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Is my 65 year old Dad the latest example of a new Apple revenue source?

resonance: 27.4% from: robg

We recently met up with my parents for a relaxing Sunday lunch. As we were finishing up, my Dad was teasing my Mom with his new iPhone and all its great features (e.g., looking up her last bank withdrawal). He then said he's thinking seriously about buying a MacBook Pro.

Knowing that my Dad has used Windows products exclusively for the last 20 years I was pretty surprised. It's not that he's been particularly feverish in his use of Windows machines. Rather it's the only computer system he's ever known apart from our first Texas Instruments machine running BASIC. Brain plasticity says that even grey dogs can learn new commands but the Apple brand just didn't seem to fit.

Initially my Dad said his iPhone hasn't been updating properly with his Windows machine and so he thought the process would go smoother with an Apple box. While that would seem to be a pretty lame reason to switch, especially since Apple is the one causing his current headaches, talking a bit more, including a walk through the very crowded Apple store, his reasons became pretty clear.

My Dad said "The iPhone is a great piece of propaganda" and I think that about sums up his current feelings. The iPhone is so intuitive and beautiful and while doing so many things so well it basically screams "Think different" in its very form and execution. The one product gives an overview of most of the Apple product line. You use the iPhone and you immediately understand Apple with no further introduction really necessary. Because the iPhone is so easy to use, within just a few minutes the possibilities of the brand speak loudly and clearly to any neophyte.

Now that my Dad has mostly retired from the workforce, he has the disposable income to spend on things he wants and without the constraints of his business life. He can buy the products he wants to use on a daily basis without the need to synchronize his technology with what his colleagues expect. If he wants to buy a product more for video editing than for CAD, there's no hidden cost to pay, especially with BootCamp[1].

Of course, Apple envisioned the iPhone (and the iPod before it) as exactly this type of brand introduction. But while their ads aim explicitly at more youthful users [2], I'm very curious to see how Apple is performing with retiring workers. Sure, there's a strong argument that many folks might stick with what they're used to. But if the iPhone and my Dad are any indication, and considering how well the Wii is doing among the same demographic, I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple doing much better than they were just a few years ago.

[1] I wonder if an ad campaign centered on BootCamp could help to drive the numbers of "late" adopters to Apple. Whereas the software used to be a good reason to stick to Windows, BootCamp makes that problem mostly go away. But how many all-their-life Windows users know about this feature?

[2] It also helps, I'm sure, that youthfulness is timeless and so any product that makes you feel young will drive intense devotion especially among older users. It's as if easy to use technology makes us feel young again. A relative ease in learning something new may make us feel nimbler cognitively than a product that requires a slog through the manual.

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