Andy Jordan over at the blog Digits of the WSJ:
Apple’s core following has traditionally been the creative class. They are graphic designers and artists, and they constitute a “church” of sorts.
“When you find other Mac users, they’re so happy to find other people, it’s like the underdog,” says Peter Isgrigg, Product Manager at Apple specialist Tekserve in Manhattan, and self-proclaimed Mac fanatic, and subject of my new video on Apple’s cult-like status.
“When you’re in a minority and you find other people in that minority group, you tend to latch on to them and you tend to find a source of pride, or positivity in that uniqueness, and I think that’s where a lot of Mac users get that fantatacism,” Mr. Isgrigg says.
Apple in a sense cultivated this “underdog” or creative-class status to successfully market its products. Consider Apple’s “Think Different” ad campaign, or its ubiquitous Apple vs. PC ads featuring a young, hip Justin Long.
Apple has also not discouraged a religion-like following of its products. The notion is reinforced by the messianic aspect of founder Steve Jobs, who returned to Apple to save the company, and has done so several times.
There’s also the popular perception among devotees that Apple is “good” and competitors like IBM, Microsoft, and now even Google are “evil.” In the 1984 Mac commercial, “IBM was Big Brother; it represented this dystopian technological future where people were being damned by technology, and the Mac was the technology of liberation, of individual creativity and freedom,” says Leander Kahney, Editor of cultofmac.com.
With the release of the iPad, the question is whether Apple can maintain this “underdog” or special status.