Welcome from inside the cult

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Many moons ago, I used three different forms of public transit to get from my Oakland apartment to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, so that I could cover the official release of OS X for this fine publication. Sure, it was a professional outing, but a big part of me was thrilled to be there, at One Infinite Loop. I had been a loyal -- some might say fanatic -- Mac user since I was 15 years old, and had endured the years in the wilderness of OS 8 and 9 before installing the OS X Public Beta on my machine as soon as it became available. If there were any journalist there who could be accused of not being objective in his heart of hearts, it would have been me, and I was suitably wowed by the dog and pony show to which we were subjected.

But then, one of my fondest memories of the day came during the Q&A session with Steve Jobs, when I got to see Apple's notoriously mercurial CEO berate a reporter for CNet who dared to ask a probing question, informing him that "you don't know what you're talking about." (The reporter wanted to know if Motorola's financial problems might spell trouble when it came to supplies of Apple's PowerPC chips -- and how did that end up working out for you, Steve?)

Even now, 7+ years later, after Apple has conquered the world of music and smartphones with its shiny gadgets, I feel like that experience sums up my relationship with the world inside the Apple cult. On the one hand, I fell in love all over again when my new Macbook arrived a couple of weeks ago, and covet a couple of 3G iPhones for my wife and me; on the other, I'm constantly amused by the bizarre machinations and all-too-human reactions of the personalities in the field, and may wait on that iPhone purchase until I see how this reception problem thing works out.

This blog, as a result, will take a similarly nuanced view. Sure, there will be the usual salivating over newer, shinier hardware; but there will also be chuckling over the idea that iTunes might be the new AOL. I promise to bring you news, gossip, irresponsible speculation, and shocking developments like Steve Jobs expressing humility. I hope you'll keep tuning in! And be warned: once we do get those new iPhones, there will almost certainly be pictures.

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