Apple don't need fan boys 27th Dec 2013

As much as I like arguing on the Internet, one thing that irritates me is when people repeatedly claim facts with no basis in reality about why Apple has 'special' advantages sellings it's products that other companies don't have.

These false claims are:

Apple have devoted fans who buy Apple products

The first claim is that Apple have (and have always had) a vast pool of fanboys; people who like Apple products mostly because the fanboys think it is fashionable to like Apple products. It is only because of this pool of fanboys that the iPod and then iPhone became so popular.

This is pretty clearly false. The vast majority of people who have bought iPhones either:

  • use Windows PCs


  • don't own either a Mac or Windows PC - i.e. they're teenagers for whom the iPhone is first internet capable device they've owned.

This can be pretty clearly demonstrated by the number of iPhones sold when compared to the number of Mac PCs that people own. The install base of Mac compputers was 22 million just before the iPhone launched. Seeing as 250 million

iPhone was the first smart phone to the market and so has first mover advantage.

That's not true - Nokia and SonyEricsson had many smart phones which are functionally equivalent to an iPhone (i.e. name something the iPhone 1 can do that the Nokia smart phones released at that time couldn't do).

In the period when these phones were released from early 2000s to when the iPhone went on sale in 2007, they sold in relatively large but not huge numbers.

Even though these phones were out for many years before the iPhone, they didn't sell in huge numbers because they were absolutely shite. As soon as someone who had a Nokia/SE smart phone tried an iPhone,

All their products look good and that's why people buy them.

That is a legitimate observation about Apple but it's not just looks; it's the whole design of the user experience.

Other companies are free to spend the money on design required to make their products as shiny as Apple products look. What amazes me is that other companies don't seem to be able to match this user experience of the product even though they've got the iPhone buying and using experience in front of them to copy.

Apple spends more on marketing than other companies

Nope. Although Apple does have highly noticeable adverts which are also pretty memorable* (which helps with the perception that they have more marketing than advertising than other companies), other companies are the ones that are spending huge amounts of cash to promote their lack-lustre products.

Yes, I'm particularly referring to both Microsoft which has just spent $900 million for their Windows 8 Surface tablets which sold a whopping 2 million units in the first year, and Samsung who spend vastly more on advertising than Apple.

You're allowed your own opinions, not your own facts

As I said, I do appreciate having a good ---argument--- discussion about why Apple is so succesful with people on the internet. However one requirement for it to be an 'discussion' is that the set of facts has to be roughly agreed upon.

If the set of basic facts can't be agreed upon, then there's no point trying to have a discussion. Either you or the person you're trying to have the discussion with (or both of you) are perceiving reality incorrectly, and there's no way that you'll be able to persuade the other with a rational discussion.

  • The current set of Apple ads are noticeable for two things:

i) The audio is really, really quiet, leading to a very calming effect, which is highly unusual in adverts, and in clear contrast to Microsoft's adverts which always seek to be as energetic as physiologically possible.

ii) They show people using the product, with almost no other explanation about the product, which ties back into Apple products being so functionally obvious and easy to use, that people can understand what they do just from simple visual demos.

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