The problem is the Brand Evangelists, or what we used to call the loyal customers. They're just so damn smug, so self-righteous, and so sure that they have the best thing ever. Not all of them, but consistently enough that I've started developing a knee-jerk reaction to all Apple users, which isn't any better than they are, I suppose.
I realized that there's a big difference when I compare the geek culture kids I've known my whole life with the iStuff folks. When Teagan was working for me, he would come in with a new phone every couple months. He'd have tricked it out with something cool (like the time he turned it into a remote mouse and keyboard for the computer in our meeting space) and he would love to talk about it and he was genuinely happy with his new toy. Most importantly, he was always interested in what other people were doing with their new toys.
Talking with a neighboring shop owner over beers, she pulled out her iPad and dismissed my Kindle. It wasn't Apple, so she didn't care at all about how my little electronic appliance did things differently than her little electronic appliance.
It's the outright dismissal that I hate, not the technology, not the The Totalitarian Regime of Apple, or the Apps an excuse for a bad web browser. It's being treated like a second class citizen. And we're talking about tech stuff here, stuff I know intimately, but I get excluded from the game because I didn't accessorize properly.
Apple and Nike both come up any time we talk about branding. While I hate Nike's products, I don't have people looking at my Carnac shoes and saying, "you still don't have Nike?" My shoes are really great -- just like my little netbook and my Kindle are really great.
The difference is that when I'm talking about athletic gear, I'm talking to athletes. In the past, when I've been talking about techie gadgets, I've been talking with techies, only now, I'm subjected to fashionistas who think they're talking about tech.
If I had to defend my footwear or listen to how Nike is the only shoe manufacturer in the world that "gets it" I'd probably rant about Nike just as much.
See John's response blog to this posting at The Demand For The Loss of Creativity