Apple Fanboyitis

As we approach the launch of the third generation Apple iPhone on sale tomorrow, I feel a need to talk about something close to this technology journalist's heart: fanboyitis.

For those that don't know, fanboyitis occurs when people are so obsessed with a product or brand that they cease the ability to become objective. The part of their brain that determines and coordinates reasoning is shut off and they become defenders of the product or brand as if its being assaulted or raped and someone needs to step in as the voice of reason.

Which wouldn't be them.


Fanboyitis occurs through many different allegiances. I've met fanboys – as they are known – loyal to camera companies Canon & Nikon, best friends with Nintendo, and even some poor souls who swear by Microsoft.

But the one company which has quite possibly the most loyal fanboy following is none other than the fruit-based design wizards Apple.

Because of the sheer population of Apple devotees, one must keep an open mind about reviews, especially in the coming days.

For instance, the older generation of the iPhone – the original one which I and a lot of other people own – has quite a few problems, many of which might still be prominent in firmware 2.0.

What you need to know is no matter what I or any of the reviewers say out there come the release of our reviews, we will always have a flock of Apple fanboys out for us telling everyone that we're damn fools and to not listen to us because the iPhone is the epitome of brilliance and perfection.

These people worship the golden feet of Steve Jobs. I have no idea why. It must be the geeky predisposition to have if you never fell in love with a band.

Then there's the other sort of fanboy, the sort that the rest would love to welcome to their club with open arms but you might need to prove yourself to them first.

"I pledge allegiance to the Mac designed in the United States of America."

Wannabe fanboys are people who don't own the product or brand but furiously defend it if they did.

With the sweeping mania that the launch of the Apple iPhone is bringing around the world – especially in places like Australia that never had an official release of the original aluminium backed unit – this type of fanboy can be found in abundance.

Seriously, go to an Optus, Vodafone, or Telstra store upon the launch of the iPhone and you'll find quite a few. Or better yet, if you're planning to become a fanboy-watcher (like a bird watcher only with less dignity), be brave and head down to an Apple store where there should be plenty to go around.

On the opening of Australia's first official Apple store a couple of weeks ago, the members of the press were invited.

It was the launch of a store. A store that sells products. Exciting stuff, eh?

For us, it was work. For the people sitting outside and lining up to go in, it was because they were true fanboys and this was the sort of thing they did.

I read about one of the guys in line. He wanted to be the first English guy in Sydney's Apple store, in Australia's first Apple store. This would be his "claim to fame" as he put it. I felt sorry for him knowing that half the bloody store already had English people working there.

Since its opening, I've heard of people who have loved the store and people who were disappointed. One of my friends recently went up to Apple's tech support paradise – The Genius Bar – and found the so-called specialist helping her had previously worked at Billy Hydes and knew piss all, telling her she needed to go to a hard drive specialist and they couldn't help her.

He may be right, but even I know at least one procedure that could've been tried and yet wasn't.

And that's where you find people like me.

I'm a writer, a reviewer, a lover of all things technology. But I would be misrepresenting my own values as well as the integrity of an honest reviewer if I sat here and said everything Apple did was good because it would be a lie.

On the eve of the Apple iPhone launch, I think I'd like to say to trust your own instincts on any purchase. It's you who has to use it, not the salesman or fanboy next to you – sometimes indistinguishable – and while we reviewers can be a help, you're still the person whom you should trust most.

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