Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Ever-Shiny Apple

Wouldn't you love to have the kind of devoted customers Apple has? On ZDNet,  Larry Dignan wonders if the company's recent behavior will dampen the enthusiasm for them among their devotees:

Perhaps these practices are just capitalism at work. Perhaps we shouldn't hold Apple to higher standards. Perhaps none of this matters to Apple fans. But take the remove "Apple" from this post and replace it with any other company. Then tell me your opinion. What if Microsoft had these flubs in the span of 3 weeks? 

Dignan says we're not at the point where this will hurt them, and I think he's right. I also think that such a point does exist... but it's far away.

Consider what you hear about Apple: they're not that evil empire from Redmond! Their products are great! They're cool and nice and we love them!

An objective view reveals how silly all of this is. Their environmental record is horrible, they're fairly hostile to the blogosphere, they're incredibly controlling, they are lawsuit-happy. And their products are good, but they're not that good; the funniest thing about the current I'm a Mac ads is that most of the actual product claims in them are utter nonsense.

None of that makes them worse than anybody else - they are just another corporation in search of profit. But more interestingly, none of it matters to the Apple faithful. Why? (And how can all of us do replicate the phenomenon?)

I don't have an answer, but I think that that their outsider status has helped, lending an aura of cool that comes from being the little niche in the PC market. Great industrial design certainly plays a role.

But I think any of us could have all of that and still not get be where Apple is now, where they could ship a product that explodes and burns your house down, and still be loved. What's the Apple secret?

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