I’m freshly back from a five-day trip to Atlanta, the first three of which were spent attending a conference called Capacity: Reimagine. The conference was for church and marketplace leaders with the intended goal of inspiring them to think of new and innovative ways to grow their businesses, churches, and the kingdom of God.
One of the presenters, Yu-kai Chou, spoke on gamification, which is essentially taking game elements and applying them in non-game contexts. His talk was fascinating but the bit I want to talk about here really has to do with an off-handed remark that he made. He said that Apple is so successful because they sell the vision, not the product. Their competitors are concerned with telling you the specs of their machines and relying on the fact that you’ll choose the better hardware or software. Apple on the other hand doesn’t concern itself with specs; they sell us on the possibilities of what we can become by using their products.
I thought that was an interesting point and he’s correct. He noted that the last two ad campaigns that Apple did really had nothing to with what they were actually selling (I forgot the ones he mentioned). But I began to think about another aspect of Apple’s success, namely its ecosystem. I was anti-Apple for years. But once I got in I was hooked and now I can’t get out, or at least I don’t want to. I didn’t buy into a vision though. I became frustrated with my Windows machines’ severely limited lifespans and decided to give Apple a try.
I liked the hardware. I liked the software. What’s more is that I liked how they worked together. Sure, I could have gotten an equally or better spec’ed™ Windows machine for less money but it wouldn’t have worked as well. But it wasn’t just the way that my MacBook Pro’s hardware and software worked together that impressed me. It was the way that my MacBook Pro worked with my iPad, and then eventually my iPhone, and then eventually my Apple Watch, and then eventually my Apple TV, and then eventually my Air Pods that kept me.
Apple’s ecosystem is amazing and it’s what keeps me purchasing and using the products. Having everything synced through my iCloud account is incredibly convenient. Being able to load movies in iTunes (or now the TV app) and stream them to any Apple TV in the house is incredibly convenient. Being able to use iMessage on my computer, tablet, or phone is incredibly convenient. The Apple ecosystem is one of convenience.
I’m not out here evangelizing for Apple. If Windows machines and Android phones/tablets work for you then by all means, work with what you got. I’m simply pointing out that there’s something much more substantial than a vision that sold me and kept/keeps me on Apple.