The new MacBook Pro laptops, revealed last week by Apple, are another demonstration that these guys just love their sausage/product. If you don't believe me, watch CEO Steve Jobs and product design genius Jon Ive launching the new MacBooks like a couple of enthusiastic kids/geeks showing off their new toys.
Many people who analyse Apple's success focus on the emotion/sizzle of the brand, suggesting customers are primarily buying into a lifestyle. But the reality is quite different. Sure, Apple is strong on emotional sizzle (cool, trendy, Californian, challenger, innovator etc.). But all this emotional appeal comes from, is embedded in and is reinforced by the products. Advertising is secondary, and is there mainly to celebrate and dramatise the product.
Take the new MacBook Pro as an examaple, and check out the sausage:
1. New manufacturing makes it lighter, and stronger: the MacBooks use the same manufacturing as the MacBook Air, which is, as Steve Jobs himeself says, very cool. Rather than building a frame and case, like a conventional computer, the MacBook Pro is made from a solid block of aluminium, which is cut away.
2. Glass trackpad: the new trackpad allows you to "pinch" photos to make them smaller or bigger, like the iPhone. Swipe 2 fingers left or right to move along in your photos. And there is no separate button to click, like on a mouse. You just tap the trackpad on the right for right-click, left for left-click.
3. Better performance/same price: more memory, better graphics (good for gamers) and all this for the same price
4. Even sexier "feel": Apple really work on the way their products feel. Its no coincidence they make an MP3 player called the iPod Touch. And the new MAcBook Pros are no exception. The edges of the cover have bevelled edges that make it look and feel smoother, and more compact.
5. More environmentally friendly: the new laptops also get a Gold Award from the EPEAT
So, all in all, one helluva lot of sausage. And this should help Apple keep up the impressive momentum on Mac sales. As the graph below shows, they have been growing strongly, with the Q1-Q3 sales this year equal to the whole of last year.
And, as my daughters did their own science project with a magnet and my old MacBook Pro (key learning: magnets and hard-drives don't mix), I have the perfect excuse to buy a new one!