The Apple Newton has been dead so long; most current PDA owners have no idea what it is. The ill-fated product was a pioneer in the PDA world, with a relatively long lifespan from 1993-1998. While Apple’s PDA plans didn’t work out, there is still a loyal Newton user-base that’s redefining the meaning of “cult.”
A study titled, “Religiosity in the Abandoned Apple Newton Brand Community” appeared recently in the Journal of Consumer Research. After Apple killed off the Newton, the user base obviously shrunk, but even today it’s still active. The study found members of relates forums and fan sites are obviously huge proponents of the Apple brand, and the Newton specifically. Common motifs in their Newton related communications include supernatural, religion and magic.
The authors discuss five major themes in the narratives Newton users share with one another:
- Tales of persecution
- Tales of faith being rewarded
- Survival tales
- Tales of miraculous recovery
- Tales of resurrection
The study is a little cerebral in parts, but the connections between religion, technology and brand loyalty are very interesting. You can read the full report here.