Who do the Underdog Fans Root for Now?

by Chris Seibold Apr 13, 2011

Right now is the best time ever for Apple. The company is so busy owning the tablet market it can't keep the things in stock. The iPhone keeps the coffers overflowing and even the Mac is creeping up in market share. It is every Apple fanboi's dream come true. Right?

Hold on there a second, there's a dirty little secret about Apple fanboism. Back in olden times, pre-OSX, and before the return of Steve Jobs, Apple had a die-hard following. Apple loyalists would come up with any number of reasons that Macs were superior to Microsoft-powered counterparts. Macs started up faster, shut down faster, and were better because there was less software infecting them. Less software means better? What kind of crazy talk is that? The argument was that since there were fewer applications for the Mac the ones that existed were of higher quality. Yes, it seems crazy in retrospect. There were plenty of more arguments about why Apple was superior to the Windows/Intel/Dell cabal, but were they honest?

The truth was that a lot of people defended Macs and Apple passionately not because the company's products were superior, but because Apple was the underdog in a sea of beige clones. Using Apple products meant you were different—you weren't slavishly following the masses. Using Apple products set you apart. All the arguments about superiority didn't really matter because it wasn't about being superior, it was about being different, it was about backing the underdog.

Apple didn't see this at the time, which is why one of the first things Steve did when he took control was to push ahead with the 'think different' campaign. A masterful campaign that appealed to Apple's core of Mac users. You'll note that while the "Think Different" campaign didn't say anything about the Mac's superiority it allowed Mac users to know Apple felt the same way they did. Thanks for backing the underdog, thanks for being different. You're cooler than Gandhi.

But times have changed, and how. The days of Apple being the underdog are gone. When you roll out of the house with your iPhone you are one of millions. You aren't fighting the Man or backing the underdog with the iPhone, you're just getting your tech on.

It is understandable, the iPhone has all the apps, the iPhone has all the integration, the iPhone has everything anyone could want.  

When you find yourself using your iPad at Starbucks your usage isn't a bold statement that you want the little guy to share in corporate glory, you're saying : "Be very jealous. I've got a latte and an iPad!" Flashing a device that has remade the market and reaped the company who produces it billions of dollars tends to defeat the whole supporting the underdog concept.

Which brings us to a troubling conclusion. If you were one of the people who backed Apple out of spite or some anti-authoritarian reasoning and you're still backing Apple your raison d'être is dead and gone, long gone in fact. Apple isn't the underdog anymore. You're not special because you use an iPhone.

There's nothing wrong with that, whatever product works for you. But if you're one of the people who roots for the underdog, one of the folks that like to buy products off the beaten path, what kit will you be buying now?




  • Actually, I’ve been a fan of the company since the Apple II. But I really became enamored of the 128K Mac in 1984. Like the iPad, all you had to do was look at it to know it changes everything. You may have had trouble explaining exactly why, but you knew that one day everything would work like this. A decade later the CLI was a distant memory and Windows 95 was on every desktop (unless you still had your Mac like I did).

    I wasn’t a fan because Apple was the underdog. I was a fan because Apple was showing the way things ought to work. I’m not arrogant or showing off when I enthusiastically show my Mac or iPad doing something cool for me as opposed to doing something cool TO my PC or Android device. Both are very valid reasons to smile.

    Besides I don’t even like coffee. I have had a Chai Latte once or twice so I had an excuse to use Starbucks WiFi. Does that count? Or do I now have to peel the sticker off my rear window?

    Shock Me had this to say on Apr 13, 2011 Posts: 1
  • Chris, you obviously have no idea why people choose to use Macs or other Apple products. No, it’s not to support either an “underdog” or an “overdog”. And no, it’s not so that they will look cool (although that is a supplementary consequence wink).

    These are examples of the distorted rationales that Windows users mention when they sneer at Mac users… and none of them are valid!

    Also, saying the reason is “less software infecting them” is a HUGE understatement! And that is one of the reasons why Windows users become Mac users, but it is not the only reason.

    When people distort the truth about others just to boost themselves, it’s indicative of the insecurity they feel over the long term choices they made. If you need to create illusions for yourself to believe, in order to “rationalize” and feel better about your own situation in comparison to others, then it may be time to look more closely at why you need to do this.

    Mac users, and owners of iPhones and iPads, are happy with the choices they made. There are many surveys and awards which make this very clear. Just one example is the iPhone topping J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey for 4th year in a row.

    Because Mac users have this high level of satisfaction, productivity, and quality, they are not inclined to waste their time creating false, negative rationales about the users of other platforms… as you do.

    By voicing your delusions about people who have chosen differently than you, you may be supporting other Windows users in their distorted sense of reality, but it will certainly have no effect on getting Mac users to ever switch to Windows (in fact this type of annoyance has the opposite effect).

    You have other choices that are open to you. Either be content using the platform or products you have chosen, or (if you are not quite happy) try another platform to see if you may like it better. But just generating fabricated and erroneous rationales about others is a disservice to yourself, and a waste of time.

    Harvey had this to say on Apr 13, 2011 Posts: 13
  • Chris, one observation about you blog in general:

    I have read several of your articles in the past, and like this one, they all had a very negative slant towards Apple’s products and its users.

    Yet you’ve named you site “Apple Matters” which seems to be deceitful. From the content of your writings you are being duplicitous with this title, giving the initial impression that this is a Web site with useful information for users of Apple products.

    You have snagged me, as well as many other users of Apple products into visiting your site with this deception.

    It would be more honest for you to rename your site with a title that is more inline with the content and intention of your articles.

    Harvey had this to say on Apr 13, 2011 Posts: 13
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  • Hold on there a second, there’s a dirty little secret about Apple fanboism. Back in olden times, pre-OSX, and before the return of Steve Jobs, Apple had a die-hard following.
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  • @ Jonisonis

    I totally agree with you on this, pre OSX apple and Mac still had their hardcore followers
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  • I had not merchandise the Apple was underdog. I was in fan because Apple was to show how things should operate.
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  • I have read numerous articles already, and such as this, they all had a very negative slant toward the Apple products and its users.
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