Surrendering to Apple

The day—Thursday, June 24. The occasion—Apple releases iPhone 4, a product dubbed the "Jesus phone." My mission—GET ONE!

I stalked the Plaza store at breakfast (the line was a block both ways ... uh forget it); at lunch (better line, but I didn't have two hours to spare) and then after work. I was one of the last five to get one on Thursday. My heart pounded as they announced to the rest of the line that they were out of luck. Somehow I walked out of the store, smiling ear to ear, feeling like I had won a prize—not having just parted with 300 clams. They had me - hook, line and sinker, a perfect Apple consumer.

I'm an admitted gadget freak. I keep tabs on the new shiny stuff. I visit Engadget and all the other sites filled with speculation. But I'm something else, too. A marketer. And so there's a part of me that feels, well, a little silly falling prey to the "tactics" ... the well-placed PR ... the predictable hype.

What is it about Apple? What gives them a Consumer Satisfaction score of 85—the highest ever recorded for a personal computer company? The answers can help not only Apple get me to part with more money, but help the rest of us no matter what we market. Here's my top five list:

1. Apple has guts. They lead the pack, not follow it.
2. Apple knows the value of good design (and maintaining a brand).
3. Apple knows anticipation. (Remember being a kid and wondering for days what Santa was going to bring. We don't grow out of that—we just grow bigger.)
4. Apple knows about bundling products. (Everything I have Apple motivates me to buy another Apple product. I want my iPod to work with my iTunes and sync with my iPhone, etc., etc. It's brilliant and very profitable).
5. Apple has a solid product. I believe points 1-4 wouldn't matter if at the end of the rainbow wasn't a great experience.