May 04, 2011, 10:19 AM — It's not often that a company of any kind is accused of inspiring cultlike devotion. But that's certainly the case with at least one tech giant: Apple is widely considered to have a cultlike following among its customers. How else can you explain the fact that the release of the white iPhone 4 was such important news? Especially when the white iPhone 4's distinguishing attribute is its being...white.
But Apple isn't the only tech company out there with a seemingly cult-like following. Android and BlackBerry (CrackBerry?) fanboys abound, ravaging the internet with their similarly irrational, mindless chants about their respective platforms' advantages.
But can any of these followings really be called "cultlike"? After all, there is a difference between "intense brand loyalty" and "cult membership"--right?
Let's take a look at the three loyalty-inspiring phone brands--Android, Apple, and BlackBerry--and see how they compare with real cults.
What is a Cult?
People often think that cults are all the same: manipulative, mind-controlling, and evil. But this isn't the case--there are many different kinds of cults, and not all are dangerous.
According to leading cult expert, former cult member, and founder of The Freedom of Mind Center, Steve Hassan, cults exist on a continuum ranging from benign to destructive. In fact, Hassan says many cults are not considered dangerous, because they don't use destructive tactics such as mind control, coercion, or deception. Rather, they're benign cults that inspire people's loyalty through the simple--and ethical--use of psychology.