Cult of Apple: With thousands of loyal followers, Apple marks 30 years since the Macintosh

With thousands of loyal followers, Apple marks 30 years since the Macintosh

Adam Cochran, a mass communication instructor at Colorado Mesa University, is an Apple fan, as can be seen by the number of Apple products he owns and uses. “I do consider myself an Apple guy because I enjoy the hassle-free nature of the experience,” Cochran says.



Apple has a loyal fanbase that, in some cases, has given it a cult-like following. If you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, then you likely are a Follower of Apple.

■ Do you grab your iPhone before your keys on the way out the door?

■ Do you refer to Siri as your personal assistant?

■ Do you have trouble sleeping the night before an Apple product announcement?

■ Do you use Twitter only to follow Apple and Apple pundits?

■ Have you put the Apple logo sticker in the rear window of your vehicle?

■ Can name every model of Apple computer made since 1984?

■ Do you own an iMac, MacBook, iPad, iPod AND an iPhone?

■ Have you ever posted snarky remarks on Windows support forums about Apple’s superiority?

■ Do you wear any Apple-branded clothing?

■ Have you named your child or pet after an Apple product?

Rick Castellini still gets goose bumps thinking about his first Apple experience.

Although he was just 18 when Apple Computer Inc. debuted its 1984 Super Bowl commercial to the nation, ushering in the dawn of a new technological age, Castellini, now 47, remembers how different the Ridley Scott-directed ad felt and the impression it left.

The ad, which can be viewed on YouTube, aired during the third quarter of the Jan. 22, 1984, game. Two days later, Apple released the Macintosh, which essentially became the first commercially successful computer with Graphical User Interface, run by activating icons on a screen with a mouse instead of typing words on a keyboard.

Thirty years have passed since that moment, and Apple has released its fair share of product flops. But it also has designed some of the most advanced and globally sought-after products — iPod, iPhone, iPad — in recent memory, building a loyal fan base and mystique about what it will come up with next.

“I use technology to make my life easier. Period,” said Castellini of Grand Valley PC Partners. “Apple is the best out there right now.”

Castellini and Adam Cochran, a 39-year-old mass communication instructor at Colorado Mesa University, co-host The Tech Guys radio show from 5:30–6:30 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of each month on KAFM 88.1. They offer product reviews and answer callers’ questions about hardware or software.

On their most recent show, an older gentleman called in to say his wife wanted a computer. He needed a recommendation.

“If you are new to computers, hands down the iPad is the way to go,” Castellini said. The light-weight, easy operation system makes the iPad optimal for a new user, particularly if all she wants to do is play games and use the Internet, he told the caller.

The caller thanked Castellini and hung up.

Castellini’s family has four iPhones, three Apple laptops and two iPads.

Cochran’s family has six iPads, four iPhones, two Apple laptops, two iMacs, two iPods and an Apple TV. (Cochran’s wife home schools their four children, and iPads help make that easier, he said.)

“I do consider myself an Apple guy because I enjoy the hassle-free nature of the experience,” Cochran said. “No need for virus protection, anti-spyware, tune-ups and the interface barely changes, even with major updates.”

If a person took apart an Apple and a PC, they would find similar parts, but Apple’s “walled garden approach,” where only its employees build its machines from the operating system to the case with no outside influence, is a noticeable difference between Apple and everyone else, Cochran said.

When it comes to PCs, a company such as Microsoft may make the software, but the hardware is the responsibility of Dell, Acer, HP and others.

Apple’s designers, on the other hand, create and update exclusively for Apple. The company currently offers two laptops, two iPads, several desktop computers and iPods, and one Apple TV on the market.

That’s it, and they all operate similarly.

Of course, Cochran said, not everything Apple has released has caught on, but “when they make a mistake, they scrap it and move on.”

“It means they have a direction and don’t get swayed,” Castellini chimed in. “I don’t think they are doing things different than in 1984. They have just done what they want to do, and now we all realize it.”

And the message Apple established through that one 1984 Super Bowl ad lingers: Apple will challenge the status quo.

In 1984, Apple offered a desktop computer with graphics and a mouse, light enough to pull from a bag and challenging what we thought of computers.

In 2001, Apple offered the iPod, challenging how we listen to music.

In 2007, Apple offered the iPhone, challenging how we communicate.

In 2010, Apple offered the iPad, challenging how we consume information.

This month, Apple debuted a new 90-second commercial using Walt Whitman poetry and a voice-over from the 1989 film “Dead Poets Society.” The words in the commercial focus on having a passion for living and creating as people are shown from around the world using the iPad Air in unique ways, challenging how we use technology to create.

The narrator asks, “What will your verse be?”

And the world asks, “What’s next from Apple?”


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