“The line outside Apple Computer Inc.’s new concept ‘mini’ store curved from the front door down the concourse and back toward the store’s entrance. Every age group was represented; the very old waited patiently, if not groggily, with the very young. It was 8 a.m. ‘We’re here for the experience,’ said one bleary-eyed participant, already in line more than two hours for the grand opening. Another standing nearby agreed; he didn’t even bring any money,” David Sheets writes for The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. “The line had formed last month in the Galleria shopping mall in St. Louis. But across America just last week, this same scene replayed at hundreds of Apple stores when the company unveiled its $499 Mac mini desktop computer and gum-pack-size iPod shuffle music player.”

“In fact, lines just like it also formed when Apple unveiled a redesigned iPod a year ago and a new iMac computer in 2003, as well as when Apple opened its first company-owned store in the St. Louis area at West County Center in 2002,” Sheets writes. “Usually, every line contains the same people — fervent brand devotees who’d sooner trade in a pet or parent than anything they bought from Apple. And they’re smart, too — smarter than most PC users, according to the online media researcher Nielsen/NetRatings.”

“But is Apple just as smart? After all, when a business like Apple that depends on brand loyalty starts hawking $499 computers to attract “other” customers (read ‘not as smart’), it raises the question: Is Apple playing dumb, or being dumb, just to raise its bottom line? The ‘smarter customer’ theory spawned from Nielsen/NetRatings’ research into Internet usage in late 2002. The California firm — a partner of the same ACNielsen that monitors TV-viewing habits — found then that only 8 percent of Web surfers used Macs to go online. Of that group, however, more than 70 percent had at least a college degree, compared with about 54 percent of all other Internet users. Furthermore, Nielsen/NetRatings discovered that more than half the Mac users had five years or more experience using the Internet, compared to only 41 percent of PC users with similar experience. The research group then combined the two findings to reach its conclusion that Apple users, in general, were smarter than PC users,” Sheets writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Mac always was supposed to be “the computer for the rest of us,” meaning, “the computer for the masses, that anyone could use well.” Now, the Mac finally has a chance. Don’t be snobs – it’s not rocket science (unless you’re at NASA using a Mac) – help people who are new to Mac and show how the Mac community is the Mac platform’s strongest asset.

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