Using the First-Run Experience to make you happy.

From Daring Fireball:

Apple is the one and only PC maker that sees the first-run experience as an opportunity to make you happy, rather than as an opportunity to make a few bucks by showing you ads and stuffing trialware down your throat.

How true.

Advertisers know about this. They know that when you sell something to someone–even something that won’t be replaced often, like a car–that they need to continue to advertise to you. It’s a halo effect: ads for BMW are targeted to BMW drivers to make them happy they bought a BMW, so they are more likely to recommend BMW, and so they are more likely to replace their older BMWs with a newer BMW. It’s called customer loyalty, and its built first and foremost by taking every opportunity you can to make the customer happy.

Computer manufacturers, however, don’t seem to remember this basic law of advertising, a law that was probably discovered by the Romans–if not by caveman. And so they abuse the hell out of you on the first boot, exchanging short-term gain of collecting a few bucks from advertisers for the happiness of their customers in making a multi-hundred or multi-thousand dollar purchase. The assumption is that happiness isn’t as important as making a few bucks.

But Apple has figured out this basic law of Happiness. So much so that when I first unboxed my Apple TV, I carefully took it out of the box, plugged it into the TV, configured the TV, used a flashlight to triple-check to make sure the TV was properly hooked up and the tuner was switched to the correct channel–all so I could make sure that the moment I plugged the Apple TV into the wall, full video and audio would work correctly from the millisecond power was appled.

Because I didn’t know what the Apple TV box would do when it was first turned on–but I knew that it would make me happy, and I didn’t want to miss a second of it.

The checking of the wires and verifying the component video and audio was correctly synced was well rewarded: when I plugged the Apple TV in, it made me happy.

And it is the same with the iPhone: I don’t know what the unboxing and first-run experience will be like–but I know it will make me happy. My present to my wife when I first get her an iPhone will be to leave it in the box, so she can also experience the same joy–a joy which is so rare when unboxing electronics that she so far has refused to unbox anything. Because she has learned, thanks to years of training, that unboxing and opening up a new gadget is not like christmas, but more like opening up the sealed container that has been living in the back of your refrigerator for the past year or so. You don’t know what to expect, but you know it will take work before you like it.

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