iPad: Rotten Apple?

by endlesspsych

Steve Jobs riding to the job centre?

is the iPad the new C5?

The iPad is an odd creature – apparently meant to fill the void between laptops and iPhones: a device that is intended to fill this void but has less functionality  than both laptops and iPhones.

To fill a void I don’t recall anyone mentioning before…

It has led to a predictable clash of those who like the new shiny apple toy and those who look at it and think “what’s the point?”

For the record I am in the latter camp.

Maybe I’m just too pragmatic but it seems to me an unnessecary luxury purchase at best and a product perhaps destined to become as much of a white elephant as the Sinclair C5 and Betamax at worst… (As my shoddy Photoshop above is meant to convey!)

Thats all very fine and well but what I find interesting from a psychological perspective is the justifications people are coming up with after their initial “ohhhhhhhh must have new shiny thing” macgasm has expired:

“It’s the perfect sofa computer”

“People only really use laptops for checking email and web surfing anyway”

“Look I just want one ok?!?”

Peoples reactions to the iPads limitations and the disparity between functionality and price has been the most interesting thing. I would say that apple have pulled off a bit of a marketing coup.

Although I still hold that if one takes an example from  Nassim Nicholas Talebs’ The Black Swan: specifically Yevgenia Nikolayevna Krasnovas’ second novel… Well it’s by no means certain the iPad will succeed… (Ok the example doesn’t nessecarily hold true – it’s not a black swan although I can be forgiven for thinking such things having been surrounded by Apple fanatics for most of today)!

An Apple Dreamcast? Perhaps… (The name has already raised eyebrows see here the image should sum it up).

However if Apple have pulled off a marketing coup by what principles can we understand it psychologically?

Well for an explanation lets return to the work of Robert Cialdini, PhD and his weapons of influence.

I reckon commitment and consistency is the main thrust behind peoples desire for the iPad: On the one hand apple fanatics have committed to the corporation and will consistently covet, salivate over and perhaps eventually buy the latest product with the aspirational apple logo on it regardless. On the other hand a more subtle form of consistency and commitment is probably at work also. An individual sees the iPad and thinks “ooh shiny – I’d like that” and then justifies to themselves internally (perhaps with a little help from the apple hype machine) reasons why this gadget they don’t need is in fact something they must have. They commit themselves to liking the product and consistently allow their wish for it to grow – in a manner not perhaps dissimilar to cognitive dissonance they deflect criticism of the product and invent more reasons why it will be the best thing since sliced bread…

More succintly Apple just have to let people create the demand and desire themselves.  Which they appear to be doing quite readily…

It is perhaps for the best that Apple has it’s evangelical and fanatical proselytisers who probably do more for apple via the influence weapon:social proof then any of their adverts ever could… Especially if they look like the one below:

But enough looking back at 80’s adverts and LOLing heartily let us return to the apple fanatics – apple has achieved a quite impressive level of brand loyalty and managed to make computers cool; To make them sexy and desirable rather than tools that we have to use every day to do mundane tasks.  Helped in no small part by the people who use them -Apple products generally sell to people with more money.

People tend to want to ape people with more money (there is a trickle down effect but not in economic terms in terms of fashions,.fads and interestingkly names).

The social proof is in the pudding (to torture an otherwise innocent metaphor) all Apple products are now desirable. Whether or not they actually any use is another matter entirely…