There are people already going gaga over the ‘new’ iPhone 13!

Apple’s much-awaited 2021 event was yesterday — a glitzy ‘larger than life’ affair packed with a sh*t tonne of drone shots, cool transitions & awe-inspiring cinematography with top-notch lightning— all to announce the new iPhone 13 lineup and a bunch of small & underwhelming updates to their existing products. Quite honestly, it would have made for a pretty forgettable Samsung or Huawei event. However, given its Apple — the reaction was ‘different’.

Quite naturally, the world’s biggest tech media powerhouses were live-blogging, live-tweeting, even live-broadcasting the event. Not to mention the legions of YouTubers, bloggers and multi-media mercenaries around the world.

No detail was spared. Every little feature was dissected, every perspective explained, every last view juiced.

But as the dust settles on yet another annual media charade, you can’t help but ponder on how the brand has thousands of smart tech reviewers perpetually fawning even over its most underwhelming gimmicks.

Picture Courtesy: Investopia

More importantly, how does it get millions of Apple fanatics, especially in poorer countries like India (with crazy import duties) to buy into this madness, and further push up its eye-watering $2.08 Trillion valuation! Why are so many people getting blindly sold on Apple’s fake promises of the ‘best tech that money can buy’?

The answer is in the definition of a ‘toxic relationship’ —

“Toxic relationships are characterised by a lack of trust, controlling behaviours, and frequent lying. Often one partner is prioritised instead of coming together as a team.”

Let’s be honest, Apple inconvenience the hell out of its users, only to sell them overpriced ‘solutions’ (e.g. a world of dongles & ‘pro tools’) to problems it conjures (e.g. Headphone jacks, Bluetooth issues & missing ports).

The brand’s app & UI inter-operability traps you in a ‘convenient’ walled garden — a key reason why Apple fans in developing countries — often living off a couple of thousand dollars a month defend the brand’s exorbitant prices, anti-competitive measures & often lack-lustre hardware.

You see, the brand’s well-oiled marketing machinery has churned out some truly iconic adverts like ‘Think Different’ that turn Apple’s status into something of a crusade. By using the “us vs. them” strategy, Apple has more focused on making customers ‘feel different’ far more than adding any real value to their lives — hence the sleek Museum-esque stores, the cheeky copywriting, the hundreds of thousands of man-hours in perfecting a new product’s ‘unboxing’ experience. Their packaging says “Designed in California” (not “by a Brit and made in China”)!

Human beings are feeling beings who think, not thinking beings who feel. And Apple knows that far too well.

People are always more strongly motivated by emotions (fear, greed, joy, lust, benefits: Apple) than they are by reason (logic, data, features: other brands).

And you can’t put a price on ‘feeling good’.

It's the same sentiment politicians, dictators & public figures exploit — they make you feel sad or happy, vulnerable or nurtured based on their convenience, cause that’s the stuff that creates cults. By making people feel amazing, Apple can interact with them in a way that makes the brand far more credible than a passing ad slogan!

The last straw that seals the deal for Apple is its more progressive steps— ‘consistency’ & ‘usability’. This is the only good part — the core of the brand’s product philosophy that deserves respect. Its ‘safe’, ‘privacy focused’ and (selectively) ‘user centric’ approach to product innovation means you’ll never be ‘surprised’ by an Apple — and in that, Apple is a product ecosystem quite like none other. It's this usability and convenience that Apple fanatics & tech noobs worship, and love paying way too much for.

Apple products work. They simply do, without much fuss, often longer than most Android devices. Only until the brand decides to milk you a bit more.

The fact of the matter is Apple’s market value exceeds the combined net worth of most of the world’s billionaires, entire nations’ economies, and the market value of most exchanges. One can imagine what record it will break next. But despite where it’s headed, tech loyalists would keep pointing out the rot in the brand’s brand promise of ‘excellence’ — the case of a potent, possibly fanatical product brand with a tonne of ingenuity degenerating into a case of bad bad apples…

Disclaimer: Before Apple fanatics issue a fatwah on me, let me profess I own a work-issued Macbook Air. I also bought one for my sister, and am considering buying a 2020 Macbook Pro for personal use. My dad owns an iPhone, and I’ll soon get him a set of Airpods. Please don’t kill me.