When Apple introduced the iPod, it wasn’t a one of a kind product. Creative had introduced their Jukebox model of hard drive based mp3 player over a year before Apple had dreamed up their legendary little piece of consumer electronic brilliance, and many flash based mp3 players littered the market at the time.
However, nobody was really buying mp3 players until Apple threw its hat into the ring.
Why? It certainly wasn’t brand loyalty, at least not at the time. Vice-versa; the iPod has inspired much more brand loyalty than it initially benefited from.
It was style. The iPod was more user-friendly, cooler, and better looking than the competition. It wasn’t an all-tech gadget; it had an easy-to-use interface, games, and only a few buttons. The iPod took the hard drive based mp3 players market to the next level by making it accessible to the general public.
Now that Apple’s announced the iPhone, you can bet that they have the capacity to do it again.
There are plenty of so-called “smart phones” on the market; phones that not only provide their basic and somewhat boring use, but rather have tons of additional computerlike features such as Internet browsing and advanced text messaging capabilities. The iPhone is different from business models like the Palm Treo or even the niche phones like the Sidekick II because it’s not made for a small group of people; it’s made for everyone. It’s got features that would make most laptops cry; scalable web browsing, GPS on par with a TomTom or similar device, an mp3 and video player which easily integrates with Apple’s iTunes store, and a fairly modest price point for the technology at around $400.
Apple has kept the user interface simple and to the point; the iPhone has a touch screen that appears intuitive and brilliant, and the aesthetic of the devices just makes you want to play with one as soon as possible.
Sure, there are other devices that offer some of the same functionality, but Apple’s the first company to really come out with a smart phone that has market presence. In fact, the iPhone is the first smart phone to step out of the tech-snob shadow and establish itself-even before its release-as a product with mass-market appeal. It’s cool, slick, and priced affordably.
Apple recently changed their company name from Apple Computers to Apple, Inc., to reflect their focus on consumer electronics rather than the dustier field of home computing. With products like the iPhone, Apple’s going to do just fine-it’s impossible not to want one of these things.