The Apple Controversy

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, what is it about Apple that gets people so impassioned?  The trendsetting company unveiled their latest addition to their product line, the iPad today. I have to say I was surprised to see that Job’s unveiling of the tablet computer counted as breaking news on  Even more surprising were the comments to the article, some accusing CNN of being a Mac FanBoy and some loyally defending the iPad before even using it (it doesn’t start shipping for another 60 days).

What makes people love Apple?  As a designer, I have to say I love my mac.  I love it because it stands for everything that good design stands for.  It’s where form meets function. Their computers are hands down more aesthetically appealing than any other computer on the market.  The clean, sleek styling of the hardware is complemented by the user-friendly and well-designed operating system.  Then there is the power. I can have multiple applications open at one time and I don’t have to worry about my computer freezing as much as I did when I had my PC.  And lastly, I never have to worry about getting a virus.

So what makes people hate Apple?  The high prices can’t be enough to get people so riled up. I honestly think part of the reason for this is that their brand is pompous. Even Jobs in his unveiling of the iPad described it as a “truly magical product”.  Really? Magical…I doubt it.  The commercials with the cool kid and the dorky PC user are another instance where Apple has positioned itself as “too cool”. Apple ultimately makes the statement that if you’re an Apple user you’re progressive and if you aren’t, you’re button down.  And the last thing people want to be is conventional.  So Apple pisses people off and what most consumers may not understand is that they’re doing it intentionally.

Apple doesn’t want to be everything to everyone.  They determined their target market is going to consist of a younger generation: students, designers, musicians, photographers and multi-media lovers. Their brand is designed specifically to appeal to these markets and intimidate, almost insult people who aren’t part of it.  Thereby, Apple is not only met with a loyal customer base who believe they are part of an “elite” crowd, but a sometimes-hostile opposition as well.

At the end of the day, whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, the one thing you can’t argue with is that Apple’s success can be attributed to their uncompromising dedication to superior design and strategic marketing.


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