The Power of the iDevice

Last week in class, we learned a lot about what constitutes power by definition and in terms of various power relations.  In Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, he states that power is “the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they constitute their own organization”(92).  Power itself can relate to the hierarchy of a boss to his employees or even the more traditional teacher-student scenario among others.  Whatever the case, it exhibits a relationship of inequalities in which one or multiple groups are below another in a system of the “ruler versus the ruled”(94).

When it comes to technology, however, the aspect of power through strategic relations arises where “others that are quick to compromise, interested or sacrificial; by definition, they can only exist in the strategic field of power relations”(96).  The concept of power in terms of this definition made me think of Apple’s dominant power to attract the consumer and its supposed power to attract more customers simply off of sleek designs and its name brand logo.  For instance, news of Apple’s iWatch has swiftly been taking over various tech review sites and many are projecting the new product to be a success, as according to USA, the watch has already tallied 1,000,000 pre-sales!  Samsung has always been a close competitor, but always seems to falter to Apple’s powerful and ultra die-hard consumer fan base.  Even when Apple has blatantly copied the product line of Samsung, for instance with the Galaxy Tablet versus the iPhone and now the S6 versus the iWatch.  In another tech review article I read, the S6 and iWatch were briefly compared and were described evenly but concisely and had comparable flaws and advantages.  Nonetheless, in the end of the description, the Apple iWatch prevailed over the Samsung S6, even though these watches have been out for years.

Why is Apple such a powerful force in technology market and why are people so quick to pre-order devices they aren’t even sure will serve a real purpose in their daily technological needs.  How did Apple come to establish such power and can it be taken away in the emergence of another tech company? What do you think?

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5 responses to “The Power of the iDevice

  1. In direct response to your example of Apple, I believe that the company holds such power over people because of its image. Apple marketing and advertising has done a brilliant job in convincing people that its brand is not only the best in the technology market but also a means by which people can look and become successful, attractive, and popular. It is a brand that is associated with genius, and with all deemed desirable by society. People who work at Apple in the technology department, programming and coding and inventing, are unimaginably talented and intelligent. The marketers and advertisers are well put together, creative, and undeniably talented as well. The businesspeople are shrewd, again incredibly intelligent individuals, who generate hundreds of millions in revenue per year. The products the employees and executives take place in delivering to the public are sleek, shiny, futuristic, and seem to embody the success of Apple. Because people want to be like the people who made the product, they buy it in the hopes of either imitation or progression towards a transformation into the ultra-successful, brilliant, and talented.

  2. I remember in early elementary school when the desktops were iMacs. I also hated those because they were slow and bulky and the programs were unusual compared to the PC I used at home. By middle school, the school switched to PCs and I considered them a much needed improvement. Now, Apple desktops are back in demand as many of Emory’s computers are the new and sleek iMacs. We talked in my managerial accounting class about how Apple came into the smartwatch market much later compared to Samsung but still managed to create more hype. What Apple does is calculated marketing analysis that allows them to introduce their products later but still create more waves in the tech world. Apple has produced products that gave them the power and money to be an industry leader in electronics. Even though they are not the first innovators, the consumers always expect a high quality product from Apple and that is how they push products that many people doubt at first but later end up demanding (such as the iPad).

  3. Hey Lauren! Funnily enough, I was thinking about this question the other day too, but about Google, not Apple. Someone on Facebook shared an article that said “Google Fiber is coming to Atlanta!” and at first I thought it was a nutrition thing, but it turns out Google has actually developed their own internet company (like Comcast and other internet providers). That just got me thinking about how Google went from being a simple search engine to a company that makes computers, tablets, phones, software, self-driving cars, and now internet. They pretty much dominate the tech industry, and it’s I’m just fascinated by what kind of marketing or business decisions they made to allow them to achieve their success. I’m not sure, but it seems like Apple has got this formula figured out too.

  4. I have had a similar situation as Yang, when using the older Mac desktop computers. In my high school physics lab we used Mac desktops to run programs for our experiments. I found the computers to be very difficult to use and undesirable, even though they were from the same company that made my fancy new iPod. I would have much rather used a PC to run the programs, or perhaps a newer updated Mac.

    Also your comment about the iPad is interesting, because when it first came out I thought it was going to be a flop because it was so large compared to the nice portable iPod or iPhone. However, now that I’m in college I see so many other students with iPad’s and find myself wanting one. I think with exposure to their products, whether it be in a college classroom or visiting the Apple store is what hooks consumers. The store has a very open layout that let’s people explore and test different products, and I never knew I wanted an iPod until I saw some other kids playing games on it at the Apple store then tried it for myself.

  5. It has a lot to do with timing. Yes, it is true, Apple is not the pioneer of the smartwatch avenue of technology, but because they have unveiled it during a relative lull in technological consumer production, it is seen as the next best thing. People are attracted to Apple’s romantic founding with Steve Jobs, his movie romanticizing his life, and his company. Therefore, there is more to the company than just the technology itself, by purchasing the electronics, they support the Apple romantic tale, as well as the emotional connotations that occur with it.

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