Given all the tech I’ve played with over the years, I’d be comfortable calling myself a Windows/Android guy with some earthy tones of Linux and the occasional smooth draws of Mac. I like to keep up to date and current on what’s going on in commercial tech platforms for two (and a half) reasons. The first is personal – i’m a tech geek, and being more informed and knowing different platforms makes my purchasing decisions more well informed and in line with what I need. The second is professional – my career is primarily one of being the IT and technology alpha nerd, and I’d call geeking out part of my job description. That last “and a half?” The more platforms, operating systems and “sides” I know, the more credibility I have talking tech, and the less I have to deal with folks associating my opinions with being a pure fanboy of any given platform.
Because fanboyism and fangirlism irk me. Ohhh kids it irks me something improper. I like what I like because I’ve tested a lot of things, and through that testing formulated my own opinion based on a wide array of experiences. I like PCs running Windows 7. I prefer Android-powered devices. It’s just how I roll. That doesn’t mean I hate all things Apple – on the contrary I feel the vast majority of their products are really a solid set of devices. And they back that up with sales, as well as a fiercely loyal fan base that in my opinion has supported the “Cult of Mac” moniker that it has come to be known as over the last decade, rivaling the following of some organized religions. But when the iPhone was still pretty much on its own in the touchscreen smartphone game, it was all about “cool.” With the rise of Android, the sentiment of “cool” was somehow converted into one of elitism.
You see kids, the iPhone isn’t iAlone anymore (see what I did there?). It has competition now. What the rise of Android has done is one very major thing sociologically, namely the creation of two completely polarized groups of users: the “I won’t touch anything non-Apple” camp and the “Apple is for the computer illiterate, sheep and hipsters locked in groupthink” faction. Adding competition naturally drove the poles of these groups to consider each other the enemy, instead of just two kinds of tech that accomplish similar goals. Hell I’ve never seen anything this heated in consumer tech before, including Intel vs. AMD. That fierce brand loyalty Apple has build does come off as elitist fanaticism sometimes, but at the same time Android side is no less guilty of elitism.
Don’t get me wrong. Like I said, I’m not a fanboy, and acknowledge the guilt of both “sides” when it comes to this sort of fanaticism. My problem is with users. Multiple people I’m friends with and work with run all Mac at their homes, and brag about how their new iPhones are “10x times better” than Android devices – in every iteration of course – 3, 3gs, 4 4s, because they’ve bought them all. The problem is, they’ve never touched, much less used an Android device. So how could they possibly know? “But why is it better?” I ask. No joke, most answers dance around “because Apple/Steve Jobs would never make a bad product.”
Ok, that may support why it’s a good product, but not why it’s “100 times better.” How was that purchase fueled by anything other than blind brand loyalty? I know people on the other end of the spectrum too, who have purchased top-of-the-line Android smartphones and touted their superiority over iAnything while at the same time having never even held any sort of iPhone in their hands. I have no respect for these kinds of opinions on either side, because they’re not based in any kind of logic or fact. And while I see this on both platforms, I do get it more from Apple users than Android users. There is still the minority of users that have actually played with both and have a logical preference one way or the other. THAT I can get on board with. I’ve used both and I prefer Android. Other colleagues have used both and prefer Apple. Some are warming up to WIndows phones. Fair enough. I can’t argue that because they’ve done the research to actually know.