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Apple has something in the air

Apple has something in the air

Ology is a suffix denoting a field of study or academic discipline. Appleologists, as mentioned in Ars Technica, would therefore be people who study the field of Apple. Contrary to logic and belief, there are many who could fit this description.

As the buzz about Macworld 2008, Apple’s annual party, builds, the air is full of speculation about what new products will be announced. After all, the iPhone was born a year ago. What will it be this year?

The latest hype in the ‘Apple media’ concerns the first banners being put up at the conference venue in San Francisco. He says: ‘2008 There’s something in the air’. What could that refer to? Could the new laptops to be announced be so light they could float? Images of Muhammad Ali’s ‘Float Like a Butterfly’ come to mind.

It’s possibly another great handheld device that is a cross between a PDA, a phone, a movie-watching device, a sound machine, and a camera. You know what I mean, don’t you?

Or maybe it has more to do with wireless technology and convergence. And remember that if you do the convergence thing right, you have the right to call it Convergence 2.0. As dumb as Web 2.0 surely. It’s all a progression after all. Moving on, I’ve ranted about it before.

Apple has perfected the art of creating buzz and hype. Just think of the rent-a-crowd staff whose sole purpose, it seemed at the time, was to applaud shoppers for their iPhone purchase during launch weekend. Never mind the people who lined up outside the store doors all night enjoying their moment in the spotlight.

On the other hand, of course, it could be an American thing: all the fuss, rah-rah, and the ‘I have to be the first to buy the device’ obsession. iPhones haven’t sold as well in the UK. I’d hazard a guess that the Brits are spoiled with their mobile internet access speed and that non-Apple addicts weren’t as keen on downgrading a funky toy.

Having been an Apple junkie since 1996, that OS did it for me after DOS, I’m aware of and enjoying the speculation. I go to Apple’s website to see the latest ‘I’m a Mac, I’m a PC’ TV commercials! Pathetic I know.

I’ve often wondered how a company like Apple can foster such incredible loyalty among its customers. I’ve never met anyone who appreciates their PC like Mac owners appreciate their computers. Each of my Macs has had a name after my computer is my friend. Okay, worse than pathetic.

The question I ask myself from time to time is at what stage does the company go from being loved to being tolerated and finally to being hated? For me, Google is a company that is beginning to go through these stages. Google’s position among its consumers was pretty good until about a year ago.

Slowly but surely, the mood and sentiment have begun to shift away from the mood of universal love to one of mild mistrust and caution. At what stage will distrust transform into something stronger?

Does it have something to do with the size of the company? People may start to dislike a company when it is making big profits. No one takes notice of little children and what they do. Perhaps mistrust and aversion occur when the company appears to use suspect business ethics. They could also be signs of consumer concern that the company is a monopoly. This could be the reason why you don’t like Microsoft. And if you don’t like it, you certainly don’t like it.

I’ve been noticing for a while now that Apple is starting to head towards the tolerated stage in the love cycle. There are more articles against Apple than before. People in general, whether in blogs or in discussions, start to gossip about Apple.

Apple has been doing some strange things lately. Consumers have not been so pleased that the iPhone came with a mandatory service provider contract. So Apple knocked $200 off the iPhone not even three months after it launched.

And then Leopard, the new operating system, is doing some weird things on a Mac near you. In other words, contrary to Apple’s promises to simply plug and play, Leopard isn’t working well.

Is Apple starting to become a bully because it can afford it? Maybe you’re no longer the hipster kid on the block who churns out some wonderful tools and toys. Of course, he too has had his share of Edsels. Time will tell about that. Meanwhile, I wonder what’s in the air.

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