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Summary:

The reactions that Apple products elicit from “passers-by” are – in my experience – always some form of awe. Whether I’ve got my powerbook out at work, on the train into the office, or in a waiting room someplace, it gets noticed and always brings people […]

The reactions that Apple products elicit from “passers-by” are – in my experience – always some form of awe. Whether I’ve got my powerbook out at work, on the train into the office, or in a waiting room someplace, it gets noticed and always brings people to comment on or inquire about it. Macs just do that.

I love when someone at work says, “Wow! Your laptop is gorgeous. What kind is it?” From there on I feel like a missionary who is explaining the path to enlightenment. (We as Apple customers are part of a cult, right…?)

Inevitably the next questions are based in an early 90’s mentality and go something like, “Really? can you do anything on it?” (“Nope. It just looks real purty.”) I’ll explain to them that I can actually do everything (and more) on it that I use my work-provided Windows laptop for. [As an aside, I'm a software developer, and work with text editors or usually vi in a unix environment, so I don't have any real platform handcuffs. However, there still seem to be lots of niche applications that are Windows only - my realtor father has at least a couple of these that he relies on - and unless you wish to run those on Virtual PC, you are still stuck to at least running parallel machines...] In fact, did you know that some software companies will allow you to trade your windows license for an OS X license? So technically you don’t even have to re-buy software packages you already have. Look into it!

I can attest that Apple’s brand recognition truly is growing, and deserved the #1 Brand of 2004. While I still get the “What kind of computer is that?!” question on occassion, the “Apple” reply is rarely met with the blank or puzzled look anymore. People know Apple, though they may not be familiar with the details for whatever reason. But lately, more often than not people will tell me, “Wow, I love your Powerbook. I wish my company used them.” Or something along those lines. People know what they’re seeing, and maybe even some of the techno-goodness that comes along with Apple products, they just haven’t taken that next step into taking one home for themselves.

In fact, on my recent business trip to New York, I saw more Apple laptops in the airport terminals than ever before. I’d go so far as to say that 2 out of 5 were iBooks or Powerbooks. That may not sound huge, but considering that I don’t remember typically seeing any Apple notebooks while travelling. so 2 out of 5 is a pretty big step up.
Additionally, they even mentioned iPods by name on the airline, when making the announcement about electronic devices that couldn’t be on during take-off or landing. (Oh, and EVERYONE in New York City has white earbuds. Everyone.)

I realize that Apple still has a small piece of the…pie… but their adoption is very visibly growing. And that fact that Apple computers are being seen out and about means that it’s not just Mac Minis that are being snatched up. People are opting for the portable (pricier – than a Mini) machines and using them daily.

Sure, there are still people like my mother who think that they’ll have trouble reading Word documents on the Apple. Or, “Certainly if they make that [cool, intuitive] software for the Mac, they make it for Windows too…” But the masses are becoming more educated. These days at work, other employees will walk by, comment on my Powerbook, and then start a conversation about Tiger and how excited they are for Spotlight.

So are you seeing the same growth in brand awareness, adoption, interest when it comes to Apple Computers? I don’t believe I’m a lone case of this. The Halo Effect is in motion…

  1. The worry I have is that Apple is in fashion right now, but that might be exactly what it is — fashion. I’m a business school student at the moment, and there’s lots of buzz about Apple around school (and a surprisingly high percentage of the MBAs are using PowerBooks DESPITE the fact that the school will not support them officially), but once the stock price takes its first tumble (and it will), what then?

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m a true believer. But, it’s important that Apple get beyond the gee-whiz cool factor of how beautiful the machines look and continue to focus on making sure people know who beautifully they work.

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  2. Steven Needham Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    I have always been a fan of Apple products. I am also a seasoned IT professional – with experience from everything from mainframes to routers. Apple right now has the best designed, best value for the money computers in my book. I beleive that the internet itself has facilitated Apples growth, given that it doesn’t really matter what each individual end user uses-it has to be able to talk to any other type of end user on the planet in order to be of any value. So the easier that end user’s experience is, the more successful that product will be in the marketplace.

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  3. Questions for Nathan. You seem to be pretty confident for a mere business student to assume that the stock price is going to tumble. First of all, what makes you so sure? Secondly, you ask “what then?” at the end of your somewhat arrogant statement. What do you mean by this? Stock price will fluctuate every day (if you are not aware of this) some days more severely than others, and a fluctuation or even a “tumble” isn’t going to end a company or its products. Stock market and consumer market are seperate entities in many aspects. Consumers don’t give a damn if the value of Apple stock is halved tomorrow. They WILL purchase an iPod if they were planning to. They are not going to go “AAPL dropped 50%! I’m not going to buy this crap!” (I admit that the stock is a bit overvalued but some of the greatest companies in the world were grossly overvalued at one point or another. See for yourself.)
    Lastly you state that Apple sells because it is “in fashion”. Apple makes CONSUMER ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS. They must be “in fashion” in order to sell like iPods do. This is a given. The most emphasized advantage of Apple products is that they are simple to use. Listen to Steve’s keynotes and you will notice him saying this over and over. “So simple to use”. Almost all descriptions of Apple products include “simplicity” and “efficiency”. Look at the Shuffle! it has “simplicity!” written all over it, what with no screen and all. I have switched to Mac 2 years ago and got my Powerbook. The reason why I wouldn’t (probably more like cannot…) switch back to PC ever is the fact that they are so much more complicated and frustrating to operate and maintain; NOT merely because Apple is much more cool.

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  4. Brian, I totally agree with your last statement that once you switch, is so hard to get back to PC. I was hesitated at first to switch because primarily I am using Word and Excel daily for my business, but once I found out that Macs version is even better than the PC, i never look back. I am now 100% mac. Gone are those days that you spent 75% of your time “cleaning” your PC from viruses, stopping all those popups that refused to go away, trying to figure out why your PC is getting slower and slower, etc. Now with my powerbook, I can really spend 100% doing real work and not doing all those mundane jobs that i have mentioned just now on a PC.

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  5. [...] lipino dance performances, I don’t remember any of them to be quite like this…. theAppleBlog: Macs in the Wild: Sigh. Macs are pretty. This entr [...]

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