back to article Apple as a religion: How the iPhone became divine

Apple lovers vs. Apple haters is a common theme on the tech forums. Some think that there is a consumer psychology dynamic at play, that turns us into Brand Evangelists or Brand Talibans. Two American academics, admittedly new media academics, Heidi Campbell and Antonio La Pastina, take a different tack in comparing Apple to …


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  1. MacRat

    Or is it reactive?

    Reactive to most of the world believing that Windows and Office is a requirement to do anything in business?

    Requires a "belief" that there is something else?

    That someone can be productive without Microsoft?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    do Mac user values exist

    Don't know about values, but they certainly have faith.

    1. Frank Bough
      Dead Vulture


      the same faith we all have in a trusted provider of goods and or services. Apple are a religion exactly as much as SAP, Nike, BMW or Mars are.

      Essentially, this article is meta-bullshit - bullshit about bullshit.

  3. David Evans
    Jobs Horns

    Actually I think I'll jump straight in with the name calling

    I avoid Apple products precisely because of the "cult" behaviours surrounding them. Anyone who gets some kind of shared group affiliation out of a lump of silicon, glass and plastic (and demonises those who don't) is clearly a twat. I avoid overtly religious types as rule and Mac cultists definitely fall into that category, and I wouldn't want to be identified as one by mistake.

    1. Richard 81


      Aren't Mac hating Windows users, or everyone hating Linux users, just the same as the elitist Mac users? It's tribalism. You either love Marmite or you hate it.

      I'd imagine the majority of normal don't really care though.

      I think Marmite is a bit odd tasting. It's OK but I'd go for something else, given the choice.

      Oh, it's nice on Twiglets.

      1. Shakje

        I hate marmite


        What's wrong with me?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I've never seen a "Mac hating Windows user" try to push their beliefs on me or insist that the "Windows experience will change your life".

        So I'd say no they are not the same.

        Pointing out insanity does not make you insane by association.

        1. B 9

          Maybe that's the point

          How could a Windows user even remotely claim that using Windows will change your life? I think that is their point, that Windows is exceedingly average, and once they started using a Mac they realized how much better it was.

          They're all the same, except the Mac user actually has a legitimate reason to crow!

      3. Sean Timarco Baggaley


        "It's tribalism."

        And that's what all religions, cults, sects, etc. boil down to: us versus not us.

        Religion is just another name for the exact same thing. FOSS fans are no less rabid and vocal about their cult. Similarly, Windows PC users tend to be just as insecure about the platform they chose to spend their money on. (And let's not even begin to get into the games industry's similar problems.)

        Above them preach the evangelists of science itself—yes Mr. Dawkins, I'm staring hard at you. These, too, do their fellow tribe members no favours. Berate someone enough about their behaviour and they'll just keep on behaving badly just to piss you off.

        You even get the "talifan" types who believe only their own view of How Things Should Be matters: the kind of fan who will cheerfully rant at his own tribe's leadership if they don't pander to their every whim and desire.

        Humans suck, basically.

      4. Big-nosed Pengie

        Linux users aren't zealots!

        And anyone who says we are should be killed.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      I felt much the same, then I simply tried one and like it. It's a tool, I enjoy it and it's my money to waste. The cult is a load of bollocks and there are some serious wackos out there, if you really want your blood to boil watch MacHeads the movie, it will have you in stitches!

      I like Apple desktops and that's it. I hate the iPhone, it's just a sodding phone FFS! I hate iPods, what a crock of shite! I use Cowon PMPs as I can simply plug it into anything that can read a FAT32 filesystem. I hate Apple TV, Christ a £20 XBOX off eBay then chipped, will give way more media codecs that Apple's crock. Having said all that, I still prefer OSX when I am working on my photography.

      I hate the 'religious' zealotry that comes with Apple ownership, Apple fanbois always remind me of the little alien zealots in Toy Story. "The claw( Steve ) will save us! All hail the claw (Steve)!"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Undoubtedly fundamentalists exist on both sides of the fence

    however, I strongly believe that they are the minority of total users: the majority are just getting on with using their computer as a tool.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


      As a bitter sysadmin type i have to disagree with your statement. It is my belief that "the majority" of total users are not using their computers/smartphones/*pads/etc. as a tool. "The majority" of total users /are/ the tools.

      It is a subtle, but important difference I think.

      1. Frank Bough

        And why do you give a fuck

        what they do? Get a fucking life already.

        1. Gorbachov


          He _did_mention he's a sysadmin. It's, like, his job to care. And his job provides him money to spend on important things in life (beer? also women, but beer first I think). And as I am one too I assure you he is correct - most users are idiots and refuse to learn how to use their tools effectively. Or at all.

          How else do you excuse people that fail to grasp the few basic mechanisms of an email client after 3 years of use (Apple's in this case)? The sheer level of ignorance I encounter has made me numb to such situations so it doesn't faze me anymore.

  5. Sven


    Why isn't it possible to just want a good product? I use a macbook pro for daily work and surfing and a PC for gaming (and an Xbox). My nokia works great to call people.

    I just use the device that serves be best, if its a bad product or design, that i sell it again and buy something better.

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    It's not the product - it's the people who buy it

    Consider the sort of person who, in your opinion, buys Apple products. Would you like others to think you were like them? If your view of the products were positive and you viewed the sort of people who owned them in a positive way, you're more likely to buy that same stuff than if your impressions were negative.

    It doesn't matter what the product is: everything ever made has good features and poor ones. Which ones take precedence in your mind has nothing to do with the features themselves, but is about the sort of people who extol or criticise they. Primarily the early adopters and reviewers. We see a certain "type" of individual taking up polarised views about a product, a company or a political opinion and we either wish to associate or distance ourselves - not from the product but from those PEOPLE.

    In that respect it's not like religion, which has no rational explanation and is universally recognised to be about faith. However, religion is also about social norms and social pressures. Factors that don't come into play with Apple, or IBM or other I.T. products where we can see lists of features and testable properties that we can make choices about - even though we don't.

    1. Daniel 1

      Well, yes "BMW drvier" syndrome

      There have been many products, used to define their owners, and Apple products seem to be amongst them. These cultural shorthands aren't always immortal, however. If you think about it, much of the violent rage hurled at the iPhone owers, on here, is actually very similar to the kind of acidic hatred that some folks used to direct towards people who owned *any* kind of mobile phone, back in the 1980s.

      That whole Thatcher-era alternative comedy stuff - the Ben Elton monologues - was about identifying some group of people, in terms of what they owned, or bought, and then hating them, for twenty minutes at a time, at a rate of not-less-than 70 words a minute, while pacing backwards and forwards in an expensively-badly-fitting jacket.

      The other day, I heard Jack Dee make a snarky comment about "BMW drivers", and while I laughed (I always found Jack more original than Ben), I have to say that the remark sounded... archaic. There was almost something nostalgic about it.

      Now, I don't (and probably never) will own a BMW (I'm a Nissan Micra man: define what that says about me), but I must say, I find it unremarkable that people own them. I live in a Northumbrian ex-colliery village. My next door neighbour is the son of a pitman. He runs a scaffolding firm: he owns a BMW. It's unremarkable.

      Furthermore, I've seen more than a few people with iPhones in my local pub (not hair-flicking media types - lorry drivers, engineers - it's that sort of a pub). They're both things I will probably never own, but I find it unremarkable that people own them (remarkable, that we are being asked to remark upon it).

      Both opposing armies in this debate, seem to be wanting to cling to some former age: Mods and Rockers. Owning Apple products may have been some exclusive club, once, and maybe it was a club worth hating - just as pitmen hated the people in the BMWs.

      But times move on, and so do most people. Owning Apple stuff is now a decidedly mainstream activity, and I know I'd far rather spend time talking to the lass who was showing me pictures of her dogs, on her iPhone, in the pub, the other evening, than many of the people on here - whom, it seems, would have me hate her for... for what, exactly? Not wearing a veil? Or is that another group of nutters?

      1. John Hughes

        He runs a scaffolding firm: he owns a BMW. It's unremarkable.

        Well duh, you think someone who runs a scaffolding firm would be driving anything other than a beemer?

        1. Daniel 1

          By, yer funny

          "Oof - bit of controversy there! But, anyway..."

  7. Nats

    Church of Mac

    I think there is some truth in the religion angle. In my experience, mac users are far more ready to blindly defend their computers that PC or Linux people are. Infact other people seem quite pragmatic and are happy to discuss the faults of their platform. This isn't so much the case with Apple. Additionally, the mac often seems to be an end in itself (like religion) rather than just a tool for getting a job done.

    1. Jason Hall

      real computers

      In my experience it's exactly the opposite.

      A Mac user has always been known (stereotype or what?) as a person who is ignorant of how to use a 'real' computer - BUT STILL MANAGES TO GET THEIR JOB DONE USING ONE.

      I find Mac users just hate their computers a little less than the rest of the PC users out there.

