How to mock your Apple Card

I feel the need to expand on this tweet from last night:

I use thousands of dollars of equipment from the company that wrote this.

   Dr. Drang    Aug 21, 2019 – 9:50 PM

The quote comes from Apple’s “How to clean your Apple Card” support document, which went up earlier this week.

The one-paragraph jump from “leather and denim may stain your card” to “keep your card in your wallet or your pocket” generated lots of complaints on Twitter, mostly of the form “That’s Apple, putting form over function.”12

My complaint is not that the Apple Card may lose its luster in a wallet. I’m not sure anything will maintain its looks when put between sheets of leather and compressed by my butt. My complaint is that Apple wrote a support document that looks absurd and invites snarky comments. Everything Apple does generates derision from Apple haters; this generated derision from Apple’s best customers.

The support document is, in fact, putting function over form. Apple wants to tell its customers that the card won’t look brand new forever and advise them on the best way to store it. That’s the function of the document. But through bad writing—how many people read this before it was published?—it looks like Apple made a fragile card and is advising you to store it in a way that will destroy it. Instead of invoking Louis Sullivan, we should be be turning to Casey Stengel: Can’t anybody here play this game?

  1. If Louis Sullivan knew how often his words would be abused by people with no sense of form or function, he might have bit his tongue. As reader Scott Wright said, whatever staining might occur doesn’t affect the function of the card. 

  2. Apple critics would argue that the real function of the Apple Card is not to pay for things but to look cool. If that’s the case, though, form and function are the same, and Apple can’t put one over the other.