It’s not what you sell, but how you sell

So yesterday the iPad was officially introduced by Steve Jobs, and you will be able to find gazillions of reviews, opinions and everything around here. Well, let me review that part actually, where a company that was practically down the drain about 10 years ago, suddenly is the company to deal with.

I am not in the marked for an iPad, but with my work dealing with design, IT-production and media I usually try to keep up to date with what is to be expected in the IT world. Since a production you will start today will have it’s release withing 3 months to about a year, it is a great selling feature for example to be able to tell your product supports the newest technologies.

I have been an Apple user for as long as I can remember. I mean, I remember my father dragging an Apple Elisa home from his work in the late-late ’70s. The brand had still the nicely bright-colored stripes on it back then. When I started with the academy we had to use Apple Macintoshes (LC2 back then) and I even owned one back then. Then the whole bunch of PowerPC’s came along. But Apple was just not yet it. I preferred using my PC a lot more once Photoshop arrived at Windows with version 2.5. True, that might have had something to do with games too.

And Apple was tumbling down, fast. Them releasing a new type of computer was nothing more then a footnote in an IT magazine. Until they launched the iMac. Still a big, chunky device, but man, you could pick colors for your computer. And it had everything hooked up into one device. Actually, by slapping colors onto a computer (at that time still unheard of) they were able to present this computer in a whole different way. It did not have the fancy OS-X back then, and it had hardly any hardware compatibility. Still, they were able to sell this product… make it so that it looks a lot better, even if the inside is everything but great. And they succeeded. The iMac became a success. More than that…

But that was nothing compared to launching the iPod. There were MP3 players around, even far more practical, smaller… but the iPod was a lot of things, and just had such a magnificent interface.

But let’s leave the Apple History Rerun right there. I personally have owned three different iPods, but was never really impressed by their other products. But what I was impressed by is still that how they know to create a hype, to make people go crazy about launching a new product that they don’t need, that will not offer something new, but that you simply need to have and that people happily will spend $500+ for, even in these economic times. No matter what you think about this company in Cupertino, you have to bow your head to that.

And the hype hooks people up to the brand, and a brand is identity. And identity is so important right now. Even the earphones of the iPod, which are simply one of the most horrific in sound and ergonomics that are around, were a statement.

I am a happy Windows user, even was not negative about Vista, but am very pleased with Windows 7. Still, Windows 7 is not me. Microsoft doesn’t say anything about me. My mobile phone runs the little bit troubled Windows Mobile. But I also carry around my iPod (not iPhone. Worse, not even an iPod Touch because I like an interface that I can feel) which indeed makes me feel different. This is weird, but it definitely works. It is a slick device. True, officially I cannot replace the battery myself, it is still a pain to put music on, but it is a very smooth little piece of technology.

And even with the iPhone, they put in the market a device that was a smart-phone, with less capabilities than other competitors, but they had the gimmick (the multi-touch screen) which simply, well, looked incredibly cool. Even though there were and are so many AT&T complaints with it, they still fly over the counters. People traded in their provider that they were happy with, dropped their current phones and went out to buy one. How are they able to kick in a new inferior device in a market that is so crowded and capture one of the top ranks? That is not amazing, that is magic!

So there we were following the announcement of the iPad yesterday. Personally, I was disappointed. But it was amazing that the announcement of a new Apple device had the whole IT and world to a screeching halt. And here I am, trying to find a way to put a brand in the market, successfully.

So, with that in mind, and not the products itself, I bow down, take of my hat… that is some amazing achievement over there in Cupertino. Kudos!

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