      Now I'm not saying the world would be a better place if all the designers who use Macs suddenly got electrocuted by their machines... really... I'm not...

    2. B 9

      A few questions

      "blindly defend their computers"? Are you sure it's blindly, or are they doing it with full knowledge of what they're talking about?

      I think what many fail to realize is that people who use Macs, like them, and can't believe how much better they are than what they have been using (my experience) are frustrated when they see inaccurate information tossed around about Macs. (Incompatible with peripherals, just a toy, locked down, etc.). When they see inaccurate things written about the product they now enjoy so much they feel like correcting the error, and often times that is what comes across as rabidly "defending" the company.

  8. @dartacus

    I don't know about implicit religion...

    ...but this is implicit proof that in some cases, higher education cuts are not only necessary but downright beneficial. I knew that education in Texas was all about promoting creationism over rationality but this is taking the fig leaf.


  9. Anonymous Coward

    This Apple user says "non!"

    At home most of my gear is Apple, my computer, my media players and Apple TV. I had a iPhone 3GS but didn't like it very much. The idea I equate Apple do a religion is absurd (I'm an Atheist, anyway). I can't stand OS evangelism or OS wars, I've used all kinds of systems from CP/M to Solaris to Windows and OS X. Fundamentalism is is ugly and ignorant.

    1. Richard 81


      I use Windows machines exclusively at the moment, simply because that's what they have at work and my iMac is way to old to use on anything. I'm hardly an Apple apostate though, as I'll get me a new Mac as soon as I can afford one (so send money).

  10. LuMan


    This is an interesting subject matter and one not just confined to Apple owners; there's a lot of advertising about at the moment that makes you feel part of a collective (normally the 'elite') by convincing you to buy their products - that new Mercedes ad is a prime example.

    It is, of course, possible that Apple has just got it spot on and driven the frenzy high enough for all manner of folk to clamour for the latest device (cue: downvotes).

    Love it or hate it, Apple's plan has worked. Maybe, at the Time Of Reckoning, all Apple owners will be banished to the depths of Hades for worshipping false idols?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you mental or what?

    "secular artifacts get imbued with religious-like or sacred significance"

    If evidence was needed to prove just how mentally unstable society is today!

    FREEEEKS, it's a phone. And one that doesnt work properly at at that.

    I feel very sorry for these people, why aren't they being sectioned, and treated for this illness?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You too?

      Maybe for the same reason that you aren't, even though you are patently an idiot.

      Grow up?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        You grow up

        Its a bloody phone, the OP above has a point. Its overpriced and the latest version is faulty by design.

        yes it has some good points, lots of them actually. but its locked down and restricted and you must sign on to the cult of Jobs.

    2. Roger Varley

      Are you mental or what

      "I feel very sorry for these people, why aren't they being sectioned, and treated for this illness?"

      Worryingly I misread this as why aren't they being sectioned, and threatened for this illness". More worryingly, I agreed with you.

    3. Pavlov's obedient mutt


      debate. Not ridicule.

    4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      You forgot your icon

      Here you go

  12. Piers

    Do try to avoid name calling...

    awwww - treating us with the respect we deserve. x.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Buying into a group?

    No.. I was buying a smartphone.

    The only reason for the whole Jesus phone, religion nonsense is the press wanting to stir up debate and thereby increase their readership of iPhone articles by those who like them AND by those who don't.

    No other product seems to garner the same irrational hatred the iPhone does and probably the most common complaint is that there's to much press coverage yet at the same time that carefully manufactured hatred spurs the haters on to read all that very same coverage and moan about it which in turn brings out the "fans" in defence as they hate seeing something they like being dissed. This article being a case in point. It serves no purpose other than attention seeking and attempting to stir up yet another argument.

    Before spouting nonsense about religion perhaps the press (El Reg included) should take a look at their part in the whole episode and analyse that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Case In Point

      Here we have exhibit A, Apple Cultist 003.

      "No other product seems to garner the same irrational hatred the iPhone does."

      If you don't agree with 100% of my views on computer and phone hardware, you are being "irrationally hateful". Apple is like liberalism and the Westboro Baptist Church teamed up to form a supercult. Maybe Jobs can pace around on stage shouting "racist! racist!".

      1. chr0m4t1c


        As the OP bought an iPhone and doesn't agree 100% with your view he's a cultist?

        I dunno... That sounds fairly irrational to me.

        I own Macs and PCs, which pigeon-hole do you think I am in?

        1. hplasm



  14. Mme.Mynkoff

    Stuff White People Like: No.40


    "Plain and simple, white people don’t just like Apple, they love and need Apple to operate.

    On the surface, you would ask yourself, how is that white people love a multi-billion dollar company with manufacturing plants in China, mass production, and that contributes to global pollution through the manufacture of consumer electronic devices?

    "Simple answer: Apple products tell the world you are creative and unique. They are an exclusive product line only used by every white college student, designer, writer, English teacher, and hipster on the planet."

    When you ask white people about Mac’s they will say “oh, it’s so much better than Windows,” “it’s just easier to use,” “they are so cutting edge,” and so forth. What’s amazing is that white people NEED to meet people who use Windows to justify themselves spending an extra $500 for a pretty looking machine."

    1. Anonymous Coward


      So you managed to crowbar a racist argument into a tech debate of brand loyality, well done! You must be very proud of yourself! Do you work for one of these groups who insist nursery rhymes need to be cleansed of the work "black" at every oppotunity?

      What a f**king clutz!

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Nice!

        Good grief. Stuff White People Like is a very silly, very flippant blog. It isn't 'racist'. Please preserve the gravitas of this very loaded and serious word for actual instances of bigotry. It serves us all to do this, and same goes for 'sexism', 'homophobia' et al.


        1. sabroni Silver badge

          oh, comedy racism is ok...

          if you're talking about white people....

          1. John Bailey


            If you are talking about your own social/ethnic/etc group.

            Same as any black comedian will frequently tell jokes that would be uncomfortable from a white comedian, a Moslem/person from a Moslem country, such as Omid Djalli, Shulpa Shetty(Spelling) can tell Jokes that incorporate Iranian/Islamic stereotypes and it's funny. Woody Allen made how many Jewish jokes in his career? They walk the walk, so they can offer an invitation to laugh with them, not at them.

            I can tell a cripple joke, and use the word cripple without being offensive. Because I am visibly physically disabled. Self depreciating humour, and I use it to put people at ease when I see they are trying really hard to not notice my wheelchair. Much easier if I break the ice and put my foot in my own mouth deliberately than them doing it accidentally and feeling embarrassed.

            1. Scorchio!!


              Omid Djalli is from the much persecuted (in Iran) Bahá'í faith. He has talked about this at length on Radio 4, among other channels, so I find myself wondering how people allow themselves to perpetuate the stereotype, even if you did not do so in a very obvious way.

            2. h4rm0ny


              """Same as any black comedian will frequently tell jokes that would be uncomfortable from a white comedian, a Moslem/person from a Moslem country, such as Omid Djalli, Shulpa Shetty(Spelling) can tell Jokes that incorporate Iranian/Islamic stereotypes and it's funny. """

              Yeah - except for all the same members of the group that object to the racists jokes. Honestly, it's as racist to think that because you're a member of a group that it's okay to insult other members of that group that you have nothing to do with, don't know, don't have anything in common with, except a coincidence of ethnicity.

              I don't like people perpetuating stereotypes about my race whether it's the BNP or whether it's Richard Pryor. You think because we're of the same race suddenly a joke about crack is okay to me? Your race doesn't give you any privilege over anyone else of a race. Because WE ARE FUCKING INDIVIDUALS.

        2. hplasm


          I thought we were being Fruitist?

          My apoplogies.

        3. J 3
          Thumb Up


          That site is funny, no matter what PC people might say -- I'm very liberal, practically an anarcho-socialist, but I don't like PCness for its own sake. And I'm white (at least until people hear my accent). And I don't care what color/species/gender/nationality/OS preference (see, going back to the topic there) the guys who write that comedy site are, I still think it's (usually) funny.

          Anyway, the site is not *exactly* about white people in general. It's about *American* while people; just see the entry on World Cup to see what I mean...

          Being offensive is not cool, but being overly sensitive is so irritating...

      2. Andy Enderby 1


        Context is everything.....

    2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      White People

      You'll find that the Jesus-Phones are very popular in affluent east Asia — Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and probably Shanghai as well. I'd be willing to bet that there are not a few black users of said gizmo in the UK and France too.

      My guess is that people like it because it is an cool, expensive toy and that non-white people (as a group) would have as many if they were as affluent as white people are (as a group).

    3. B 9

      Perfect example

      "white people NEED to meet people who use Windows to justify themselves spending an extra $500 for a pretty looking machine.""

      - This is the perfect example of why it happens. Someone doesn't understand someone else's choice, comes up with a patently stupid explanation, and is surprised when people respond to correct his stupidity.

