There was a line waiting to touch and hold the iPad mini; young, old, everyone. I thought, ‘how can Apple be doomed and beleaguered with such an enthusiastic variety of customers? What makes Apple products so beloved and popular?’
It’s The Mac, Stupid!
Critics will call Apple’s success a result of good marketing. Maybe so, but it depends on how you define marketing. Is it sales? Is it advertising? Is it public relations?
No, true marketing is often defined as ‘the process which delivers goods or services to a user or buyer.‘
If so, the Apple has superior marketing, but it’s a little more than that, and the evidence is in the Mac culture.
Through the decades, it’s the Mac that was synonymous with ease-of-use, not easily matched by Microsoft’s Windows. With OS X, Apple created a new generation of Macs with powerful Unix underneath, with a candy-coated interface on top.
That combination endeared the Mac to many new generations of customers. Apple moved beyond plastic to metal cases which evoke strength and durability. And, Apple became competitive on price and performance (look at a comparably equipped Dell or HP and see there’s little difference in price).
Apple also expanded the customer base with the iPod and iTunes Store but kept the same elegance and ease-of-use embedded in the Mac.
Then, along came the iPhone, and then the iPad. By the time of each launch, Apple had tens of millions of iPod customers added to their Mac customer base. Those customers had a similar feeling about Apple products. Elegant, durable, simple to use, and mostly problem free.
The iPhone and iPads carry similar traits, and customers made the switch from iPod to the latest iOS devices with ease and in growing numbers. The credit to Apple’s dominance of smart phones and tablets can be traced back to what Apple did on the Mac.
The Mac became synonymous with quality and value and a pleasant customer experience; whether with the product itself, the online store for iPod, or the Apple Store with product displays and Genius Bar.
Apple merely grew the iPhone and iPad in the same environment, which, to date, has not been replicated or copied successfully by any competing company. The Mac and OS X was just a forerunner to Apple’s greatest successes, iOS, iPhone and iPad.