Macs in the Wild

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…

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