  15. bitten

    I agree

    A Mac user is a Mac user and maybe a fanboy, not much to see there. But reading the judas phone threads I also got the impression the thread was about religion, as the possible quality of a phone you don't use should be of limited interest or consequence.

  16. Lottie

    in my office

    I know a mac evangellist who's also a harcore christian. The way he speaks about both is pretty much the same. Mind you, I know linux evangellists who are the same.

    As far as I'm concerned, I steer clear of macs partly because of the cult like following and partly because from my perspective, they're shite these days.

  17. Nick Collingridge

    Not Jesus

    There might be something in this IF Apple or their products were perfect. But they're not. They make mistakes, and their products have flaws. However on balance their products are sufficiently less problematic and more inspired than their competitors that people like me choose to use them rather than those of their competitors.

    But if there were better alternatives I would switch to them in an instant. What is frustrating to people who defend Apple is that there are a small coterie of people who oppose them seemingly out of prejudice or misplaced principle rather than on a basis of fact, and the illogicality and lack of objectivity of that approach exasperates people and leads them to defend the truth.

    But once again I would reiterate that Apple are NOT flawless, divine or virtuous - just somewhat less flawed (for a very successful corporate entity) than many of the alternatives.

  18. blackworx

    "Do try to avoid name calling"

    Good luck with that

  19. paul 97


    The iPods, iPhones and iTampons run by the evil iTunes are a totally different section of the apple religion to MAC OSX.

    Think CoE vs Rome or 'Freedom' vs 'Do what your told' or Cool (osx) vs not cool (iTampon)

    Thankfully there has been no trouble between the two camps yet. We dont want a Northern Ireland of the Computing World.

    Actually its a lot easier than that - its normal computing VS money making.

    1. wheel

      Different religions

      As a long time Mac user with an Android phone, I tend to agree.

      It is, however, interesting to note that the evangelism of the Mac community fifteen years ago (yes, I'm a LONG TIME Mac user) was based upon entirely different circumstances to the current iPhone zealots. System 7.1 was, from a purely objective angle, much more stable and far easier to use than Windows 95, let alone 3.1, and those of us who had 'seen the light' wanted to 'spread the word'. In non-religious terminology, the old Mac fanbois wanted to show their friends that there was a superior alternative to the ubiquitous Microsoft-based PC. In return, Apple acknowledged that customer support was the company's biggest asset.

      The modern iPhone fans are in an entirely different situation. The iPhone is pretty universally regarded as the best general use smartphone on the market, and has a massive market share. The way that Apple controls the platform, however, is very worrying, and runs against the "our customers are our biggest asset" attitude of old Apple. While some aspects of the model are defensible – the monopolistic App Store which enables quality control; Apple's refusal to allow apps to use geolocation purely for advertising purposes – others are clearly not – the rejection of apps because they 'replicate functionality'; the refusal to allow apps to use geolocation for adverts UNLESS Apple's own iAd advertising services are being used.

      The curious difference between the former and latter religions is that the old Mac lot wanted to show the world that there was something better, while the new iPhone lot want to deny that there is anything wrong with the product at all. There is no holy war yet, but if Apple tries to apply the iPhone business model onto the Mac platform, the old Mac evangelists will break from the church and seek refuge in... the synagogue of Ubuntu, perhaps.

  20. DT

    hating Microsoft and loving Apple...

    is like despising Stalin but having a soft spot for Chairman Mao.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      could be on a t-shirt

      Although I think Mao may sell more t-shirts but, for me, the Stalin tees seem to have that certain joie de verve, in that heavy domineering evil sort of way. Most of the Mao shirts have him with that grandfather-esque look what with that hair or the hat. That said, Che sweeps the floor with both of them on this side of the pond.

      Mine's the one with Jimmy Carter on the back.

  21. daz disley
    Thumb Up

    Mac user values exist?

    sure they exist ...

    ... the ones I find tend to be of the sort that make me want to ... scream ...

    like just because its a mac means you've got professional results guaranteed in the box regardless of the complete noob status of the user

    like just because the o/s its "easy to use" means the operator is somehow superior - regardless of the complete lack of experience and understanding of the discipline at-hand

    like just becase there's garage-band the user is some audio-guru or somthing ... purlease

    now I realise the potential for flames in reply to this, so let me justify this. Of course the above are dumb-assed points of view, and yes I also hear these from win & linux users ...

    ... but nowhere near as often as I do from the Jobsian brigade ...

    ... infact, I'd expect a knock on the door on a saturday morning - f*ck me its a fanboi with a iPad brochure : asking if I'd like to reconsider my views on the world and how much better life would be if I'd become part of the church of St Jobs. Just as with the real religious nutters, although its satisfying to destroy their arguments in seconds with even the flimsiest of logic ; they rarely have the power of reasoning to keep-up with the argument ... and inevitably choose flawed logic (and now flawed products) swallowed direct from the Cup(ertino) over any notion that they may, just possibly; be wrong ... or god forbid, spent a little too much money on their erm lifestyle computing choices ...

    ... so shoot me for being a cross-platform anti-zealot ...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @daz disley

      You might like to consider that 99.9% of Mac users were Windows users first, which is why they now prefer Macs.

      As for the rest of your juvenile and uninformed rant, your OS is a poorly disguised homage to OS X. This should tell you everything you need to know about your particular "lifestyle computing choice".

  22. GeorgeTuk

    Its just the internet

    I think the internet whips everyone up into a frenzy due to the relative facelessness of it.

    Some of the things said on here (and this is a polite and jovial place) would never be said face to face, but because its the internet you can have a full blown argument about something and you never have to look the other person in the eye. This just encourages tribalism (as someone above me said, no not God, in the forum!).

    Plus I also think people with poor social skills use the internet as a way of forcing their opinions on others, you can sign up shout something you believe in and then disappear. By this I don't mean everyone on the internet but the trolls of discussion boards and flamers and all that. Gamers forums are notorious, WoW seems to be riddled with people like that.

    Also because of the relative time between posts people seem to get hung up on the smallest differences in products, magnifying to silly proportions.

  23. Barry Tabrah

    Why the iPhone truly became devine

    It was easy to use, had a responsive interface, and a wide array of cheap or even free apps. It quite simple blew it's competitors away. It's only in the last year or so that other manufacturers have caught up, with many taking their lead from the iPhone design.

    I'm not saying it wasn't, or still isn't, without its faults. Even ignoring the aerial issues there are missing features and annoying restrictions. But it's still a joy to use.

    1. Windrose

      Almost ... almost

      Quoth: "It was easy to use, had a responsive interface, and a wide array of cheap or even free apps. It quite simple blew it's competitors away."

      Yes - and no. This doesn't really answer the question, since far from everyone found the UI responsive OR even useable, not everyone found it easy, and quite a few people found that the apps available didn't cover their needs.

      No device fits everyone - but THIS device, for some reason, has been hyped up to do so - and people, including those who ought to know better, was and is falling for it ... so yes. Somehow the iPhone became a fetish.

      I still wonder why ...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Upgrade your spell checker

    It keeps replacing the "n" in "Cult of Mac".

  25. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    It's a sad reflection on the state of society...

    that people have to "identify" with a group of other people who have bought the same tool as them. What's next? Can I join the 5/16" Whitworth Spanner Users club? If so, do they tolerate the presence of people who use <SHOCK> metric spanners?

    Phone - tool

    PC - tool

    Games console - tool

    People who bang on about how much better theirs is than any others - tool.

    Nuff said?

    1. tony trolle

      BSW (British Standard Whitworth) Spanner Users club

      I'm a member of the 1/4 Whitworth club.

      Believe it or not heavy duty battery clamps truck/car can come with 1/4 BSW bolts

      You can tell because 1/2 inch does not fit well nor does 13mm.

      coz 1/4 whit is 13.335mm or 0.525 inches.

      Not sure why I assume the old 1950/60's machines are still running and turning out bolts for the clamp makers in India

  26. Steve Button

    I just don't get this zealotry

    I got my first Mac about 4 years ago and it seemed pretty nice at the time, but the more I use the thing the slower it seems to run. This is one of the things I hated about Windows and was hoping to avoid. Nowadays I seem to get spinning discs or jumping icons.

    Perhaps I expect too much out of my hardware. I'm usually running with dozens of tabs open in Chrome and my wife leaves scores of tabs open in Safari. Several pages documents. Transmission. PS3 media server. Numbers. iTunes. etc. Have pretty much given up on Firefox as it seems to regularly hang, and anyway gobbled up huge amounts of memory. I've got 4 Gbytes in the thing so you'd expect it to be able to go a few weeks without a reboot.

    Back in the day, on the Amiga, the philosophy was that you should never have to wait for the computer..... I'm still waiting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't quite follow.

      Are you disappointed that your four year old machine is struggling to keep up with the latest software?

      Or are you surprised that when you run more stuff your machine gets slower?

      You do understand that those problems happen on every machine and OS, don't you? I mean, Macs are nice but they're not magic; they don't have infinite resources.

