Editorial: Can Aussies break out of Apple’s tight grip on our purchasing tendencies?
Walk down any street and you will see people on their iPhones. Look around any university lecture and chances are you will see more Macs than any other computer. Stroll around your gym and see how everyone’s ears are filled with a distinctive white earphone. Australians, and much of the western world, love Apple. Is there a reason that despite the small number of Apple devices in the face of a growing Android army, people still choose to go with the fruit?
We have all owned at least one Apple product at one stage in our lives, but ask yourself — why did I buy it? I bought my 15” MacBook Pro because I wanted a powerful laptop with a good battery and a 64-Bit operating system, and no other manufacturer produced a computer that I thought was good enough. My sister, who is a few years younger was given the base-model 15”, which she chose “because it is pretty”. And that’s it! One of the major reasons that people still choose to purchase Apple products is because they are pretty. Read Steve Jobs’ biography and you will know how important visual appeal was to the man. It was, and remains the cornerstone of the company’s strategy. Don’t shoot me for saying this, but I am still yet to see an Android product that can measure up to the clean lines and simple design of an iPhone or iPad. Until an Android does, and can achieve the same status as a beautiful status symbol, I don’t think Android will enjoy the same notoriety in Australia as it does in the US.
If you have ever purchased something from an Apple Store, you will know that it’s an experience. The stores are beautiful, the products are on display and the staff are helpful and incredibly cool and geeky at the same time. No Android device shares the same experience. Android phones are only available online or from carriers who do not offer new users the same experience that has the ability to break down the walls that stop users from moving from their old Nokia to a smartphone. Apple Stores make people feel comfortable, providing personal setup and workshops to help novice users to use the devices. When I first picked up my first Android tablet, I remember remarking at how I wish such a service was available to me as I moved from a computer or iPad to a completely new GUI. Granted, Microsoft have opened up their strangely similar Microsoft Stores in the US, but Apple are the only smartphone manufacturer that has a retail presence in Australia, and I think that until Android devices can be tested, played with and taught in a similar environment, Australians will still be attracted to the more comforting Apple universe. Finally, the word ‘App’. The Apple App Store was the first of its kind. The word ‘App’ has become synonymous with iOS. All those stories on A Current Affair featuring teenage kids making their fortunes on iOS apps have ingrained in the minds of the general public that Apps run on iPhone.
So can the Apple stranglehold on Australian consumers be broken? Yes. Make Android more accessible . Set up an environment where new users can feel comfortable and learn about the devices in a warm and welcoming environment. Make Android devices look worth what they cost. The look of textured panels, bezels and panels looks cool to teenage boys, but there is a whole other world of consumers out there. And popularize Google Play. Put the name into the forefront of the consumer’s mind so they are as likely to go to the App Store as they are to go to Google Play for the app they desire.
I invite all of you to comment with your thoughts and opinion on the matter. Please feel free to post them below.