Why are Apple fans so crazy?

Apple released the iPad 2 today in Canada. At midnight they made online orders available and at 5pm it was available in stores.

A few points to remember before I go on:

1. The iPad 2 was and still is available online. You can order it and have it delivered directly to your door.

2. The Apple Store is not the only place to get the device. It is also available at Best Buy and Futureshop, both within a five minute walk of the Apple Store I visited in Toronto.

Now, moving on. The iPad 2 is not a revolutionary device. It’s a simple upgrade that increased it’s power, added a camera and had a few other small changes. Despite this, an anonymous person I interviewed in front of the Apple store in the Eaton Center, Toronto had waited five hours in line to get his hands on one.

That may sound a bit extreme but that’s nothing compared to what I was told. The first person to get an iPad 2 had been waiting in line since 6am yesterday.

When asked why wait in line when you can order online, one person noted,  “If you order online it takes 2 to 3 weeks. I get it right now!”

A reasonable response. Then why wait at the Apple store, considering the lineups at Futureshop and Best Buy are half the size? “It’s all about the experience.”

But is the “experience” really worth it? Standing in a lineup surrounded by thousands of people for a minimum of 5 hours sounds like a pretty crappy experience to me. With the only benefit being that you get an iPad 2 right away.

A combo of instant gratification and “the experience” may be slightly appealing but there has to be more. Those two things simply aren’t powerful enough to motivate thousands of people to wait in a lineup for hours on end only to spend hundreds of dollars on a slight upgrade.

There has to be something deeper to it all. Something that’s “clicked” with Apple fans that makes them show that insane amount of devotion to their brand.

Apple has achieved something that every single big brand in the world is spending millions of dollars trying to copy. They’ve built a fan base so loyal they are willing to wait overnight for the chance to pay for a slight upgrade.

So I pose the question to you. Why are Apple fans so crazy?