Fanboys

I have a friend -- an Android user -- who constantly teases me about being an Apple fanboy. We’ve gone back and forth numerous times about Apple versus Google, market share versus profits, and so on. Suffice it to say, we end up having to agree to disagree because our philosophies on this stuff lie totally on the opposite ends of the proverbial spectrum.

I mention this after reading what CNET’s Brooke Crothers wrote yesterday about how Apple-focused sites like Daring Fireball spread FUD about Android because they’re run by biased “fanbois”. Much was made of this on Twitter, and a few in the pro-Apple camp defended (and derided) Crothers’ linkbait. To wit:

MG Siegler:

Apple became one of the most successful companies and the most valuable company in the world. They transformed the entertainment landscape, the retail landscape, the mobile landscape, and did something all the naysayers said was impossible: created an actual market for tablets. Now most companies around the world are trying to copy at least part of Apple’s business.

It’s hard to call those writing positively about Apple “lunatics”, “brainwashed”, and “fanbois” when they’re, well, right. But Crothers is apparently trying to revive the lost art.

So people like me and Siegler and Gruber are nuts because we buy products not because we’re smart, sensible people, but because Apple has a great marketing team or we’re part of the cliched “cult”? Um, no. To argue that Apple’s success is directly tied to brainwashing millions of easily-led automotons is disingenuous and totally ignoring the good in Apple’s products for the sake of your own negative bias. (I especially love those who believe Apple’s after their first-born son with their egomaniacal control.)

Then, commenting on Siegler’s piece, Marco Arment adds:

Apple’s customers often get accused of unconditional devotion to the company’s products. But the accusers often have an equally irrational aversion: they blindly and universally won’t buy Apple products. People can buy (or not buy) whatever they want, but if a few hundred million people think Apple’s products are good and fit their needs, and a handful of tech bloggers loudly refuse to buy them even if they have similar needs, which side looks like the irrational one?

Bingo.

The pro-Android camp ridicules the Apple people, but the fact is, they’re just as biased and devotional to Google and their pseudo-open mantra. I get really defensive when somebody calls me a “fanboy” because the terms carries such a negative, demeaning connotation. Bottom line: if you like Android, more power to you. One of my sisters has an HTC EVO 4G and I’ve never once called her a stupid, idiotic bitch because she’s using something other than iOS.

Use what works for you. I happen to like and prefer iOS because it fits my needs1. But that doesn’t mean I go around disparaging people for their allegiances because, frankly, I don’t care. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Life is too short and this topic is so unimportant in the grand scheme of things to have these flame wars.

All this being said, though, I will admit to loving Jim Dalrymple’s characterizations of the world’s fans and their boys:

Apple fanboy: Someone who is tired of technology being difficult and knows there is something better; someone that loves to get the job done instead of working on their machine; a person that isn’t afraid of breaking the status quo; someone that appreciates quality design and workmanship; a person that realizes cheapest isn’t always best. Apple fanboysare commonly confused with the sensible people of society.

A person that calls you a fanboy: A person that can’t handle the fact that Apple, not Microsoft or Google, is the company that is bringing all of the above to the world. These people often hack their devices to make them look like Apple’s devices.

Well said, sir. Best thing I’ve read so far today.


  1. The same logic applies to the Mac as well. I much prefer OS X to Windows.