Blogger: Apple Cult Becoming a Religion

The Times in What’s Online gets a bit carried away. Or maybe not.
Apple Cult Becoming a Religion

APPLE will not release the iPhone until June, but Leander Kahney, the writer of “The Cult of Mac” blog, posited this week on Wired News that the new phone is already partly responsible for a major change in how the company is perceived (www.wired.com). After nearly three decades, Apple is finally being taken seriously not just by the true believers, but by just about everybody.

According to Mr. Kahney, this shift has taken place in the last few weeks, as both the iPhone and, more recently, Apple TV, have quickly become “must have” products. “A lot of people thought Apple got lucky with the iPod,” Mr. Kahney wrote. “It was a one-hit wonder, a fluke not likely to be repeated.” But the iPhone is already thought of as an “industry-changing smash hit,” and Apple TV, which at first drew shrugs, now may even eclipse the iPhone, according to the predictions of some (though by no means many) people (ipodnn.com).

Apple TV, which began shipping this week, stores up to 50 hours of video, which can be wirelessly beamed from a computer to a television set. Like several other competing products from the likes of Sony, Microsoft and TiVo, it aims to capitalize on the increasing availability of downloadable movies and TV shows.

Apple’s decision to move to Intel processors is another big reason for what Mr. Kahney says is “a cultural shift that’s changing the way people think about the company.” The Mac’s ability to run both Apple’s operating system and Microsoft’s Windows (by using BootCamp software, which is still in beta), means some organizations are able to save money by using more-expensive Macs. Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, for example, recently dumped all its Windows-only machines in favor of Macs because the university now can do just as much with fewer computers (computerworld.com).

The “dual boot” functionality also means that it is far easier to find needed software. “The old argument against Macs is moot,” Mr. Kahney writes. “New Intel Macs can run Windows software as well as any PC.” And technology managers like the Mac’s relative protection against computer viruses and security breaches.

Perhaps most intriguingly, Mr. Kahney points to Apple’s steadfastness in keeping its products proprietary as a main reason for its success. Apple for decades has weathered criticism that the reason it was marginalized by the likes of Microsoft was its refusal to allow third parties to develop related products. But “Apple’s traditional closed system,” Mr. Kahney writes, “is now a selling point.”

The popularity of the iPod and iTunes, he writes, shows that consumers seem to prefer buying “products and services from one company that are guaranteed to work well together.”

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