John Dvorak, the irascible critic/reviewer, once said that when his click counts were getting a little low, he needed only to say something critical of Apple — and watch the clicks add up. Because, well, they defend their kingdom fiercely. And it’s such an in club — if you join, man, you’re in. But if you’re out? Well, let’s just say you could get blamed for a lot of things.
As it happens, I worked on a Mac for years and loved it. But when I left the nominally more creative side of my business, I left the Mac as well and switched back to PC-dom.
Perhaps it wasn’t as elegant or fun. Then again, the world didn’t end when I switched.
So it was with some bemusement that I watched the grownup equivalent of “OMG! The iPhone3G!!!!” frenzy this (now past) week. Even though the reviews were mostly positive, a few pointed out that amidst its “functionality and beauty” there were still some glitches and hidden costs. But no fear, the data points are ready, any criticisms (however mild) can be argued with zeal.
Don’t get me wrong. The iPhone 3G is way cool, and in general Apple products are elegant, thoughtful, well-marketed, and smart. But watching the frenzy … the lines… the “Countdowns” over the iPhone 3G kept reminding me of the scene in Life of Brian where the hero, Brian, mistaken for the Savior, has accidentally lost one of his shoes. His followers have fervently taken off one of their shoes “so we can be like YOU, Master!”
The willingness to proclaim everything Brian does or mentions as “a miracle!” is very Apple-esque (or -esque of nearly anything in tech where the hype just gets breathless. Google. Web services, once upon a time. Heaven forbid, blade servers. Chips.) As for the declaiming around him that “only the true messiah would deny his divinity” — well, I’m not sayin’ it reminds me of the fans of the guy in the black turtleneck. But hang out on certain discussion boards for a while and connect your own dots.
As Allen Stern of CenterNetworks (a great Web 2.0 news and analysis blog, by the way) said on Twitter: “Anybody want to get 100 people to line up outside of the Sprint Store, just for the hell of it?”