The iPhone Antennagate is, for most intents and purposes, over. Apple's free-case quick fix for the problem tamped down consumer anger -- and Apple's great earnings report blasted its problems off the front page. Analysts predict the issue won't materially affect the company's next financial reports.
The long-term impacts of the problem are less clear. Will unforeseen negative repercussions emerge in the future? Did Antennagate cause some kind of fundamental shift in Apple's relationship with its core fans?
There are scholars who study Apple's consumers as religious devotees. Consumer behavior specialists Russell Belk of York University and Gulnur Tumbat of San Francisco State, even put together a framework for assessing Apple's mystical mythology. The company was built on four key myths, they argued.
Here are the four narratives, as summarized by media scholar Texas A&M's Heidi Campbell, who distilled their work for her May paper "How the iPhone became divine":
- a creation myth highlighting the counter-cultural origin and emergence of the Apple Mac as a transformative moment;
- a hero myth presenting the Mac and its founder Jobs as saving its users from the corporate domination of the PC world;
- a satanic myth that presents Bill Gates as the enemy of Mac loyalists;
- and, finally, a resurrection myth of Jobs returning to save the failing company...
The stories they identified aren't myths in the sense that they aren't true, but more in the Joseph Campbell sense of being a story that helps people make sense of their relationship with the world. These ideas are where consumers attach to attachment Apple, so we thought it would make sense to see whether what happened during the affair could undermine any of these key beliefs.