I’d never pegged myself as one of those obnoxious Apple nerds. Fair enough, the whole "Apple Ecosystem" thrives in my home habitat, but I was never one to get preachy about it. Then it happened: I found myself taking genuine offence at someone for daring to suggest that Android might be better.
It didn’t help that that someone was my mother. Or the fact that she used the phrase “it just makes more sense to me”.
Having provided my parents tech support for the past six years, I felt that I’d earned their respect when it came to advising them on big-ticket tech purchases. They may have ignored me with their great Kobo/Kindle debacle of 2011 but that only highlighted the wisdom of my advice, right? Wrong.
When they announced that they wanted a new tablet, I got excited. iPad Mini all the way! Or even an iPad 2 if they were feeling flush!
It was their dream portable computing solution! Mom could watch Who Do You Think You Are? on iPlayer and Dad could hop onto Safari to investigate die cast modelling kits. They could do all of this on Android but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as straightforward or pretty.
I spent an hour or so showing them how the iPad works, letting them play around with apps and getting a taste of Apple magic. The problem should have been obvious when Dad raised the issue of Apple Maps. My husband jumped to Apple’s defence, talking about how the programme would evolve and improve before he reached the last ditch “or you can just use Google”.
My Mom tends to nod every time she types a character – as if she is hitting the key with the end of her nose. It is quite cute, but she didn’t do it with the iPad. Instead her face was kind of scrunched up and quizzical. I mistakenly took this as an indication that she was too busy embracing a new and intuitive universe to bother with quirky head gestures.
Maps and no weird nodding aside, they both seemed suitably impressed.
Steve Jobs would have been proud of our family Apple sales pitch that evening. My husband and me were like a Shit Apple Fanatics Say double act. I genuinely felt as if I’d given my parents sound advice and awaited the call asking me to pop round and set up their shiny new Apple candy.
The call never came. Well, a call did come but it sucked for two reasons: 1) it contained the phrase “we bought a Galaxy Tab” and 2) Mom had already managed to set it up. Apparently, it was “easy” and “made perfect sense”.
It wasn’t long before I was handed my first big Nelson Muntz “HA-HAW” moment. Mom and Dad couldn’t figure out how to type an underscore. “We were wondering if you knew?” Mom asked sheepishly. I am not proud of what happened next. “Sorry, but I have no idea. I could’ve helped if you’d bought an iPad like I suggested”.
I’d become THAT person. And, for a brief moment, it felt good – until Mom chirpily replied “Oh well, not to worry, I‘ll pop back and ask the lad in Tesco.”
How I sulked and stropped! Six years of loyal tech support service, including countless hours explaining that iPlayer and iTunes are not the same thing. Six years! Only to be replaced by a stranger with a “happy to help” badge.
A week on and I’m getting over it. I talked Mom through her first app purchase - picturing her nodding away as she tip-tapped on the screen. I’m even starting to accept that Android might make more sense to my parents than iOS and Apple.
Having seen myself become a terrifying Apple evangelist, I’m now more open to the idea that Android works better for some. Especially for people who like to nod when they type.
Image via Tsahi Levent-Levi's Flickr