The so-called 'cult of Apple' is in some ways nothing more than a tongue-in-cheek fiction perpetrated by those unable to accept the advantages of some of the company's remarkable developments in both hardware and software capabilities.

But there lies within that fiction a kernel of important truth. Apple's pseudo-religious, at times dogmatic attitude towards computing mirrors other control-obsessed organisations such as Facebook and Google. Except that Apple goes further, or has been allowed to go further, by those who refuse to question the social implications of the company's growing influence.

It is amusing that brain scans have shown that, to Apple fanboys, images of the company's logo set off similar neurological signals to religious people viewing the iconography of their faith. But despite this, and despite the fact that the Latin word for "apple" happens to also be the Latin word for "evil", Steve Jobs' corporation is only really a spiritual order in an analogical sense. Still, that analogy obviously bears cultural weight. The iCloud is a kind of heaven, where we, in the form of our digital property, will be eternally secure. We are asked to put faith in that ideal; we cannot visit the data centre ourselves or even physically see what is stored there. This presents a challenge which is so far an exceptionally new experience to human beings, and it is because of that, that Apple and other companies appear to have an almost ethereal grip upon us as a species.

From the excellent The Machine Starts blog.

Readers Comments

  1. Michael Richards Friday 10 June 2011

    As someone who uses both a Macbook and a PC I feel smugly agnostic about all this. However I would like anyone who doesn't think that Apple's customers hold the company in quasi-religious awe to explain the reaction of the audience whenever Jobs publicly launches some new version of the Word, sorry - iPad. Of course you and I know it's 'merely' a triumph of business strategy and marketing, but it looks suspiciously like something else!

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