By Patrick Avenell
What makes an Apple fanboy? Although there are plenty of iDiehards out there, tapping out screenplays on their Mac, tweeting from their iPhone and using their iPad as a watch, it’s much harder to find someone willing to identify themselves by that dedicated, cultish term.
On the eve of the iPad Something’s launch tomorrow morning (Sydney time), Current.com.au is looking at the anatomy of a fanboy.
Although this reporter has previously mused that one is not a true fanboy (or fangirl – as Apple is sex-agnostic) until they have convinced someone else to purchase Apple TV, the fine line between passive user and active evangelist is much closer to the middle.
To help us in our exploration, we’ve come up with the following Venn diagram, with Apple’s three core product platforms in the circles. There’s no iPod or Apple TV for opposite reasons: the iPod is so completely dominant in the digital music space that only the most ardent anti-fanboy would persist with a rival product; and the Apple TV is so niche that surely people have only purchased it by mistake.
In the ellipses created by iPhone, iPad and Mac overlaps, you get the four types of Apple multi-product users. In this modern world, everyone needs a computer and a mobile phone, but not everyone needs a tablet, so those that stick with the necessities are best described as iPragmatists.
In the corporate world, it’s very rare to see big businesses using Macs. Those users that have to suspend their Apple love when they enter the workzone, are labelled iCorporate.
It seems hard to believe that anyone would use a Mac and an iPad, but some other brand as their mobile phone, but thankfully we have a subculture happy to buck any trend in order to be ironic. Don’t be fooled into thinking the iRonic Hipster uses a BlackBerry or an Android phone, however, these uber-groovers are still rocking a Nokia 5110.
Now to fill this Venn diagram and give all aspiring fanboys heroes to look up to.
We’ll start at the top, where this reporter uses an iPhone, but is PC user (at home and work) and sees no need to own an iPad (at least for the next 12 hours).
For an exclusive iPad owner, we turn to the leader of the free world, President Barack Obama. There is no computer on the Resolute Desk on the Oval Office, and Obama has previously professed his love of BlackBerry, but he is clearly seen here tapping away on an iPad 2.
Despite some crowdsourcing and Googling attempts, it was impossible to find a celebrity, or even a reality TV show contestant, who uses a Mac but not any other Apple product. My mate Michael from university purchased a MacBook Air (and then installed Linux on it) to go with his Motorola phone and unheard-of-Chinese-brand Android tablet, so Michael will placehold until someone better comes along.
For mixing an iPhone and an iPad we have Hugh Jackman. Although this photo does not prove he is not a Mac user, one can safely assume that if he did own a Macbook he would be holding it in his left hand instead of that cup of juice. For those that think Hugh Jackman is not iCorporate enough, please remember that he produced Viva Laughlin.
According to the Canberra Times, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard keeps a Mac in her office (which just lends itself to Mac The Knife gags), while ‘Team JG’ likes to tweet regularly from an iPad. That makes the Aussie PM Australia’s premier iRonic Hipster, which makes sense considering she became PM despite not really winning an election (ironic) and she managed to push through major environmental reforms (hipster).
As far as iPragmatists go, at a Telechoice media event in Sydney last year, former premiership winning Sydney Swans star Tadhg Kennelly revealed to this reporter his love of Macs and iPhones (and also his love of Liverpool FC), but his polite indifference to the iPad.
Finally, for the centre ellipse, and there can be no greater fanboy than the overtravelled, underslept ultimate iWorkaholic Stephen Fry. The man known for his great work on Sherlock Holmes, his amusing work on QI and this cringe inducing article for The Guardian was a fanboy well before it became popular, and that’s something we can all pretend to be.
Join Patrick Avenell for live minute-by-minute coverage of the Apple media event to launch the iPad Something tomorrow morning (Thursday 8 March 2012) from 4:45AM (Sydney time).