Over the last several months, a growing group of people that I know have succumbed to Apple Fan Boy syndrome. It started with two guys who took the afternoon off to wait in line to get an 8GB iPhone the day it was released. They were quite pleased with themselves, and immediately fell rapturously in love with the wondrous white widget. They are now never seen without the trademark white ear-buds in their ears, such that people joke about them being plugged into "the matrix", or that they should get the ear-buds surgically implanted.
Of course when Apple reduced the price of the 8GB unit by $200 a few weeks later, they were not too pleased, but $200 is a small price to pay for the nirvana that is the iPhone. Besides, the belated offer of a $100 store credit for early adopters seemed to mollify them. All was well in Apple Fan Boy Land.
Since then, at least five or six other acquaintances have jumped on the bandwagon, buying iPhones, MacBooks, etc. The Apple Fan Boy syndrome is definitely contagious. It sort of reminds me of people buying Members Only jackets in the 1980s. I have always been amused at the conceit that many Apple addicts have exhibited over the years. The basic premise that many Mac owners seem to operate on is that they are different, more creative, more free, perhaps even unique, since they made the iconoclastic decision to buy an Apple product. They are special. Of course, Apple marketing campaigns over the years have fed this delusion very well. The current "I’m a Mac, I’m a PC" TV commercials are a great example of this.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Apple. They have done a great job making innovative, easy to use products that work well in the tightly controlled, closed Apple eco-system. They have done a masterful job perfecting the whole buying and "out-of-box" experience for their products, and they are second to none when it comes to industrial design elements in the products themselves. On the other hand, Apple has a habit of giving their customers the shaft with things like non-replaceable batteries, high prices, and proprietary hardware (although this has changed with the adoption of Intel processors).
As for me, I am perfectly happy running both Vista and Windows XP on modern dual-core and quad-core hardware that is significantly cheaper than Apple hardware. I like the fact that can I build a system from parts and over-clock it if I want to. My refurbished 30GB black Zune works very well (especially for $100.00). My ancient LG phone works pretty well for making phone calls. I have no illusions about being special because of the hardware that I decided to buy.