I love everything about Apple. I’m sitting here writing this blog on my iMac that I bought in 2007, and it still looks and acts like a state-of-the-art desktop.
My family loves Apple. Right now my wife is checking email on her Macbook Air. Our three sons all have Apple laptops, and all five of us have an iPhone. There’s also a couple of iPads floating around somewhere. I still remember the Christmas many, many years ago when I drove down to Delaware (tax free shopping!) to pick up three iPods for our kids. It’s come full circle; a couple of years ago our kids bought my wife and I an Apple TV for Christmas, and we love. The combination of Apple TV, AirPlay, and an iPhone is incredible. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve brought up an episode of Between Two Ferns on our iPhone, but then used AirPlay to watch it on our TV – which our kids also bought for us. (My wife and I still had one of those big fat TVs at the time – I kept holding out for the mythical Apple TV set). I may have to settle for the Apple Watch…
My students are also well aware of my fascination/obsession with Apple. I even had a student write a comment a couple of years ago on my end of semester evaluations, “I understand Apple is a very successful company, but it would have been nice to occasionally here about other successful companies.”
To which I respond – don’t you want to learn from the best?
For example, at the close of business today: Apple has the highest market of $657 billion; second place is ExxonMobil at a distant $390 billion. Nobody is in Apple’s league,
Apple stores have the highest sales per square foot, a common benchmark in the retail industry. Apple’s sales per square foot are 50% higher than Tiffany’s which came in third on the list.
And one more fun fact I share with my students – it was harder to get a job at a new Apple store than to get accepted into Harvard. 10,000 people applied for a job at Apple’s Upper West Side store in 2009, but only 200 got a job, an acceptance rate of 2%. Harvard has an acceptance rate of 7%.
One other cool thing I was able to do this past semester (at least I thought it was cool) was to give an entire lecture just using my iPhone. When Microsoft announced that it was making its Office suite available for iPhones and iPads, I immediately downloaded it onto my iPhone. I was then able to send myself a set of PowerPoint slides, open them up on my iPhone, and then using Apple AirPlay in my classroom and display the presentation on the big screens in front of the class. I had complete freedom to walk around the room, advance my slides, click on links out to the web, etc. The students were certainly more impressed with that feat of technology than any actual content in the slides…
So anyway, the point of all this is to show you that I am an Apple “fanboy”. I also think the iPhone is the greatest single piece of technology ever developed. I am confident that I could get by with just an iPhone, and no other piece of technology, for an entire year.
So this past year when Apple announced the release of the iPhone 6, you would think that I would have been one of the first in line to get one. Everything was falling into place – all of our family phones were up for renewal, and it was the holiday season. So we went to the Apple store, intent on upgrading from the 5 to the 6. After my wife and two of my sons upgraded their phones, the salesman went to get me an iPhone 6, and at the last moment, I said no.
Why? A last minute attack of sentimentality.
And if you think I’m a big Apple fan, I am even bigger Steve Jobs fan. I’ve watched Triumph of the Nerds (a great history of the early days of personal computing) where Steve is prominently featured, I’ve watched his graduation speech dozens of times, and I’ve read Walter Isaacson’s bio of Jobs. He was a brilliant, but flawed individual. He changed entire industries (music, computer, smartphones) through his ideas and perseverance. And it’s not just me that had this great respect for what Steve accomplished; he was selected in 2009 by Fortune magazine as the CEO of the decade.
Steve Jobs was the person I most wanted to meet, but now that will never happen. But from what I’ve read, the iPhone 5 was the last iPhone Steve was involved with. And so while I stood there amid the bustle of an Apple store during the holiday, I realized that my iPhone 5 was my connection to Steve, and I just couldn’t part with it. So now every time I use my phone, I think of Steve, and am grateful for his desire to make a difference in the world.
And that’s something the iPhone 6 just can’t do.
By the way if you haven’t Norah Jones singing at the Apple tribute to Steve, it’s well worth it.