Five years ago I bought my first Apple product. Although music played such a small part of my life, I picked up a 30GB iPod Classic my freshman year of college. Yes it was good, but there was nothing astounding about a portable media player. After the battery burned out the click wheel, it would be recycled as makeshift ice scraper. But I never bought another iPod. I could survive without dropping several hundred dollars on a replacement and not think twice. My iPhone tells a different story.
I actually wasn’t aware of the iPhone until its launch when it made headlines not because of its features but because of its price. I heard people were walking out of Apple stores spending upwards of $800 for the phone, fees, and a few accessories. Eight hundred dollars…for a phone?! I immediately labeled all buyers insane. Of course, that was coming from someone who never spent a dime on a phone before, instead opting for what we now call dumbphones. It was weeks later that I did some research, found out what the iPhone did and I was instantly sucked in. I found myself swinging by my AT&T store and dropping what I considered to be a large amount of cash on my first smartphone. Something about my first ‘slide to unlock’ experience began to lay the framework for the next several years of iPhone commitment. Since that day, I’ve never looked back.
With a vast majority of electronics, there often comes a love/hate relationship that builds over time. The honeymoon phase of new gadgets eventually dies down and you begin building a pile of resentment as things go wrong or act a little funky, especially when you need it most. Not once have I experienced any amount of hate towards my iPhone and began questioning myself as I prepared to ship my 1st gen to its new owner. After all, this was my first true gadget love.
Well before that day came – about a year earlier actually – I found myself shopping around for a new computer. The Dell Inspiron that I picked up for school was really starting to crap out. About one week out of warranty, the screen died and with a little surgery, the laptop became a Frankenstein desktop. So after over one year of undying love for my iPhone, I set my sights on a brand that built a degree of loyalty, not from my first iPod, but from an “overpriced” smartphone. I spent the summer of 2008 working towards what would be the most expensive computer I’d probably ever purchase (that Apple tax ain’t cheap!). By the end of summer in 2008, I found the plenty large 24” iMac on my front door. We’re coming up on two years together and while I can’t say every step along the way was as blissful as it was with the iPhone, it’s been a far better experience than any other computer I’ve spent years working with.
And so as we start to wind down the days of March and prepare for the launch of another major Apple product, I’ll soon find myself in line at my nearest Apple store to drop another hefty paycheck on what I hope will be at least one year of unadulterated multitouch bliss before they’re at it again. Looking back, I can say with a degree of certainty that had it not been for the iPhone, my iMac and soon to be iPad would be in the hands of another lucky owner. With tens of millions of iPhone users in the world, I’m sure my story is not unique.
Have any of you readers been the result of a product’s halo effect? Share your story in the comments.