Is Apple Creating a New Aristocracy?

Is Apple Creating a New Aristocracy?

The Dictionary.com site defines an “aristocracy” in part as “a class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges.”

Scanning the news recently, I got to wondering: Is Apple creating a new aristocracy?

Travel privileges

Aristocrats are characterized by, among other things, desirable social privileges and conveniences, especially in transportation. In the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, aristocrats traveled in horse-drawn coach carriages. The riff-raff not only had to walk, but get off the road when an important person came along in a carriage. Travel has always been more convenient for aristocrats.

Cult of Mac reported back in April that Apple had filed a patent for an app called iTravel. (The patent was granted this week.) You can follow the links to read the details, but in a nutshell the app is a kind of “Easy-Pass” for air travel. While the hoi polloi queue up for check-in, security and boarding, the Apple aristocrats just stroll onto the plane.

Of course, aristocrats have to pay more for better travel services.

A recent report revealed that Orbitz routinely offers only higher-rate rooms to site visitors using Macs, as it found that Mac users typically spend more anyway.

This difference in hotels offered is not revealed to users. Visitors to Orbitz who use Macs simply live in a world in which hotels are better and more expensive.

Commercial privileges

Commerce in general has always been more convenient, too. While peasants and workers have had to contend with traveling peddlers and long lines, aristocrats have been able to send their servants to buy things and deal with all the hassles.

An analyst with Research Farm named Pablo Saez Gil believes Apple plans to enlist Bluetooth 4.0 in their long-predicted mobile wallet initiatives. The idea is to turn every store into an Apple store by enabling the purchase point-of-sale for Apple users to be anywhere in the store.

So while other customers wait in line at the register, Apple aristocrats just summon a store employee, process their payment wherever they are, and stroll out of the store.

Exclusive access to precious metals 

Aristocrats have always had exclusive access to precious metals. Traditionally, these have usually been gold and silver. Their purpose is equal parts investment and status symbol.

Fast-forward to now, and some of our most precious metals are built into computers and consumer electronics devices.

One example is that the iPad is made from a special, high-quality aluminum that requires minerals from a mine in Australia — a source that Apple has acquired the exclusive rights to.

Another example is that an SEC filing reveals that Apple has acquired an exclusive license to use Liquidmetal metal alloys in consumer products.

Like gold and silver for yesterday’s aristocrats, today’s Apple aristocrats are the only people with access to the highest-grade aluminum and to Liquidmetal.

Privacy

Aristocrats have always enjoyed special privileges about the privacy and security of their person. In aristocratic societies, for example, the police tend to have little hesitation stopping and searching the lower classes, while they wouldn’t dream of doing the same thing to the aristocrats.

We recently learned that Apple has been granted a patent probably invented at Novell, which provides disinformation to personal data-harvesting robots online.

Like the police in aristocratic countries, major tech companies want to know everything about you, track your every move and finding out what you buy. Apple’s patent would auto-generate alternative profiles on you, and pass along “junk data” to the harvesters, thus assuring your personal privacy.

Is Apple creating a new aristocracy? No, of course not. But reading the news lately, it sure looks that way!

  • alex1913

    The opening of this article leads with the definition of the word aristocracy, meanwhile it completely butchers the definition. The full definition from Diction.com for the one mentioned in this article is, ” a class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges, especially the hereditary nobility.” Meanwhile, and this is extremely important to the definition of the word in a historical and political complex, three out of the five definitions mention government, “A government or state ruled by an aristocracy, elite, or privileged upper class.” “Government by those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.” “A governing body composed of those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.” While it is extremely deceptive not to mention the other uses of the word because none of those really fit the argument presented here–Apple is nto a government and these individuals (customers of Apple) have no governmental power–the argument still falls short in the context of the only definition presented. A “class” is not a infinite structure. With Apple products anyone can move in and out of the class. Though an individual may be poor, they save up to buy an i-whatever, and on the other side, a very wealthy person may want nothing to do with any Apple product. Calling any one a member of an aristocracy because they buy a phone that does many convenient things is stupid. Mike Elgan (the author), I am taking to the time to call your our on your B.S. here. This article is clearly an anti-Apple headline to draw clicks in and get people to read a vacuous piece.

