Growing up in the Southeast, it shouldn’t be surprising that I have a background rife with religion. My roots dig deep in the home-schooled, American Catholic demographic, and through that I learned all about the tenants of Catholicism. Later, when I entered a (predominantly Presbyterian) private school, I was educated on the foundations of Protestantism, Martin Luther’s infamous 95 Theses, and the development of modern Christianity. What I didn’t learn about was perhaps the most convicted religious institution of all.
Okay, so by this point some of you are laughing (maybe), others of you are shouting obscenities at your computer (let me remind you: I can’t hear them), and yet more probably already closed this window and are busy surfing the web for the next-gen iPad. For those of you still around (and indignant), allow me to explain my position.
As a business student, I am almost required to be an admirer of Apple, and I am…to a certain extent. The late Steve Jobs was a genius and a visionary. No doubt about it! After some years of lagging behind competitor Microsoft, Apple has proven its dominance in the tech industry and advanced to one of the largest companies in the world, barreling past some impressive milestones, from cash-on-hand to stock prices.
But then you have the fanatics. Oh, the mere thought makes me shudder! I’m not talking about your average Apple user or even the ones who devote themselves solely to Apple products (and are no doubt anxiously awaiting the iCar, Apple’s answers to Google’s self-driving automobile). I’m referring to the Apple pushers: the ones who corner you in bathrooms and berate you for pulling out your Android-based smartphone.
These are the fans that have led me to come to describe Apple as its own religion of sorts. If you think about it, the company really is coming to that (admittedly through no fault of their own). Its loyal fans practically swear off all other tech companies, they carry their iPads tucked safely under their arms, they always have that one item representative of their company that they carry around in their pockets/purses, and they condemn those who would blaspheme the sacred silicon-based hardware by venerating a competing brand.
Any of these sound like traits of religious groups? Yeah, it scares me, too, and I’m always nervous to go into a MacAuthority—the proverbial sanctuary of Apple users—lest I hear Jobs’s disciples reciting the chilling iCreed:
We believe in one Jobs, the Father of Innovation, creator of iPhone and Mac…
Well, you get the picture.
I’ve had a few run-ins with these people, the most recent being with my father, who politely commented on my shared wall post of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD (a shameless entry to win a free tablet, of course) by reminding me how the iPad is superior. There was also that time a classmate questioned my intelligence for using PCs…and that was before tablets or smartphones! Then there are the not-so-inconspicuous colloquies between Apple fanboys, “quietly” bashing non-believers in the dead center of the room. And, as I’ve learned to do with religion and politics, I just sigh and walk away, because there’s no pacifying them.
Now, I’m not saying people shouldn’t exercise brand loyalty. I just think people should respect others’ choices, and in the words of Steve Jobs, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
…Wait, that wasn’t Steve Jobs.