      Hmmm, fours years ago your alternative configuration would have probably been a 32-bit XP machine, which would only have been able to see 2.75Gb of the 4Gb you have in your machine, which wouldn't help. Either way, you are asking a fair amount of this machine and I'm not sure you would have had any better results with anything else.

      I know that Chrome has a separate process for each tab, so tends to be more resource hungry. Transmission is pretty resource hungry by default unless tuned (particularly if you share a lot of stuff) and the PS3 media server re-codes on the fly, which can also be resource hungry.

      Essentially, there are a number of things that could be causing your slow machine and would cause the same problem with any OS.

      If you haven't already tried it, stop using one program at a time for a day or so to see if things improve. You might find that it's only one thing causing the problem.

  27. Jonathan White

    Not name calling per se..

    But that was about the longest, driest, most pretentious way of saying 'Hey, some people are fanboys' that I have possibly ever read. what a waste of electrons.

  28. Il Midga di Macaroni

    Style over substance

    The Apple difference is that it values style over substance. Compare any Apple product (computer, phone, music player, etc) against a non-Apple device of comparable performance. The Apple version will usually be between 25% and 75% more expensive.

    Apple have always, since the first Macintosh computers, been visually-oriented - they invented the Graphical User Interface which was then copied by Microsoft to become Windows which has destroyed the productivity of computer professionals the world over. And just look at the "Get a Mac" series of ads - they portray the creation of a photo book as the world's highest achievement, while the running of a spreadsheet (which may even do useful work for a business near you) is treated as an activity for desperate losers.

    If there's any common trait among users of Apple products, it's an eye for style and a weakness for group-think. Apple is on par with the makers of luxury cars, designer clothes and contemporary art.

    1. Alex Rose

      No. No! NO!

      "they invented the Graphical User Interface "

      For the love of God! This is why I find Mac evangelists irritating, because they espouse lies like this one.

      Apple did not invent the Graphical User Interface.

      Now write that out 100 times!

      The real shame is that I like quite a few Apple products but I could never bring myself to buy one because I can't bear to be associated with the lies. I guess that means that I have some sort of problem :)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Brimming over with wrongability

        @Alex Rose: "For the love of God! This is why I find Mac evangelists irritating, because they espouse lies like this one."

        Except that was said by someone using the Tux icon, and an obvious Mac hater. Care to take that back?

        1. Alex Rose

          Care to take it back?

          Not until you actually have the guts to post under your real name.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      re. Style over substance = faith over fact!

      "they invented the Graphical User Interface"

      No they didn't!!!!!!!

      If anyone did, it was probably Xerox.

      This is the myth of Apple, and just like a religion, the thinking that arises isn't even based on anything Apple have ever claimed. In the future, we're likely to have people thinking Apple invented the mobile phone and the MP3 player.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        MP3 player

        Most non-geek people I know absolutely do believe that Apple invented the MP3 player (except they are all called iPods regardless of manufacturer, didn't you know?). They get really confused when I say I had an MP3 player made by a company called iRiver years before Apple came out with the iPod, because Apple own the rights to putting little 'i's in front of other words.

        1. chr0m4t1c

          Some of the geeks aren't any better

          "Most non-geek people I know absolutely do believe that Apple invented the MP3 player (except they are all called iPods regardless of manufacturer, didn't you know?)"

          You can sort of understand that thinking since it was probably the player that launched the mainstream take-up.

          But geeks can be guilty of that too, I've see people in these very forums claiming that Apple stole the idea of virtual desktops from Linux and that MS stole the idea of the GUI OS from Apple.

          In a similar vein, whisky not Scottish, ice cream not Italian and motor car not invented by Ford.

          I'm not sure it matters that much in the real world, though.

      2. tony trolle

        yep Xerox

        Xerox Alto was first; then the Xerox Star workstation

    3. Rafael 1

      "they invented the Graphical User Interface"

      I don't care -- I also don't care about who invented the mouse, the wheel or the pizza. I just use them.

  29. min

    so i am rather...

    ...patrial to the sportswear brand Adidas. but i am also swayed by good bargains, of which Adidas items generally aren't, thus i buy a lot of other brands. does this make me a brand-slut? or some kind of religious floozy?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, not at all

      it makes you a chav

  30. vandenbudenmayer


    Why does religion have to come into it? Certain products just have that little 'extra' that makes you want them. I guess it's a combination of outstanding design coupled with excellent performance. Perhaps the makers of these products have put a bit more love and care into them. Or maybe it's just clever branding. If it is, then it certainly works on me. Some of my fav's: Car = Ferrari, Motor bike = Ducati, Camera = Leica, Binoculars = Carl Zeiss, Cigar = Cohiba, Flashlight = Zweibrüder, Watch = Lange und Söhne, Wallet = Louis Vuitton, Pen = Caran d'Ache, Pocket Knife = Victorinox, Tent = de Waard, Computer = Mac.

    1. adrianww

      Er... do realise you've just listed a bunch of things that are, shall we say, a tad overpriced and overhyped? That don't do their job any better (and sometimes do it rather worse) than any number of alternatives that are built to equally high standards (if not higher), but cost significantly less? In fact, things that are, in some cases, a bit crap considering the overinflated price?

      All of which means you're pretty much making yourself look like the textbook definition of the clueless brand junkie that some (many?) Apple haters use as justification for their own religious hatred of all things Jobsian.

      Please tell us all that you were being ironic...

      1. Am


        Aww be fair - Victorinox mostly aren't overpriced or overhyped. And they seem to be built well.

  31. CraigRoberts

    I'm Technology Agnostic thanks...

    Windows monkey for day to day - Windows 7, .NET development etc ...

    Linux for crappy old laptops for Grandma so she can email and Facebook without me having to de-virus every 2 weeks...

    And I got an iPhone 'cos Android phones just weren't anywhere near the iPhone at the time... 18 months left on contract and it'll depend on who's the best at upgrade time... But I use Cydia out of principle...

    Zero brand loyalty from me! :)

    1. Eponymous Howard

      "But I use Cydia out of principle..."

      But there's no religious element to it....

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Talk about implicit religion

    Isn't Windows the most implicit of all religions then? Why is it norm to believe that a computer has to have a C: drive and a "registry" and a Start menu? Why do you need to be a religious fanatic if you believe that computers existed before Microsoft and will exist after it and that most of what we know about them was invented before the famous law-school drop-out got interested in them (even if he didn't bother to study the background)? And make your choices using your knowledge, not based on either the choice of "everyone else" or a cult?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah, the "you're just the same" argument...

      ...often used by religious types when describing atheism as just another type of religion. Windows users rarely evangelise, usually because a. they don't think Windows is anything special, b. because they probably use Windows because its a default at work, and c. most importantly; they just don't care. I doubt more than a handful of Windows users hang on Steve Ballmer's every word (except for the comedy value) and I REALLY doubt the CEO of Microsoft could get away with selling a sub-par product by blaming its users for the way they use said product. This is what identifies Apple as a cult; the blind acceptance of the teachings of a charismatic leader when he lies straight to your face.

  33. Mystic Megabyte

    An Act of God?

    Where I live we don't often get lightning, but when we do it usually hits power or telephone cables.

    This would frazzle about 20 peoples modems. PC users could buy a £20 card and replace it in 30 minutes but the iMacs had to be sent 300 miles away to get fixed at great expense.

    I always told prospective buyers that a generic PC was like a Ford Cortina, cheap parts available everywhere.

    It's not just the purchase price but the running costs that decide my lifestyle choices.

  34. Dave 142


    "'I'm a Christian, If you say 'I'm a Christian,' people will expect you to have certain values"

    That's a stupid point to start with given how much different types of Christians argue with each other. If you compare quakers to gun-nut evangelicals I don't think you could find many similarities in their values or outlook.

  35. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I think this sort of research...

    ... identifies those sort of people who are the hardcore evangelists of all things Apple. Just as there are the hardcore evangelists of all things Linux, Open Source, Climate Change, etc.

    For those people (and im sure we've all come across them) this is actually a pretty good understanding and covers things pretty well. However, the majority of people in the world do not end up in one of these categories, at least not for various electronics. We just buy the products that we a) think will do the best job, and b) that we can afford.

    I would categorise most people on a site like El Reg to be primarily in this second category, although check any thread on the site that is about Israel, Google, MS, Apple, climate change, etc and at least one or two rabid fanatics will appear. Its those people's responses which respond to the type identified by this research...

  36. PaulR79

    Mac user values

    Of course Mac users have values. They start at about £430 for an iPad and go up to the skies and heaven above, just like the iPhone and Saint Jobs!

  37. Pavlov's obedient mutt


    I'm just an ordinary Apple user - Macbook pro, iMac, mac mini, wireless thingumies and 2 x iPhones in the house

    but a religion? no.

    They're tools. Like my AEG range cooker, or my Bosch fridge - I just like how they operate.

