By Will Pates
Controversial technology fundamentalists “Cult Of Apple” have yet again upset millions around the world after their leader, Charles Stevejobs, told a gathering of cultists in Croydon town centre that the recently announced iPhone 7 is “too good to be the work of humans” and required a level of “intelligent design that only God could’ve achieved”. Speaking to a partizan crowd outside the town’s Carphone Warehouse store, Mr. Stevejobs is quoted as saying “If you don’t think God is behind this, the most perfect creation in the history of our world, there is something wrong with you. The iPhone 7 is literally dripping with the touch of God and it has two cameras as well.” While the crowd couldn’t get enough of the Apple proselytising Mr. Stevejobs was offering, the Twitter explosion that followed thanks to the #iphone7isgod hashtag caused a spike that brought the microblogging website to the point of collapse, with one source telling me “it was like a DDOS attack for a while there, we just couldn’t cope.”
While Apple cultists are well-known for their outrageous partisan claims, this most recent statement from their spiritual (and actual) leader has caused even greater condemnation than last year’s “The pencil has always belonged to Apple and the pencil has always been Apple’s” speech, which infuriated the manufacturers of non-battery powered pencils the world over. Indeed, the CEO of HB responded “That guy doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about, or maybe he was home-schooled and never used a real goddamned pencil in his life.” While most people working in technology regard Apple cultists as an occupational hazard that should be politely smiled at and then competely ignored, Charles Stevejobs has made it his business, indeed his life’s work, to preach about the products Apple make in the hope consumers believe they’re buying a product that has an almost supernatural powers, out of the box. While he has his critics, he’s regarded as once of the few people outside Apple’s Cupertino Headquarters with a direct line to the CEO, such is his influence.
Born and raised in Croydon (South London) as Charles Thompson, he was first introduced to Apple in the mid-1990s and has been an outspoken advocate for the brand ever since. He came to fame and notoriety after he was filmed by TV cameras hurling frozen apples at former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer while on holiday in America in 2004. He immediately became a darling of the (Apple-funded) Technology media and received the ultimate accolade (for his unwavering support for the first iPhone) from none other than Steve Jobs who, in 2010, said of Charles “with more people like him on our side I have no doubt we will crush the Android platform completely“. Within weeks Charles had changed his surname to Stevejobs. His ‘CultOfApple’ website has hundreds of thousands of visitors a week and his weekly video series “Reasons to hate Microsoft to death” recently passed the 200 episode mark. There is no more influential or powerful fan of Apple in the world, not bad for a once-humble boy from Croydon.
Since early 2014, however, Charles has become increasingly aggressive in his support of Apple products, particularly because there has been a startling lack of real innovation coming from the technology giant and their rivals have products that not only compete with those Apple sells but in many instances supersede them completely. While openly supportive of products such as the Apple Pencil and Apple Watch, it has been rumoured that even Charles has been underwhelmed with the company’s more recent offerings and suffered ridicule on social media after a spate of memes hit Twitter, supposedly showing Charles carrying or using a Microsoft Surface Pro instead of an iPad Pro with the text “I only use the best tech”. It was just another in a long line of attempts to unsettle Charles and while he rarely commented publicly, friends and colleagues believe the constant ridiculing was having a detrimental effect on him. Just recently a former aide who was very close to Charles told BBC News “ever since he was humiliated in 2013 when he tried to claim that iPhones take the best photos but an independent review didn’t even put it in the top ten, he’s had a steely resolve and focus that is frightening, one you only ever find in Apple cultists. It doesn’t matter what Apple does, he’ll talk them up and work himself into a frenzy over the slightest little thing. He was unbearable for weeks after the Apple Watch came out, even though it’s pretty meh, to be honest. It didn’t matter to him or the cultists though, they’ll buy anything Apple make. If they (Apple) bought a billion pairs of cheap boxer shorts, put their logo on them and sold them as iPants, he and the cultists would tell you they were the most innovative pants ever made, without even trying a pair on. They’re like that and he’s about the worst of them.”
