The promise of value for some brands is like a siren’s call: tantalizing, almost sinful, or too powerful. A few brands receive an almost cult-like following from their customers; yet, it seems that their promise of value is far greater than what they actually deliver. Yet, customers don’t mind. One such brand is Apple and I will admit that I have spent a lot of money recently on Apple products.

As you probably know, Apple has just released its new iPhone which claims to be an all-in-one solution replacing your cell phone, PDA, and iPod. The hype is so big right now that they are immediately sold out at all Apple stores. Waiting lists are forming. CEO Steve Jobs has already declared the iPhone a financial success.

While this is not a product review for the iPhone, let’s take a quick look at it:

– It only works with Cingular which is very limiting.
– It is very expensive at $600.00 (I think this is why Jobs has declared it a financial success).
– There is no keyboard, instead it has touch screen which is very tricky to operate or so I am told.
– It has a very limited memory for storing complex video files! Unbelievable.
– No removable battery; what happens after that battery gives out?
– No exchange server access which means no corporate emails for business users.

So, who needs this device? Not me or my business friends, but I fear my children will need it desperately. My three kids already have iPods and MacBooks. They are drunk with the Apple “Kool-Aid” and are full fledged cult members. For them, Apple is cool or hip and the opposite of what Dad does (I use a Blackberry and a Windows based PC).

Why does Apple have this loyal brand following? They weren’t first with the iPod; the first place honor goes to Eiger Labs and Rio. Ever heard of them? Is the Apple MacBook a better laptop than my PC? My son repeatedly uses my PC because his Mac is too slow, so I guess not. Is the iPhone superior to my Blackberry? Not from my perspective.

Apple is different and different is cool. Consider the Apple advertisement which compares the Mac to the PC. The “Mac guy” is good looking and hip, while the “PC guy” is a total geek (like me). The Mac guy talks about simplicity and making things easier for the customer, while the PC guy keeps referring to rules and add-on software that you have to buy.

Being different is the essence of the Apple brand. It is about rebellion, alternatives, and the “cool” status comes with it. That promise is worth buying for many people including my three kids.

Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2006 All rights reserved.
My new book “First, Best, or Different” is now available at!
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