Say what you will about Apple, love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit they have a special magic when it comes to creating gadgets that consumers clamor for. They have a unique mix of design, build-up and marketing that when combined drive popularity and sales in huge numbers. People have to have these devices. They line up for days outside of Apple Stores. This is no ordinary curiosity. They create a lust for their products.
The next in line is the iPad. Now, I haven't held one in my hands yet, but I've seen enough to know that the key ingredients of the Apple recipe are there. What I don't get is how they always seem to produce devices that everyone else could have, but didn't.
Apple products look, feel and (generally) work great. They are intuitive to use. They feel good in your hands. They have a cool factor that no other manufacturer seems to be able to match. The iPhone was not the first touch screen phone, but it was the one that is most oft imitated.
In a couple of weeks, we will see the first iPads, yet another product that everyone could have produced, yet Apple somehow beat the market again. There will be other similar products, no doubt, but once Apple has everyone's attention, it's hard for other manufactures to be heard.
The Big Build-up
My friend and colleague Joe Brockmeier lamented in a blog post earlier this year about how Twitter goes nuts every time the Apple Store web site goes down, seemingly falling for this tactic time and again. The implication of course is that a big announcement will follow (which is not always the case), but it proves a bigger point. Apple knows how to manipulate the publicity machine and it does it better than perhaps any company out there.
No other product examplifies this build up more than the iPad. We heard rumors of it for almost two years. People were screaming for this thing long before it existed. Stories about its size, price, and abilities were widely discussed before Apple had it's big iPad show in January.
The Marketing Machine
And once that product is out there, the famed Apple marketing machine goes into gear. Apple makes great commercials. Microsoft tries so hard in this regard, but they always come off a little gawky, a tad awkward and not altogether sure of themselves. Apple on the other hand, comes off as cool, collected and ready to sell. You are convinced you want this thing.
The funny thing is that Apple is trying to get you to buy in to their proprietary system. The fact is that the web is perfectly suited to handle many of the functions that are currently being handled in Apple's proprietary App world and development platform. Yet we can't get enough of their stuff. We just gotta have it. And the iPad is the latest in the parade of products. And chances are, it's going to be just as successful. They just seem to have a way.