Hung Up on Apple – Consumer Addiction

by Craig Watson Click Here for My WordPress

The iPhone 4S. It’s not the first of its kind on the consumer market, but just why is Apple’s latest piece of kit generating such a whirlpool in the tech industry?

 Apple has established itself as a seemingly unstoppable electronics manufacturer. Beginning from a trio of colleagues in the 70’s, computer makers Apple Inc. first cracked the commercial market by developing that very first –now robust- iPod music player which was launched in October 2001, 25 years after the company’s creation. Since then Apple’s CEO, the late Steve Jobs, received one of the largest pay slips in the industry as the iPod snowballed in enormity. Following iPod 1G, the product has been succeeded a staggering fifteen times in just ten years with a whole multitude of iPod generations being released, each one getting slicker and equally more lucrative for Apple to sell. In the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010, Apple generated $20.34 billion in sales worldwide – to put that in perspective, that’s enough to give every last person on the Earth at least $2.90. Despite the obvious marketing angle, why do we feel that we need the latest Apple gadget on the market?

 Over the last ten years Apple Inc. has manufactured a global consumer addiction in which we feel we must have the latest iPod. Being an addict myself, I wonder which ‘hook’ reeled me in to the corporate machine.

 Its most likely you can remember the engaging television commercials for the iPod yourself, depicting black silhouettes dancing in front of a vibrant colored background with the iPod and headphones in white to contrast, with one of those unforgettable buzz songs, a legendary rock ballad, a corny 50’s pop sensation or perhaps the latest high-riser in the charts at the time. Was it this that got the brand lodged in our brains, or was it simply the curious name ‘iPod’, ‘I’ creating the idea of our very own experience and what music means to us from our own unique perspective?

 Now the tech world embraces the brand spanking new Apple iPhone 4S, but just what exactly is it? The iPhone 4S combines the latest commercially available technology and delivers it into the hands of the public.       Containing a colossal 16-64 gigabytes of memory on board, the iPhone 4S is an advanced slate touchscreen Smartphone which has been penned to replace the preceding model. For the original iPhone, Apple invested in a new application store with programs or ‘apps’ specially designed for use with the new device, which would also eventually be useable on the later models, and subsequently the iPad.

 The existence of the iPhone 4S was confirmed at Apple’s Let’s Talk iPhone conference in California. The event, as with all Apple presentations, gathered the global press and the world’s tech industry specialists to be familiarized with the new piece of kit and its features. The key new features which Apple revealed were the addition of a virtual intelligence assistant called Siri, to which the user can speak to organize and plan events, as well as enable voice control of the device’s numerous functions. Apart from Siri, the iPhone 4S also comes with an improved camera which is capable of filming 1080p HD video, and links with Apple’s new iCloud service. All of this comes at a price of course, as the 64GB version costs £699. Taking into account the rather large price tag, why is the Apple brand so consistently dominant?

 Besides the inevitable fashion surrounding Apple’s products there is also a high technical standard as their popular iPod range currently boasts one of the most effective reputations for quality, a reputation perhaps Apple are relying upon with the launch of the iPhone 4S.

 While techies are wowed by the spec of the new iPhone, sometimes it takes more than numbers and words to win over the consumer market. Its most likely we can expect an intensely visual marketing approach from Apple, an echo perhaps of the eye-catching iPod television campaign that manipulated the media into simply accepting the iPod as a ‘must have’ fashion accessory. Is it possible that all of this media attention was responsible for Apple selling 100 million units in the iPod brand’s first six years?

 Of course there are those who strongly oppose Apple’s domination of the market, in fact there is a whole Facebook group named ‘I Hate Apple’ hosting several thousand members. Apple is certainly not short of controversy when it comes to rival products it seems.

  Although Apple has had a very successful run in the electronics industry, competitors HTC are slowly beginning to increase sales of their range of Android smartphones, perhaps because of their more affordable price. Despite competitors’ sales increasing, Apple still has an enormous lead on other electronics manufacturers. With Apple constantly upgrading and improving its designs, much anticipation surrounds the company and speculation is rife on what kind of product will be released next and what unique features it will boast.

 So what exactly is it about Apple’s products is it that such a large proportion of the public are interested in? Is it the aesthetic appeal of the product, the compact technology that is incorporated into each design, or is the popularity of the products simply down to clever marketing and the unfaltering dedication of an addicted population?

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