There’s something I don’t understand. I mean, I’m a smart guy. Not brilliant, but I’m not a moron either. I’m certainly no student of human nature, but there is this thing that people do – a lot of people – that I just do not understand and I will likely never understand. It’s been going on for years, almost a decade now, and it just doesn’t make a lick of sense. It didn’t back then. It doesn’t now.
Why do people buy Apple products? (Oh no he didn’t! Oh yes he did.)
That’s a pretty simplistic and troll-like way of saying that, but at the end of the day, I just don’t get it. I haven’t gotten it since the day roughly ten years ago that my wife told me one of the things she wanted for Christmas was an iPod.
“Oh, an MP3 player?”
“No, an iPod.”
It was by that means that the only Apple product owned by a Doud crossed the threshold of my dwelling. But in all fairness, we hadn’t gotten married yet, therefore it wasn’t technically owned by a Doud. Technicality gold right there.
Where am I going with this? Well, let me tell you. Last week, Tim Cook took to the stage and introduced us to a gaggle of new products, among which was the new iPad mini with….wait for it….RETINADISPLAYOHMYGOD! It could be yours for the small inkling of a price – $400, also known as seventy dollars more than the last iPad mini.
Considering the major upgrade in display and processor, seventy dollars isn’t bad. Until you consider the fact that we live in a world which already has a tablet with comparable display, memory, processor, speed, apps, and weight for 57.5 percent of the cost. Indeed, I am referring to the Nexus 7 tablet.
OMG! That’s like, totally Android right? Yes, that’s totally Android. And it’s a perfectly viable alternative to a tablet that is twice the cost. In fact, it’s so much an alternative it should price its rival, the iPad mini, into obsolescence. But there are droves and droves of otherwise really intelligent and competent human beings out there that will line up for a tablet with a half-eaten fruit on the back. I’ll give you a little anecdote to illustrate my point.
On the day of the iPad mini’s announcement, I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine. He’s a networking guru who has forgotten more about computers than you or I will ever know. He wanted to get iPad minis for his daughters. He was less than thrilled about the original iPad mini’s resolution, so he was waiting for retina. So I asked him, “Now that the iPad mini is priced insanely high and you can get the Nexus 7 for half the cost you’re not getting the mini’s I’m guessing.”
“No, we’re still getting them.”
“Well, we already have the apps.”
“You can re-buy all of them on Android, six or seven times if you really wanted to, and you’d still save $100 each.”
“Well, what if the girls ask me how to do something and I don’t know how to do it on Android?”
“Ok well, first of all, you’re an IT professional who has handled processes far more complicated than anything Android could throw at you for almost two decades now. If you don’t know how to do it, it ain’t worth doing. And second of all, it’s a Google tablet. GOOGLE IT!”
And that’s when it dawned on me. It’s the fruit. It has to be. There is no other explanation.
Maybe I’m just not keyed in to the Apple experience. There is no amount of smoothness nor simplicity that is worth opening my wallet twice as wide. It’s been like this since the beginning of Apple’s rise to popularity. It’s a situation that has been attacked with some success by competing platforms offering mid and low tier devices. More importantly it has been undermined by overwhelming specifications on same-price devices.
This has been called the “Apple tax” for as long as I can remember. It’s absolutely mind-blowing to me that anyone on this Earth and in this economy would buy an iPad mini and pay the Apple tax simply because it’s Apple. The only good reason that I can conceive of is if a consumer has heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem. And by “heavily” I’m talking “aircraft carrier heavy” heavily.
If that’s the case, iTunes, and its content purchasing ecosystem could be a compelling reason to stay. It could be more than just apps. Music, movies, and books all tie into that same platform. Being handcuffed by a vast library of this content could be a reason to stay on the platform, but even if that’s the case, the consumer has just dug themselves into a hole and an iPad mini will only get them deeper. This is why I prefer more platfom agnostic content such as Amazon Kindle or Netflix. Just because I use a Windows Phone now doesn’t mean I always will.
At the end of the day, I can’t stop folks from burning money. If it’s that important to you, then I invite you to light your cigars with $100 bills and I will bless you for it. But I reserve the right to slap my forehead in your presence and file you away with “Cardinals fans”. That’s if I’m feeling particularly polite. Spoiler alert: that’s not often.
Leader Image source: Phone Arena