Freelance writer, creative nomad and proud to identify as a high-functioning alcoholic.
It seems that everyone has a colourful opinion about Apple products, especially people on sites like Medium and Vocal, who bare their teeth and bark like jackals whenever someone presents a view about the California company which is at odds with their own, in even the slightest way.
But who can blame them? Apple products are provocative in so many ways. There’s the silvery-ness, the system updates which render handsets more than two years old almost unusable, the constant, bewildering changes of ports, plugs and sub-models and the friendless, emo-esque sad specimens that compost all day in Starbucks with their precious Air. Maybe that’s why it’s called the Air, as it empowers the user to expand like a gas, taking all available space in any public space bedecked with repurposed tables, vintage uplighters and caffeine.
Once, I advanced upon one of these unfortunate souls and looked at their screen, and all they were doing was testing new fonts. Finally, who cannot associate Apple with that other famous American export, cyber bullying?
For me, Apple is wholly defined by the little apple stickers that the damned place on their cars, or on their laptops (to cover the HP logo) or even on their MacBooks (next to the actual Apple logo), to remind themselves and others that they are, in the words of Mark Corrigan off Peep Show, “just another cock getting wired into the global economy”.
Of course, all brands have an intangible element to them as well. I will forever remember my first iPhone, enabling me to stream mucky videos on my 4G, and facilitating the courtship of my future wife on an online chatroom where our relationship evolved from hurling disgusting, outrageous abuse at one another over the forums, moving over to Whatsapp, then on to our first date, when I booked a table at the local meat restaurant using the Zomato app. I used my iPhone 5 to book our first vacation to Alicante together, and then to write a slandering review of the airline on TripAdvisior when they offloaded me, as I had become hopelessly drunk and defecated in my speedos whilst sitting in my seat whilst waiting for the giant metal cylinder to take off.
Some years later, I used TaskRabbit’s app to first book Pepe, my now long-term valet. I initially met Bertrand whilst curiously swiping through Grindr whilst cloudwalking on ether, and most recently – and most unusually – I received a call on my iPhone 7 from the police, telling me that they found my wife’s body in a quicklime-lined shallow grave in Callow Rock Quarry, a lovely spot which we had visited (when she was definitely alive), only one day earlier.
To get away from this big smiling mess, Bertrand and I took a mini break to Switzerland. Pepe had booked us a charming little chalet within walking distance to the quaint little town of Gstaad. Forever the protector, Pepe had forced us to leave all our electronic devices at home, to allow us a modicum of piece of mind and to avoid any undue harassment from the law.
I tell you what, travelling without a phone is like travelling naked, which ironically happened on the flight to Geneva when the flight attendant discovered Bertrand and I tangled up in a compromising situation in our first-class compartment. Nevertheless, after a few days the lack of technology became liberating. Maybe we don’t need to be so attached to our devices, Apple products or not? It suggests to me that we are not so bound to brands like we think we are; or are our brains hardwired to the simpler things, such as niceties I rediscovered in Switzerland such as Gruyère cheese and piquant cured pork from the local markets in the Cantons of Vaud and Bern. And who needs Grindr when you can cut a peephole in the fence at Les Bains de Lavey?
Anyway, that’s over five hundred words not talking about the topic at hand. Let me take you back to those wonderful markets, especially the one in Gstaad. Bertrand and I spent an unforgettable few days wandering around these quaint collections of stalls, unimaginably inebriated, taking advantage of the gentle souls of the locals, tasting and purchasing their products, fabricating bogus complaints about the quality, and getting more for free. We were feasting on Swiss wine, salamis, cheeses, and wonderful crispy meringues slathered in the famous Gruyère double cream. After Bertrand wet-retched over a wine stall after sinking a pot of fondue garnished with my own personal batch of Winner’s Sauce, we had to flee from the main street to escape the tradesfolk and their unreasonable levels of anger.
Despite being a tiny municipality of less than ten thousand gullible inhabitants, Gstaad is very wealthy. Almost every shop carries a brand name such as Versace, Gucci and Hermès. As we legged it onto Güterstrasse, we happened across a high-end electronics store, which functioned as the town’s official Apple reseller, taking shelter within. It goes to demonstrate the power of the Apple brand that such a small but affluent town considers it necessary to have what is basically an Apple Store next to a Burberry, and also that we subsequently ventured in and spent almost seventy-five thousand Swiss Francs on their products.
The reason for our splurge on that drunken night in Gstaad was simply to afford you, the reader, an insight into Apple, and the titular topic.
“What is the real impact of Apple products on the market?”
With Pepe dutifully carrying a trolley with our hastily purchased branded electronics, we made our way back onto the main street, which had calmed down and cleaned up since Bertrand had expelled his odious mess upon that stall. Taking a third of the market each, we set about placing the Apple products on the tables, arranging them on and around the wares; nestled in between wheels of cheese, half-submerged in pans of fondue, laying in beds of cured meats and on top of jams, boxes of biscuits, underneath creamy bars of Swiss chocolates, and in cuckoo clocks.
Once we had determinedly distributed Apple products on the market, Pepe shouldered the both of us up on to the roof of a nearby chalet, were we could sit, drink some more and consider what the Apple products looked like. On the market.
The results were disappointing. The vibrant colours of Swiss food and drink, the decoration of the stalls with the flags of Bern and Switzerland, all set against the backdrop of more chalets and the hills lolling up to Glacier 3000, meant that Steve Jobs’ steel, soulless slabs of desperate consumerism simply faded into the background.
The easily tricked, wealthy locals ignored them, passing up the temptations to not only thieve a current-issue iPhone, but a full-on, top-of-the-range Mac. Bertrand and I surmised that they were either already weighed down with their own personal Apple electronic devices, or helplessly, understandably smitten by the market goods – goods with real character and true class, not faceless tiles of microchips and glass fawned over by dead-eyed, socially-inadequate youths, worshipping not only the product itself but the evil, short-sighted and fashion-questionable con-artist that scammed them in his quest to propel the company to the upper echelons of vainglorious corporate greed.
Nevertheless, despite our initial ponderings, we remained on the roof for some time; Pepe supplying us with a non-stop source of drink, which we kept warm and concealed in a hiking platypus. Six hours after we ventured up there, we returned down to street-level. The market was still thronging but the light was dying. The church clock chimed seven in the evening. We weaved amongst the locals, gathering up the unloved Apple products, taking them back to our chalet and packing them away in socks, thongs and leather masks, to avoid stirring the suspicions of the customs goons once back at Heathrow Airport.
Back in the safe embrace of our fortified Belgravia lodgings, cameras set up to detect approaching police cars and bail-bondsmen, we set about scalping the Apple products on eBay. On this particular market, we both thought more fondly of these branded electronics, as we were able to sell them at a tidy profit, boxed, sealed and new, to any old fool with a spare five hundred quid who wanted a phone, or whatever. We were also able to sell a few surplus Apple boxes stuffed with rocks, not electronics, as we are technically of no fixed abode and thanks to some creative social engineering by Pepe, our eBay account cannot be traced in any shape or form.
So, there we have it. I consider Apple products to not have much impact on the market, at least not on Swiss ones. And if you think differently, then please do let me know. But before you reach out, consider why you are? Do you actually like Apple, or are you just one of the many who have been led up the garden path by Jobs and Cook? You would do well to remember that we are not obligated by anyone, living or dead, to be better than the example set to us. It’s best to give up the seat in the coffee shop and experience the fresh air. Gstaad comes highly recommended.
© 2021 Arthur Targe