I can like and respect Apple but I’ve never personally been attracted to Apple products.
The closest was Apple’s second generation iMac which I still think is one of the coolest PC designs of all time (though I wanted it in black). However I’ve often had a hard time articulating why I don’t like Apple products. They are attractive, they are easy to use, they are expensive but I tend to buy expensive things, and people stand in lines to buy many of them.
Earlier this week I went on an Exotic Car Excursion where I got to drive a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a Porsche, a Lotus, an Austin Martian, and a Nissan GT-R. This experience was put on by the San Jose outlet of an outfit that rents exotic cars to drive called Club Sportiva.
And, ironically, it cost about what an iPad cost and I actually thought for a moment about buying an iPad instead and chose to go on the drive.
I’m going to give you my impressions of each car, which car was most like an Apple product (to me), and why I wouldn’t buy one.
I’ll do it in the order I drove them.
I drove this car first because I’d read how uncomfortable it is and I’m not a small guy and this is really a small car. Now while I’d never want to drive this thing over a long distance or to and from work, and feel really sorry for folks that do either, this was my second favorite car. It was just the basics, it had a radio though I doubt you’d ever use it, and you could feel the fiberglass seat shell through the seat padding.
It didn’t even have much horsepower and it had an annoying rattle coming from the back. Having said all of that it was just amazing to drive. It put a grin on my face that went from ear to ear and the absolute pleasure of taking this at speed down some twisty roads was second only driving a go-cart when I was a kid.
Porsche Cayman S
I recently bought a new Audi S5 Cabriolet based partially what folks that knew me through Twitter recommended. The other car they recommended was the Porsche Cayman and it was the closest to an Apple product. The car is flawless, it is expensive but likely no more so than the one I bought, it cornered and accelerated well, it actually had some room in the back for people without legs (most cars had only two seats) and it was actually very comfortable.
But it didn’t put a smile on my face. There was nothing I could point to in the car I didn’t like, but there was nothing that got me excited either. It was likely one of the best built cars I’d ever been in and, from a standpoint of quality, the Lotus wasn’t even on the same page but if I had a chance to own either car the Lotus would win hands down because it had me grinning ear to ear and the Porsche didn’t.
Let’s just say if they gave sex 4 wheels it would be a GT-R. My first experience was coming out of a parking lot and crossing a street into a right sweeping curve and I floored it. Damn near had an orgasm right there in the spot. People had told me this car could outperform everything else I’d be driving that day and I just wouldn’t have believed it until I drove the car.
If the Lotus put a smile on my face the GT-R would have had me with my head out the window like a dog panting and grinning. It had a dash display designed from a video game (I wonder how many people have crashed messing with it while driving), it had good room in the back seat, it was very comfortable, you could drive it like a regular car, and if you pushed down on the gas it turned into a beast of legend. It is a car that anyone who loves cars should at least drive or ride in once.
Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder
This was actually my wife’s favorite car but I had trouble getting over the Audi interior fitment. Don’t get me wrong I drive an Audi but seeing the Audi gear in an exotic kind of turned me off. This actually turned out to be the least comfortable car for me and while it was one of the fastest and a convertible it couldn’t seem to pull away from the GT-R (granted nothing else could either).
I loved the looks and I didn’t notice the comfort problem until I got out but for a car in this price range I really expected something more. Now, with a V10 engine it was no slouch either and the noise it put out likely caused a few of the bicyclists I passed to nearly crap their pants (a definite plus) but, in the end, it was too much flash, too little comfort and too many discords.
Aston Martin DB-9 Convertible
This was a V12, a James Bond car, and I was really looking forward to driving it. The level of disappointment was beyond belief. It sounded fine, it was very comfortable, and it drove like a heavy sedan. It was sloppy over the bumps, accelerated like a truck, and the brakes seemed to be just slightly less than this heavy monster needed.
It was the exact opposite of the Lotus, likely great for really long trips but horrid through the corners and keeping up with the Lamborghini and Nissan was like trying to chase a race horse with a pony. It was one of the best looking cars at the event, it is a piece of art, and I’d put it on a pedestal and keep it the hell off the road.
This was a tamed race car. From the controls on the wheels to the way it drove from the moment I got in the car I was intimidated by what this thing could do. This was the kind of car someone would drive if they were either a real race car driver or a poser.
I know from the moment I got in the car it was more capable than I would ever be and while it was amazing to drive I didn’t enjoy driving it as a result. I truly felt inadequate in the car and didn’t have that feeling in anything else I’d driven that day. I admire anyone that can own and drive a Ferrari with confidence but knew that would never be me because I’m just not, and never will be, that good.
Wrapping Up: Why I loved the GT-R and Don’t like the Mac
I like the GT-R, and the cars I do own the blown Infiniti FX35 and Audi S5 Cabriolet, because they make me feel special, they stand out as unique and, to be honest, because each in its own way (particularly the GT-R and FX) is a beast. I think of an Apple product as something I’d give my grandmother or older relative (look at the age of the average Apple customer) or a kid as a gift but it just doesn’t attract me. It’s pretty, capable but, in the end, too milk toast.
My current carry laptop is a Alienware M11x which is effectively a supped up small laptop my desktops range from a custom Intel i7 rig with at GT480 card to two custom AMD and Intel rigs with Eyefinity setups. I like different, unusual, powerful and things that put a smile on my face. You can’t do that with Apple, at least not without creating a Hackintosh.
A lot of folks love Porsche (and the other car I wouldn’t buy) and love Apple; I just doubt I’ll ever be one of them. I feel fortunate to still live in a world where that is OK.
Rob Enderle is one of the last Inquiry Analysts. Inquiry Analysts are paid to stay up to date on current events and identify trends and either explain the trends or make suggestions, tactical and strategic, on how to best take advantage of them. Currently, he provides his services to most of the major technology and media companies. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.