If you are among a lot of people right now, just take a look around. What do you see? People, of course. But one more thing should also be quite evident: the ubiquity of smartphones. A vast majority of people (if not everyone) is using a smartphone these days, and besides the obvious and popular use-cases (calling, texting, photography, entertainment, social media, etc), smartphones are also being used in many hard-to-imagine and interesting ways.

So, it’s reasonable to conclude that smartphones have become an indispensable part of our lives. Needless to say, when something becomes so important to almost everyone, it naturally becomes a good source of earning money for businesses. And that’s what has happened with smartphones, with many companies competing with each other to get a bigger slice of the pie.

 

iPhone launch day queues: The thrill to be the first

 

So far, so good. But what bewilders me sometimes – and I am sure, many others – is why would some (or rather, a lot of) people go crazy, or if not that, then at the very least, why do they even step out of their comfort zones just to buy a phone? Yes, I am talking about the phenomena we see on the launch day of iPhones worldwide. Take, for example, the iPhone 15 launch recently.

From the usual spectacle of long queues, to people queuing up as many as 10 days before the launch, to even creating a stampede-like situation, the iPhone mania is enigmatic even this time around (16 years after the first iPhone launch).

This behavior is a bit preplexing especially when you consider the fact that anyone with enough money in pocket and interest in buying an iPhone, can buy it eventually, if not immediately at launch. So, why people behave this way on launch day? Before we dig in deep into this aspect, it’s important to know what makes iPhones (or Apple products in general) so popular?

I did some research on the Internet, especially on the social media platform X (formerly, Twitter) as well as Reddit and Google in general, to understand what drives people (both potential and existing Apple customers) towards iPhones, and I found the following reasons:

  • Better software optimization compared to competitors
  • Simple and hassle-free UI experience
  • Better software support compared to what other companies offer
  • Premium build quality or finish
  • Seamless switching between iPhones (like, while upgrading)
  • Marketing
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Security and Privacy
  • Reliability and trust
  • Ecosystem

I know this list may not reflect the full spectrum of reasons that push people towards iPhones, but these are the most frequently repeated reasons I found. To be completely honest though, there were a few more reaons, but I have reserved them for later in this article.

Anyway, coming back to the aforementioned list, from my experience researching on this topic, I know Apple fans will support many of these points, while others (or rather I should say Android fans) will agressively debate them.

If you ask me though, I’d say it’s a matter of personal preference, habits, and priorities. For example, I have been using mobile phones since 2003, so I have used both dumb and smartphones in my life until now, but I haven’t retained any particular mobile phone for more than 3-4 years. And that’s what I have seen for most people in my family & social circle (which consists of both Android and iPhone users).

So, to me, Apple offering more than four years to software support may be a wow factor but I won’t switch to an iPhone just because of it.

Same goes for many other points in the list above. For example, when it comes to UI experience and software/app optimization, the debate shifts to iPhone vs Pixel phones. When it comes to build quality, Android fans point towards Samsung’s flagship phones. And so on and so forth.

 

The Apple Ecosystem: A seamless seduction

 

There is one point where I feel Apple has an upper edge, and that’s ecosystem. The Cupertino-based company has a whole ecosystem of in-house tech devices in place that play the nicest when used with each other. And once a user enters the Apple ecosystem, which usually happens either through an iPhone or Mac, the likelihood of them getting slowly absorbed into this ecosystem becomes very high.

Apple products tend to be tightly integrated, which highly encourages you to buy more Apple products. For instance, you buy an iPhone. That iPhone has Apple Music, Apple TV, etc preinstalled and it’ll give you a discount on those services. You need new headphones, so you get AirPods because they work well with the iPhone. You get an Apple Watch because it matches aesthetically and integrates so well with iPhone. Source

I know many people call Apple’s ecosystem as a walled garden. Even Steve Jobs once touched upon the topic of Apple’s closed vs Google’s open ecosystem. But that’s a topic of discussion for some other day.

Coming back to the present topic of discussion, so once you are consumed in this ecosystem, reasons like ‘Android is more customizable’, ‘offers a wide variety of hardware options’, etc just don’t seem big enough for most people to make the switch. It’s akin to asking someone (who has fimily roots and large social circle) to switch their base from their country of birth to a completely new country – not everyone can confidently and convincingly pull that off you know.

So, that pretty much explains why users who are already a part of Apple ecosystem choose to upgrade to newer versions of the products they use. But what about those who are new? What prompts them to switch to Apple products? To find answers to these questions, let me now carefully unveil reasons I reserved earlier.

 

The iPhone frenzy: Unveiling the psychology behind the hype

 

We need to first understand the psychology and need of customers looking to buy an iPhone, and it won’t be wrong to say that varies from customer to customer, and region to region. For example, in my part of the world, I have mostly heard two reasons for switching to an iPhone: 1) To get more absorbed into the Apple ecosystem – this comes from people already using Apple products like Mac. 2) Because it’s an iPhone.

Now, the first reason is self explanatory, but it’s the second reason that deserves more attention, as it’s also the answer to the fundamental question raised by me in this article.

In many parts of the world, iPhones have become a Veblen good – a staus symbol or a show off. Owning an iPhone is treated as an essential component of an elite-class lifestyle in many socities around the world, and being able to get an iPhone on the launch day then becomes a cherry on cake.

I’d like to stress that I am not underestimating the potential of iPhones in any way by talking of them as more of a fashion statement. Instead, I am focusing on how the socities around the world have started perceiving this product.

I am not a psychologist, so I cannot throw complex medical terms here. But what I do know is that majority humans always want to be part of an exclusive club which is highly coveted by others. This explains why there is no end to spending money, and by extension, earning money.

On the mobile phone front, if you look back now, Apple sowed the seeds for such a club in 2007 when Jobs during the unveiling of the first gen iPhone termed it as “a revolutionary product …… that changes everything.”

The phenomena of people queuing up for buying an Apple phone on launch day started with the very first iPhone, and continues till today, a time when it appears even more outstanding given that you can easily get your phone in 1-2 days through ecommerce platforms. So, you see, it has been like this all along, and still going strong despite the odds.

That’s the reason why the very word ‘iPhone’ has a very premium recall value, which is unlike any other brand in the smartphone market. And that’s the reason why people queue up to buy iPhones – the rest of the craziness … just follows.

Featured image source: DeeOneAyekooto / X (Twitter)

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Himanshu Arora
359 Posts

My interest in technology and writing started back in 2010. Since then, I have written for many leading publications, including Computerworld, GSMArena, TechSpot, HowtoForge, LinuxJournal, and MakeTechEasier to name a few. Here at PiunikaWeb, my work involves leading the team as well as writing informational stories.

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