Do you buy Apple products because they are new and cool?
So I ask myself, what does drive the appetite for consumption of ? Is it an open and honest perception of the competitive landscape? Loyalty? Is it emotion? What about fashion and trend? Is it a combination of all of them?
When considering this question, I think every one who has an answer to it must be obliged to consider the dynamics of consumer behavior. This seems to come up rarely in discussions about Apple's level of success, but it should. Especially when market share or popularity are being flaunted as the scoreboard for the smartphone/PC/tablet wars.
So to begin breaking down that scoreboard, we must acknowledge that the majority of the consumer base are not technophiles. They are average consumers, and average consumers make average grade purchasing decisions. Lowbrow, uncultivated, ignorant, emotional.
Are these really noble or admirable character qualities someone would promote when talking about there own decision making abilities? I don't think so. Nor is it language that an Apple apologetic would use when making the argument for market share to prop up the platform as offering the best value.
I was listening to John Gruebers podcast this week, and he and Dan Frommer spoke at length about there opinion on what drives consumers appetite for consumption of Apple products. So here we have arguably qualified authorities, huge technophiles (and Apple apologists), acknowledging to some degree that there are consumers who are buying Apple to use as social currency.
15:05 "I think there is a population, Im not sure how big it is,...,I wonder how loyal they'll be, I wonder if it's (ownership) not necessarily the quality or the legacy, but because it's new and cool."
28:15 "The level of awareness (of Apple products) is different now. Is that fashion, or is that legitimate awareness of a product?"
What exactly is "legitimate awareness"? I guess I would define it as value propositions that don't transcend the social element and are isolated within purely pragmatic offerings. Price, function, weight, battery life, reliability, etc. It's free of emotional attachments that might lead to social securities in an environment like the lecture hall pictured below.
Consider the social pressures that would exist in this kind of environment. The politics that cloud the perception of one another and influence the dynamics of how people in our culture view one another on a social and class driven scale. I imagine having a Windows computer might make you feel like a black man did in an early 1800's Louisiana saloon.
This isn't to say that Apple's products don't offer practical value for some people, because I believe they do. But I am saying that some percentage of the users are simply following their peers' decision making, going with the flow, and being willfully myopic to the competitive landscape. In the process, they possibly assign credit to Apple when they don't really deserve it, as well a demerit competitors like Microsoft unfairly.
Ownership of a product that awards social points has the potential to engender fallacious, spurious beliefs and emotions. There's no doubt this is contributing to such a large adoption of Apple products and as a consequence the rejection of their competitors products, that otherwise may be of greater value. But approximately how much? Do you agree, disagree? Have you, or someone you know, bought into Apple because it was "new and cool"? Do you think Dan in the podcast was accurate?