As a bit of an Apple evangelist, I am sometimes amused at the response from people who finally overcome “PC conventional wisdom” and try the Apple platform for the first time. Sometimes they virtually swear me to secrecy that they tried an iPad and loved it.
My business is Faux art (www.gregmills.info) and my biggest issue in selling my service is that people need to see it to want it. You could talk about my art all day and never get the knee jerk reaction “wow, that is so neat.” In the world of psychology, that is a spatial sort of input to the human brain. Touch it, see it, feel it and understand it. When I exhibit my art, people gently touch it to feel the texture. I was amused at an old man’s response to my bas relief grass wall art when he called out, “Martha, Martha, its real grass”!
Touching things makes them real to us. So it is with people and Apple products. Don’t get me, Apple’s commercials do a good job wrong helping people to understand the promise of the product. But the success of the Apple stores are that when people touch Apple products, they suddenly get what the magic is all about.
There is no doubt in my mind that I have sold a whole lot of Apple products simply by handing my Apple device to someone who has never tied one. The touch screen interface and bright display are so inviting and intuitive that even little kids get it right away. My nephew is going to be two this birthday. Since he was one, you have to literally pry his daddy’s iPad out of his hands. That sort of visceral enjoyment is not something that came out of Microsoft’s labs, but rather Apple’s. Apple does user interface right.
My brother-in-law has put his iPad in a protective case since baby Ian tends to throw the iPad when he gets tired of it. Frankly, I think Ryan is figuring that if the iPad 1 gets broken, he stands to get a more modern replacement for Christmas. Still, it is a shame to waste a perfectly good iPad, no matter which version it is. I shudder when I see a video of one being shot or thrown under a train.
I got my son Isaak an iPad mini when they first came out. He had been using it for less than a day when I made a FaceTime call to his email address and it startled him that his new iPad rang like a phone. When he mashed the button to answer, there was his dad’s mug “in his face.” He said, “I didn’t know iPad could do that.” He marveled that he had almost accidentally configured his band new iPad by simply following the on-screen instructions.
In mere seconds, he had opened a video phone call with technology promised 60 years ago by the phone company, but never popularized until Apple dusted off the concept and made it work over WiFi and cell phones. The phone company inventors who came up with the idea are long gone, but their vision is now reality. If they are dead now, they are likely rolling over in their graves that not only is the video in color, but the video call is free of charge.
While there is a good bit of actual innovation that comes out of the Apple laboratories, a lot of what Apple does is make something practical that previously wasn’t user friendly. PC users are constantly amazed that Apple gear has such a low overhead in the ol’ learning curve department. That is why Apple products have been capturing so much market share; they just work. hat is why Microsoft has been losing so much ground; you can’t assume something Microsoft sells you will just work without a lot of grief. The return rate on Surface computers, for example, is likely to be a major drag on that product’s bottom line.
Return rates that are unacceptably high will destroy profitability. Products sold and returned must be sold cheaper as used or restored to “newness” and repacked as if they had never been opened. Returned products cost manufactures money, aggravate store management, create tons of paperwork and create a distrust in consumers towards the product line. All of that is happening to Microsoft.
As long as Apple can keep easy to use, incredibly cool products coming, Apple’s relentless surge will continue.