It started with a rumour that Apple is going to open another store in London. But the exact location was unknown. Apple officially made no comments; they didn’t even observe on the rumours. And the Power of Unknown struck the people. They wanted to know more about it, more about Apple, more about its products; believing that holding an iPhone or an iPad might solve the mystery. Five days before the actual opening, Apple confirmed Covent Garden as the location; date of opening was still hidden. Then suddenly overnight tall red coloured curtains appeared, covering a shop in Covent Garden. Three days before the opening, curtains get moved a bit and half-the-Apple-logo pops out, conveniently, on its own. What follows next is a swarm of people making their way to this place, some of them coming from as far as China !
This is how Apple has made itself most valuable brand in the world. For the Apple marketing team, its not about “need” or “use”, its about EGO ! Of course, there’s the quality and monolithic design, but not everything pretty & high-tech gets sold. Motorola is the perfect example of such designs. They had brilliant phones, modern designs but they didn’t have Steve Jobs.
Apple is like an artistic impression of Steve Jobs’s personality. Egocentric, Arrogant and Genius, and that’s why idea of Apple survived the fall of the 90s. Steve Jobs was too arrogant to admit that “he couldn’t sell something he likes at a price he wants.” In the end he was right. He took a step back to make iPod and return Apple to profitability. Once his company was back on its feet, he made his Macbooks and iMacs so irresistible that their prices no longer deter the consumers. He kept on coming with new ideas, and kept on making Apple a Cult.
Nowdays, Apple buyers are not consumers but they are “Devotees”. They accept whatever Apple says; they buy whatever Apple sells ; they accept whatever Apple decides would be the price of its “blessings”. Gandhiji once said, “Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.” This generation is actually growing in the environmental state called Apple. Its devotees are blinded to the extent that when iPhone 4 couldn’t perform the main usage of a mobile, i.e. making calls efficiently, they only had a momentary lapse of faith. But just as they saw their “messiah” Steve Jobs arrogantly defend iPhone 4 and distribute free covers, their faith returned to full strength. Their
messiah had just given them another blessing, this time free of cost, in the shape of iPhone cover.
Apple still can’t be called a Religion as its still uses Emerging Markets like India and South Africa as dumping grounds of old Apple Technologies. They know rich people from these markets will get their products imported at an even greater cost, and the not-so rich will be happy just to buy Apple hand downs. The “brand protection” guidelines and its team works 24×7 to make sure Apple doesn’t take a single dent on its image. Apple is cracking down even on iPad, iPhone giveaways. These 3rd party promoters are can’t even use the word “free” in reference to Apple products. Apple delayed publishing its Sustainability Report and within 2 years, these reports started showing Apple making upto 25% more audits every year. Green is the new catch-phrase and Apple is going out of its way to make sure the Cult is as Green as it gets.
The Cult of Apple is growing and it needs to be checked before it becomes a religion. It took Christianity 1000 years to become a Religion from a Cult; we still have time to regain consciousness. Religion should be inclusive, without ego and down-to-earth. It’s all what Apple isn’t. With Apple,
consumer rights are exploited, monopoly has taken a different shape and world is falling into the Apple trap. This corporation is getting far too big to be comfortable. The Standard Oil of America in the late 1890 was a similar entity, but it took a Supreme Court order to control its power. But in this age of Globalisation, American Supreme Court will not be able to stop the Apple Juggernaut. It will take a stroke of genius to bring back the balance in the world.