When Apple Fans Go Crazy

Farhad Manjoo, excerpting his new book “True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society,” on overzealous Mac fans:

Last year, I praised the iPhone in something of the way Romeo once praised Juliet: The device, I said, is revolutionary — “it marks a new way of life. One day we’ll all have iPhones, or things that aim to do what this first one does, and your life will be better for it.” But because I’d concluded that the phone was, at the time, too expensive to keep (this was before Apple cut the price), several readers alleged that I was an Apple hater. For instance: “Does Salon actually pay you or are you being paid under the table by rival companies?”

David Pogue, the New York Times’ tech critic, gets much the same response. In 2005, he wrote a quite positive review of Apple’s iPod Nano. His only problem with the music player was that, per gigabyte of music-storage space, the Nano was more expensive than the iPod Mini it replaced. Also, at the time, it wasn’t available in multiple colors. These small slights prompted Apple fans to ask Pogue, among other things, whether he was happy “licking Bill Gates’ balls.”

I believe this is changing, thank God, as a lessening percentage of Mac users represent those persecuted stalwarts who kept the company going even when their computer were actually pretty crappy. And PC users have gotten more mellow over the years, finally conceding that the Mac can be a perfectly decent computing platform.

Why Apple fans hate tech reporters [Machinist.Salon.com]

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14 Responses to When Apple Fans Go Crazy

  1. Skeptobot says:

    It is a selection effect.

    Far more people with extreme view points (aka idiots) are going to post a comment to a review compared to those that just go. “Yeah thats about right” and click away.

    Comment sections inherently probe the edges of the bell curve.

  2. Alan says:

    Is it possible to be a Mac fan and not care for Apple’s other products? I really like their computers, but the other stuff I’m pretty much meh about, some things I’m sure are a rip-off, and please don’t get me started about iTunes. (Okay, I admit it, I’d take an iPhone in a heartbeat.)

    I do like Skeptobot’s last sentence.

  3. zman says:

    The distrust of all tech reporters, while not rational, isn’t entirely unfounded. MSFT has been known to pay off bloggers and tech reporters for negative stories about competitors. I know this sounds like paranoid bullshit, but read some of the internal emails/documents that came out during the iowa antitrust lawsuit.

    That said, I totally agree that a lot of mac users zealous morons. This is just to maybe explain part of why.

  4. Halloween Jack says:

    I think that it’s from the years and years of Apple haters predicting the company’s imminent demise; before Jobsy’s return, Wired had a cover titled “Pray” with Apple’s logo surrounded by a crown of thorns, and an article on 101 things that Apple should do to reverse its fortunes, getting halfway through the list before Steve Jobs was even mentioned. Granted, this was in the days when Wired was predicting that push technology was the Next Big Thing, and that “The Long Boom”, aka the dot-com bubble, would never end, but still. The occurrence of the word “beleaguered” in any article about Apple became a running joke among Mac fans. John Dvorak repeatedly published columns about how the company was on its last legs. And so on. The most extreme case was after the dot-bomb, when Apple was valued at about $4 billion on the stock market–at a time when it had $5 billion cash in the bank. How does that make sense?

    It gets tiring after a while.

  5. teapot7 says:

    > Granted, this was in the days when Wired was predicting that push technology was the Next Big Thing, and that “The Long Boom”, aka the dot-com bubble, would never end, but still.

    Has there ever been a time when Wired talked anything other than rubbish?

    I have such fond memories of that ‘long boom’ cover.

  6. Tomble says:

    I have both a mac and a PC. They’re both computers. They both crash about the same amount (rarely). The biggest problem I had learning how to use the mac was familiarity, a problem I have now overcome.

    What is funny is when I read people raving about how simple mac is, one guy in a forum was talking about how logical the mac was, you pressed f9 and this happened, you pressed apple + some key, and that happened! He couldn’t see that because he was intimately familiar with it, it seemed logical, whereas to someone who had never used that, it would seem weird and obscure.

  7. Tommy says:

    You can diss my Mac all you want. Just leave the BeOS alone! And my Amiga!

  8. RexRhino says:

    People don’t become zealous and religious when there are clear, overwelming differences between two products. With easily distinguishable differences, they can compare rationally and reconcile differences in needs and taste with other people. People become zealous and crazy when there are extremly minor and superficial differences between two things.

    Hence, there will be a more heated debate about two nearly identical products (Pepsi vs. Coke, Mac vs. PC, Catholic vs. Anglican, Xbox 360 vs. PS3), versus two clearly differentiated products (Single malt scotch vs. Colt 45, for example)

  9. malex says:

    Skeptobot’s comment is pretty much right.

  10. unstoppable says:

    I’ll go ahead and say that i don’t hate apple, really. i hate apple users and fanboys. most mac users dont really care either way, but some wont stfu about lol mac is great no matter wut.

  11. Nora says:

    Loud Mac-loving assholes : Mac users :: Westboro Baptist Church : Christians

  12. Elrohir says:

    @WoooT

    That’s a bad example, because you’re picking a very fuzzy characteristic. What is considered “simple” varies widely. Linux fans may in fact will claim that Linux is simple. If this seems weird that’s due to different points of view. Linux is simple from the point of view of somebody who wants to understand the internals, Windows/Mac are simple from the point of view of somebody interested in the external behavior.

    This is the kind of thing that turns into a flamewar precisely because it’s so ambiguous and so dependent on personal tastes.

    This article however is about people complaining about perfectly well defined statements. There’s absolutely nothing fuzzy about “it has less memory” or “it doesn’t come in different colors”. So long they’re not a lie, there’s nothing to argue about.

    I’d almost say that the Linux camp is less fanatical than the Apple one. There are wars and arguments of course, but you’ll see people working on benchmarking and improving parts of the system. The obsessive fan probably runs the latest kernel which has the latest iteration of the scheduler. Some will try to make improvements of their own. That’s a recognition of things not being as good as they could be, and that they can be made better.

    Now just try to claim that the iPhone is lacking something and you’ll have a heap of of rabid fans on you in an instant. Pointing that something is lacking will not result in a reply “Indeed, they should add that in the next revision”, but outright denial that anybody needs such a thing.

  13. w000t says:

    Apple fans are not the only ones – watch this:

    Linux is unnecessarily complicated.

  14. wanorris says:

    @W000T:

    > Apple fans are not the only ones

    No one with any sense would claim that.

    On the other hand, throwing out something like “Sometimes Microsoft just doesn’t think hard enough before releasing some of their products” is likely to garner you nods of agreement from Microsoft users, not caustic flames. You have to go to extremes to provoke a nasty response from them, perhaps something like “No one who really cares about technology would ever use Windows.”

    Personally, I quite like some Linux flavors, I don’t mind Windows, and I don’t mind Macs either, but I don’t really get the fetish appeal. Pretty much all OS fanboys are annoying, though.

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