Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Instagram Says about Apple Fanbois

A fanboi can be either male or female. It is a term that expresses an individual’s fanaticism for something that would be considered geeky, like comics, movies, cartoons, and gadgets.

In technology circles, the term “fanboi” is most often applied to die-hard fans of all things Apple. Among all fanbois, I find this subset most grating of all. They scream about how superior Apple products are over all other gadgets, from iPods to iPads to Macs and especially to iPhones.

Apple fanbois are perhaps the most close-minded of all fanbois, because they are willing to call all other gadgets crap in comparison to Apple products. What makes them close-minded is partly because they make these declarations without ever actually trying out other gadgets. Okay, I can see that form of blind fandom being prevalent with all sorts of things.

What makes Apple fanbois most close-minded, though, is their undying willingness to work around the crappiness of their gadgets without admitting that it’s crappy. Take the poor quality of the camera on the iPhone.

Until the iPhone 4S came out last year, the iPhone camera fell far behind the quality of those in the many Android OS phones that were on the market. This is where Instagram came in to such prevalence.

Instagram is an app that, until a few months back, was exclusive to the iPhone App Store. It allows people to apply a filter to their photos to give them a retro look. Instragram makes your photos look like they were taken in an era of film and have been allowed to sit on the shelf for a couple decades. It also builds in a social element, allowing followers to comment and rate images made available via Instagram.

Instagram is fun, removing any need to have and understand the many sweet filters available on the otherwise costly, high-learning-curve, and time-consuming Photoshop.

Why did iPhone users flock to Instagram, though? A great many cited that they liked the improvement it provided to the otherwise poor quality photos that their iPhones were taking. This was quite a bold statement to come from a fan base so steeped in denial about the deficiencies of their smart phone of choice.

Then Instagram did something to greatly piss off the fanbois: They created a version of their popular app for Android.

Within seconds of the announcement, fanbois around the globe bemoaned the decision and declared it the death of Instagram. Many deleted the app from their iPhones, and others created a petition to Instagram begging for them to reverse their decision.

When all was said and done, the outrage over Instagram’s decision to make itself available on multiple smart phone operating systems highlighted two ugly points regarding Apple fanbois.

1. Apple fanbois are willing to overlook and work around the shortcomings of their iPhones, while still ushering criticism on the competition.

2. Until the latest version, iPhone cameras fell far behind the much higher-quality cameras found on competing smart phones.

The one thing I remind anyone thinking of switching over to Apple products because of the “superior” hype is this: Do not switch to Apple because you think it will offer a serious improvement over your current product, because it won’t. It will merely be a different experience, and a greatly limited one at that. And definitely don’t switch because a fanboi pressured you to do so.

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