Now that Apple's excellent iPhone has been equalled and even surpassed by phones from other manufacturers, Apple fans have been reduced to muttering about subjective assessments like "taste" and "style" to defend the object of their devotion.
Samsung's new phone hadn't even been launched yet, for example, before Apple fans started grumbling about it being made of "cheap plastic crap."
It's certainly true that Samsung makes good use of plastic in many of its phones--a design choice that makes the phones lighter and, likely, more scratch- and crack- resistant. (I have not dropped iPhones and Galaxies side-by-side to test this--it's just a theory.)
But Apple makes good use of plastic in many of its products, too, so it's not clear why Apple fans condemn others for using this material.
I own a couple of small Apple iPods that are made of plastic, for example. And our office is still filled with white plastic MacBooks. When those products came out, I don't recall Apple fans grousing about how they were just "cheap plastic crap."
Another thing that's odd about the Apple fan obsession with plastic is that most iPhones are used with a case. And these cases are generally made of materials that have a quite different look and feel than the material that the phones themselves are made out of.
I, for example, have never dared carry my iPhone around without a plastic case.
It's not that I don't like the look and feel of the naked iPhone--I do. It's that I drop the iPhone at least once a week, and it's a delicate instrument, so I don't want to risk smashing it.
Although I know that some aficionados and daredevils love to keep their iPhones naked and tell stories of the phones surviving occasional drops, I'm just not willing to take that risk.
A new phone would cost me $600, after all.
And when I'm dealing with a tool that costs that much--especially a tool that I use for many hours every day--the importance of "form" runs a distant second to "function."
In other words, as long as my iPhone works well, I'm not going to worry too much about the details of what it looks like.
That's why, although I guess it's a plus that my iPhone is made of metal, I'm certainly don't think about that very often.
Here's what my iPhone looks like:
This case, of course, mortifies Apple fanatics, who regard it as the very definition of "cheap plastic crap."
But the many times that I've dropped my phone on concrete, I've been very glad to have it.
(And, yes, it's true, this case is probably overkill. But I got it as a present! So using it makes a lot happier than using a mass-produced naked iPhone would, no matter what it's made of.)