Who’s been buying Apple devices since 1989?

As I often mention, we bought our first Apple device, a MacPlus, in April 1989. Since then we have always bought Apple when it comes to computers and since 2008 also iPhones and then iPads. That is because we are happy and content users.

However, during the first years we always had to defend our choice, actually, it’s not until recently that this attitude had shifted into admiration and it started when Apple launched the first iPhone in 2008.

From the beginning people said that the reason to why we used Macs was that we were ”design people”, meaning that ”since we worked with graphic design we were part of a small and peculiar group of persons who just wanted to have computers that looked nice”. That was a bit humiliating. Like if our knowledge in behavioral science, psychology and pedagogic didn’t matter. Like if our technical understanding of the features and how to use a Mac didn’t really count, because Macs were supposed to be so easy, like handling a toy. It was like some kind of macho-tech culture suggesting that ”real men use PC”. One problem was that people without any knowledge about computers, persons that got scared, needed good advice when they had to buy a computer and somehow, a lot of them turned to these ”macho PC users” to get their advice. Did they suggest a Mac for them? Noooooooooo…

I could never understand that. Even with the PC logic and the conclusion that Macs were toys, they should advice computer novices to buy Mac because they were easy to use, but they didn’t. Sometimes I have suspected that the true reason for advising people to buy PC was to gain some more power and status when this persons needed help with their computer. Because, if they bought a Mac, they wouldn’t need that much help, right?

So, a lot of persons never got close to realizing how much better Macs are. Then they discovered the amazing iPhone. Everyone wanted an iPhone (and they still do, I have seen a couple of examples of working places who by some reason chose to buy HTC smartphones for their employees and they are ashamed to use them and they also get angry, because the phones are obviously not as smart as iPhones). People wanted to talk to me about Apple. They wanted to explain how much they loved their iPhones, it was like they had a revelation: ”So THIS is what you have been talking about all those years? NOW I finally understand why you are so dedicated to Apple!”

Now more people wanted to be in ”club of Apple users”. The phenomena with BYOD = Bring Your Own Device got a real boost with the iPhone – did someone even mention BYOD before the iPhone? Accumulated anger over all the spoilt years they tried to understand how to use their PC:s, frustration over all the viruses and everything that simply didn’t work was released in the wish to throw out those stupid machines and buy Apple.

I coach a handful of Apple users and one of them has always considered himself to be a person that just couldn’t understand computers. They made him sigh and sweat and swear. He started with getting himself an iPad, then he wanted me to help him to get also an iPhone and an iMac. For the first time in his life he said: ”This time I want to learn, I want to know how to use my devices!”. And that’s how it works. I teach him basic stuff, but I also notice that he finds out a lot by himself and that he really uses his devices. He’s happy. He’s curious and interested.

Then he ”gave me as a present” for his mother when she turned 85, together with an iPad. A son gives an iPad together with an iPad coach to his mother. That’s like showing that you care with giving an Apple device. It’s been fun to coach his mother and she’s also using her iPad frequently. She’s amazed.

I think we have only seen the beginning of this development. Kids use iPads in pre-school. So many people are getting used to Apple’s high standard, the combination of high tech and function melted together in beautiful and clean design with a pedagogic user interface. I think there’s no going back from getting used to these high standards. I have a friend that loves Apple, but still has to use a PC at his work. ”It’s a pain every day I have to use my PC”.

Very few persons that buy Apple devices stop buying Apple. I don’t think it’s going to be like this for ever, but the competitors can’t still offer the whole package like Apple do. I have my opinions about things that Apple could do better and I always send suggestions to them, but even so, I am loyal to Apple and will be for more years to come.

At the same time, I welcome good competitors that understands the full concept and especially the importance of bringing designers to the creative process from start. Which for example, Google still hasn’t understood.

Some people argue that Apple isn’t hot any longer, meaning that trendsetters prefer to buy something different to stand out. I partly agree to that, we have got so used to Apple that some persons might find it boring. I’m not sure how much that will affect Apple’s forward development though. It seems they still have plenty of markets to grow on, like China. There are still so many persons wanting to buy their first Apple item in the world. On the other hand, there are also a lot of persons that get a smartphone as their first device that they can use with internet. Their first computer experience is a handhold device and in the developing countries the price is more important than, for example, in Sweden. So, there will naturally come up a lot of competing low-price smartphones that have a big value to persons that above all needs the internet connection. That’s why Verone Mankou has created the first African smartphone, or Congolese to be more exact.

Apple has shifted the world’s expectations of what computers and handhold devices can be like. Now, lets see how that affects the world…

What is a country now when we have Internet?

Today we live our lives not only on the physical Mother Earth, but also in the digital cyberworld where borders between the earthly countries are less important. We connect with people from anywhere in the world based on their interests or personality and even if we notice which earthly country they live in, the meaning of it has changed. Our inner images of people living in other countries change when we can see glimpses of their life on internet and recognize ourselves in them. ”She’s like me! He’s like me!”

It can’t be only me that feels a new kind of connection growing over the world, a new sense of belonging and being together, all of us (well, that is all of us who has access to internet) being cyber people or internet persons.

In this global dimension we sometimes get reminded of our earthly countries, like when some country censors the access to internet because there is a conflict between intentions. Trade has always been a great connector between people in different countries – I live in Sweden, the land of the Vikings and I know how much we have to thank the vikings for doing their brave journeys to new places. They learned about other places, they brought home both knowledge and goods. Some of them also moved to other places, like England. (Okay, lets not talk about violence in this blogpost…)

Today I can buy music, books and magazines from all over the world from my iPad and have it delivered in a few seconds. (What do you think about that mr Viking?) I can buy physical items and have them delivered to my house here on Gotland, which will take some days. I can also be the one that sells goods on Internet, if I want to. As soon as we start to trade over the borders we have to deal with the currency issue. It’s a piece of cake in most cases, because the payment solutions deals with it with us hardly noticing it. But if you want to trade globally on the internet, then currency and also taxes might become an issue that’s not so easy to solve.

Where does the transaction take place? Which taxes are applicable? And if the transaction involves not only two countries, but three or four it gets even more complicated. Wouldn’t it be nice if the internet also was a country with it’s own currency?

I found it interesting to read this article in Cult of Android, Google’s executive chairman Eric Smith says:

That businesses must be run more like countries, with diplomatic meetings and the like. He said that “the adult way to run a business is to run it more like a country. They have disputes, yet they’ve actually been able to have huge trade with each other. They’re not sending bombs at each other.”

When a company expands in ways like Apple and Google the earthly borders don’t matter in the same way as they used to, but they still matter.

So, what is a country? I checked Wikipedia. The definition begins with: A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. And it ends with: Regardless of the physical geography, in the modern internationally accepted legal definition as defined by the League of Nations in 1937 and reaffirmed by the United Nations in 1945, a resident of a country is subject to the independent exercise of legal jurisdiction.

When we buy music at iTunes, who’s exercise of legal jurisdiction are we the subject of? When we register an account at Google to start a blog like this or to participate in Google+, who’s rules do we have to follow?

Eric Smith points out an issue that will become more important over the years as our global connections via Internet will expand and establish it’s position as a natural part of our lives. Businesses must be run more like countries, yes. But what if we also need a new ”country” in cyberspace to make it easier to handle money and laws?