I've always been bemused - sometimes annoyed - by the blind loyalty displayed towards Apple products by those who buy and/or use them. Now an interesting study by Strand Consult has provided evidence that this isn't just accidental.
Simply put, Apple has launched a beautiful phone with a fantastic user interface that has had a number of technological shortcomings that many iPhone users have accepted and defended, despite those shortcomings resulting in limitations in iPhone users’ daily lives.
When we examine the iPhone users’ arguments defending the iPhone, it reminds us of the famous Stockholm Syndrome - a term that was invented by psychologists after a hostage drama in Stockholm. Here hostages reacted to the psychological pressure they were experiencing, by defending the people that had held them hostage for 6 days.
Below is a selection of some of the arguments that various hard-core iPhone fanatics have been using since the iPhone initially launched:
1. The first iPhone was not a 3G phone: What do you need 3G for? You can easily use the iPhone without using a 3G network and anyway, 3G is not particularly widespread, so this is not a problem.
2. The phone cannot send MMS: There is no need to send MMSs, hardly anybody sends MMSs.
3. You cannot forward a SMS: This is a function that hardly anybody uses and was therefore not included in the first iPhones.
4. The phone has a poor camera: The built-in camera is perfectly adequate and the iPhone takes fantastic photos with its camera.
5. It is not a real Smartphone, it cannot multitask: The phone has all the necessary functions and the OS is technically superior compared to other Smartphone OSs currently on the mobile market.
6. The iPhone cannot multitask, resulting in a great number of applications being unusable: The absence of multitasking is a deliberate design decision resulting in a faster UI.
7. You can not change battery on the iPhone: How many customers run around with spare batteries? None or very few.
8. Apple decides which applications you can install on the phone: This is good, because Apple thereby ensures that you do not get inferior programs on your phone.
9. The app store is a closed universe: Apple knows what is best for end users, which is good for the many iPhone users.
10. The phone does not support Java, so games need to be developed especially for the iPhone: Java is slow and not properly integrated with mobile phones, games for the iPhone are much better because they are directly developed for the iPhone.
11. The app store contains numerous small trivial commercial programs: The app store’s large selection gives users the freedom of choice and the many small programs help make the end users daily lives more fun.
12. It is difficult to use the touchscreen for fast SMS messaging: The touchscreen makes the phone easier to use and you quickly get used to it.
13. The iPhone is a low technology phone packaged in a sleek design: Apple has taken the combination of the design and UI to the next level, therefore the technological specifications don't really matter.
14. The quality of the phone is poor, calls are often interrupted and network coverage is poor: It is a good phone, these problems are due to the operators’ networks and not the phone.
15. You can only purchase the iPhone from operators chosen by Apple: Apple has spent a great deal of time and energy selecting the best operators for customers.
16. The iPhone is targeted at a niche segment and will not be able to develop further: Apple has succeeded in designing a phone for people that appreciate design and user friendliness.
17. The iPhone does not support memory cards: Iphones already offer the necessary memory people require and end users can choose between two models, one with a little memory and one with a great deal of memory.
18. You can not install your own browser: The browser Apple has designed is so superior that you do not need any other browser on your phone.
19. You cannot use the iPhone as a modem for your portable PC: People that have an iPhone do not need their portable when on the move.
20. There is no radio in the phone: You do not need a radio in your iPhone because the iPhone supports iTunes that offers almost unlimited music.
There are many arguments for and against the iPhone, on the other hand there is no doubt that Apple has some of the most loyal end users on the market and that iPhone users will go out of their way to defend the phone they love and worship.
There are many similarities to the Stockholm Syndrome and from an outside perspective there is little doubt that many mobile phone manufacturers are most probably envious of the users on Apple's platform. In reality the iPhone is surrounded by a multitude of people, media and companies that are happy to bend the truth to defend the product they have purchased from Apple.
The full Strand Consult report on the iPhone and its users may be obtained here.
Needless to say, Apple fans are already up in arms about the report. The comments at 9to5Mac make interesting reading, to say the least! Of course, some of those comments might be said to prove Strand Consult's point . . .