Unlike most technology companies, Apple has a nearly cult-like following as well as a growing user base. So, how do you know when you’ve gone from casual Mac user to hard-core Apple fan? Here are 15 signs that you might be a fan boy.
1) You spent your entire summer visiting Apple stores across the country and/or you go to the Genius Bar just to hang out on weekends.
Apple’s retail stores have been a success because they offer users a unique experienced to experience Macs, learn, play, and hang out. The result has been a great chance for many to share their passion for all things Apple in ways that were previously limited to a handful of Mac User Groups (extra fan boy points if you’re a member of a MUG) and events like MacWorld Expo.
As great as the Apple Store experience is for longtime Mac users and consumers alike, if you find yourself there just to hang out more than once a week, you might want to consider finding some other pastimes.
2) Your preferred outfit for work or presentations is jeans and a black turtleneck.
The Steve Jobs look for keynotes is an iconic part of both his persona and Apple. It’s synonymous with exciting announcements, innovation, and “one more thing.” It’s also a pretty comfortable outfit – but not all of us can pull it off, particularly for major presentations.
3) You can be found frantically checking every available liveblog during an Apple keynote or press event.
One liveblog is okay, two is fine, even three or four isn’t too bad (I can usually be counted on to check at least a few if I’m not attending the event). But if you have two Apple Cinema Displays filled with multiple Safari or Firefox windows and are rapidly checking every one as soon as it refreshes, you may need to take a deep breath and tone it down.
After all, you’ll probably be watching the QuickTime stream once Apple posts it later that day.
4) You named your first child Lisa and/or pine for the experience of owning an Apple Lisa.
First off, you know you’re a true Apple buff if you know that supposedly the Apple Lisa was named after Steve’s first daughter without me explaining it. Pining after the Lisa (or an original 128k Mac) is a little obsessive, but since Apple ended up burying most of the Lisas in a landfill in Utah (extra points if you already knew that), it’s understandable that true computer fans of all stripes might want to play with the Mac’s predecessor.
However, if you’re naming your children after any computer product, you may want to consider your priorities just a touch.
5) You feel slighted if Apple releases a new product and you missed any rumors about it.
If you’re a true Apple fan, this should happen to you very rarely. Most of the Mac rumor sites unearth information about new products long before they ship – often leading to massive speculation around the blogoshpere and sometimes in the mainstream media.
But every once in a while Apple manages to keep something truly secret – catching its fans and customers off guard.
6) You’ve modded a Mac (or iPod or iPhone). Extra points if you put the guts of a recent Mac into a vintage Mac.
Modding has been a part of Apple culture since the original Apple I and Apple II, which lent themselves to upgrades of all kinds.
The efforts are often impressive – but clearly prove you’re an Apple fanster and not a casual user.
7) You collect vintage Apple computers, peripherals, software, and MacWorld memorabilia.
Apple hardware is often like the Energizer bunny – it just keeps running, sometimes long after it’s capable of handling any modern Mac OS releases or software.
As a result, it’s natural to want to hang onto these functioning pieces of Apple/tech history. And let’s face it, occasionally using a Mac Plus running System 6 can be a fun trip down geek memory lane. But, if you’ve run out of closet space, filled your attic, or need to park your car outside because you’re garage is too filled with old Macs, you may have a little bit of a problem.
8) You’ve looked up 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino CA in Google Earth – extra points if you’ve actually driven there just to see Apple HQ in person.
Wanting to see the mother ship is perfectly understandable for an Apple fan, and Google provides some easy ways to do it. The Apple campus has been home to many historic firsts, after all.
And no one can fault you for stopping by just to look if you’re already in or driving by Silicon Valley. However, if you start planning a special trip with your airline miles solely to see Apple HQ with your own eyes, at least make certain to plan some other vacation activities for the trip (or risk being branded as one of the truly big-time Apple fans).
9) You’ve participated in a Mac vs. Windows flame war on a tech news site, blog, forum, or email list.
With the exception of religion and politics, nothing seems to excite debate and visceral fighting in a discussion forum the way Mac vs. Windows debates do.
We’ve all read an anti-Mac comment (I wouldn’t be surprised if there end up being a few at the end of this article) and we’ve all probably wanted to inform the commenter with more accurate facts.
But, once the argument degenerates into name-calling or personal attack and any factual discussion flies out the window, it’s time to be the bigger person and walk away.
10) You’ve created a Hackintosh.
A Hackintosh has become a common term for a PC that has had Mac OS X installed on it. Although this process violates Apple’s end user license agreement for Mac OS X (and therefore shouldn’t be condoned), many fans have undertaken the process with tools like OSx86 and modified boot loaders.
But, if you’ve done this, it certainly gives you both geek and fan boy credit. Lately, the big Hackintosh challenge has been installing Mac OS X on a netbook – so serious extra fan points if you’ve opted to not wait to see if Apple is eventually going to release a Mac netbook and taken matters into your own hands.
11) You watched Dancing with the Stars this year just because Woz was a contestant.
Woz may not have lasted through the entire season of Dancing with the Stars this season, but despite low judges’ scores, the Woz fan base kept him in the competition further than many viewers would’ve predicted.
If you were part of the audience for the show solely for Woz, there’s a big chance you’re a big fan of Apple and Woz and not ballroom dancing (particularly if you cast the maximum number of votes for Woz and Karina Smirnoff each week and have since stopped watching).
12) You own more than one book on Apple history or biographies of Apple luminaries.
Few companies have inspired the range of books on their history, products, developers and executives – and even their fans and customers – to the extent that Apple has.
If you’re a true Apple fan, you’ve probably read one or several of these books, such as:
Or, you’ve seen one of the many documentaries or movies, including:
13) You’re currently scouring every Snow Leopard and iPhone OS 3.0 rumor and may know more than members of Apple’s developer programs.
Back on the rumor front, if you’re a true Apple fan, you’re probably checking every rumor or leaked screen shot of both the upcoming Snow Leopard and the iPhone OS 3.0. You may even know more about upcoming features than some casual software developers!
14) You still have fond memories of the Mac OS X Public Beta – extra points if you still own a copy.
The initial release of Mac OS X as a public beta in 2000 was unique for Apple in that the company is usually very closed about future products.
However, Apple solicited a great deal of feedback with a public beta and preview of Mac OS X. If you can still remember the gripes about changes that Apple was contemplating – and did eventually change – based on user comments (like the removal of the Apple menu and placement of an Apple logo in the middle of the menu bar), you’re probably a serious and long-time Mac fan. And if you still have a copy kicking around, you’re definitely a serious fan.
15) You point out instances of Macs and iPhones in movies and TV shows.
Apple has long-running history of getting its products on the big and small screens from the parade of Macs on Jerry Seinfeld’s desk and the PowerBook that brought down an alien spaceship in Independence Day, all the way through the constant parade of iPhones on the current season of 30 Rock.
If you can identify a Mac whenever it appears onscreen, you’re on your way to earning your fan card (and if you can typically identify Mac models, particularly vintage ones, then you should already have it).