It was 19th October 2021 and I woke up at 4am. FOUR IN THE MORNING. Was it because I had a plane flight? Imagine having the opportunity to travel during these times. Maybe I had an assignment due the next day? In that case, I probably wouldn’t have been sleeping beforehand (jokes aside, please don’t leave it to the last minute). The reason was ridiculous: there was an Apple event. Exactly why do so many people love Apple products?
Let me provide some context first. According to StatCounter, over 72% of smartphones worldwide have the Android operating system whilst iOS sits at a ‘mere’ 26% in the last 12 months. Taking a closer look at the statistics for Australian users: 55% iOS and 42% Android. What’s the reason behind this? But let’s also consider the influence of Apple in particular. Once we realise that there are “nearly 1300 brands producing over 24,000 distinct Android devices” (Official Android website) whereas iOS was exclusively created and developed by this company, we finally understand its domination within this competitive market.
Disclaimer: everything mentioned in this article is just from my limited perspective and I will try to minimise any bias.
Now, I’ve been using Android phones up until this year, and although they were great, I felt that there was no real integration with anything around me. For example, something as simple as transferring files to a computer. Would I use Bluetooth? Google Drive? Email? A physical cable connection? These methods technically work, but they are all extremely tedious. In addition to these old-school methods, the AirDrop ability on iOS and macOS devices makes this process much quicker. Apple has developed a wide range of products, including tablets, headphones, watches and TVs. But it’s also the software such as iCloud, AirDrop and AirPlay that really integrates them together to create the optimal user experience. Auto-pairing and finding lost AirPods? Sounds good to me!
Individually, these are all solid products, but together, the user experience is a whole new level. Source: Tech Journeyman
Apple not only lures us into their ecosystem, but they effectively prevent us from leaving too. Think about their choices of opting for the Thunderbolt ports, or even making the decision to completely remove the headphone jack from the iPhone. Despite the possible absurdity or their risk of facing backlash from people’s irritation, they are not solely creating a unique brand. Apple is building products that complement only each other seamlessly while being actively hostile to other products. If you already have the iPhone or the MacBook, you would be much more likely to buy the Apple Watch for tracking health, as well as the iPad (and then the Apple Pencil) for creating sketches. Because which other brand would also allow us to receive calls and store reminders into the same app via voice recognition too? We all eventually succumb to exactly what Apple wanted – for us to spend more money buying their products. I guess it’s actually not easy to escape the invisible walls of this utopia and to experience some of those inconsistent realities outside…
Fear of Missing Out
We all know that Apple products are expensive. That’s the very reason why the percentage of Apple users worldwide is much less than that of Australia, as shown in the statistics above. Fittingly, India only comprises 3% of Apple’s market share even though it’s the second largest smartphone market since people have low per capita income. If you only need a basic phone, then why waste money on an overpriced iPhone? There are Android phones that cost less than $100, whereas the cheapest iPhone SE starts at $679. But countless people in developed nations are also more likely to be using products from this internationally recognised brand if everyone around them are doing so – just so that they don’t feel they are missing out on anything. Apple’s marketing message conveys lifestyle, class and universality, and who wouldn’t want to be part of this exclusive club? This can also be attributed to their constant release of events and upgrades throughout the year so that we are reminded about their impact and strong reputation, in turn, inclining us to spend. The ‘price’? A vicious cycle of credit card debts since so many of us weren’t able to afford them in the first place.
Let’s take another look at the iPhone 13 that was released last month. They finally introduced 120Hz refresh rate, a feature that certain phones had since 2017. A 20% smaller notch, yet many smartphones don’t even have a notch and just have a hole-punch selfie camera instead (which can be invisible!). The continual lack of under screen fingerprint sensors is still inconvenient as Face ID is pointless during this mask-filled epoch of COVID-19 – whereas Apple’s largest rival, Samsung, had implemented this since the Galaxy S10 series. However, this doesn’t necessarily make iPhone 13 inferior; I’d argue that it’s an absolute beast of a phone with cutting-edge technology that excels in other aspects. What I’m trying to say is that even though some of its specifications and features lag or simply do not match other smartphones in the market, people still buy it due to its brand name. Although it’s just a small improvement to the camera or battery life with some minor tweaks here and there, we are still willing to fork out thousands to upgrade to the latest phone. FOMO.
The price of a fully maxed-out Macbook Pro is $9149. The new M1 Max chip sounds cool, but do most of us even realise the extent of its specifications? For sure, this laptop is powerful, but also highly unnecessary for 99% of people, and still a lot of us blindly purchase such Apple products.
Making a Difference
Of course, the underlying reason why Apple has maintained their brand name must be how their products has exceeded customer expectations. No one needs to be a professional to use those products since Apple has provided a user-friendly experience that gets the job done. Easy to say, difficult to achieve. It’s a culmination of having unparalleled ecosystems, constant innovation and resonating with the customer that has fostered Apple to become a global leader. Steve Jobs’ announcement of the iPhone in 2007 was undoubtedly a technological revolution, transforming the landscape of the entire mobile market. Building upon the fact that smartphones aren’t limited to call and text functionalities, Apple has never failed to disappoint since. By evolving to provide the best customer experience through the seamless integration of their various products, Apple has truly made a significant difference in our lives.
So, I was watching the live release of the new MacBook Pro in the October Apple event. How much does it cost? Well, the fully maxed-out 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip, 64GB unified memory and 8TB of SSD storage costs an astronomical $9149. Do I even need the base model? No. Can I afford it? No. But moments later for all I know, my wallet is crying. 😭😭