You can say what you want about Steve Jobs, but the man likes his icons IN ROWS.

Did you ever wonder why Macs and other Apple products attract so much attention from both the tech and mainstream press, even though Mac users only account for 12% of the U.S. computer owning population?

Here’s the secret: it’s because most of those journalists and bloggers…studied journalism.

Apple basically invented desktop publishing with the Macintosh. Sure, in the early 1990′s you could get Photoshop or PageMaker for a PC. But Windows 3.1 just didn’t stack up to System 7 when it came to graphic design and prepress layout. Since the professionals did all their work on Macs, the schools needed to teach on Macs. And since they all bought into Macs back in the 1990′s, they stayed in the ecosystem, even when PCs eventually caught-up in graphic design chops. Since the people who are paid to write about things that you read about have used Macs for the entirety of their professional education and careers, they frequently end up writing about Macs because that’s what they use, and that’s what they know.

In fact it’s not just journalists, but creatives of all types that make up one of Apple’s key core customer groups. Graphic designers, video editors, musicians; Apple got the drop on supporting the creative industries with affordable solutions, when the previous alternatives were expensive proprietary equipment that was difficult to learn. Apple courted creatives, and they rewarded Apple by becoming a rabidly loyal fanbase.

Creatives stuck with Apple during the ‘lean years’ before OS X. Creatives were the first ones to adopt the iPod and use iTunes when it was only on Macs. Creatives were the first ones to buy the iPhone, before it had an app store or did anything useful. Creatives defended the iPad! Creatives are half of Apple’s core audience.

The other half is, of course, retards with too much money who like pretty things.

With the upcoming revision to the Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple is starting to make very clear which of these core audiences they consider most important.

Hint: it’s not the creatives.

Apple's typical relationship with its customers

OS X Lion takes concepts for a cell phone — dated concepts for a cell phone at this point — and applies them to a full desktop computer operating system. You know that co-worker who doesn’t know anything about computers, how she has her desktop cluttered with completely unorganized icons? That’s a selling point for this product! Making your computer look like your crappy 4-year-old cell phone interface is supposed to be a good thing! Another baffling feature that Apple is really excited about: full-screen apps. That’s it. Applications that take up the whole screen. Apple actually makes this the third bullet point in their own marketing material.

They’re also introducing an app store, like an iPhone, and managed multitasking, like an iPhone. The marketing tagline even states it: “The Power of OS X, the Magic of iPad.” Except the iPad isn’t magic, it’s just a freaking huge iPhone.

And the retards with money, they may eat this stuff up. But creatives aren’t stupid. They may not be computer nerds, but when Apple’s new, crappy, walled-garden philosophy of running a computer starts interrupting someone’s workflow, it’s not hard to imagine the fallout. If Microsoft had any vision or imagination, they’d be ready and waiting to capitalize on Apple’s narrow-minded vision, but they have no vision so they won’t. In the meantime, the rest of us can sit back and watch Apple abuse its most important constituents, until they just can’t take it anymore.