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Not just a computer

I like this little nugget of truth from a discussion over at Slashdot regarding Apple's laptop marketshare:

"...the laptop market is one that is well-suited to Apple's core strengths. Though a desktop is largely perceived as an appliance - it's an utilitarian box that you use to do stuff with - a laptop has the additional function of being a status symbol and expression of personal taste. Your desktop stays at home, but you can carry your laptop around with you. An iMac may look great, but its usefulness as a signifier of taste is constrained by the simply fact that it stays in your room. Now that the laptop market has become so important, Apple is in a great position to capitalize on their previously under-exploited brand identity."

Apple understands that if it's in your hands or in your home, it's an extension of your identity, not a utilitarian lump. Look at the industrial design of a KitchenAid mixer versus that of a Bosch power drill: Both are useful, functional, practical and rugged, but one is designed to be on display, and the other to be kept out of sight. Apple understands what's important to the consumer at a DNA level: Microsoft understands only what's important to Microsoft.

“Not just a computer”