Apple's quarterly earnings report came out the other day and in spite of the economy and Steve Jobs' health and everything else, Apple blew away their quarterly projections.

How do you think they keep doing it? What makes people keep buying their products in spite of the economic climate that would suggest people wouldn't be spending money on luxury gadgets?

I plan on blogging about this in the next few days, but I would love to her your opinions on how Apple keeps on going and going like the Energizer Bunny.

Ron Miller
DaniWeb TechTreasures by Ron Miller Blog

Probably for the same reason that some people tend to get fat when the economy is bad--because people are stressed and they look to relieve that stress by eating; the technology equivalent of overeating is overspending on gadgets. Apple gadgets generally deliver what they promise and the high prices for many of them puts them in an exclusive club. Where apple users are concerned, technology is viewed as art. If someone sees you holding an iphone, suddenly you appear more fashionable and in the know than if you have a razor in your hand. When apple roles out with gadgets, generally they offer some ridiculously game changing feature and some jetson-like, industrially engineered art like appearance (you can thank Johnny Ives for that) which starkly contrasts against products competing against it (think of an iphone compared with a palm treo or noakia e75), such that comparing the two is like parking a saleen s7 next to a ford mustang.

Beyond the appeal of the gadget and its feature set, I truly believe that people wouldn't buy them if they didn't work and work well. What I try to explain to non mac users as to why I like apple devices is that when I use their hardware and software, on all levels I am spending less energy. Apple understands the total user experience cost of energy and engineers their devices to minimize this at all possible levels, so productivity and comfort shine through. So think about how much energy you spend with a scroll wheel mouse on windows xp or vista trying to surf the web. The text is too small and you want to zoom. So you have to move your mouse and navigate menus. That takes energy. Or you use the ctrl + scroll feature to zoom in. Or you have to remember to use the special scroll feature area of your trackpad if you have one. That takes energy. What about laying on your bed with a very light mac laptop and a multitouch gesture pad, where all you have to do is spread your fingers apart gently to zoom the text, or tap two fingers and move down gently to scroll. Or swipe three fingers left to go back or right to go forward in history? What about the shiney flashy, ad covered PC laptop that you hold in your hand? How much energy do you spend just being distracted by it and taking in all of the colors and noise in the form of advertisements (INTEL, NVIDIA, ASUS, AMD, CORE DUO, LOL!!!!!11). Or a popup appears on your screen while you're typing in your password while you're looking down at the keyboard, taking over your text input, and suddenly you're typing a password to your friend in an aim convo without realizing it. What about a computer that you have to worry about it slowing down over time, so you constantly run defrag and virus scanners and malware checkers because you've been beaten down over the years with the many iterations of windows to do just that to maintain pc health? How many times do you have to reboot (my uptime right now is 21 days). Some of these things are hardware philosophies, some are software design philosophies. All of them together add up to a positive user experience, where your time is maximized and you are not constantly being robbed of mental effort to try and use your device. Maybe this is what mac users mean by "It just works".

Why is any of this important? In tough economic times, people are busy enough as it is just trying to make due, working as much as they have to, stressed enough from their daily experiences, that they just don't want to have to work more than they have to, especially not when they're trying to unwind. As an IT professional, if I spend all day working on my PC at work, developing software, dealing with errors, reading work emails, clicking through annoying dialogs, and trying to fix problems, I don't want to come home to the same thing. I want something different that is easy to use and works as advertised. I want something that is also entertaining and reliable (same reason race shop mechanics with long commutes don't drive corvettes to work 60 miles a day--they drive ford focuses, or some beater [bad comparison on a value scale, but utility wise I want to drive home the point], something that is reliable and that they don't have to worry about).

Also apple does a very good job of making IT, computers and the internet fun again. They build suspense with their intense secrecy and make every product reveal seem like christmas day. They incite a cult following with their attention to detail and enthusiasm about the technology that inspired the computer generation we're partaking in. For people like me that are burnt out on the daily grind of IT, software dev, etc, they spark and rekindle that fire that went out many years ago when the innocence of the computer age wore off and the reality of computers and internet as "just another tool in life" began to set in. They keep the hacker spirit alive, for a price of 30-40% over cost. Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Plato believed that for man the ultimate good was happiness and that all decisions of man were guided by this goal. Why do we work hard, so we can be happy. Why do we spend our money on things we don't need, so we can be happy. Why is it a surprise that in times when money is scarce, the little money people have they will spend it on the things that make them happy? If spending money makes people happy and if people are spending money on macintosh, then our good friend modus ponens tells us that apple is making people happy. If it becomes a religious following for some people, well it's no more absurd than the organized religions we have right now. People just want something to love and believe in, and be apart of something larger than themselves, to steal a line from JMS. Or maybe you can ignore all of that cool stuff I said and chalk it up to the jingling keys and baby effect.

Just my $.02 right or wrong. Linux and Windows users may flame away and cry fanboy.


I have just regestersd as a brand new member and ran across your comments on Apple products. I also just won a bank promotion for a MacBook. It came and I am amazed at the quality and workmanship and can now agree with everthing you said. All my current computer toys have been Windows based and anything Apple was totally foreign to me. Now I'm looking forward to learning Snow Leopard. I may become a convert.

Welcome to the club pynetree. Check out and for your daily doses of apple news ;-) Also google for the mac tips and tricks widget that you can add to your dashboard. Some good software recommendations for your mac are Growl Mail, Growl Tunes and Adium (which is like trillian). Also symbl is good and turns your terminal into a quake console like shortcut.