad is.”

    Just sayin’.

    Reply
  5. Katie

    Brandon,
    You have to come to, of all places, Berkeley CA for pizza. From Cheeseboard to Zachary’s to La Gioia – and there’s even Arinell’s for Glen’s favorite “New York” style pizza. 🙂 Glen and I lived in Tarrytown and I don’t remember La Manda? (I had young children when we lived there so my memory is not reliable.) Where is it?!!

    Reply
  6. Brandon L. Golm

    You know what, I made a mistake, it’s on Tarrytown road in White Plains. I make this mistake all the time. It’s pretty close to the civic center thingie in White Plains.

    251 Tarrytown Rd, White Plains, NY

    My mom used to go there as a kid. I went there as a kid. Now, any time I visit my sister in NYC, we drive there. 🙂

    And no to any thick crust pizza. Not a fan. Also no to eastbay. 🙂 If forced, however, I’ll have to check out “Arinell’s”. Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Brandon L. Golm

    And, to be honest, it might be called “La Manda’s.” I’m pretty sure that’s what it says on the building. I called it that my whole life.

    Reply

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