Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Apple Visit - Unabridged

Hui Shan asked me to write about the Apple Visit for the next issue of RainMakers (the NUSEA publication). Since I had already written about it on my blog (refer below), I asked her to check it out. She said it was too informal and a bit too negative to be put on the magazine. So I wrote another similar but more serious version of it. Here it is:

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A byte of Apple!

On Jun 26th, a group of young and obviously excited students crowded around a pair of couches at the lobby of Building 28 (?) at 1, Infinity Loop, better known as the Headquarters of Apple Computers, Inc. Home of the famous Apple Macintosh computer, Infinity Loop has been a bustling storehouse of creativity for over 20 years, spewing out the likes of the PowerMac, the iMac and of-course, the iPod!


And as I stood there amongst my friends, waiting for the much-anticipated Apple tour to start, my mind wandered away from the excitement and noise, to observe for a moment what Apple as a company meant to me…


I've always had great respect and admiration for Apple. I’ve loved the way they always added that special extra touch to their products - the breathtaking designs, the amazing user interface, the beautiful simplicity and the ease of use. All these were attributes common to everything that came out of Apple Computers. But most of all, I liked the fact that Apple was different… They were different from the mainstream and they intended to stay that way. In fact, they begged to differ. And to me, that's really cool. I've always loved people and things that do not follow the rest like a herd but prefer to stand out and do things differently. And Apple was a fantastic example of just that. To me, Apple was the perfect company.


And then, as I slowly settled back into reality, Scott came to the lobby, introduced himself and led us inside for the tour. Scott was a Recruitment Manager at Apple. We quickly followed him into a conference room, helped ourselves to some coffee and cookies and settled down.


Scott began what I might call a slightly lengthy presentation describing Apple Computers, its birth, its growth, current strengths and other vital stats. He made a few interesting points that caught my attention. He mentioned the strength of the Apple brand and how it had evolved and grown over the years. He noted that, even among people who did not buy Apple products, there was a strong affinity towards the brand. For example, you may hear someone say – “Apple’s a really cool company, but I’m perhaps not going to buy an Apple computer’. Another interesting point was about the difficulties that a company like Apple faces in the consumer or end-user market. He said that owing to the diversity of the mainstream consumer market, it often difficult to accurately gauge consumer needs and demands.


Scott also showed us these two I-pod commercials which were pretty interesting. One was the first I-pod commercial and the other was a more recent version of the advertisement. And we could see a marked difference in the image that Apple has tried to portray for the I-pod. While the first ad was aimed at a slightly older demographic, the newer one was aimed at the younger, ‘hip’ teenage crowd.


When he finally wrapped up the presentation, most of us were eagerly waiting for the actual ‘tour’ to start. We were hoping to be shown around the Apple headquarters. Unfortunately, Scott announced that this was the end of the tour! Apparently, Apple has some strict rules governing visitors. They are very secretive about upcoming products and other stuff that goes on inside their offices and therefore, do not allow visitors or even business partners into the heart of their operations. This made me recall a recent article about how Apple sought to sue a blog-writer for revealing some inside information about upcoming Apple products. Scott mentioned that Steve Jobs loves to reveal these secrets only at those MacWorld presentations that he makes every once in a while.



And as we stood up to leave, a number of thoughts waded through my head. Firstly, I was a bit disappointed about the fact that we weren’t shown around the place. The Google tour we had a couple of months back, was in contrast, a bit more interesting, as we all got to see the actual offices and workspaces of Google employees. In fact Google actually flaunted all their pro-employee practices and their amazing work culture. Apple on the other hand, didn’t seem to take much pride in the same. I guess even Apple, with all its cool designer products and amazing innovation, did not match up to Google as far as working environment is concerned. But then again, considering the fact that Apple is actually over 20 years old, what more can you expect.



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psycho.

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7 comments:

Raju said...

Sad man ..they didn't give u a proper tour. Anyways i think microsoft's Argo wifi media player (http://www.digitaljournal.com/photo/060711argo.jpg)is going to grab a definite market share from IPOD

psycho said...

yea i know.. a few friends who went earlier for the apple tour got 15% discounts on apple stuff (which is pretty good)..
Argo has the potential to grab market share from Ipod especially because of Apple's stupid DRM policies (u can only put songs from Itunes onto the Ipod, and u cant backup the songs already on the Ipod... Hell, you cant even transfer stuff from Ipod to Ipod)...
MS should make sure they dont put any of that stupid stuff.. Another thing I'm apprehensive about is that MS's user interface and design may not match that of Apple's.
And of course, once Argo comes about, I'm sure we'll see people suing each other left, right and centre :)

psycho.

Anonymous said...

suing true.
designwise...i think they can match it. They XBOX has been pretty cool wat. xbox giving putting up a decent show against sony ps
-raju

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