apple mania, wtf?

one thing that I always found just… odd, odd like polka dot pyjamas, or people liking brussel sprouts, is the mania that people attach to apple products. I mean, thats weird odd right? Standing in a queue to get an IPhone? Huh? Its… a phone.

Apple fans have always had this sort of disease. Which is great, cos I have apple shares. But… huh? I like my macbook. But I believe I have fairly rational reasons, based on over half my life spending most hours looking at computers. Mostly to do with OS X, I believe the best OS out there. Unix and pretty and simple. But OS 8 and prior, macs… well… sucked. But mac fans were still massive, maniacal, misguided weirdos.

Apple seem to be almost the definition of a consumer company, and the mania  that surrounds their products seems to surpass rationalism. People seem to derive happiness from the mere purchase of the device, which of course is the ultimate aim for any consumer company, but … fills me with a little bit of trepidation when peoples happiness can be bought for a few dollars worth of plastic and silicon.

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apple mania, wtf?

6 thoughts on “apple mania, wtf?

  1. I have the reverse view of things: I’m amazing there aren’t more companies like Apple.

    The way I see it Apple is a premium brand. Take my laptop. I could have got a MacBook Pro of the same size. However, the ThinkPad was quieter, had a stronger chasis, better wireless capabilities, twice as much memory, a brighter and higher resolution screen, longer battery life etc., and was even $1000 cheaper. Given that ThinkPad is already a fairly premium brand, this pricing has got to tell you something about where Apple is in the market.

    You might say it’s all about the OS, but as you point out this was also true then thier OS suxed add. And you see exactly the same thing with iPods that don’t have the OS factor. You can get a ScanDisk etc. player that is lighter, has more storage, plays more formats and is significantly cheaper… and yet people still go for the iPod. Same for the iPhone.

    For a technical person this might see a bit weird. But that’s not how premium brands work. A Prada dress is probably a pretty good dress. But $2000 good? And it’s not just a chick thing. Harley-Davidson is a great macho example. I believe they have improved a lot in recent years, but 15 years ago you could get a Suzuki motorbike that had far better performance, far better reliability, and significantly cheaper. Even the most dire hard Harley owners would grumble about how their bikes kept on breaking down. But would they switch to a Suzuki, hell no! Some people with low incomes would literally spend their life’s savings to get a Harley and then tattoo the brand onto their arm for good measure. Even Apple hasn’t reached this level of brand fervour yet.

    Which takes me back to my original point: I’m surprised there aren’t more premium brands in consumer electronics.

  2. With the ipod, I bought one because… it worked better. If what I wanted to do was play music, it seemed to be the quickest and easiest way to do it. Im not sure about all the others, but the cheapo ones with more functions worked, sure, but… didnt work as well. Apple has the interface stuff sorted.

    I guess its hard to establish a premium brand. My original point from the post is, what kind of a society thinks its normal to spend $2000 on a handbag, and queue for days to buy an iphone?

  3. I got a cheapo mp3 player a few years ago, I think it was about $100 cheaper than the iPod with the same storage at the time.

    I plug it into my computer and it turns up as a USB storage device. I copy any files over that I want. While plugged in it recharges the battery. Press a few buttons and I can see a list of files and play stuff.

    Does the iPod interface work better. Probably. Does it work $100 better. Let’s see…. press button, press another, out comes music. Not exactly rocket science! I’ll take the $100 cash.

    Think about it: are those button presses really worth $100 to you?

    Who generally has an iPhone? High status people with lots of money. Nobody *really* camps out overnight because having a phone with a wizzy user interface is greatly important to their quality of life. No, iPhone = high status and that’s something people really do care about. Of course, they will tell you it’s really about the features… because trying to buy your way into higher status is kinda crass right?

  4. hmm, i think you might be underestimating the power of a user interface. If its a UI on something you do repeatedly, frequently, a good UI has a opportunity to save u a lot of time.

    i certainly have no regrets about buying a ipod. if I remember rightly, it was about twice the price of my prior cheapy ($80 more or so), which broke, and was kinda hard to use, lots of holding down buttons, hopeless if youre changing songs driving for example.

    I don’t think I get much status from it. But the interface is fast, very easy, and lets me do what I want.

    Maybe I’m a closet super-consumer? I bought a macbook because the prices were similar (about $300 less for a similarly specd dell), and I liked the thought of a Unix-based OS, and the concept of parallels virtualisation.

    and again, no regrets for doing that. maybe Im buying status? sweet!

  5. Maybe the time saved by the user interface really is worth $100 to you. My time is much cheaper 🙂 My saving rate is $40 per day, so I figure the UI would have to be saving me rather a lot of time. If two button presses rather than one saved me more than an hour of time over the life time of the product, I’d be very surprised.

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