Annmarie Hanlon, Lecturer in Marketing and Operations, gives her views on the latest launch of Apple products and discusses why people are so faithful to the global brand.
The launch of new Apple products is always cleverly executed. There is an online leak, some sneak previews of images and a big VIP party, shared online. This builds anticipation and excitement that ensures demand outstrips supply within hours.
So why such hype? In a mobile addiction era, why do we need a newer smartphone?
I have to confess that my mobile journey started with the type of phone that was so big that a battery pack was needed. I moved on to a ‘smaller phone’ that was the size of a house brick and, eventually, I owned one of the first flip phones.
When in 2006 the first iPhone came out, it was a revolution in design. Sleek, easy to use and a great conversation at parties, never before had a mobile phone been passed around among friends and strangers. People wanted to pick up the phone to check its weight, look at the touchscreen keyboard and marvel at the app collection.
In the early days there was a market in empty iPhone boxes. They were so well designed and snug-fitting to protect the contents without the usual extra padding. The design was so well-considered that there was no wasted space. The packaging felt like a team had spent a year perfecting the details. In fact, they probably did.
The new iPhone is more than a phone. It has become essential office technology. It holds our databases, diaries, provides emails and enables contact with friends and family via social networking apps.
And, yes, it can be used to make telephone calls too, as well as holding boarding cards, being a wallet and functioning as an exercise tracker.
The Apple brand is the whole concept; the adored product, the clever packaging and the polished promotion.
So it’s no longer a phone. Apple has created a life organiser.
And, as life evolves, every 14 to 18 months a new iPhone is launched. Each iteration of the iPhone has added greater efficiency and effectiveness.
The iPhone 7 marks 10 years of Apple’s mobile development. The new phone is sleeker, less complex and had greater focus on health. Size-wise, the phone is the same but battery life has increased, the camera has improved and it is waterproof.
However, the new phone is not without its critics. The headphone socket has gone, which means plug-in headphones must be attached via an adaptor to the lightening port. But how many people now use Bluetooth accessories? For some years, Apple offered students Beats wireless headphones as an added extra. In hindsight, this seems to have been a strategic intent – ensuring the brand followers didn’t feel the impact of the headphone socket removal.
Along with new versions of the iPhone, 2015 heralded the start of the Apple Watch. Unsurprisingly, 16 months later, series II was launched, just days after the iPhone.
Sharing many improvements with the iPhone, the series II Watch is water resistant, has a longer battery life, and significantly enhanced health functionality. It’s slightly bigger to accommodate the bigger battery and the screen view is enhanced in bright outdoor light.
Apple has managed to reduce the risk of ownership with a significant second hand market. ‘Pre loved’ Apple phones and watches appeared on auction and resale sites within hours of the new launch. Apple has created an additional market with late majority buyers eager to own the brand.
A brand is a promise. Apple promises fun, functionality and in the new devices, greater fitness.