The Latte Effect

For the last year or two, there’s been talk of an iPod Halo Effect, the theory goes that so many people buy iPods and are so in love with the product that they then consider and eventually buy Apple computers. Recent rises in market share are thought to come from that effect.

I’m sure that’s true but I’m also pretty sure there’s another effect at play here; the wifi laptop effect, which I’ll call “The Latte Effect” to make a lame attempt at being cute with it. A couple of years ago when I started working in cafés regularly there weren’t a lot of places with wifi and there weren’t a whole lot of Apple laptops around either.

Nowadays, not only do I have ample choice—thanks to ISF both for the hotspots and for showing owners who do it themselves that it should be free—of online spaces but some of them look like computer store displays with the huge numbers of laptop around. Of those laptops there is often a good 50% with a glowing apple on the lid while at “artsier” places like Laïka it’s usually above 80%.

It’s an unscientific survey but I’d estimate that there are now 3-4 times more laptops in the 4-5 cafés I visit regularly and that the proportion of Macs is at least double what it was. Considering how often I’ve had or seen people lean over and ask questions about the things and how often I’ve seen PC owners diving for wall sockets to plug in their 45 mins of battery life Sthinkpads and Dulls while mac heads are lazing around unplugged in the couches for 3 hours, I’m sure it has it’s effect. And don’t discount the easyness of pulling out a 4-5 pound slim case from a messenger bag you carry all day without noticing versus the 7-8 pounder being taken out of the corporate black Targus case.

Wether it’s because of iPods, café “wannabeism” or both, it’s just cooler looking to take out and use a Mac than a PC. Result; snowy iBooks and silvery Powerbooks are showing up everywhere.

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