    I like the idea of an iPad, for example, but I can't think of a need I have that it would fill, so I don't have one.

    And if they stop operating the way I like, I'll get something else to replace them

  38. Ed Deckard

    Rather than religion

    I think it's closer to lifestyle choices - militant vegetarianism, political activism of any stripe, etc. - that become the individually defining characteristic to certain personality types.

    Apple fanatics get it extra easy because it just requires dropping a little extra cash rather than committing to long-term sacrifices in comfort and convenience

    And +1 to the "most of us don't care whose name is on the box as long as we can do what we want to do on it" comments.

  39. snafu

    The fragmented Churchs of Nokia, Moto and the like

    The funny thing is, i remember all too well how people boasted about their N-this or N-that phones years before and after the iPhone launch. Apple's advantage is having a single product brand name instead of a miriad of names and letters+numbers codenames. It makes for a better monotheism.

  40. Dick Head

    "Apple as a religion"...

    ...Is primarily pushed by media such as the Register who hope to boost their hit count, attracting both enthusiasts and detractors by publishing inflammatory 'news' items.

    I and my IT colleagues where I work use Windows, Unix, Linux at work because we have to. We use Windows, Unix, Linux or an Apple OS at home for various reasons, not least being financial. I haven't come across anyone using an OS for reasons of blind faith.

    Friends who are enthusiasts of Ford or Dodge cars, for example, are not considered as cultists, even if we consider them mistaken. There is no reason to extend the religious analogy to OS enthusiasts of any preference unless the purpose is merely to imflame.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    When I switched from Windows to a Mac about 4 years ago. It was such a revelation, a relief. I'd spent the last 20 odd years saying they where overpriced rubbish, no good at all because you couldn't play games on them. After all what else could you do with a computer apart from MS Office? A very blinkered view I'll admit. But it was a revelation, I no longer had to fight a system that was such a security risk, so unreliable, so prone to just give up and crash. It just worked. So I thought I'd tell other people of my experience, so perhaps they could benefit too. The responses I got where all too familiar, Fanboy, more money than sense, ridicule. I had become what I had spent years laughing at. I had crossed the divide. But Apple have now become a mobile entertainment company, and some of the criticisms that I could level at MS, I can now level at Apple.

    All my friends who poo poo'ed Macs now have IPhones and MacBookPro's, I don't. I have an old Samsung phone from 2000. I like to buy reliable kit that will last, and in that respect Apple have not failed me. (ooOH tempting fate). You'll always have fashion victims in this life. My sister in law has an IPhone, but has never learnt to use it really, but now she thinks that she is "IN" so that when she gets her phone out from her designer bag, or her designer clothes, she can feel smug in her superiority (NOT). She now wants a BMW X5 4x4 monster. God save me from these people!!!!

    The only similarity to a religion is that people who find something that is different and benefits them, like to spread the word. Its altruism. "I'd like you to benefit from my experience". I could never happily go back to Microsoft, they've lost their way, forgotten that the consumer pays the bills.

    My 2 cents...........

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apparantly something needs to go in this box

  43. Si 1
    Jobs Horns

    What constitutes an Apple user?

    What constitutes an Apple user? I've got an iPod and I love my iPhone 4, but I wouldn't own an iPad or an OSX desktop/laptop device if you gave it to me for free.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You want a religious narrative too

    Then why not quote from the beginning, when st.Eve Tempted man with an Apple.. (is that the book of Jobs?)

  45. Steve Adams

    Doc Searls on Jobs in 1997 - still relevant

    Different context and time... yet this blog post at Dave Winer's Scripting news from Doc Searls back in 1997 is prescient and informative - and relevant to this discussion:

    "... his message to everybody was no different than it was at Day One: all I want from the rest of you is your money and your appreciation for my Art."

    Sure it's an oversimplification... yet if you view Jobs/Apple through this lens it helps.

    If you have the (extra) cash to spend (on the nice if overpriced devices) and you like the art/aesthetics ... then so long as you can put up with or don't care about (or don't understand the issues about) the limits to your *freedom* then Apple's proposition is great, works well and provides value for (your) money.


    Linux & Android currently - generic mp3 player (Samsung thingy... supports ogg!)


  46. Anonymous Coward

    Jesus Phone - no, swearing please

    many swear using the word "Jesus",

    since the antenna debancle "Jesus" is now use even more often

    no wonder they think it is religious , easy mistake to make!

  47. dz-015
    Jobs Halo

    Not a religion for me. Just a choice.

    I've been using Apple products for many years. I currently have a Mac Pro for music, photo management and other tasks; I have a Mac mini as the core of my media centre; I have an iPhone; and I use a MacBook Pro at work. The reason for this is because, with the odd exception, these products all work extremely well and are a pleasure to use. These are tools I'm using for hours every day, so why the hell would I _not_ want to pay a bit extra to make the experience as pleasant and efficient as possible??

    It's not a religion for me because, as someone above said, if Apple gear stops being the best thing for me then I'll get something else that works better.

    I also don't understand the people who say Apple products are 'style over substance'. I think anyone who's actually used Apple products knows that's total nonsense. Style _and_ substance would be more accurate. The sheer amount of creative potential on my iPhone with apps for music and photography is absolutely fantastic, for example. I like the fact that my iPhone looks good but that is most certainly not the only reason why I bought it. I love the fact that the UI in OS X looks nice and is intuitive and easy to use... but I can quickly and easy drop down to a Bash shell and have total control over what I'm doing. Plenty of style, yes, but I don't get where the 'lack of substance' thing comes from at all.

    Over the years I've known more and more people who have switched to Apple gear from other things, and in every single case (I honestly can't think of a single exception) their life has been significantly improved because things become simpler, easier and more enjoyable for them as a result. Apple is not a religion, just a manufacturer of great products.

    I'm genuinely quite alarmed these days by the amount of Apple haters who seems to be out there. Where does all the bile come from? I really, honestly don't understand it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "their life has been significantly improved"

      I don't mean to be rude but please get a grip/sense of proportion.

      1. dz-015

        Excuse me?

        What is wrong with my sense of proportion? This is genuinely true. Pretty much everyone I know spends a large percentage of their waking life using computers and phones, so in what way is it 'out of proportion' to suggest that improving these tools can make a significant difference to their lives?

  48. Lloyd

    I have a mental image

    of a bunch of Ewoks carrying a Golden iPhone around in a chair and 3PO fuming in a corner, makes a change that the iPhone gets a good reception I suppose.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      is this your coat sir?

  49. Andy Parker 1


    Do Mac user values exist? It's tempting to think so. I use Macs both at home and at work. I'm hardly an evangelist but I recognise that Apple users, despite being a minority, can be enthusiastic supporters of the company's products. However, a more relevant question could be, "Do most owners have a good user experience with their Apple products?" and I'd speculate that the answer is yes.

    Now compare this with Windows. Lots of people use Windows (me included). Have people, by and large, had a good user experience? Viruses, failed updates, slow performance, abysmal UI, useless and endless dialog boxes... As Charlie Brooker succinctly put it, "Windows is like a lift that smells faintly of piss."

    I also sense an emerging "great experience" being reported from home-friendly linux distro's like Ubuntu and after trying it recently at home, I can see why. It's stable, fast, and does most of what I need with the minimum amount of fuss. Most people come to other OS's after using Windows and improving their experience isn't really that difficult. It shouldn't come as any surprise that people are subsequently enthusiastic.

  50. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    If Apple is a religion then does that mean there will be an schism?

    Pretty much every religion that takes off at somepoint has a schism, while it maybe believed that Apple already had this when Jobs took off to the wilderness I think this is more in line with the cult merely being lost. Does this mean that at somepoint there will be more than one competing fan base for Apple or did it already happen with the introduction of the iPod and all that followed (in that it allowed more to convert to Apple without having the full iMac/Powermac etc)

    On a separate note, isn't a key cornerstone of any organised religion is to make the believers feel that they are superior? (Morally if nothing else) which you have to admit, Apple (and Jobs especially) does this in style.

    Not to mention if you own an iPad or iPhone then you can only run that which hast been blessed by Apple (and you get a specially kind of damning if you even try to push smut onto the devices as it's seen as being unclean)

  51. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    Apple is a Cult, not a Religion, like Jim Jones' Peoples Temple

    These Apple enthusiasts seem to have the same mentality as the Jim Jones followers.

    Jobs lies to his followers, as Jones did his, then Jobs sells them Lemons and they buy knowing there are defects; Jones started executing his followers telling them heaven awaited their arrival.

    It appears to be culture independent since cults occur in many countries.

    As for myself, I simply avoid first runs of new products are am willing to pay more for excellence which is NOT the same as style.

