Apple's Most Devoted Fans Once Again Take Center Stage in a New Edition of 'The Cult of Mac'

Back in 2004, then-Wired editor Leander Kahney published The Cult of Mac, a photo-filled book containing an array of anecdotes about fans, collectors, and others with special connections to Apple and the Mac. While Kahney took the opportunity to add a chapter on the iPod when the book was published as a paperback edition a couple of years later, the book remains an interesting look at a time when Apple had only recently surfaced from its near-death experience of the 1990s.

As outlined by Kahney in The Cult of Mac, Apple may even have been saved by those devotees to the Mac, some of whom became an army of essentially unpaid evangelists seeking to convert over to Mac anyone and everyone who would listen. Some even went as far as to stake out CompUSA stores to educate or counteract clueless salespeople who only wanted to sell Windows machines and were uninterested in directing customers to the Mac section of the stores, while others shared their love for the Mac with the world through tattoos, stickers, vanity license plates, and more.

"The Cult of Mac" first edition (left) and new second edition (right)

Much has changed for Apple in the fifteen years since the original release of The Cult of Mac, with the iPhone launching Apple to its current position as a consumer electronics and lifestyle behemoth. No longer the underdog, Apple has attracted millions upon millions of loyal customers into its ever-expanding ecosystem of devices and services.

So now with 2020 right around the corner, Kahney has teamed up with David Pierini, a writer for Kahney's independent Cult of Mac site, to release a second edition of The Cult of Mac, another photo-heavy book that would fit right in on any Apple fan's coffee table. Rather than a revision or update of the original, the second edition of The Cult of Mac is more of a companion book, revisiting some of the same themes but introducing some new ones and sharing new anecdotes about some of Apple's biggest fans.

The coffee table nature of the second edition of The Cult of Mac is evident before you even open the cover, as the book itself is cleverly designed to resemble one of Apple's iconic MacBooks, wrapped in a silver plastic jacket with an Apple-shaped title logo on the "lid" of the book. There are even four black "feet" on the rear of the book to match those used on Apple's notebooks.


Opening the front cover of the book continues the theme, as it reveals a MacBook Pro keyboard and top case with the inside cover serving as a mock display, complete with an overlaid "macOS" app window on the transparent plastic jacket sharing an introductory description of the book. The next several pages of the book including the Table of Contents gradually shift orientation, encouraging the reader to reorient the book from the landscape mock computer into a traditional portrait orientation. It's all cleverly done and a fun way to dive into the book.


The book itself is an easy read, broken up into short chapters and sections with lots of photos and artistic design elements. The book is about 200 pages and I read it cover to cover in just a couple of hours thanks to the emphasis on visuals over text, but the layout makes it easy to just pick up the book and read a few pages here and there.


Following a brief introduction, the second edition of The Cult of Mac tackles "The Line Sitters," those who camped out for days ahead of a major product launch, sometimes in an effort to be first to get their hands on Apple's latest devices and other times just for publicity. Subsequent chapters look at the way Apple fans have paid tribute to Steve Jobs, collectors and museums dedicated to Apple's products, those in music and photography who have found inspiration from and utility in Apple's devices, and those who repurpose old Macs for products such as jewelry, aquariums, and more.

The book wraps up with a look at those dedicated Apple fans whose obsessions date back even further than the Mac to the Apple II family, as well as a quick trip around the world to look at fandom in several different countries, including an iPad magician in Germany, the Russian and Ukrainian luxury ‌iPhone‌ markets, and users in the Middle East who use special cases to carry multiple iPhones for work and personal use.


Overall, the second edition of The Cult of Mac is an enjoyable read which, like the original, treads some different ground compared to the many Apple-related biographies and histories that regularly hit the bookshelves, including Kahney's own biographies of Jony Ive and Tim Cook. It's also a contrasting type of coffee table book compared to product-focused ones like Apple's own "Designed in California."

