Monday, August 23, 2004

An Apple Customer 

Finding myself in need of a WiFi router, I went out and got myself an Airport Express this weekend. It's more expensive than a product that would simply fulfill my needs here, but given my incredibly great experience with the iPod, there was never any question in my mind that I would go to Apple for this.

The device is wonderful, of course. It comes in a stylish package similar to that of the iPod; a sky blue fold-open box contains the device nestled inside and the disks and manuals are in a little paper folder on the other side. I simply can't bring myself to throw away the box for Apple products. It's not the usual piece of crap that is filled with partitions, empty space, and useless slips of paper (manuals, rebate offers, and ads) sliding about, which you must dig through and half-destroy to get your stuff.

In fact, that pretty much describes the box my ugly, clunky DSL modem came in. Apple, can you possibly design your next version of Airport Express to have a DSL and/or cable modem built right in, so I can get rid of that awful piece of junk and its associated wires? My modem is big, but it's feather-light and obviously full of empty space. I would gladly buy the Airport Express again in a year if you would do this for me.

This burning desire I have to give Apple more money makes me reflect on their current direction. In the past six months, I have bought nearly $500 worth of goods from Apple for myself (more if you count presents). I have managed to avoid purchasing any services from them, but walking to the record store 6 blocks away is starting to feel more and more like a chore these days and I don't know if I'll hold off forever. A year ago, I hadn't been responsible for a dime of their revenue since before 1996. I had no reason to give Apple any money at all. Now, not only am I buying whatever electronics I can from them, but I find myself standing in their stores as I do so, thinking, "I mostly just use the web, iTunes, and AIM...this Mac would make all those much nicer."

The fact that Apple now has several ways to make money off of someone like me, who is firmly in the PC camp and almost certain to stay there for the foreseeable future, is a good thing for them. The market seems to agree, just check out their stock: it's doubled in price in the past year or so. Note that Apple announced the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003, an event that is clearly reflected in the stock. This looks even better when you compare it to the stock market's performance for the same period: Apple has outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite. In fact, compare it to just about anyone: Microsoft, Sun, IBM, Intel. Obviously, we shouldn't read too much into this, and it would be idiotic to suggest that this is the beginning of some road to domination for Apple. Nonetheless, the fact that the market seems to think Apple is twice as valuable as it was a year ago is significant and impressive, and I think it largely reflects Apple's success in finding ways to sell things to more people than it was a year ago.

If I had $500/month of pure disposable, already-maxed-out-IRA-and-401k-contribution goodness, you could be rest assured I'd be a big old Apple customer.
blasphame! i actually remember the day you swore off apple products.

glad to see you are returning to the fold, if even just
a little.

i *would* get a mac at some point, but several key things i do *only* run on windows, so that issue puts the idea to death.
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