What makes Apple successful? Great design? Good software? Fun ads with dancing silhouettes? Steve Jobs’ presentation skills ? Definitely. This is what keeps its rabid fan-base fully stocked with ammunition to aim at the rest of the planet that “just doesn’t get it”.
Interestingly, Apple aficionados might not be appreciative of the shiny ones most valuable skill: its ability to change. Or more to the point, its ability to sell change.
Indeed, the switch to Intel wasn’t the easiest pill for many to swallow, especially after numerous nights spent dismissing the chips as inferior to their PowerPC competitors. But, after Steve Jobs’ latest laser-guided keynote, it seems that Apple’s new offensive is one to be reckoned with and that change, even this drastic, is good.
You can get away with changing your mind if you can prove that your new train of thought is beneficial. The more popular you are, surprisingly, the harder it becomes as people have not only agreed with you but put their reputation behind your words. You change your mind, they need to change theirs.
So how does Apple manage that? For one, they’ve got a benevolent dictator running the show. Steve Jobs’ is not known for being a nice guy, he’s known for getting things done and getting people behind him. He’s responsible, he’s got a track record and he’s telling you that’s how it’s going to be. Period.
Secondly, Apple has a strong “change creds”. While it isn’t every day that they move to Intel’s or call you to run Windows on their machines, Apple has shown that taking big steps in a new direction can yield big results. When Apple decided to build a digital music player it sounded like madness, and while it’s been a far bigger success than even the ever optimistic Jobs would have anticipated, the world was taught never to underestimate Apple again.
“We’ve been trying to shoehorn a G5 into a PowerBook. We’ve tried everything.”—Steve Jobs’ 2006 keynote.
Lastly, if told honestly the idea makes sense. Not at first. Not when you imagine opening up a Mac to find your old PC in it. But once you stop hyperventilating and listen, it makes sense. And making sense is what Apple is good at. From Jobs’ keynotes to its common-sense marketing the message is (mostly) honest and easy to pass along. New MacBook? “4x faster”, new iMac? “2x faster”.
Just like that, the switch to Intel becomes a good idea, good news for consumers. Apple’s way of conveying their change has led to people talking about “faster machines”, “cheaper products” and “more choice” and removed them from developing conspiracy theories about how Intel strong armed them into making the switch or that it’s a last ditch attempt at survival. Apple’s latest offensive is, once again, perfectly executed.