The Cult of Mac, Second Edition debuts December 17, and it's available for pre-order now at Amazon in hardcover for $39.95, or if you don't have a need for the physical book you can pre-order the Kindle edition or Apple Books edition for $23.99.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
11 months ago
It wouldn't be a tribute without this guy. :D :D


Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 months ago
I loved converting people to the Mac back in the day... I don't do it anymore. Both OS X and iOS are more confusing than ever. The road to simplicity has become a complex wormhole. "It looks better." has replaced "It looks better AND functions better." It may very well function better than anything else on the market, but now the nagging feeling of "I can't wait for them to fix this" is everywhere.

Anyway, back to waiting on iOS 13.3 to disable my never used, but marked frequently used Memoji stickers.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 months ago
Big yikes. Let's not forget what we're talking about here. A corporation. It's totally cool to like a product. It's totally cool to go to midnight releases, etc. They're fun! But at the end of the day, it's a problem when you're basically treating a company like a sports team, like your tribe. You pay them thousands of combined dollars for their products. And you follow them blindly... why? So you can pay them thousands more? They're a business. This goes for any company, by the way.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 months ago
I'm waiting for them to release The Cult of MacRumors: Book of Trolls. It'll need to be a multivolume release.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 months ago


I loved converting people to the Mac back in the day... I don't do it anymore....

Same here, being an IT professional, I'm often asked what laptop to buy, and I used to always say Mac hands down, but now I'm like, well, look for a second hand 2015 or older MBP or MBA running High Sierra... or just buy a new Windows laptop, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell all seem to make nice ones...

...and yeah sure, maybe the 16" will change this, but I will give it 12 months to see what issues surface first, and to give Apple time to iron out all the stupid Catalina bugs, before recommending it. And then only to stonkingly rich people - buying a brand new MBP with enough RAM and SSD to cover your imaginable near future needs is ridiculously Apple taxy.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
11 months ago
We could probably have a forum subsection here called "cult of Mac"
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
Updated on September 22nd with hands on video. In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of...

Hands-On With iOS 14 Widgets, Custom Icons, and Home Screen Setup

Tuesday September 22, 2020 3:25 pm PDT by
Apple with iOS 14 introduced widgets on the Home Screen, leading to unprecedented levels of customization for the iPhone. Combined with Shortcuts that let you change an app's icon, iOS 14 lets you create a whole new look for your Home Screen. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've been following along with some of the creative alternative Home Screen designs that M...

PSA: New Apple Watch Owners Have to Return Entire Device for Ill-Fitting Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop

Monday September 21, 2020 3:26 pm PDT by
With the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple introduced two new band options, the Solo Loop and the Braided Solo Loop. These new bands are unique because they have no clasps, buckles, or other fasteners, and instead use a stretch design to allow them to pull onto the wrist over the hand. Because these bands are not adjustable, Apple sells each one in nine different sizes to make sure each person...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...

Apple Releases First Public Betas of iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 With New Shazam Control Center Options

Monday September 21, 2020 10:34 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public betas of upcoming iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 updates to its public beta testing group, a few days after seeding the first betas to developers and a little less than a week after releasing the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS‌ 14.2 updates over the air after ...

Apple Emphasizes That Solo Loop May Increase in Length Over Time, Updates Sizing Guide With More Specific Instructions

Wednesday September 23, 2020 8:26 am PDT by
Apple on Tuesday updated one of its support documents to emphasize that the new silicone rubber Solo Loop for the Apple Watch may increase in length over time, as mentioned in fine print at the bottom of the Solo Loop product page. Apple has also updated its printable Solo Loop sizing guide with more specific instructions, as noted by 9to5Mac's Michael Steeber. The guide now advises users to ...

Microsoft Announces Outlook for Mac Redesign, Improvements to iOS and watchOS Apps

Tuesday September 22, 2020 8:56 am PDT by
Microsoft has today announced plans to bring a new design to its Outlook for Mac app along with several other improvements and features for Outlook on iOS and watchOS. In preparation for the public release of macOS Big Sur, Microsoft has been testing a new design for Outlook on Mac. The design includes Microsoft's Fluent icons and several design cues from Big Sur such as rounded corners....