News Analysis: An informal study by the BBC demonstrates something we've always suspected-Apple iPhone fans are religious zealots. Further Study would likely show the Android faithful rank alongside iPhone adherents in religious fervor.
An informal study by the BBC appears to reveal that Apple customers react to the brand with religious fervor. To do this the Beeb got a team of neuroscientists to perform an MRI on the brain of an admitted Apple fanatic-Alex Brooks, editor of World of Apple - and showed him images of Apple products. According to the BBC's Alex Riley and Adam Boome, the researchers said that the brain response was the same as when a religious person sees religious images.
For those of us who write about the iPhone, this explains a lot. If you have the chance to read the comments to my column when I say anything at all about an iPhone or an iPad, you notice that even the slightest negative comment elicits an extreme reaction. In fact the reaction is a lot like what you see if you criticize someone's belief in God or their particular religious sect. Well, almost-I haven't noticed any Apple terrorists out there.
No doubt you can already tell that the BBC study is flawed. There's no random sample, the sample size of 1 is statistically meaningless, and there's no control group. However, this is a phenomenon that clearly needs further study.
I propose that the National Academy of Sciences assemble a group of approximately 1,000 iPhone users, 1,000 Android users and 1,000 BlackBerry users. This will allow the detailed study of religious fervor in Apple and Android users. The BlackBerry users would be the control group since they just don't care about their smartphones all that much, a fact that as a BlackBerry user myself I can understand fully.
After we've spent the required $73.4 billion (about twice what it will cost AT&T to buy T-Mobile, you'll note) that such government-run studies require as their Minimum Increment of Science, we'll then know several important things for sure. First of all we'll have it confirmed that iPhone users are intense about their iPhones to the point of it being a religious matter.
We'll likely see that Android users have equal fervor with Android phones as their object of worship. Just show them a ThunderBolt, for example, and their pupils will dilate, their palms will get all sweaty, and their heart rate and breathing will increase. They'll start to speak in tongues, saying things like "Honeycomb," "Froyo," and "Gingerbread."
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.