“The iPhone 4 Antenna Song” focuses a spotlight on the problem of Apple fanboyism - Macenstein

“The iPhone 4 Antenna Song” focuses a spotlight on the problem of Apple fanboyism

The infamous Song-a-Day troubadour Jonathan Mann has penned a wonderfully catchy song about the latest iPhone antenna debate, and while I can’t say I agree with him, I must admit I AM humming this tune while I write this.

Yes it’s funny. Yes, it’s catchy. And yes, Mann IS a fanboy. In fact, he’s the very definition of a fanboy. Mann admits he can cause the signal to drop by holding the iPhone in the “death grip” (and by the way, the way he is “showing the “death grip” is very exaggerated), but he claims he’s never had a dropped call. So basically he’s admitting the problem is real (as does the world) but he’s saying what many other fanboys are, which is “I appear to live near a very strong signal, so even if this cuts my signal in half, I still am good to go, so there’s no problem” instead of “Wow, I guess Apple dropped the ball here. Lucky for me it hasn’t been an issue, but they should really fix it”.

It’s interesting how all things are relative. Before starting Macenstein I thought I was the ultimate fanboy. I certainly was more into Apple than anyone I had ever met, and felt as though I was their lone evangelist the wilds of New Jersey. For crying out loud, I started an Apple website and my license plate says “GETAMAC”. But I have since learned that there are levels to Apple fanboyism and I am by no means at the top. As much as I would have argued against the point 5 years ago, I now see the idea that Apple fans are “cult-like” does have some serious basis in reality. While I have desired and managaed to convince myself I need to own almost everything Apple has released in the past 10 years or so (except the MacBook Air – I’m really not sure what Apple’s reasoning behind that was) even I have been able to admit to flaws in Apple’s policies and gadgets. And it was in pointing out what to me were obvious “FU’s” to the customer that I learned what a true Apple Fanboy is.

For example, it really seemed gauche to me that Apple kept slapping a CD-R/DVD-ROM drive in its low end MacBooks until about 2009, just so it could keep its 3- tier pricing scheme (good, better, best). There was really nothing separating the $1000 MacBook from the $1400 MacBook except the $1400 could burn DVDs and and had a 40 GB larger hard drive. These two “upgrades” cost Apple about $20, but if you wanted to use the copy of iDVD that Apple shipped on your MacBook, you had to splurge $400 on the upgraded model. I thought my argument of “It’s 2009, every PC laptop that costs more than $500 can burn DVDs, why is Apple trying to sell us a $1000 laptop with DVD creation software and no DVD burning drive?” would get a rousing “Amen” from the Mac faithful. But as I found, while many people DID agree, there were still a decent percent that used the argument “I have never burned a DVD, so it’s fine for me”, and “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it”.

Those words sound eerily familiar when listening to Jonathan’s song above. To say “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it” with the iPhone 4 is a ridiculous statement. Not only do I like the iPhone 4, but I love it. I’m actually planning on marrying it once my divorce from the Bride of Macenstein is finalized. But just like Consumer Reports who rated it tops in EVERY smart phone category, I am not only able to appreciate its awesomeness, but I can also admit to its design defect. Fanboys like Mann act like the iPhone 4 was designed to get worse reception than the previous models of iPhone and it is working as intended. Their “just return it” mentality also does not factor in that nearly a month later, few, if any of us still have our old 32 GB iPhone 3G S’s to switch back to, and we would all have to now “upgrade” to a $99 8 GB iPhone 3G S, and be locked into a new 2-year AT&T deal for the privilege.

To me the problem with Apple fanboyism is, it is a very selfish mentality. For the most part, these people have decided that since a problem with an Apple product, be it a defective iPhone antenna or a clear grab for gouging money from the customer, does not personally affect THEM, it is not an issue worth addressing. And to my mind, this runs counter to the very idea of being an Apple fan. Wouldn’t you think anyone that TRULY loves Apple would like to have an iPhone that not only works for them, but works for EVERYONE who buys it? Wouldn’t the idea that Apple creates the most cutting edge laptops be even easier to truly believe if it didn’t have the modern equivalent of a “floppy” drive?

By being so blindly loyal to Apple that you cannot admit when they’ve made a mistake only further encourages Apple to release mediocre products.

Now, while something like my problem with Apple holding a DVD-ROM drive as a $400 upgrade over our heads might be a personal opinion a fanboy could, maybe, possibly, in some very odd way be able to argue with me about, the iPhone antenna issue is very real. Whether it turns out to be a hardware problem, or whether it may actually be fixable via a software update as many are now hoping, it does not matter. There is no one who has performed any type of controlled scientific test that has NOT found it to be a real problem. So to argue that “it doesn’t” matter, or “just buy a case” is a ridiculously selfish and short-sighted argument for someone to make.

Imagine if you will that you are a long time BMW fan, and you just traded in your old model for the brand new one with a ton of cool features. Now imagine every time you put both hands on the steering wheel it stalls. Now imagine you write to the car manufacturer, and are told you simply need to either drive one-handed, or buy a steering wheel cover (at your expense), and that it is a non issue. I’m pretty sure you’d be pissed.

And speaking of cars, I happen to own a 2008 Toyota Camry. Not every car Toyota made in 2008 had the accelerator problem, but enough did that they decided to replace the accelerators on all of them. Toyota found the problem, took the financial hit, fixed it, and things are back on track and I would have no hesitation in buying a new Toyota, not simply because I am confident that there is no longer a problem in their current cars, but because the way they handled the recall gives me faith that they would admit to any problems in future models and do the right thing.

This is what any TRUE Apple fanboy should hope Apple does today, whether the antenna problem is an issue for you or not. Otherwise all the white Apple stickers on the back of your Volkswagen don’t mean anything.

video via TechCrunch

6 Responses to ““The iPhone 4 Antenna Song” focuses a spotlight on the problem of Apple fanboyism”
  1. The39 says:

    “Otherwise all the white Apple stickers on the back of your Volkswagen don’t mean anything”

    Nice one! it really gives you the idea.
    Nice thoughts – respect from Italy 🙂

  2. M4tt says:

    funny song. and well made..

  3. Jon says:

    Much respect, Doc. Appreciate everything you said here.

  4. Dan says:

    “By being so blindly loyal to Apple that you cannot admit when they’ve made a mistake only further encourages Apple to release mediocre products.”

    You are a true fanboy.

    (Also, I should get some white Apple stickers for my VW!)

  5. darrell says:

    i’m going to flex my fanboy muscles on this one.

    you cannot compare this to Toyota’s recalls. obviously because a defective car can kill you.

    and everyone continues to call the external antenna ‘a design flaw’ i just picked up my 3GS and saw it go from 5 bars to 2. it occurs with all smartphones.

    people have got to lighten up and let this go. if you have an iPhone 4 you’ll probably love it and keep it for 2-3 years. if you haven’t purchased one, you’re probably already on the fence.

  6. seearees says:

    Thank you Macenstein. If there is one thing I hate in this world more than Apple haters it is the hardcore fanboys that defend Apple no matter how ridiculous their actions are. I like to call the more sane Apple fans like you and me the true fanboys.

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