On the Applelust phenomena

30 September 2003

OK. So I think I’ve sussed why people get quite such fits of Applelust – you know, demanding to replace their last-six-months-model with the next one. And have realised that the rampant desire for upgrade – lust, even – isn’t just down to the shiny goodness of the products.


It’s down to the branding strategy. When, say, the Powerbook is upgraded, it is not replaced by a product with a new model name, but with another Powerbook. Essentially: what you own has been made obsolete. There is a new Powerbook.

Back in the day, upgrading a Powermac 7600 to a 7800 (or whatever) isn’t so big a leap because it’s clearly a different model. Yours still exists in the Mac consumer space. But when your Powerbook or iMac no longer exists – ie, the word Powerbook or iMac no longer actually means what you have on your desk, you develop a feeling of exclusion. And so need another.

And that’s the trick. Everything is advertised as ‘the new X‘. Not another one. A new one. And again, it’s pretty much something that the iMac kicked off, the simplification of branding, which actually leads to an increase in turnover of goods. After all, they’re trying to sell the concept of iMac, the concept of Powerbook, the concept of Apple to you. And surely there’s no better way to prove that the concept has been sold than to have got your buyers so entrenched in concept that they feel the need to constantly replace their superceded model not just out of the desire to upgrade, but simply out of brand and product loyalty?

2 comments on this entry.

  • Paul Irving | 1 Oct 2003

    Tom, you are a loser. You have to get over Apple. I keep coming back to your site to see if you have managed to write more about your computer, hoping that you haven’t, but you always disappoint me.

  • fridgemagnet | 8 Oct 2003

    I don’t think it’s about each new release being a “new” X. I think it’s more the fact that people really, really love their macs, and the next release is *also* a mac. It’s just better. The Mac Experience is the same, just faster, slicker, lighter, whatever. The continuity is the important thing. Upgrades are gradual and retain consistent elements between models.

    As a relatively new mac hugger I find watching older ones very strange, but not as strange as seeing my own attitudes deform.