This is what fandom authority Henry Jenkins wrote in his book Fans, Blogger, and Gamers. It hits the nail on the head as to how I feel about the Apple fandom all along.
“One becomes a ‘fan’ not by being a regular viewer of a particular program but by translating that viewing into some kind of cultural activity, by sharing feelings and thoughts about the program content with friends, by joining a ‘community’ of other fans who share common interests” (2006).
I’ve always detested it when mere users of one or two iDevices claim to be “fans” of Apple. If you’re a fan, you participate in fan activities, you talk with other fans about the company and its mission and philosophy. You’re a member of the fan community. You don’t just care about the functionality of the products. You care deeply about the well-being of the company. You are proud of being a fan of Apple and what it represents. You get upset when it fails you, but instead of abandoning ship, you try to correct it by offering constructive criticisms. You don’t leave the fandom just because it’s not the “it” thing anymore. You don’t care if people think you’re stupid, have too much time, or don’t have a life to do better things.
Jenkins defended fans in his ground-breaking book Textual Poachers (1992) by acknowledging fans to be “highly educated, articulate people” and not a “group of intellectually inferior” (p.18).
Fandom is not a direct result of brand marketing. It may have something to do with it, but it is not everything. Samsung has spent a lot more in marketing and advertising than Apple in the recent years, but you never see a Samsung fan waiting outside their “cathedral” for the launch of their gears. Fandom is form of grass roots activism. It comes from the audience themselves, who identify with what Apple stands for. Fans cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Those who can but bought, sold or transferred are not one one us.
Jenkins, H. (1992). Textual poachers : Television fans & participatory culture. New York: New York : Routledge 1992.
Jenkins, H. (2006). Fans, bloggers, and gamers : Exploring participatory culture (1st ed.). New York, NY: New York University Press.