Hype Tax

Someone used the phrase “hype tax” to describe the cost of Apple’s products. That’s a cop-out argument that I’ve only ever seen gainfully employed nerds use to be publicly right about their own preferences. Here’s the context, implying that Apple’s products are entirely marketing and novelty, with no quality or substance:

If you do the research, you will normally find products of equal or better quality than anything Apple puts out for less money. That’s probably the biggest issue I have with Apple. When it comes to quality electronic products, they are a really good MARKETING company. When it’s all said and done, all you end up paying for is a brand and a few bells and whistles for which the novelty is usually very short-lived.

Now, I WILL say this. If you can get a REALLY good deal on an Apple device on Craigslist, then go for it. Let somebody else pay the “hype tax.” If I were in the market for a tablet and came across an iPad for less money than I could get a Galaxy or Fire, I would give it some consideration. But, it would have to be in the $100 range. I still refuse to use iTunes period.

Considering I’m not a mindless consumer by any stretch of the imagination, is it really a hype tax to pay top-dollar for something I know I will enjoy using, much less something I’m confident I will never want to throw against a wall?

How about for something with a thriving software development economy, where talented and hard-working developers can create useful apps that do more than waste my time, and actually earn a return on the investment they made in creating them? (See: Instapaper, Tweetbot.)

That isn’t a hype tax. This is the cost of one company building the kind of product normal people want to use, and building it very well. Not making another computer we’re used to, but one that people will find more appropriate and easier to use for their day-to-day computing.

How about we raise the level of discourse and think about who these devices are for, instead of assuming every device is built for us? Time to stop preaching supremacy from the nerd altar that non-technical people have had to bring their devices to for them to be miraculously healed. That’s a sanctuary that needs to burn to the ground already.

Now’s a good time for computers to move on and make a lot of what we have to do irrelevant, so that normal users can do more of what they want to do. We’re just a stop-gap measure, not the permanent solution.

Joseph Rooks