Ever since the unveiling of the new iPhone, people have been going crazy on the internet, trying to mock Apple fans and users and criticising Apple for their apparent lack of innovation, which was once their forte. The internet has flooded with memes, trolls and technical comparisons between Apple and every other phone maker to show how the new iPhone is uninteresting, shockingly expensive, un-innnovative and remarkably late.
The day after Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Watch, I had an interesting discussion with a friend.
Me: Hey, saw the new iPhone?
Sam (sung): Yea, it’s pathetic.
Me: Really? Why?
Sam: Yea man, nothing new in it. Huge waste of time and money.
Me: Time? How is it a waste of time?
Sam: I don’t know man. It just is.
Me: Nah, I like Apple and their products. I think I want to buy it.
Sam: Dude are you crazy? What’s gotten into you? You’re gonna buy an Apple product?
Me (a little apprehensive): Yea, why?
Sam: Dude, they are so pricey and they have nothing new. They can’t innovate.
Me: Perhaps. Perhaps there is nothing new and there hasn’t been much innovation. But I like their products anyway.
Sam: No man, how can you like their products when there are other products in the market? There are tons of other makers that have the same features. Haven’t you been active on social media? All the sites say that there is nothing new in the iPhone, so it must be true.
Me: Really? How does that work? People post what they want to and it becomes true? Don’t I have my own choice?
Sam: Dude, Apple fans are dumb.
Me: Oh, is it? (waving my iPhone 5s in his face) Thanks for letting me know (with every bit of sarcasm intended).
Sam (a little awkwardly): Oh, I mean you are not dumb but other people are dumb.
Me: Because they are fans of Apple and buy Apple products?
Sam: Yea. Apple products are so expensive.
Me: They have money. They like the product. They buy it. It’s really that simple. Why does it have to get more complicated than that?
Sam: No dude, there are cheaper alternatives. Google, Samsung, Nokia, HTC and many more… They are all cheaper and have more features and everything is just better.
Me: Why doesn’t personal choice play a role in purchasing decisions? How does it matter if there are alternatives? They don’t want the alternatives even if they are cheaper. It is just a matter of choice, isn’t it?
Sam: But Apple is expensive and a waste of money. You can spend that money on an international trip somewhere instead of spending on that phone. Invest in a basic phone and go to Thailand with the rest of the money instead of buying iPhone 6.
Me: But money isn’t a matter to them. They can buy an iPhone and still go to Thailand and Morocco and Mauritius and wherever. So what’s the problem?
Sam: Why would someone invest in expensive stuff when one has cheaper stuff to do the same thing?
Me: Because they can…and want to???
Sam: Doesn’t make sense to me.
Me: Says the guy who drives a Ferrari, wears Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and owns Bang & Olufsen earphones !!! What happened to Toyota and Ray Ban and Sennheiser? Aren’t they cheaper alternatives?
Sam: Well, yea, but…I mean…it’s different.
Me: Nothing is different. It is just personal choice. Wouldn’t it be wiser if we let people make their own choice? Do we need to categorise and characterise people based on their purchasing behaviour? How do we decide the smartness level of an individual based on what he buys?
Sam: Umm…but umm…hmm…
Me: When you buy a Ferrari because you like it, you become ‘cool’. If I buy the new iPhone because I like it, how do I become dumb? I like Apple as a company anyway. The world’s largest company by market capitalisation, it is also one of my favourites for market positioning.
But hey, you’re right. Who am I to neglect the “obvious” truth? Who am I to say anything about it? Who am I to have my own choice? I have no stand in the matter. I have no preferences. After all, I’m just a “dumb” Apple fan.