EditorialI don't get how Apple became a religion.  It is starting to get annoying with even main stream publications reporting on every rumor and every move the company makes.  Recently the fever grew out of control leading up to the company's new product announcements on September 12.  After months of multiple publications publishing detailed rumors, imagined designs, surmised dates... the company finally told the world what it was actually going to do over the next few months.  And then a new spate of commentary began.

What I object to is the evangelism aspect of it.  I happen to use Apple products now, but when I was a Windows-only person I found folks who gloried in telling me the virtues of the Mac and trying to make me feel foolish for using the inferior product boorish.  The puppy dog-like enthusiasm for the all-so-superior Mac was at least as annoying as an enthusiastic puppy dog, but not nearly as cute.

Then again Windows users can have a nasty edge.  I use a software tool that had both Windows and Mac versions.  The company stopped making the Mac version just around the time I was trying to go Mac-only so I wouldn't need two computers.  So I posted the question on the company message board, asking when or if a Mac update was coming.  I received an immediate and nasty reply from a fellow customer, telling me in no uncertain terms I was an idiot for using a Mac (those weren't the real words he used).

Computers, phones and other gadgets are tools.  If you can afford the tools that are the best fit for you, you should use those tools.  It should have to do with practical use and work flow, not which digital god you worship.  It shouldn't be a passionate decision.  I quit using Windows because the newer versions got in my way with their intrusive 'are you sure' and error messages and constant security updates and the disappearing Start button and an interface that I just didn't like looking at.  I chose OS X because it worked a lot like the last Windows version I liked, XP, with virtually no learning curve and some little conveniences that I grew to like over time.

But many years ago I owned a Mac and hated it -- the early Macs drove me batty with their restrictive access to things I wanted to access in ways I liked to access them.  At the time I was considering developing software for both platforms, but that Mac was maddening to me so I gave up on my plan and sold the Mac to a friend who liked Macs.  Today I use a Mac almost exclusively because it does let me access things the way I want to, while Windows has gone off some kind of usability cliff, at least for me.  If you want to use Windows, all power to you.  That's just not me any more.

Last month my wife and I drove to Florida (yeah, Florida in August, a tropical heaven... not!).  She used her iPhone to check ahead for weather because we hit some severe storms along the way and it was comforting to know when we would get out of them, and to listen to music and pre-downloaded podcasts to make the drive seem shorter, and to find information about hotels and restaurants that we might stop at.  The result was that we didn't drive around aimlessly looking for hotels, which saved a lot of irritation and gas.  And we ate at a couple of really fabulous restaurants.

But it wasn't about the iPhone.  Sure, it's an amazing tool.  But my iPhone is not nearly as tasty as the lobster salad I had in Saint Augustine as we wended our way South to see our family.

I read news on my iPad every day, and I use three different apps that aggregate news in different ways.  One of them chooses the stories it thinks I want to read by categories I have chosen, and I have picked at least a dozen categories.  The first page usually shows three stories.  I have to say it has become annoying that most days at least one, but usually two or all three are about Apple.  Again, it's not that I don't like an occasional 'how to do this cool thing on your phone' article, but geesh!  I don't want to be immersed in it!

I tried pre-ordering an iPhone six a few weeks ago.  I have an older iPhone, but I am quite a bit older than the iPhone, which means my eyesight isn't great with tiny screens.  Besides, my fingers are too fat for that little tiny keyboard.  A practical tool decision to go to the new, much bigger iPhone.

So I ordered one online, only to find that I would not be able to pick it up in an Apple store because those phones had sold out already, even though I was ordering only a few hours after they went on sale.  Instead I would have to wait four or five weeks for my phone to be shipped.

That was mildly disappointing, but talk about first world problems!  I have a perfectly good working phone, and while it is hard to see and type on it I have lived with the thing for more than two years, and guess what?  It's not the end of the world for me to live with the little gadget for another month.  The bonus?  I don't have to go to Syracuse to get it.  The nice man in the brown truck will bring it right to my door.

Then you have the folks who camped out outside Apple Stores, some more than a day before the phones became available in stores.  I saw a tweet last Friday that the line went all the way to Macy's in the Syracuse mall, and another that said that the iPhone 6 plus had sold out in ten minutes.  Friday was a day when I was grateful not to work at an Apple store!

Now, I will admit that sometimes it is fun to do something goofy like that.  Back in my college days I was one of the first 100 people to line up to see the premier of 'Fritz the Cat' and I got a T-shirt for my trouble.  I liked it, but I can't honestly say I was ever a Fritz fanatic.  I imagine some of the folks in the iPhone line were doing it for the fun of it, and all power to them.  But the ones who were just going to burst if they didn't get their hands on an iPhone 6 now, now, now... well, there are professionals who, I am sure, could help them (and I don't mean Apple geniuses).

Religious fanatics or lunatics?  I think it would do Apple Fanatics well to remember which fruit got the human race cast out of the Garden of Eden.  Or minimally to understand that annoying people over the love of gadgets isn't cool.

And by the way, wearing those little phone holsters that show off you have a cell phone or walking around all the time with a bluetooth headset stuck in your ear as if it makes you somehow more important isn't cool either.  You'd never see Tim Gunn wearing stuff like that.

People are important.  Family is important.  Cell phones?  I like them as much as most folks I guess, but they are still just tools.  Tools are for accomplishing things that really are important.  Smart phones are cool little computers, but the bottom line is they are for getting things done.  A means to an end that is not the gadget.  Human tasks that are important.