  • technochick

    i just love that half the points are from analysts with no proof or patents Apple hasn’t actually used.

    This whole thing is another analysts fantasy. should have been “could Apple” not “is Apple” then it would be less total bunk. course the moment I saw it in my feed I knew it was a Mike piece. They all have a certain aroma of bs about them.

  • seaaalex

    What a bunch of drivel …. Did actually you read this before you posted it ?

    But then again its all about the page views isn’t it ?

  • lowtolerance

    Wow, you guys have been writing some really trashy linkbait lately.

  • ernie

    Oh Mike Elgan. It’s getting to the point where I am checking the author before I even read the story on CoM so I know how much speculative, outrageous rhetoric I’m in for.

  • Ram0n

    To all of the above… FANBOIS ALL… Apple is and always has been aristocratic in the most negative sense of the word.

  • Qwovadis

    http://www.trollz.com are so droll…

  • aepxc

    So, let me get this straight. Apple products provide useful features to anyone who cares to buy them. Doesn’t ANYTHING we call a tool do that? Not anyONE we call a tool, however…

    On a side note, aristocracy is about unearned privileges that are difficult for non-aristocrats to acquire. E.g. having the MONEY to pay for expensive things. NOT simply being shown higher price tags.

    Ridiculous article.

  • Sm Edwards

    Odds fish my dear fellow, I can’t bare to bring my eyes upon em!

  • JulianApostate

    Actually, the word “aristocracy” comes from “aristos” and “kratos.” “Aristos” which means “excellent,” but more especially “flawless.” “Kratos” means “power” or “rule,” of course, as in “democracy.” “Aristocracy” signifies the rule of those who are the best equipped to rule, closest to what we call “meritocracy.” What rank and privilege is involved comes from being best — smarter, faster, stronger, more virtuous, and so on, but also from using this excellence toward the public good (see “noblesse oblige”). In that sense, yes, to the extent that Apple’s products are better designed, more innovative, more powerful, more balanced, better to use, overall, and that they go out of their way to take into consideration the quality of experience of the user (and not only their own profitability), they can be said to be “aristocratic.” That does not mean they are not there for everyone to enjoy. Quite the contrary. It just means they aspire to the top, not the bottom.

  • AppleJoeAJ

    Just shut the fuck up and enjoy the article. If you don’t like the articles then get the fuck out. Simple -__-

  • eldernorm

    I think its a good article. While some people like to live in the past, trust me, the future is coming. I see people struggling with Android phones and others using an iPhone with ease. Rather than birthright or power, todays aristocrats are created by choice. Our choice.
    Just a thought.

  • extra_medium

    Jesus h goodlord you guys take this way too seriously. Its a goofy article, who cares. And you wonder why the rest of the world thinks Mac users are pricks.

  • lwdesign1

    Out of my way peasants! I own an iPhone!!!

  • Daniel

    Odds fish my dear fellow, I can’t bare to bring my eyes upon em!

    Sink me! This whole revolution of yours is monstrous intolerable!

  • Greg

    Fun analogy! I know I take into consideration when accepting jobs whether or not the client is a Mac.

  • Freducken

    Cult of Mac has been going downhill of late (IMO). My first bad experience were with its ‘recommended apps’ that turn out to be malware at best and a lot of articles of late are just reaching at straws.

    I’m outta here. I can find Apple related tech news elsewhere.

  • Deepak K Tibrewal

    Good Lord ! The word ‘Aristocracy’ used here is, as a metaphor, for all what it means and not literally. But then, how can you not laugh. As some of the reaction seem influenced from people who likes to dislike anything and every thing about Apple.
    I am a fanboy and love it that way. Let us celebrate our Aristocracy.

  • Alfred2612

    I knew instantly upon reading the headline that this was one of Mike’s articles. He certainly can grab attention!

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Mike ElganMike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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