    1. Arhu
      Jobs Horns

      Church Of Macintology

      I think they're more closely related to $cientologists & how you get up the "ranks" in Macintology is very similar. There's Operational Macen Level 1, which to me is buying an iThing such as a portable digital music player. It costs a lot of money but you only really get a taste of the wider religion. I haven't gotten around to coming up with the deifinitions for the other Operational Macen levels & the iMacsiPad has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works, however Operational Macen Level 8, the equivalent of Tom Cruise, is most certainly personified by Mark Webster who runs & has a column in the New Zealand Herald online. Read any of his Herald blogs to see what I mean, especially his recent "How Many Macs?" one where he tries to claim 10% market share for Apple.

  52. Dan Wilkinson

    IS required.

    There are the inherent "Mac user values" that are genuine part of the overall Mac experience, and then there is the shite people blithely put for the world to see on the intarwebs because arguing is easy, safe, fun and anonymous.

    Yes, there are Mac users who have an irrational hatred of PCs, Windows, Ballmer, 2 button mice, etc. These are the sort of people who like to spout aformentioned shite on the internet, and they are tits.

    Yes, there are PC users who do the opposite, they are equally absurd.

    The above example are not examples of "Mac user values", just as they are not reflective of PC user values, but are more in line with just plain old Human values, many of which are selfish, uninformed and self centered.

    The real Mac user values are by and large an eye for attention to detail, consistency, and elegance. This applies to the software and the hardware. It a mindset that says "that will do" is not good enough. One that does not merely see there phone/laptop/word processor etc as a means to an end, but as something that can and should be enjoyed whilst in use, not just endured.

    The car example is a good analogy (although it breaks down if you push it too far...see what I did there...), and you can see the same arguments about the Mac/PC rivalry happening on motoring forums, whereby the ill thought but easy to spout brand hatred far outweighs any thoughtful commentary on the actual merits of the vehicles in question.

    There are BMW drivers that are tits, because they only have one in order to show the world they don't drive common cars like a Focus. And there are BMW drivers who can genuinely appreciate the difference, and who drive one for better reasons.

    But there's room in the world for both the "it will do, it's just a tool to get from A to B" and the "If I'm using it all day, I don't want to spend half my time cursing it" types.

    And of course, there are more than 2 types, like me. I use a PC all day, and I get on well with it. It's like my work colleagues in a way, perfectly acceptable company for the daytime, but I probably wouldn't want to socialise with them all the time, for that I would rather be with my real friends who I can be more discerning about. So that's why even though I don't hate my PC at work, I'm glad to see my Mac when I get home. I drive my unnamed cheap foreign estate car to commute, and use my expensive british sports car for pleasure.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Cognitive Dissonance

    Anybody who pays way over the top for anything that isn't worth it is stupid.

    As I paid way over the odds for this it means:

    a. it's worth the extra, or

    b. I'm stupid.

    I'm not stupid therefore it this pile of crud must be worth it .

  54. halms
    Thumb Down

    nothing devine bout it

    i blame the mac haters. although there are apple lovers, true mac users just dont bother. our platform is so reliable that we dont really have much to complain. it never give us major issues that we have nothing to say bout it. its not perfect, but it dont give us headache or worries. so, there's nothing really to talk about.

    mac haters in the other hand, would just go and complains and say bad things. some of these types i know never used mac in their life. there are mac users, mac lover, fanatics and extremist. its sometimes kinda embarrassing to sit at a coffee cafe shop and ppl are staring at me and the other guy that have a macbook, ipod, iphone and ipad on his table.

    most of ppl that can afford a mac, can afford an iphone. it got nothing to do with being a mac fanatic. its just a pair that make lots of sense. iphone have a familiar interface to mac users, and of course, they work well together.

    ive been developing open source based systems, and supporting open source based applications for over 10 years. i choose mac for myself for a lot of technical reasons. i myself used linux since slackware came out. before, i have another linux machine. now, i always have a virtualized linux in my mac.

    mac users are like the hippies. we would go to a remote mountain and live there and hoped that people dont bother us for the choice we made. but instead, the haters come and burn our huts. so please, all you haters and paparazzi, leave us alone and let us die in peace.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yeah right

      that analogy is really good, just as long as "the hippies on the mountain" also have huge banners proclaiming how much better their mountain is than everyone elses, and that the only reason someone else might not be on the mountain with them is because they "can't afford it".

      That said, even I wouldn't wish death on them. Why do you keep hitting yourself?

  55. moonface
    Jobs Halo

    Esoteric knowledge

    Robert Langdon I need your help!!

    "Shepherdess no temptation that Poussin Teniers hold the key Pax 681. By the cross and this horse of God I dispatch this guardian demon at midday blue apples"

    It's all beginning to make sense!!! I just can't decide whether there is either an impending messianic apocalypse or an imminent blue Jesus phone release!

  56. Anonymous Coward

    More 'Apple Tribe', than religion

    I think we're simply desperate to define people by their choices. We are tribal and we seek out those like minded. Religion is just one of those properties that you can use to seek out those like you.

    I love death/thrash metal, so even at the age of 38 I dress a certain way to ensure that those around me define me in terms of my musical taste ( or lack of as my wife would insist! ). I associate myself with a particular group by my dress, my tribal convictions on display. It's close to a religion, however that implies a blind faith in what it is. That's not true of a musical movement to my mind, it's more a choice to join a tribe by conscious forethought.

    I also use a Mac, I bought the Mac to try something different just generally being bored by Windows and Linux. However I simply cannot get behind the fanboi-ism. It's a tool to do stuff, granted it's a fun tool, but so are Windows, Linux, Atari ST, Amiga, etc. Maybe I came late to the party so I don't appreciate the "wilderness years", only having used a Mac for 3 years now.

    Religion is more a question of faith in something that cannot be defined, something you have to discover. If you say you are part of the 'Apple Tribe' that sits easier with me, then yes I ally loosely with the Apple Tribe but not to such an extent that my life is changed in any major way.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    you can judge a man...

    by the God he believes in (or not), by the wars he has fought in, by the political parties he has voted for, by the people he has helped along the way, maybe even by the woman he has married, but by the car he drives, the computer he uses or the mobile phone he owns?

    I drive a Mercedes, I use Linux and Windows laptops, I own an Android phone. Know what that says about me? Absolutely f***k all. I pity the weak minded cretin he thinks the consumer choices he makes in any way define him as an individual no matter what the reason behind said choices.

    More consumerism obsessed pseudo-academic twaddle from the Yanks.

  58. Neil Alexander
    Dead Vulture

    It's just a computer after all

    This fanboyism is getting quite out of hand, and I find it sickening that The Reg has lowered itself to posting articles like this one that do nothing but fuel this very tired Mac vs PC, iPhone vs anything else argument.

    I use a Mac. It gets my work done. It's not perfect; it periodically has problems just like Windows, and I certainly don't feel the need to go and preach about Macs to my friends and family. I bought it because at the time it sported a good battery compared to other laptops of the same weight/dimensions, and that is handy when travelling a lot.

    Is it simply not possible anymore to just go out and buy a piece of hardware without having to be grouped with a whole bunch of elitist morons? :|

  59. BigTim

    "apple symbol was not chosen by chance"

    No, it's a tribute to Alan Turing you French f***wit!

    1. moonface

      Apple name tribute to Alan Turing

      This is disputable and most probably false.

      Shame really.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    It's also called

    consumer narcissism.

    See also here:

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    just because

    just because a computer running Windows is crap doesn't automatically mean that Apple is good - just less crap.

  62. Renegade

    Do try to avoid name calling.

    No name calling?

    What's the point then?

    Isn't this about how Apple fanatics are... ooops... No name calling...

    Why is it that at the blackhat conventions OSX is always rooted first?

    Why do you have to hard reset a Mac when finder crashes?

    Why does Apple insist on being... ooops... No name calling...

    Why does Apple charge people to download things they already bought, unlike almost every single other vendor out there? Is it that other vendors/marketplaces have some sense of decency where Apple doesn't?

    Why does Steve Jobs love calling Adobe... Ooops... No name calling... ;)

    1. halms


      1. you do hard reset when finder crash? seriously?

      2. they charge for re-downloads? again, seriously?

      how come i never experience any of these? i wonder...

  63. Maestro


    So maybe the trick to being able to make a phone call on the iPhone 4 is one must first BELIEVE in the power of Jobs.

    1. moonface

      trick or miracle

      they shall lay hands on and raise a dead signal.

  64. jake Silver badge

    The trick to choosing technology is simple.

    First, remember that all hardware sucks. All OSes suck. All applications suck. All fanbois suck. All testimonials suck.

    The trick to choosing technology is to understand your options, and choose those that suck less than the others for your given situation. In my experience, consumers in general are ill equipped to make that choice, usually not understanding the technology, but rather they look for ease of purchase/setup and the "shiny!" factor ... with little regard to long-term life with the product.

    On the bright side, I've made a lot of money over the years bailing consumers out after making ill informed choices ... so carry on, sheeple! Don't bother learning about the technology you purchase, you're helping fund my retirement :-)

  65. Mike Flex

    "The title is required..." - Why, come on, tell us why?

