Every successful person or company has its critics, but the expressions of vitriol for Apple are more complex than the popular refrain ‘haters gonna hate’.
Some are bugged by the price of Apple gadgets, others sneer over the enthusiasm of Apple fans, mockingly referring to them as iSheep or fanboys. Others are rubbed the wrong way by late founder Steve Jobs, whose charisma and marketing savvy repelled some as strongly as it attracted others.
Even in death, his critics could not be silent. “I don’t wish anyone to die,” wrote one on a message board on League of Legends on Oct. 6, 2011, the day Jobs passed. “However, I refuse to sanctify him.”
Fuel for the fire
Saying so only makes the fans circle the wagons. Apple occupies rare air, in that its customers have become a distinct and potent brand community that only grows stronger from the hatred, says Albert Muniz, professor of marketing at DePaul University.
“It gives legitimacy of true membership,” Muniz says. “It’s such an entrenched user base. That sentiment (against) has persisted as Apple has gone from David to being Goliath.”
So to the “misfits, crazy ones and rebels,” here is a small dose of what you put up with because you love your iPhone or Mac.
“People who buy exclusively Apple all the time are unsettling. A sense of loyalty to a multinational, profit-driven company is just weird in my book, especially when it manifests itself in utter loyalty, a refusal to accept any alternative, an unnatural love for the product and an inability to accept that there are any flaws in the love they feel.” —David Stewart, Australia, on Quora, Sept. 13, 2014.
“I wonder if their new guy is going to try to continue building a fortune off of artificial quality and people who don’t know anything about computers.” —DinerCar on League of Legends, Oct. 6, 2011.
Or from this YouTube tech vlogger last September with a channel named Gaming Wildlife:
If you find humor in the insults, there is an Apple Haters blog as well as the “official” Twitter account of Apple Haters “We are everywhere.” Any time stocks dip, malware strikes, or a new product gets tepid reviews, these and other forums come to life. The blog even has a store, on which you can buy coffee cups and T-shirt, including one that says “KEEP CALM and DESTROY APPLE.”
The chatrooms stir up some interesting discussion and often include reformed Apple haters or even some current user Piyush Michael, a student in Delhi, Indiana, who likes Apple products enough, but otherwise is not swayed by Apple’s messaging or the passions coming from what this website lovingly refers to as a cult.
Michael told Cult of Mac he has used both Apple and non-Apple products, his favorites being the iPhone and MacBook. He describes himself as indifferent to Apple, but his emotions are more likely to get stirred up by expressions of loud love for Apple.
“It’s just the smugness of the fanboys I hate,” Michael says. “In India, those who can afford (it) almost always buy iPhones. It’s supposed to make you stand out of the sea of mid-rangers. And in most cases the smugness isn’t even discrete. The same attitude you get from the PC (camp). Both camps form opinions without any experience of the other side and stick to it.
“In order to justify the money spent, they spend the rest of their lives denying any flaws in the products.”
Popular YouTube tech vlogger Austin Evans has an audience that mostly uses PCs, especially for gaming.
He is reminded how deep passions run whenever he reviews or unboxes an Apple product, like a new iPhone. Evans can count on a small flurry of comments accusing him of being paid by Apple.
“I don’t do a lot of Apple videos because I am mindful of my audience,” Evans tells Cult of Mac. “Apple is one company I don’t have much of a relationship with. I do full-sponsored stuff all of the time and nobody cares, but when I do an Apple video, it’s ‘How dare you say something nice about them.’”
Another tech vlogger, Lamarr Wilson, has an interesting theory that may explain some of the hate for Apple.
He considers himself an ex-Apple hater who used to make a living building and fixing PCs. He even saw a number of viewers unsubscribe from his YouTube channel when they realized he had become “one of them.”
“There may be fear in the tech community,” Wilson says. “There’s a morbid fear of things that are easy to use. They hate tech that is dumbed down. For some, their jobs and personal reputation is ingrained in being the tech person.”
What’s the big deal?
Apple mostly shrugs and may even revel in the free advertising the debate gives its products.
Sometimes impatience and even hot rage comes from its own community, which expects Apple to put out a perfect game changer every time.
Jobs may have even handled some direct hostility from one customer, complaining about poor reception with the iPhone 4s in the early days of what became a widespread antenna problem.
Several tech websites published what was believed to be an email exchange with an angry man and Jobs. The writer allegedly threatened to go back to using an Android phone and said he was ashamed to be a Mac fan.
Apple’s public relations team said the emails were fake, but even in fiction, the final word from Jobs may be the best response the next time an Android loyalist gets in the grill of a happy iPhone fan.
“Relax … It is just a phone.”