The history of Apple fans: A MacHeads review

A new documentary film details the history of the most rabid Apple lovers. We set our left eyebrow firmly in the raised position and had a watch

Nate Lanxon Special to CNET News
2 min read

Prominent sex blogger and renowned Apple fangirl Violet Blue declares passionately that she'd never sleep with a Windows user. Dozens of Mac fanboys and girls drink and dance together at an Apple-centric party, jubilant that, for another year, Apple still exists. Girls hug their iMacs before tentatively handing them over to be repaired, while another caresses her Cinema Display, gently offering up a kiss to her Mac Pro's tower.

Apple fans are passionate people, both with each other and with the company's products. MacHeads, a new Chimp 65 Productions documentary from writer/director Kobi Shely and producer Ron Shely, documents the history of these Apple-lovers, looking at what underpins their fanatical obsessions.

At just under an hour in length, this unbiased, unnarrated documentary takes a balanced approach to peeling the onion of Apple fanboyism. With insightful commentary from the likes of Apple Inc employee number one Daniel Kottke and ex-Apple employee and Mac evangelist Guy Kawasaki, some of the compulsive fanboyism on display is mellowed by observations of what made an Apple fan an Apple fan in the first place.

It's the story of how a community of devoted tech fans banded together in the early days. How Macintosh user groups were formed, why they were formed, and what took place at their meetings. Interspersed with heaps of classic footage of the earliest MacWorld Expos, vintage Apple ads, trips to Macintosh museums and collectors' houses, and clips from classic computer TV shows, MacHeads provides a detailed and entertaining look not just at the fanboys themselves, but at why such groups exist at all.

Yet, although it's packed with comments from Apple fans such as, "Steve knows what people need before they know they need it," and how seeing Steve Jobs "live" has always been a dream, MacHeads could well sober up your average fanboy. Is Apple alienating its user groups? Is it becoming "another Microsoft" as it moves into new marketplaces, building on its past successes?

And of critical importance, can the Apple fanworld pull together like it did in 1996 as Apple was failing, when the company they idolise becomes less like a friend, more like a faceless business?

MacHeads is a superb film that will give Apple haters a few cheap laughs, and Apple fans a few cheap thrills. But it'll entertain both equally, while educating everybody else. It'll premiere this week at MacWorld -- the last ever Apple will appear at -- and you can order the movie later this year from macheadsthemovie.com, or at least check out the trailer below.