As it so happened, I was in the new Apple flagship store in Zurich on the day the Apple financial results were announced, and I heard it first on my iphone through a news feed I get.
I was looking at the sparkling new mac airs and mac pros loaded with the crisp snowleopard software. Design is a big part of the apple philosophy thats clear, but client user experience and playfulness is the real rub here.
I checked my emails on the loaded-up-and-always-on-apples, which are arranged around the slick cutting edge store for people to drift in and play with.
click on images to enlarge
As it was, I was having network/account problems with that monolith Swisscom, I tried telling the staff at the Swisscom store, and they looked at me like you look at someone who is talking out of his ear. So I went, and I strode up Bahnhofstrasse, debating arbitary things like whether I should tell Swisscom to go and fly a kite, and why the showers and toilets downstairs at the well-organised Zurich station, announce Pissoir on the door. (Don't you just love the French, they don't dress things up).
When I stumbled into the apple store, and checked my emails on their play-for-as-long-as -you like- new models. Turn head to see user interactivity
So here's why they have been so successful: It's called viral user recommendation.
As I was playing on the mac, a tall young man drifted by with a smile and asked if i was enjoying the mac air, "oh yes I said, I know it already". We started to chat about its features and how I came to be an latecomer ---applehead, ...
I realised why. The store was full of people like me, drifting around, just touching things, feeling the slimness, and the brushed silver slabs of tech, buying new ear phones, checking the new model iphones and generally having fun. No one was chasing them, getting irritated. No numbers were issued to wait in line to be seen by the consultants.
It's in the sales bible, let someone touch your product, own it, play with it and they will buy it.
This young Swiss man who spoke English flawlessly, took his time to listen to my network story, and told me he'd look at my mac, so I got it out and together we tested and re-installed the crappy, not slickly-designed Swisscom usb stick, from which they deliver the internet to me. After fiddling with the usb awhile, while I spoke of Apple and its success, he told me he could also better my Swisscom iphone contract, that I had failed to get Swisscom down the road, to do!!!!
He seemed unmoved by my announcement that Apple's results are reflected in the iphone and mac sales. Well he said, "We sell a lot".
A lot,yes, close to 60 million iphones and counting ...so many, that Nokia want a piece of the pie, and are now making litigious noises.
And here's why people: they make it fun, and they think about user experience, and they'll keep making it better, plus, a whole new industry in iphone apps has been born for the new generation.
So Take note windows 7, Apple built its success on the disaster that was Vista, and having to un-install your drive and all its settings to load windows 7, or alternatively, buy a new computer, is unlikely to encourage potential new users to spend their Christmas double check on windows 7.
FOOTNOTE Two other customers who were playing with the apple mac next to me after the assistant went to off to help someone else, asked my opinion, and I said, "buy it".
Leave us a comment with your user experience, or gripes of course. We'd like to hear from you.
Social Communications Specialist