The Simpsons and “Mapple”

Last night’s episode of The Simpsons made some pretty funny pokes at Apple, or as they’re referred to in the episode, "Mapple":

In three minutes’ worth of opening sequence, they manage to get in a fair number of jabs and gags, including:

  • Apple stores’ design aesthetic: “It’s so sterile!”
  • The price points of Apple products – even the fake “myPod” earbuds cost forty bucks
  • The "silhouette” iPod ads
  • Steve Job’s keynotes and the breathless, worshipful way they’re received
  • The “cool factor” associated with Apple products
  • The “1984” ad for the original Macintosh. Comic Book Guy is the perfect guy to throw the hammer – he even has the same shorts as the hammer-throwing revolutionary.

There are many lessons that tech companies (and yes, that includes the empire of which I am part) could learn from Mapple – er, Apple – from differentiating yourself with good design to making an emotional and experiential connection with your users. It’s not just feature sets and price points. After all, even though we’ve had electric light for over a century, candles remain a $2 billion dollar industry and can be found in seven out of ten homes.

(As for Bart’s bit about Steve Jobs and Bill gates smooching on a pile of money, that’s been done before in the form of hot Steve-on-Bill slash fiction.)

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