The man; not the machine...

The Deep Realization of an Apple Fanboy

The more I hear about the apparently forthcoming iPad 3, the less interested in it I become. (½)

— Jonathan Daley (@JonathanADaley) February 14, 2012

I was excited about early rumors last summer but with news of WOA & Win8, the iOS UI just feels dated & its core OS features limited (2/2)

— Jonathan Daley (@JonathanADaley) February 14, 2012

The above tweets are the first outward symptoms of a huge realization I’ve come to over the past few months. But let me start at the beginning…

I’ve had some sort of Apple product as an active part of my life ever since a teal colored iMac graced the desk of the den in my childhood home during the late 1990s. Even the year in college that I didn’t have an Apple computer, it was still an active part, as the iTunes store had just started to hit it big.

Then came the iPhone. I still remember how awestruck I was (as were most of the rest of us) at Steve Jobs’ presenting the first iPhone to the world. From that day on I was hooked: an Apple fan for life; or at least I thought I was…

I sure lived into being the ultimate Apple fanboy; I pre-ordered an original iPhone on Apple’s website, only to cancel the order later that same day when I found out my local AT&T store actually had one in stock. I bought a MacBook Pro, iPods, and even an iPad 1 on launch day. I was a permanent resident in the walled garden and extremely comfortable within the confines of Jobs’ reality distortion field.

A few years later, and though the seemingly delayed announcement of a completely redesigned iPhone 5 was trying the patience of even the most die hard Apple fans, I had trust and faith in Jobs’ ability to pull something magical out of his absurdly skinny jean pockets.

Then Jobs stepped down as Apple’s CEO. I secretly hoped he would come back into the spotlight to deliver what became the iPhone 4S announcement, but it was left solely in the hands of Tim Cook. This gave me more than a slight tinge of disappointment, which I even tweeted about:

The more I think about it, as good a job Cook did yesterday, I missed Jobs’ panache, and flair for the dramatic.

— Jonathan Daley (@JonathanADaley) October 5, 2011

If you read the date stamp on that tweet, you can see it was made the day Jobs passed away. At the time I tweeted that statement I hadn’t known of his passing. In fact I didn’t find out until I reposted this tweet on Facebook and a good friend of mine (a die hard Apple fangirl) told me.

Fast forward a few months to the start of 2012. A new semester at school had me up to my ears in programming and loving every minute of it. And as I worked towards increasing my skills as a programmer, I began to slowly realize my loyalties shifting.

My MacBook Pro started to gather dust as I spent more time on my Asus G-Series; then my iPods start to be left at home. Sure I still use an iPhone, but that’s mainly because I had started developing apps for it the year before; though even it was becoming tiresome at times. I began doing research into Windows 8 and Windows on Arm, into programming for Windows Phone 7, and even into some open source projects in the Linux community.

Just as the first month of my new semester was coming to a close, new iPad 3 rumors started to surge. I did as I had normally done in the past, and tried to ignor nearly all of the new rumors. After all, I didn’t want to spoil any surprises. But try as I might, I couldn’t ignore all of the rumors. And after weeks of them still trickling into my ears I began to become annoyed at hearing about the iPad 3. And the enthusiasm that I traditionally held over the prospect of a new Apple product had begun to seriously wane.

And then it hit me… the big reveal I was trying not to spoil by staying away from the rumors wasn’t going to happen. There wouldn’t be a flashy Keynote. No powerful, endlessly repeated, yet subtle adjectives. No pulling a brand new product out of an impossibly thin manila envelope, or uncomfortably tiny jean pocket. There would be no Steve Jobs.

When people say Steve Jobs was Apple, I didn’t stop to think how much that statement was true. All of these years of loyalty was not to Apple the company, not to the Macintosh, or Mac OS X, or the iPhone, or iPod, or iPad; it was to Steve Jobs himself. His public persona, his charisma, his way of so gracefully shifting nearly everyone’s views to his own; that was what I had been loyal to, that was what I was a fanboy of.

Steve Jobs was Apple; and Apple was Steve Jobs. The two really were one-in-the-same. And now that one has passed beyond, I cannot honestly say my loyalty to the other will remain wholly intact.

Jonathan Daleyapple, Thoughts