Tips to help you determine if youre merely a fan or if youve gone over the deep end.
Unlike most technology companies, Apple has a nearly cult-like following as well as a growing user base. So, how do you know when youve gone from casual Mac user to hard-core Apple fan? Here are 15 signs that you might be a fan boy.
1) You spent your entire summer visiting Apple stores across the country and/or you go to the Genius Bar just to hang out on weekends.
Apples retail stores have been a success because they offer users a unique experienced to experience Macs, learn, play, and hang out. The result has been a great chance for many to share their passion for all things Apple in ways that were previously limited to a handful of Mac User Groups (extra fan boy points if youre a member of a MUG) and events like MacWorld Expo.
As great as the Apple Store experience is for longtime Mac users and consumers alike, if you find yourself there just to hang out more than once a week, you might want to consider finding some other pastimes.
2) Your preferred outfit for work or presentations is jeans and a black turtleneck.
The Steve Jobs look for keynotes is an iconic part of both his persona and Apple. Its synonymous with exciting announcements, innovation, and one more thing. Its also a pretty comfortable outfit but not all of us can pull it off, particularly for major presentations.
3) You can be found frantically checking every available liveblog during an Apple keynote or press event.
One liveblog is okay, two is fine, even three or four isnt too bad (I can usually be counted on to check at least a few if Im not attending the event). But if you have two Apple Cinema Displays filled with multiple Safari or Firefox windows and are rapidly checking every one as soon as it refreshes, you may need to take a deep breath and tone it down.
After all, youll probably be watching the QuickTime stream once Apple posts it later that day.
4) You named your first child Lisa and/or pine for the experience of owning an Apple Lisa.
First off, you know youre a true Apple buff if you know that supposedly the Apple Lisa was named after Steves first daughter without me explaining it. Pining after the Lisa (or an original 128k Mac) is a little obsessive, but since Apple ended up burying most of the Lisas in a landfill in Utah (extra points if you already knew that), its understandable that true computer fans of all stripes might want to play with the Macs predecessor.
However, if youre naming your children after any computer product, you may want to consider your priorities just a touch.
5) You feel slighted if Apple releases a new product and you missed any rumors about it.
If youre a true Apple fan, this should happen to you very rarely. Most of the Mac rumor sites unearth information about new products long before they ship often leading to massive speculation around the blogoshpere and sometimes in the mainstream media.
But every once in a while Apple manages to keep something truly secret catching its fans and customers off guard.
6) Youve modded a Mac (or iPod or iPhone). Extra points if you put the guts of a recent Mac into a vintage Mac.
Modding has been a part of Apple culture since the original Apple I and Apple II, which lent themselves to upgrades of all kinds.
In more recent times, modding Macs with custom cases, turning dead Macs into classic Macs (or Apple II floppy drives) have become common pastimes for many.
The efforts are often impressive but clearly prove youre an Apple fanster and not a casual user.
7) You collect vintage Apple computers, peripherals, software, and MacWorld memorabilia.
Apple hardware is often like the Energizer bunny it just keeps running, sometimes long after its capable of handling any modern Mac OS releases or software.
As a result, its natural to want to hang onto these functioning pieces of Apple/tech history. And lets face it, occasionally using a Mac Plus running System 6 can be a fun trip down geek memory lane. But, if youve run out of closet space, filled your attic, or need to park your car outside because youre garage is too filled with old Macs, you may have a little bit of a problem.
8) Youve looked up 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino CA in Google Earth extra points if youve actually driven there just to see Apple HQ in person.
Wanting to see the mother ship is perfectly understandable for an Apple fan, and Google provides some easy ways to do it. The Apple campus has been home to many historic firsts, after all.
And no one can fault you for stopping by just to look if youre already in or driving by Silicon Valley. However, if you start planning a special trip with your airline miles solely to see Apple HQ with your own eyes, at least make certain to plan some other vacation activities for the trip (or risk being branded as one of the truly big-time Apple fans).
9) Youve participated in a Mac vs. Windows flame war on a tech news site, blog, forum, or email list.
With the exception of religion and politics, nothing seems to excite debate and visceral fighting in a discussion forum the way Mac vs. Windows debates do.
Weve all read an anti-Mac comment (I wouldnt be surprised if there end up being a few at the end of this article) and weve all probably wanted to inform the commenter with more accurate facts.
But, once the argument degenerates into name-calling or personal attack and any factual discussion flies out the window, its time to be the bigger person and walk away.
10) Youve created a Hackintosh.
A Hackintosh has become a common term for a PC that has had Mac OS X installed on it. Although this process violates Apples end user license agreement for Mac OS X (and therefore shouldnt be condoned), many fans have undertaken the process with tools like OSx86 and modified boot loaders.
But, if youve done this, it certainly gives you both geek and fan boy credit. Lately, the big Hackintosh challenge has been installing Mac OS X on a netbook so serious extra fan points if youve opted to not wait to see if Apple is eventually going to release a Mac netbook and taken matters into your own hands.
11) You watched Dancing with the Stars this year just because Woz was a contestant.
Woz may not have lasted through the entire season of Dancing with the Stars this season, but despite low judges scores, the Woz fan base kept him in the competition further than many viewers wouldve predicted.
If you were part of the audience for the show solely for Woz, theres a big chance youre a big fan of Apple and Woz and not ballroom dancing (particularly if you cast the maximum number of votes for Woz and Karina Smirnoff each week and have since stopped watching).
And you get extra points if you watched Kathy Griffins My Life on the D-List last year just because she and Woz were allegedly dating.
12) You own more than one book on Apple history or biographies of Apple luminaries.
Few companies have inspired the range of books on their history, products, developers and executives and even their fans and customers to the extent that Apple has.
If youre a true Apple fan, youve probably read one or several of these books, such as:
Cult of Macintosh
Revolution in the Valley
The Second Coming of Steve Jobs
Or, you've seen one of the many documentaries or movies, including:
Welcome to Macintosh
Triumph of the Nerds
Pirates of Silicon Valley
13) Youre currently scouring every Snow Leopard and iPhone OS 3.0 rumor and may know more than members of Apples developer programs.
Back on the rumor front, if youre a true Apple fan, youre probably checking every rumor or leaked screen shot of both the upcoming Snow Leopard and the iPhone OS 3.0. You may even know more about upcoming features than some casual software developers!
14) You still have fond memories of the Mac OS X Public Beta extra points if you still own a copy.
The initial release of Mac OS X as a public beta in 2000 was unique for Apple in that the company is usually very closed about future products.
However, Apple solicited a great deal of feedback with a public beta and preview of Mac OS X. If you can still remember the gripes about changes that Apple was contemplating and did eventually change based on user comments (like the removal of the Apple menu and placement of an Apple logo in the middle of the menu bar), youre probably a serious and long-time Mac fan. And if you still have a copy kicking around, youre definitely a serious fan.
15) You point out instances of Macs and iPhones in movies and TV shows.
Apple has long-running history of getting its products on the big and small screens from the parade of Macs on Jerry Seinfelds desk and the PowerBook that brought down an alien spaceship in Independence Day, all the way through the constant parade of iPhones on the current season of 30 Rock.
If you can identify a Mac whenever it appears onscreen, youre on your way to earning your fan card (and if you can typically identify Mac models, particularly vintage ones, then you should already have it).