Apple fans: We’re a weird mob

by Chris Howard Jan 18, 2006

There’s a famous Australian book from the 1960’s called “They’re a Weird Mob” by John O’Grady, writing under the pen name of Italian immigrant Nino Cullota. It’s portrayed as autobiographical, following the travails of Italian immigrant, Nino, in his adopted country, Australia.  Most of the comedy revolves around his difficulty learning to speak and understand Strine*, the localised version of English.

Anyway, enough classical literature history lessons, I digress. Apple fans could also be described as “a weird mob”. I’m not the first to suggest that although I have expressed it more politely than some in the past have. Brainwashed, cultish, mental, idiots, zealots are words often used in the same sentence as “Apple owners”, and often with some colorful expletives.

Of course we give as good as we get..

But it is the short memories, the high expectation and the demanding nature of Apple fans that baffles me sometimes and leaves me thinking “they’re a weird mob” and finding as hard to comprehend them as poor Nino did the Australians. If Nino came across us Apple fans, he’d find us equally confusing.

And we’re worst of all when it comes to rumors, first versions and traditions.

Don’t we all love Apple rumors. I looked around and there’s no dedicated Windows or Microsoft rumor sites (that I could find); unlike Apple rumor sites which you can find even if you’re blindfolded and wearing mittens. But the rumors inevitably lead to anti-climax and disappointment.

Sometimes, like MacWorld 2005, where we got all excited about the rumored new mini Mac for under $500 and when SJ showed it we gave the appropriate “Wow!” but afterwards wished there was “One more thing…” that we didn’t know about. It’s like telling people what to buy you for your birthday. You get what you want, but it’s disappointing too because there’s no surprise.

With MacWorld 2006, before hand many punters thought a PowerBook would be nothing short of a miracle. Now they’re lamenting it.

And then the really weird thing happens - as you’d expect from a “weird mob”. We jump on the forums and start criticizing Apple. “Why didn’t they release [insert product name]?” “The new iWork is great but where’s the [insert application type]?”

In The Life of Brian, there’s a classic line from Brian where he responds to an ungrateful beggar:

There’s no pleasing some people

Steve must think that too after every keynote.

Version 1
This one really gets me. I’ve probably been guilty of it myself but that doesn’t justify it.

Apple NEVER releases a perfect version 1 of any product. And they’re not alone. No company does. When Microsoft does it the Mac faithful scoff and say how it proves how incompetent they are. When Apple does it, the faithful tell us Apple screwed up. Sure the product’s good - and better than anything Dell, Creative or Microsoft could do - but they should have done better. Afterall, it’s so obvious what features were missing. Why didn’t they include everything?

The Apple folks do a pretty good job with their version 1 releases. They don’t try to do everything. They don’t try to go overboard. They just try to get a solid and reliable product out. Consider that the more they put in the more points of potential failure there are.

Look at iLife. A mature product now but think back to everything missing from version 1 of each of the apps. And even the PPC PowerBooks are quite a mature product now. But the MacBooks are a version 1 product and do, rightly so, have room for improvement.

Apple develops fantastic, high quality products but we do expect perfection at times.

Even the most ardent Catholic seems more prepared to accept change to their Church’s tradition than a lot of Mac fans are to Apple’s traditions. Two recent examples that spring to mind: The multi button mouse and the renaming of the PowerBook.

Before the release of Apple’s multi-button mouse the traditionalists greatly out numbered those harking for change - or maybe just in loudness. And then even when it did come out they still weren’t convinced it was the future of Apple mousing, many saying it would always be an option. Of course that proved wrong and the traditional one-button mouse clicked its last a few months back.

The MacBook name does sound a little corny but there are those who want to keep the PowerBook name simply because of its long tradition.

We want our Apple to be leading edge, innovative and cool. But just as long as they stick to the traditions…

If you’re a non-Mac user and somewhat perplexed by our odd behavior and apparent ungratefulness, don’t try to understand us. We are a weird mob.

*Note: Strine is an abbreviation for Australian as we Aussies supposedly pronounce it “Austrine” or just “Strine”. Strine is thus English that’s been Australianized in all its colorful and confusing colloquialisms.


  • What a timely piece Chris, well put.

    Wundryn had this to say on Jan 18, 2006 Posts: 10
  • I really agree with you. I’ve just been using Macs for a little over a year now, but it amazes me how much people are reacting negatively to the new Apple products. All I keep reading on everyone’s blogs are “the MacBook sucks cause it doesn’t have Firewire 800….”, “it’s missing 60 pixels, so I won’t be buying it, thank you very much…”, “iWeb does not produce clean, beautiful code, so if I were you I wouldn’t use it”, blah, blah, blah! You people think you can make better products? Then why don’t you start your own computer company and challenge Steve Jobs and Apple. That’s right, you can’t. Why? Not enough money. All the good designers work for Apple. Not enough money. You don’t have the inside track at AMD. Too much work producing an OS and the hardware. Not enough money. Anybody noticing a pattern yet? Seriously, if anyone could produce a better product, I think they’d be doing it already either at their own company or maybe working for Dell. But since none of you are, shadup! Quit your whining. Let Apple do what they need to do to stay solvent and relevent. You want to help them make that killer laptop you keep cryin’ about? Buy some freggin stock and invest in the company. And I’m not talkin’ about a measly share, I mean 100+ shares. Oh yeah, you can’t: not enough money. Chris, I wouldn’t say we’re a weird mob. I’d just say that we’re too damn spoiled!

    Frank 'viperteq' Young had this to say on Jan 18, 2006 Posts: 32
  • A right-on analysis.

    As much as I like Apple and its products, Mac fanatics (as opposed to Mac enthusiasts/Macheads) are some of the biggest whiners out there! They get pissy over the least little imagined slight.

    breuklen had this to say on Jan 18, 2006 Posts: 31
  • Yeah. I was surprised you didn’t mention the losing of Firewire in the iPod Nano. When that happened I saw an uproar in abusive comments, including, “Well that’s the last time I buy a Mac” -and that’s from someone who doesn’t even own an iPod! So yeah I definitely agree that many Apple fans are weird/crazy/insane. But not everyone wink

    HOWEVER, I must respond to your comment suggesting one-click mice died off months ago.  Although the desktop’s overall take up a larger Mac share, the PowerBook/MacBook is still the single most popular selling Mac, and that only has one button smile

    Ooh, and I just noticed I reached the top 10 of most commenting users! I can’t believe I’ve made 92 comments already!

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Jan 19, 2006 Posts: 299
  • We are indeed spoiled as viperteq says. But don’t we like it?

    Some Maccers expect too much from this company. We all need to be realistic. I don’t care if it’s a powerbook, mackbook pro or babybook… As long as it works the Apple way I’m happy.

    Btw, perfection doesn’t exist (everybody has his own idea about it) so don’t blame Apple for not being perfect.

    Tomovich had this to say on Jan 20, 2006 Posts: 16
  • Viperteq - spot on. And aren’t we going to be spoiled this year?!

    And thanks guys! I’d been away all week so was wondering how this article would be received. It’s nice to get the positive feedback. (I was down the beach taking a deliberate break from the computer)

    I had hoped to come back to some new product releases - afterall, I did miss two Tuesdays. Oh well.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Jan 23, 2006 Posts: 1209
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