The Apple nuts are after me. I said something bad about Apple and they just don't like you to do that.
The independent ran a big Apple feature yesterday asking whether the Apple brand was faltering? It's a fair enough question:
"Computers were just dull, grey boxes until Apple came along. The 'rebel' brand's beautifully designed, brilliantly marketed products became the epitome of plugged-in, wired-up, 21st-century chic. But as the company has prospered, so its devotees have become uneasy. Faulty products, poor service - and worse - the list of grievances is getting longer. Is Steve Jobs' empire losing its cool?"
As part of the feature, I provided my one or two pence worth laying out what I thought about Apple. I've never been a fan of Apple I have to admit and have always found the devotion of Apple fans to the their machines slightly odd, obsessive:
It's just not special anymore, by Gordon MacMillan
In its early days Apple was seen as almost a rebel brand, which appealed to a community of creatives and geeks. And in design terms, Apple was the technology that was made for creative people: journalists, designers, programmers, writers; people who had a less mainstream take on life. The company built up a strong following as a result.
But Apple wasn't just about appearances. The most important thing about Apple was what it wasn't. It wasn't another IBM. It wasn't Microsoft. People saw it was offering something different - something that complemented a less corporate-driven lifestyle.
Of course, personalities were involved. While a cult grew up around Steve Jobs, Bill Gates was seen by Apple's users as an antichrist figure. In their eyes, he was the head of a massive company that wanted to take over the world, that wanted its stuff on every desktop. They always thought Steve Jobs was fighting from the other corner. They thought he was bringing diversity to their desktop, and to their world.
When Apple was driven to the brink, it fought back - first with the iMac, and then with the iPod and iTunes. When the iPod took off, Apple broke away from its core group of users to become something global, a company whose appeal extended far beyond its traditional advocates. Suddenly, the people who were using iPods were not the people you might have associated with the brand say two years beforehand.
But the Apple had been on the way back well before the iPod. The iMac and iBook started the resurgence, because these funky luminous plastic machines were on everyone's desk. They played on what Apple has always played on - this is not just another computer. Its advertising was saying "Think Different", and, with the iMac, genuinely looked different, too. In reality, Apple may not have been that different from any other computer company, but the people who bought its products bought into the idea.
Now there are different categories of Apple users. There are those who have been with Apple all along, and there are those who love their iPods, but who, like me, have never really liked Apple. So the company is in new territory - it has a new audience, which doesn't have the devotion traditional Apple users have. Apple has become ubiquitous, which has changed the brand beyond recognition, and, perhaps that's the real reason some of the shine has come off. It's just not as special as it was."
I should have expected it. I had my first email from an Apple fan as a result this morning:
Dear delusional Apple hater:
Give me a break! It was "struggling Apple." Then, once Apple starting
rocking, it became "Once struggling Apple," and now that they
continue to confound the street with record sales and record profits
and iPods are selling in greater numbers, you come out with this
unsupported-by-the facts bullshit conjecture about Apple losing its
GET OVER IT Gordon, Apple is here, Apple is successful, Apple owns
the downloaded music market, Apple is entrenched, and Apple will
continue getting stronger, despite the crap that's been spewed about
Apple for decades now.
Once at least there was some back-up for the whiny Apple haters. But
now? You're living in fantasy land.
senior contributing editor, Stereophile
not an Apple stockholder
And here's another one:
Ms Pierce, Mr MacMillan,
Dear oh dear. You two really aren't much in touch with reality, are you?
You may not like Apple, as indeed you admit Mr MacMillan. You may just be trolling for hits with faux opinions. Either way I hope that your mail boxes are flooded with people like me who will challenge your standpoints.
Even with corks in your eyes, it will be impossible not to see the the massive growth taking place in Apple's customer base. What's more, it's easy to see via any number of online feedback sites that the new Apple customers are just as loyal as the old hands are, and indeed are often even more prepared to enthusiastically promote Apple products.
If the faults you see in Apple products are symptomatic of anything, it is that Apple is producing more radical ideas, better products, better software and generally more life changing ways of doing things than anyone else today.
And of course Apple is set to do even more of this and you can both look forward to having to work a lot harder to convince anyone that your views have any value whatever.
Either way, I shall indeed keep this article on file and I shall enjoy reviewing it in 12 months time. No doubt I will also enjoy reminding you of it too!
Friday, August 04, 2006
It's an advertising, marketing, media and PR work thing from the editor of Brand Republic.
- Google life What kind of Google life do you have?...
- Up in smoke Abbott Mead Vickers anti smoking work...
- Thinking the stupid Coca-Cola is considering rein...
- Observe this Why are they always property develop...
- Vanity Fair Kate Moss scores again. Vanity Fair g...
- War on celebrity Looks like glossy magazines migh...
- Charmin work What a charmer -- the new Charmin vi...
- Sun burnt Ally Ross reverts to Sun type this morn...
- Not loving it Things are not going so well for N...
- Final countdown No, not a cue to hum that Europe ...