Apple Marketing 101: Why The @#%! Do I Want A New MacBook Pro?

I have to imagine somewhere in America, at a prestigious university or college, there is a class available to students who are eager to learn the secrets of how Apple markets its products. And if no such class exists, it’s probably in part due to the draconian measures Apple would take against any establishment ballsy enough to charge for a course that bears the Apple name.

Regardless, I’d still risk it. Apple marketing is nothing short of amazing. Yesterday, at a WWDC keynote in San Francisco, Apple unveiled a newly, re-designed MacBook Pro with a Retina display that had the entire auditorium salivating,  while the rest of us sat at home, watching boot-legged video streams or live-blogs of the event. And that’s what amazes me. No other company can generate this kind of excitement for a new product. I have seen many attempts, but no one has come close to replicating the Apple Buzz.

And here is the crazy thing: The product doesn’t even have to be good. Case in point: NAB 2011. Apple, in typical fashion, decides to reveal a new version of its professional video editing software, Final Cut, at a separate SuperMeet conference in Las Vegas. Here is where we got our first glimpse of Final Cut Pro X. However, don’t let the name fool you. FCPX was huge departure from what many FCP editors were used to. Several key-professional features were removed from the software, which many were calling iMovie Pro:  a standard slap-in-the-face to millions of video-production professionals who depended on Apple for their post-production needs.

However, had you attended the SuperMeet conference, you would have thought Apple had announced the second coming of Jesus Christ. Every feature that was mentioned, every bullet point that was briefly uttered, resulted in long periods of applause and cheers. I’m convinced at any given moment, the developers behind Final Cut could have said “And, every copy of FCPX comes with an outlaw-biker that will deflower your first-born daughter!”, and still, people would have been clapping. I think I even saw two grown men jump up and hug each other, as if they had won the lottery.

Granted, many of Apples products warrant the praise they receive. Yesterday’s announcement of the new Retina MacBook Pro was no exception. The new laptop truly is a beautiful machine that harnesses quite a bit of power for a device that small. The question I am now asking myself is: Why do I want one so bad? Why do I want any of Apples products? The short answer: Because they make me want it.

I remember attending a Steve Jobs keynote when he unveiled the iPad 2. I honestly don’t recall what Jobs said during the 1-hour press conference, however, what I do remember is that after the keynote had ended, all I could think about was buying an iPad 2. I had to have one. I wanted it now. Did I need an iPad 2? No. But I WANTED IT. And like any good-zombified consumer, I purchased one. Once I received my iPad 2 in the mail, I played with it for about 1 hour, then put it down, and went back to my 11 inch laptop, which featured a keyboard I sorely missed. Over the course of the next year or so, I maybe used my iPad 2 a total of 10 times. I eventually sold it, once the 3rd generation iPad was released, but I will never forget how I felt when the iPad 2 was announced. And since then, I often feel that way about many of Apple's new products: Unveiled in a giant spectacle of lights and cameras, combined with the sound of endless cheers and applause.

Call me weak, call me a fool, but Apple just makes me want to spend money. Apple has this unique ability to make you feel as though you are part of this secret club that ONLY you have access to, despite the fact hundreds of other consumers are right there next to you, waiting in line for the next iPhone, or iPad, or espresso machine, or whatever the fuck Apple is selling that day. And if you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these new products come day one, you feel this certain rush of excitement and exclusiveness that is hard to match. Perhaps you feel that way when you hold your newly-born child for the first time. I wouldn’t know, because I am not a father, however, I can’t name one other electronics company that has such a strong emotional bond with its consumers, other than Apple.

Do I absolutely need a new Retina Display MacBook Pro? No. Will I buy one? Yes. It may not be the best machine for the money, but I still want it. And either I’m incredibly stupid for wanting to spend more for something that gives me less, or Apple is incredibly brilliant for their aesthetic design and their uncanny ability to make you "think different". At least I know one thing for certain: I will definitely use this new MacBook Pro more than I used my first iPad.