Apple announced their latest iPhone last week and public opinion certainly seemed mixed in the hours and days that followed, based on the number of satirical videos and tweets that reached the internet after the device was shown to the public for the first time. Most of the videos focus on the “missing” headphone socket, the new Airpod headphones that are just begging owners to misplace them and the, frankly, shocking price of both the headphone adapter and replacement Airpods. While the phone boasts a number of incremental changes and not one but two cameras, consumers are rightfully asking whether or not the new iPhone is actually worth upgrading to, especially if you have good quality headphones. Apple cultists led by Charles, however, are already taking out personal loans to ensure they’ll be the first in line to get their hands on one but Charles Stevejobs took his enthusiasm perhaps a step too far with his “intelligent design” remarks and even long-time fans of the iPhone have distanced themselves from both him and what he said. Croydon resident Mark Bunsen, who bought himself an iPhone 6S just minutes before Charles’s speech, told me “I was going to wait a few weeks for the 7, but after watching the product launch video online and all the joke videos that followed it, I didn’t want to be known as just another twat who wasted money on the newest iPhone.” More worryingly for Charles, perhaps, in America a number of influential Christians have slammed his remarks and many of the Republican Party’s most right-wing Christian bigots have warned Charles to take back what he said or face an eternity in hell. Ken Ham, the young earth Creationist and boss of “Answers in Genesis”, who recently “rebuilt” Noah’s Ark in Kentucky (the “Ark Encounter“), took to Twitter himself to make his feelings known:
It wasn’t only influential Christians getting in on the act though with leading Muslim cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, who once claimed that women who dress immodestly are the cause of seismic disturbances in Iran, quick to scold Charles:
While Twitter was alive with comments slamming or mocking Charles, he himself remained silent until the world’s most famous Atheist, Professor Richard Dawkins, jumped on the bandwagon to hit him from the other side of the religious and political spectrum:
There was still no response from Charles until one final quip from the apparently irrepressible Professor Dawkins:
Charles clearly couldn’t keep quiet a moment longer and posted the following regrettable tweet that he deleted a few hours later:
While he issued an apology directly to Professor Dawkins and expressed his regret at using a homophobic slur, presumably because Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is openly gay, pressure was mounting on Charles to either prove his claim was valid or retract his remarks publicly. Never ones to pass up an opportunity to stick the knife in to a competitor, technology giant Google weighed in with a tweet of their own:
With his humiliation complete, and with Apple cultists around the world forced to admit that perhaps they’d got just a little bit too excited about the latest iPhone’s most notable new features, Charles was forced to issue a statement, shortly after deleting his Twitter account.
I feel it’s only appropriate at this time to publicly retract a statement I made about Apple’s latest mobile device, the iPhone 7, being the work of God. While it’s now obvious that my remarks upset millions of religious people around the world and especially those who believe in intelligent design, it is apparent to me now that the new iPhone is, at best, a slight improvement on previous models and not perhaps the work of divine creation I suggested it was. While I believe it is a wonderful device, one I will certainly buy myself, I must concede that the lack of a proper headphone socket is not perhaps to everyone’s liking and many people will lose their Airpods, forcing them to either buy another (expensive) set or a headphone adapter (also expensive) that, when used, will prevent owners from charging their phone while listening to music. Had Apple done what Nokia did in 2012 and built wireless charging into the new iPhone then perhaps I’d still have cause to laud the latest model with the praise I did, but they did not. I am certain there’s a very good reason for having two rear 12 megapixel cameras, a wide angle and a telephoto, instead of one 20 megapixel camera like other premium phones have, too. On reflection, I’ve come to realise the iPhone 7 is merely an incremental update rather than a work of God-like genius and I therefore take back the remarks I made and apologise to anyone I may have offended. To my fellow Apple cultists, know that I still fully endorse the iPhone 7, even if it’s not the huge leap we’ve all been expecting to see since 2011. Here’s to at least 8 hours of use without the need to re-charge it.
While this controversy is unlikely to deter thousands upon thousands of Apple cultists from queuing outside their nearest Apple store for several days before the new iPhone is released, there can be no doubting that Apple have not really demonstrated their customary innovation with regard to the new device and their cultist fans (as well as ordinary consumers) are still hoping, desperately, that Apple will one day release a new product that isn’t a re-hash of an older product or a re-invention of a different product, like their Pencil. Which is really a digital pen. So who knows why they called it a ‘Pencil’. Was it just because everyone else had pens and they wanted to appear to be different? Who the hell knows. Airpods, though, I mean what the hell are they all about? They look like miniaturised hotel hairdryers and so if and when you drop your iPhone there’s no chance of catching it with the headphone cable to prevent the inevitable cracking of the screen that happens when you so much as breathe on it the wrong way. God-like intelligent design?
As for Charles, it’s likely he’ll be licking his wounds for a while, or at least until he gets his hands on the iPhone 7, but we’ve probably not heard the last of him and we’ve definitely not heard the last of the Apple cultists.
I did reach out to Microsoft to see if they had any comment to make on either the iPhone 7 or the remarks made by Charles Stevejobs, but all I received was the standard “We are not presently active in the consumer smartphone market although ‘mobile’ remains a focus for us going forward and therefore do not wish to comment on products we don’t presently offer a marketable alternative to” Microsoft response. Oh, and three months of Office 365 for free, which was pretty good of them.