The car industry would die for Apple fervor

Published: 27 January 2010

Buzz. Hype. Spin. Religious zeal. Computer firm Apple has it all – and today the evangelical marketing machine is in overdrive, as founder Steve Jobs prepares to unveil a new product, widely tipped to be Apple's tablet computer, in San Francisco. Expect plenty of ethereal white lights, oohs and ahhs and arguments in the tech community between Apple fans and foes.

How marketing whizzkids at car manufacturers must be watching and weeping. Apple's publicity outfit has achieved the seemingly impossible: users' own peer-to-peer recommendations do a better job than the company's own inhouse marketing. Can you imagine the mainstream media clamouring for news of a new car? The closest we've seen in recent years was last year's debut of the Tata Nano.

Of course, the car industry is a more mature market selling a predominantly less sexy product. Could the dawn of electric cars and the overhaul of a century old format inject new zeal into the motor industry? It took only one or two products – the iMac, and celebrated iPod – to turn around Apple's fortunes, don't forget.

Artists' impressions – of computers and cars

As well as admiring the hype from afar, I'm intrigued by the CGIs circulating of the new Apple product. Geek technology circles must have a natural flair for Photoshop, but I've been surprised by the divergent details of artist's impressions and wilder claims of 'leaks' and official specs. Gossip is news and artifice omnipresent in 2010. We hope CAR's own artists' impressions are more accurate than those in the computer blogoshpere (we've included a couple above, although we don't always get it right!)

No wonder Apple's profits increased by 50% this week – with the best quarter on record, despite the still-glowing embers of a severe recession. Apple sold 21 million iPods in 2009 and hogs a 70% share of the MP3 player market.

Those are the sorts of figures an old-school car executive would give his eye teeth for.

>> Will a car maker ever achieve Apple's cult status? Click 'Add your comment' and sound off

>> Images courtesy of Google, Blog.idrive.com and sciblogs.co.nz

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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