    "...the Intertextual Circulation of Meaning."

    If I give it 6 months will I be able to dig it into my garden?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just a phone

    I bought an iPhone because it's pretty good at doing what I want. It's great quality, nice selection of vetted apps, pleasing interface, great sound quality, good tech functions in the device, and so on. Centralising my music in iTunes is now viable since iTunes 9 so that works too. I'm not keen on Google's approach to my data so was not keen on an Android job. Before the iPhone I used cheap Nokias for ages, such as the 1208 which cost a few quid a couple of years ago. I use a lenovo laptop running XP and wouldn't really want to entertain a Mac. Again it's whatever does the job for my current needs. XP ticks all the boxes here. In other situations I've preferred Linux or Solaris.

    There's no such thing as an overall best OS or best device. If I need a hammer for a job I get a hammer. Ultimately I'm trying to get stuff done, not have a religious experience.

  67. Anonymous Coward

    Eating popcorn and reading with amusement.

    Apple, x86, iOS, Windows, *nix; it don't matter what the product is, as long as it works I don't give a crap. As far as the religious aspect of this debate, all I can do is chuckle... I view computers & cell phones in my trade, the same way a carpenter views a hammer. It's a tool, if it breaks, buy another one... if it's too big, work towards something smaller and if it's too small, find something bigger & better.

    Brand loyality means nothing. OS preference, who cares? As long as my users can use the tools they've asked us to provide and they're mostly happy, I don't give a shit who makes it, or what runs on it, as long as it works... most of the time. If it worked perfectly all the time, I'd be out of a job.

  68. Rab Sssss

    give me str....

    Mac users (you now the ok ones) that chose the machines because they like the UI or becuase its teh best tool for they want are one thing.

    But fanbois are what created my extreme dislike apple kit but what put the polish om it was control freakery from apple, those fucking annoying mac vs pc ads, the stupid fucking same error codes whose meaning changed depending on what application you were using, the how many different dial up software versions pre OSX, the first version of OSX (what ever did happen with the totaly fucked up compatblity mode on that BTW?), apples design know how? (anybody remeber the original Imac mouse? fucking horrible doughnut thing that it was), apples buying the basis of OSX then marketing it as "new wrtten by us OS".

    Deep breath, it just annoys the shit out of me how apple never seem to be pulled on the shit they pull. and take the rose coloured glass off for OS7 buddy of mine used to kill his os7 install almost weekly due to his uni programming project.

    Granted ran across a lot pig ignorant windows users over the years but for pure smug fuckwittry you can't beat a apple fanboi.

  69. the bat
    Thumb Up

    Someone had an Appoligion 

    Make it shiny and they shall flock 

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just as new church members learn the myths, rites and values

    Hi, myths, oh you so don't know what Christians believe and they don't believe they are myths. As I have said before Jesus Christ needs no iPhone to communicate with his followers. Stop spreading this crap. I don't hate you but I do hate your writings of the Register who make fun of Christianity and don't know what you are talking about.

  71. adrian sietsma



    I don't generally care much one way or the other, but there is one dead iFanboy giveaway - "You're just jealous because you can't afford one"

    - give me a break.

    That is such a smug piece of crap - subtext "You are not as rich and successful as me".

    Maybe I am, maybe I am not, maybe I spend all my dosh on puppies to feed to my crocodile - but that has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of the iProduct in question.


  72. bugalugs

    mac enthusiasts..

    ..have beaten us over the head with their integrated design, bullet-proof OS etc for years, but when introduced to computers, we were given a box of bits and instructions on assembling them thus learning how to build not just that computer but dozens since !

    the smartest guy we know is a macker, but he has two fenestrating boxes as well............

    viva variety !

  73. This post has been deleted by its author

  74. h4rm0ny
    Paris Hilton

    Ignoring the factual basis

    Typical non-technical researchers, failing to factor in the actual underlying facts. Apple computers are nice enough, but they cost *a lot* more for the same level of power that you get with a non-Apple computer and they have some significant limitations in what they support. Therefore anyone who buys one and wishes to justify their purpose has one of two options: One is to say they're paying a hundred or more extra because they prefer Apple's interface. Some people justly make this argument, but not many. Two is to start suffering from cognitive dissonance and start making vague claims about Apple's wonderful innovativeness and make out-dated criticisms of MS products (Linux is spared because it's too hard a target and too close to home). Most Apple users do the latter - which is cult like.

    The only exceptional cases are where Apple is first to market with something, such as with the iPad, during which there's a narrow window where you can pay the whopping Apple tax with justification (assuming you can't wait half a year).

    Paris, because she knows all about marketing.

  75. StChom

    Bad faith.

    (excuse my english, but adding insult to injury, besides being a MacUser, I'm french. Not a zealot, but still...)

    I believe (yes) there are three remaining major religions on computer OS front (but the same mechanics apply to Phone, Consoles, etc...)...

    The first one is so dominant its followers don't have to justify their choice. It believes to be the natural one. A bit sleepy, evolving only by reacting to new threats to its dominance. Its followers are quickly annoyed when infidels come to question their choice, calling names, mocking the puny sectarism...

    The second one is a small but slowly growing sect. Its fidels always felt the weight of the first one and that they had to justify their deviance. Attack being the most effective defense, they're often seen annoyingly proselytizing their choice. The price to be the most vocal of the three, is to be the most vilified. Some traits of its culture being easily identified as elistists, it is as easily (but not effectively) dismissed.

    The third one is based on an ethical, political higher ground. It is somewhat the one for the true believer, the monks living their faith secluded from the rest of the world, while keeping to affirm its universalism.

    All these revealed truths are globally equal, having their respective strengths and weaknesses.

    The problem, as always, begin when their believers try to interact, it usually turns to bad faith...

  76. Anonymous Coward

    Is the zealotry down to expectations?

    Every day I go to the student cafe and get some soggy chips.

    Then I go to a fancy looking restaurant and have a delicious meal. Yum. I tell people that I liked the experience.

    I go back to the restaurant and have another different but still delicious meal. Yum. I tell more people.

    I go back to the restaurant. I find that the restaurant has changed their menu, but I have a different, yet still delicious meal.

    Now I start telling everyone I meet that the food at the restaurant is delicious.

    Have I tried all the food? No - not even each type of food, but I do extrapolate from my experience that the restaurant serves good food to everyone.

    Is this "blind faith"? No. In fact it is the way much of the science these days is done. A statistical analysis and then extrapolation.

    I suspect Mac users are the same. Apple has a fairly narrow target market but it meets that market's needs very well. Their users are so pleased with what they have seen of their computing experience that they are willing to extrapolate that its better in all areas.

    So is the behaviour science-based or religious? I'm not sure there's much difference. Try questioning "settled" science and you'll be hounded out for being a "denier" - yes you've probably killed 6m Jews, started a world war and are totally, er... evil.

    Icon: all those who don't agree shall be burned at the stake.

  77. Doug Glass

    Being a devout member ...

    ... of The Army of the Church of the Resurrection I can certainly believe Apple theology is not only possible; it's probable.

  78. Bynar

    What annoys me...

    "Theres an app for that" - big fucking deal, I've been downloading apps onto my mobile phones since 2001 - usually for free.

    "Copy and paste" - you fucking serious? The fact that this functionality was never included in the first iteration is...well...stupid

    "Facetime" - lol. I preffered the "3" ads from years ago...and you know what they didn't need to be anywhere near a wifi access point. How the hell is this a big deal?

    That annoys me...but its not a deal breaker....the main reason I wouldn't have one is that I wouldn't buy ANY smartphone that didn't have an external memory card slot - so why would i pay apple for the privilege of not having one. Oh and I HATE itunes with a fiery vengeance...if I can't just copy music folders to my mobile in whatever format I please then I'm not interested.

    However I understand why people buy them, they do the job for most folk so fair enough, its their money.....

  79. Acidbass

    Century of the Self

    I think the Adam Curtis documentary 'Century of the Self' does a great job of explaining, indirectly, the Apple religion thing. Its premise is that psychoanalysts in the fifties, led by Freud, defined human desires as blind, uncontrollable things which advertisers quickly found they could play off. It wasn't very subtle - there are plenty of hilarious '50s adverts to back this up - and when people started to reject the technique and proclaim individuality the advertisers found that they could still sell goods by appealing to that individuality: by imbuing the essence of a 'lifestyle' into the product people could demonstrate their individuality by way of that lifestyle: A is into the environment and drives a Prius, while B is clearly a suit, evidenced by the Benz. As different as their values might be they both paid money for their cars and are proud of what they say about them. A positive end-result for Toyota and MB, and a process we call 'branding' and accept as a normal part of life.

