Apple has a deceptively effective product migration strategy throughout the entire line of software and hardware.
Let me call this Ron’s Gotcha Effect™. A line up of prices and features so good that it’s hard not to buy something from Apple.
What brought this to mind was the release of Final Cut Express, the junior version of the award winning Final Cut Pro, and Final Cut Studio, Apple’s professional video and audio production packages.
The Express version is, as it is with Logic Express, a great value for the $199 price. The capabilities of both far outweigh those of iMovie or Garageband. So, if you bought a Mac and fell in love with iLife’s applications, then even more professional versions are available for a couple of hundred dollars.
That’s known as a product migration plan—products with features that are separated from one another in price, but close enough to get many customers to migrate to the next higher, as in ‘more expensive’, level. Think of it as Apple’s version of McDonald’s upsell process at the counter. “Do you want fries with that?”
Apple’s entire line of products comes together in a similar kind of migration.
Look at the iPod. Apple’s iPods are not the least expensive portable music player. The iPod shuffle is still $79, perhaps $25 more expensive than a cheap imitation no name knock off.
The iPod nano starts at $149 and $50 increments takes the buyer from the basic video and audio player with limited memory to the iPod classic with a huge hard drive, the ultra chic iPod touch for a mere $299, or the iPhone for only $100 more. It’s a series of little steps from the low end to the high end.
It’s the Gotcha Effect™ which dictates that if you’re looking at an Apple product, you’re likely to find one with features and prices that match your budget.
Look at the Mac line. Yes, the Mac mini is only $599, but add a few things that everyone likes on their Macs, and you might as well swing for an MacBook starting at just $1,099, or the iMac junior for only $1,199. Apple makes it difficult not to afford one of their products.
It’s almost as if Apple has become the digital drug dealer in a nice car. For newbies to Apple’s candy, iLife is free with every Mac. Users get hooked on the simplicity of OS X and iLife and want more. Upgrade time: Aperture is just $299. Final Cut Express or Logic Express are just $199 each.
Software is what makes the Mac work, and everyone knows that Microsoft Office is needed for compatibility to the rest of the business world. Or is it? iWork ‘08 is a mere $79 and does much of what Office does. It’s only $79.
Even upgrading from an old Mac with iLife ‘06 to the latest, iLife ‘08, was a mere $79.
How many of us felt we had a new Mac when we installed Mac OS X Leopard? It was only $129 (or, less if you purchased Leopard from The Mac360 Store, and yes, it’s really Amazon, and yes with get a few dollars whenever you buy something). Didn’t you feel as if you had a whole new machine?
Apple’s product line is broad and deep with software and hardware. The migration plan for pricing and features is in the Mac line, the iPod/iPhone line, and in the software Apple sells. The Mac maker makes it very easy to get into using a Mac (or iPod or iPhone), but difficult to leave the Apple for Windows or Linux or SanDisk or whomever.
Why? In addition to the Gotcha Effect™ Apple makes products that we, the customers and users, actually want to use. We WANT to use what Apple sells. That’s why Apple’s customers give the company such high product satisfaction ratings. It’s all done by design, top to bottom, software, hardware, iPods/iPhones, Macs.
Apple has become the benevolent digital drug dealer. Somewhat pricey, always classy, always around to take care of our “digital needs.”