There was an awful lot of hyperbole surrounding the iPad launch, and this article covers the “the iPad is the worst thing ever” side, with this even-handed definition of modern geeks:
We like to hack things, to take them apart to understand how they work, recombine their elements, improve them and add new ones, some of which we’ve built from scratch. We hack all kinds of things–computers, cars, food, networks, governments, music and so on.
We hack some things that we don’t own (like open-source software) and many things we do. Once we buy something we consider it ours to hack, and we don’t need or seek anyone’s permission to do so. Nobody can dictate where, how or what we hack, particularly when we’re not breaking any laws.
Our work is profoundly beneficial; it’s a big source of creative destruction in the economy and society. We turn out innovations much better and faster than big sleepy incumbents do, and we also keep them on their feet. They might not like us, but they can’t stop us; we’ll either hack their wares or turn out better ones. So we don’t need to play nice with them, and don’t have any interest in doing so.
Entities that welcome us are, in the not-too-long-run, going to outperform those that don’t, because we bring so much energy and generate so much innovation.
I feel like that’s only part of the story. True, the geeks often come up with some astounding uses of material and clever innovations, but their ideas (and I’m wildly generalizing here) are often lacking polish or are too cumbersome for the average person to bother with. Apple products strive to “just work,” which is appealing to many, but the trade-offs (sealed, under-spec’d hardware; the curated app store) can be appalling to geeks. Or maybe I just don’t have a very high opinion of Linux. Or maybe I think the good stuff is often worth paying for.