    And that's exactly what Apple, and many others, do. The adverts, the blogs, Steve Jobs himself are all promoting a way of life that you can be proud to advertise to people around you. The reason the haters hate apple so much is because their ad agency is particularly good at this lifestyle marketing thing and every person on here with an opinion one way or the other is able to conjure up an image in their mind of a mac user. The users identify strongly with this image while the haters, for whatever reason, reject it. The actual demographics of mac users probably vary wildly from the stereotype, however, a testament to how well the psychoanalysts have abstracted positive associations into that stereotype: so the brickie with the iPhone has it because 'it just works' or 'it's cool' and that's more important to him than 'but the cost of that simplicity is reduced configurability' or whatever. The fact is that their ad agency's analysts and statisticians (ironically probably using windows pcs to run their SPSS analyses on) have identified that more people are into 'it just works' than 'I want to install an RFC2324 client on it'.

    The point is that marketing a product based on lifestyle attachments is a technique used by firms that want to increase sales and thence return a profit. That's their only motivation, and some of us buy into the lifestyle and defend it because it resonates with our beliefs while others reject the marketing philosophy in favour of making an informed choice about the most functional product. Thus the difference between the fanbois and the haters, and the strength of feeling in the particular case of Apple, is actually down to acceptance/rejection of the lifestyle marketing technique rather than the actual products.

    To call this a religious effect is to miss the point that, actually, religions are doing the same thing. By promoting a way of life which people are proud to demonstrate to others - by wearing special headgear or an icon on a necklace - the organisers get followers and thence money. Hence also why opinion is so divided between those who worship and those who don't: it's really about whether you view that kind of association-based promotion as manipulation or not.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Why are we taking this seriously?

    This is a waste of time, particularly from a site I used to rely on to pillory worthless research studies that fritter away budgets which could be diverted to something useful. What's happened to you, Reg? Why can you no longer cover Apple in an even-handed manner? Why have you become the standard bearers for stereotypical basement-dwelling mouth-breathers who enjoy waving their buying decisions around and shouting down anyone who claims that the popular choice may be, if not better, then at least decent? One day we're treated to a report shouting about how Android is killing iOS on the market - a report which, it turns out, didn't take into account iPhone 4 sales - and then the next day we're being told that Apple is a 'religion'. WTF is this garbage? This 'research' is only good as fodder for mockery, and you're fools for not calling it out.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Study way off the mark. It's a cargo cult, stupid.

    Some people who buy and use cellphones are rational. They need to be able to use them as phones, something seemingly irrelevant to cargo cult phone users – for good reason: iProne proselytes can't have jobs or friends. Why? Ergonomics. Even if it were possible with the latest version, you can't simply make or take a phone call. What you must do is admire the chunk of plastic in your hand every time it goes tinkle tinkle. One reason iPrones appeal to simpler people who rarely receive calls. When a call come in, it becomes an event, a celebration of one's social skills!

    A cultist getting the weekly phone call from their bank is not embarrassed being seen in public wiping their ear with a small spade or a trowel. Why? Is this proof that cargo cult membership overcomes the waste of buying a $500 trowel instead of a phone.

    The iProne is not a smartphone. The very fact that antenna functionality was considered minor at the design stage is the key. Phone capabilities aren't important. It follows that the iProne is really a member of a long dead segment – the PDA. See Palm Tungsten, Sony Clié TH55 etc. The twist being that iPrones are designed for cargo cultists rather than say, Europeans, rational users or businesses. But we won't know that because we don't get real iProne usage stats – in the same way we don't get user demographics either. Wonder why?

    Irrespective of phone capability, rational people want to make calls quickly, easily and, in this case, hygienically. The rational phone user does not want to deal with smeary ear grease after each call. For all I know cargo cultists lick their screen gloop off but what might be whizzo for them is not a sensible solution for those who remain in the real world. Remember, every time you shake hands with a cargo cultist you may well be sampling other delights – wiped-off ear grease.

    Phonotas [still around] used to sanitise office phones.

    Is there an app for sanitising screen ear gloop?

    You don't really conquer anything with one rather greasy product – it is a localised success and its localised success is largely related to the very successful services attached to it - please try to remember that app stores [of sorts, I concede] existed prior to the cargo cult phone.

    Competitive capitalism is predicated on choice. Monopolies, cargo cults and religions, whether real or imagined, conflict with principles of choice and abhor argument.

    Bet you iProne market share has peaked – cargo cultists are merely replacing their old greasers; thankfully there are only so many cargo cultists out there.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Here, let me have a go, pretty sure I can make that much sense too:

      I agree completely - the skeleton worshippers are what define this situation, morons. The iBone is a cargo catalyst reliant on the cult-level affliction typical (iTypical?) of 21st century image-as-value methodics. It's skeletal function set makes the iBone appeal to those who fail to understand that the body is more than a skeleton, and so in the same way a phone should be more than a garden implement which one uses to scrape off the oils produced by one's ear canals. On that subject, iBone users believe that their skeletal existence is free of the oily bodily gunk of a real human being, and hence never realise that their glass phones are windowpanes into their greasy lack of self-knowledge, and also why they have no friends and shun human contact. iBone cultist cargo-bearers bring to mind the hollow friend-free Patrick Bateman of 80s-set hit novel American Psycho, in that their lack of awareness of their own ear grease indicates that they are all homicidal maniacs. Homicidal maniacs are anti-capitalist, since you can't buy anything if someone has violently killed you. Thankfully, since there aren't many homocidal maniacs in the world, iBone sales figures must be fake and must have peaked anyway. They have only sold to to prison-bound lunatics willing to spend $500 on a skeletal glass pane that gives them an bone and isn't a phone, because Gizmodo said it isn't. So it must be a PDA. Three units worldwide so far.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        so where does the ear gloop go then?

        You sound clever.

        Does your worthwhile and doubtless otherwise valid essay for school not somewhat establish my point?

        Perhaps something went awry since you evidently cannot acknowledge that I did not say the iProne had not sold well (in some but not all markets).

        It's really quite simple - I would bet that iProne market share has peaked. Why not bet against that?

        Do try to understand what is meant by cargo cult.

  82. Tigra 07

    They can't qualify as a religion...

    Unless their leader is made up.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @Tigra 07

      Their leader *IS* made up.

      Trust me, the image that Apple's marketing department invented for Jobs isn't the same person who was my neighbor in Palo Alto's Johnson Park neighborhood ...

  83. Anonymous Coward

    Come off it

    Winblows and penguin fans are just as bad.

    Personally, I think I'll stick to reading El Reg using a text only browser on my IBM3070 mainframe and not get caught up in it all!

  84. Anonymous Coward

    Why Apply is a Religion

    The reason why you get a religious fervour associated with Apple is pretty simple. It is because their style of designing products is bipolar. On the one hand, they come up with some absolutely revolutionary design ideas. Then on the other hand, they have a "my way or the highway" approach which infuriates some people.

    Some examples are probably useful. Take the iPod. When it first came out it did a couple of very revolutionary things. Firstly, it was one of the first products that put your entire music collection on one device. Secondly, it had an interface (the scroll wheel) that made it possible to access your entire music collection really easily. On the other hand, the sound quality was dreadful (and to a large extent has remained so). If you are an audiophile (like me) the product is basically unusable, but if you were moving from a cassette playing walkman (with dreadful sound quality), the product was revolutionary. So depending on what was important to you, the product was best of class or worst of class. Hence religious stand-offs.

    Take the iPhone as another example. It did a few very revolutionary things. It had the first genuinely usable browser on a mobile device. It had a great model for promoting the development of, and distributing applications. It was the first genuinely usable touchscreen portable device. And it looked pretty cool. On the down side, if (like me) you found the touchscreen keyboard difficult or impossible to use, there was no alternative (hence why I ended up with a Motorola Droid). If you lived in the US, AT&T data rates are so poor that the flashy browser is totally unusable for speed reasons. Cut and paste and Flash are similar issues for some people. Inconsistency on the UI was an issue for me (with the keyboard being so difficult for me to use) - the fact that some built in apps, or downloaded apps only supported a portrait keyboard was a huge issue. If the issues don't matter to you, it is a revolutionary product; if the issues do matter it can be unusable. Cue polarisation.

    There are plenty of other examples in Apple's recent history. One button mice. Inability to replace batteries. Problems with antenna. Generally the people who love Apple products like the genuine innovations that Apple bring to the party. Those who dislike the products find that the limitations hurt them. There are plenty of people out there who would select based on the specific product, and wouldn't fit into the evangelist/atheist camps.

    The fact that Apple bring innovations and restrictions in equal measure will mean that users will often be bipolar and either love or hate the products. Now let's just live with it...

  85. halms


    ppl buy ipod coz its cute, pretty, and lets admit it, an amazing multimedia device non had managed to challenge. mac users mostly have macs cos they need to for their work. most of iphone owners buy it for the same reason ppl buy androids or any other phones.

    then there are ppl who have money and worship things not many ppl can afford. these are the ppl that have at least one of each, iphone, ipad, mac or/and macbook. but to most ppl, its ok to collect stamps or harley bikes, but ya a werido if you collect apple products.

    but i think open source is more of a religion than apple.

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