Here's a weird thing. Recently, my employer Navarik bought a bunch of new computers, including various PowerBooks and a brand-new iMac G5 for me (yay). Since we were spending quite a bit, our Apple dealer gave us some free goodies, including an old promotional T-shirt for the discontinued iPod mini.
Because I provide a lot of Mac support around the office, our IT people were kind enough to give me the shirt. I usually wear it under a cardigan or other open sweater, so all you can see of it is the undecorated iPod click wheel design on the front. The word "iPod" and the Apple logo do not appear. The effect, and what it says about the power of Apple's iPod brand, has been fascinating.
- First of all, the first time each of my daughters (5 and 7) looked at it, they both said, "iPod!" and started mashing at the "buttons," saying things like "Pause!" and "Play!" And we don't even have an iPod with a click wheel. The iPod shuffles my wife and I use have a similar control, but it's not exactly the same. But the kids knew anyway.
- Then, on repeated occasions, both my friends and co-workers, as well as complete strangers on the street, have said "Hey, cool shirt!" (Some of them were likely tempted to mash the buttons too, but other than my wife, who's allowed, they've avoided actually doing it.)
I have a lot of T-shirts, and I've never seen a reaction anything like this to any of them, or any other piece of clothing. Has a consumer electronics device—even the original Walkman—ever generated this kind of cultural buzz?