Apple has long inspired an almost fanatical loyalty among its customers in a way few companies can match. And the company's iPhone business is absolutely gigantic and brings in profits that are the envy of the smartphone business and many, many other industries. But what makes Apple and its iPhone generate such loyalty among its customers?
I ran across a long and quite illuminating thread about this topic in the MacRumors forum. MacRumors is one of the largest and most popular Apple news sites on the Web, and its forum members are some of Apple's most devoted customers.
I'll share my thoughts about Apple and the iPhone below, but here's a sampling of comments from the thread in the MacRumors forum:
Convergent: ”Easy... its the ecosystem and "it just works" ease of use design model. It has nothing to do with features, price, etc.. Feature chasers are going to choose Android over iOS most times.
My first entry into the Apple world was an iPhone. I resisted for a while, because I was a total smartphone geek and had for 5 years prior to the iPhone introduction had devices that did much more... windows mobile, symbian, palm, etc.. I didn't get it. Then I tried an iPhone and after an adjustment period realized that it didn't do anything new, but the total experience was just so much better... and it was the ecosystem/design model.
After having the iPhone, I decided to give a Mac a try. Then an Apple TV. Then an iPad. Then more of all the above for my family. Now, having something that is not part of the Apple ecosystem that my family and I use just creates tremendous friction. I did have an Android phone for 6 months earlier this year due to a job change... a Galaxy S5... and it was an incredibly frustrating experience. Happy to now be back with iOS. ”
QCassidy352: ”Ecosystem for me also. I want all of my devices to play nicely together, and Apple has made great strides in that area with recent updates (continuity, airdrop, etc). Switching out one device for a non-Apple alternative wouldn't make much sense in the absence of some compelling reason for it.
Which brings me to my second, related point: the iPhone has been a good experience for me since 2007 and gets better each year. Android and Windows phone probably have nice features, but I really don't feel that my iPhone experience is in any way unsatisfactory or lacking, so I'm not about to mess with a good thing. ”
Jetcat3: ”For me it's about sticking up for a company I think is the best. I actually believe the 6s is the fastest, most efficient smartphone money can buy. Really the only way it's possible is by pairing hardware with software and I think Apple does a tremendous job with this. I'm always on Safari and it has been a joy to use on the 5s and 6 Plus (reduced transparency turned on). Really the 6s Plus is the best phone in the word in my eyes, albeit with a less than useful footprint but definitely still manageable. ”
E93to: ”I wouldn't mind trying other phones. As a matter of fact, I would love to. But iCloud lord is in possession of all my schedules, contacts, notes, reminders, etc. it would be a hassle to move all those data to a new phone. Furthermore, those features seamlessly connect with my Mac computers. With other phones, I wouldn't have the same luxury. ”
Zone23: ”The build quality of Apples products all of them not just the iPhone. Also the products all kind of match, I can get them in the same colors I like that. When I pick up another iPhone I know what the icons look like because they are the same. I know were the stuff is in the settings. I know how to use the camera app on another phone, that sort of stuff. Android would say that's boring but for me when someone says I can't turn off a camera filter I know exactly were it is. ”
Soniccrobby: ”I am invested in the ecosystem. My family all use iMessage and FaceTime, which is super convenient when they are a whole continent away. I don't see a reason to switch now and force everyone to get some other apps to communicate.”
GadgetBen: ”I had the first few iPhones and then I got fed up with the small design so I switched to Android when the S3 came out and bought a galaxy tab too. I immediately found that Android was far too disconnected to the user. For example, the typing for messages was frustratingly out of sync and not as smooth as iOS, typing with one hand was a nightmare. The apps I was using simply weren't available on Android. The final straw was the typing and screen interface though. The response time and ability to use the phone in a rush was just not there. As soon as I switched backed to iPhone 5 it was so easy to use and I had all my apps back. I was still frustrated that Apple only had the small phone though, but glad when they bought out the 6 model. The main reason for upgrading to 6 was the size. ”
Finner18: ”Because I'm an outlet hugging hipster sheep who blindly follows the Apple cult and its outdated technology. At least that's what many who lurk in the comments sections of blog sites will tell you on my behalf.”
After reading through the thread, I noted the following things kept coming up as reasons why Apple customers love the iPhone and its other products:
These six things seem to sum up some of the most significant reasons why customers buy and then stick with Apple's products. And that includes upgrading from one version of a product to another over the course of years and years. Once somebody enters Apple's hardware and software ecosystem, they tend to stay for a very long time.
Why I use Apple's iPhone and other products
Like some of the folks that posted in the thread, I've found that Apple's products all work together for me, they aren't isolated from each other the way some company's products are on other platforms. iCloud ties everything together, and if I start something on one device, I can finish it on another.
For example, I work on a 5K iMac most of the time. But I find interesting topics, discussions, articles and other things quite often when I'm on my iPhone 6s or iPad Air 2. I can easily create a note on either device and then refer back to it on my iMac, when I'm ready to start writing about that topic. I can also view my Photos on any of my Macs or iOS devices, and everything syncs across all of my devices without me having to do anything to facilitate it.
I also like the style and design of most of Apple's products. My iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6s are great in terms of looks, but obviously they also meet my mobile computing needs very well indeed. Same goes for my desktop 5K iMac, it's a good looking computer but OS X makes it a great choice for getting work done. The 27-inch screen lets me easily have multiple windows available for all of my work needs.
I should be careful here though not to over emphasize the importance of design and style in Apple's products. Yes, both things certainly matter. But if Apple's products just looked good and didn't perform well for customers then they wouldn't sell very many of them. Thankfully, I've found that the iPhone and other products not only look good but they also do everything I need them to do.
For example, for a router I picked Apple's Airport Extreme. It has the usual Apple design footprint, meaning it looks good. But it's not just a router, it's also where I store all of my backups from my Macs. It has a 3 terabyte hard disk built into it, so there's plenty of storage for my needs. Once I set up the Airport Extreme, I didn't have to bother spending any time configuring or managing it. It just works in the background, and that's how I like it.
So for me, it really gets down to iCloud integration, the features and power of OS X and iOS, reliability, design and style all coming together to make my life easier. I have a lot of other things to manage in my life, and I'm glad that Apple's iPhone and other products usually just work for me, without causing me a lot of headaches or otherwise wasting my time.
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