Over the recent years, Apple’s popularity amongst the “regular” populace has increased exponentially. There are several reasons for this, and to be honest, it’s simple, but brilliant.
First, and most noticeably, Apple has penetrated several different markets and does each of them well. It all started with the iPod. For a lot of people, Apple didn’t even exist before iPod, and most folk would have never had the desire to own an Apple product. Fair enough, I think, as Apple products (back then) were geared more towards hard core and niche users. But the iPod opened the gates for Apple to reach out to a market they weren’t really getting: normal folks attached to their Windows machines. At the very least, the name “Apple” was in their heads, and sometimes planting that little “bug” in someone’s ear is all it takes.
Apple also started to delve into other areas, as well. Not only was more software and games becoming steadily available for Mac, but different peripherals and devices such as Apple TV, Apple high definition monitors, iPhone’s, and revised iPod models seemed to pour out of Apple’s doors. With each new iteration of Apple products came sleek, slimmer designs, better performance, and functionality (take the most recent iMac, for example). iTunes also has done its part in drawing Apple interest to different users.
Apple has also begun to de-isolate itself from the Windows crowd. If anything, they’re inviting those people in to try out Apple products, hoping they’ll be hooked. Apple is actively trying to sway people to convert to their products by doing several things. First is their credit line, which usually yields a fairly decent interest rate. Second, is by offering free assistance in converting to their products. Apple always has classes and workshops to help new users, something I’ve never seen before. Apple will also offer to transfer files and documents over from your previous computer to a Mac, if you decide to purchase one. In general, Apple takes excellent care of its customers, and that sort of treatment works in their favor, as people are more willing to purchase their products again in the future after having a good shopping experience. Apple also offers Boot Camp with their computers, so those who are still apprehensive at using a new operating system can still revert to something they’re familiar with.
By aggressively opening themselves up to the broader market with a friendly smile, Apple is more quickly becoming a force for PC’s to contend with. On my day to day adventures, I see almost as many people using their Macbooks as I do their HP or Dell laptops. It won’t be long before Apple and Microsoft even out on the playing field, and with the recent success of the iPhone and Leopard, and the fumbling of Vista, Apple is gaining ground that much faster. The only thing they have to overcome is their notorious tendency to overprice everything they sell (I believe it’s called ‘premium’ pricing), and I guarantee in the coming years you’ll be seeing little Apple symbols everywhere you look.