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October 06, 2011

Apple's Key to Success: Turning Tech into Lifestyle

by Elizabeth Lee

From communications to entertainment, Apple products have profoundly changed the way people around the world obtain information and use technology.  The man that led Apple through its evolution was Steve Jobs.  Apple has been so successful in selling its products.  What consumers can expect now that Jobs has died?

University student Jill Lenahan can be described as a diehard fan of anything created by Apple. Lenahan says her experience with other types of computers just wasn't the same.

"I used to have a PC it would crash all the time and it was really slow and I got a Mac everything was so much easier," said Lenahan.

Lenahan says her iPhone has made her life more efficient.  But Apple did not create smart phones, mp3 players, or tablet computers.  Andrew Lih with the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism says Apple has made high tech devices more understandable to everyday users who are not tech savvy.

"I think that Apple really has pioneered the acceptance of those types of technologies - MP3s, downloadable movies, tablet computing - into the mainstream," said Lih.

It's Apple's ability to design user friendly and attractive products makes many consumers around the world choose Apple over other brands.

"And that's the beauty of apple products I think and that's why consumers love them is that they are transparently beautiful," Lih added.  "You don't have to learn to use them. You pick it up and it seems natural, but just imagine all the man hours and the work that it takes to get to that point and most companies cannot replicate that either work ethic philosophy or final product."

Lih calls Apple's many easy to use devices "lifestyle products." He says the company's legacy of making consumer friendly products started when Apple was first established in the 1970s.

"In the 70s when Apple first came around, their real breakthrough was bringing the personal computer into your home at a price that was fairly reasonable," Lih added.

These days, Apple's products are actually more expensive than many of its competitors, but Apple is good at convincing consumers to buy says telecommunications analyst Elizabeth Fife.

"Apple is unique in being able to brand and create excitement around their products, not only for the handsets, for the iPhones, but for the laptops, iPads and other products that they've released to.  So this is just something they're very good at," added Fife.

Even with the death of Steve Jobs, many analysts expect Apple to continue its legacy of introducing products consumers will want for the next three to five years.