Marketing and customer loyalty are two powerful things. They can make minor improvements in gadgets seem great, and major advancements to-die-for. In the world of photography, many camera owners feel strong allegiances to the brand they use, fiercely defending it as their own, and even going on the offensive to belittle other photographers who shoot under a different banner. This kind of customer loyalty does strange things to how the “fanboys” perceive the quality of their camera gear.
The major camera manufacturers still have a long way to go before they can match the marketing prowess of Apple, a company that has seemingly turned the entire world into iFanboys. To see the effect of Apple’s “reality distortion field” on the general public, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel sent out camera crews onto the streets of New York City to give people hands-on first looks of the iPhone 5, which was announced yesterday. Since the phone hasn’t actually been released yet, they simply showed people the existing iPhone 4S. The video above shows the funny (and expected) reactions.
Jimmy Kimmel calls the social experiment, “the emperor’s new phone.”
Going back to the camera world, it’ll be interesting to see whether camera makers will start taking a page from Apple’s book to create this same kind of fanboyism. Serious photographers probably wouldn’t be affected as strongly, since they have a stronger interest in the objective quality of gear, but plenty of ordinary consumers — the people who are snapping up DSLRs in droves nowadays — would likely fall under the influence.