iPhone 5S: Why We Love (and Hate) Apple Products

iPhone Woman
From its sleek design to its reputation for being overpriced, there are many reasons why people have a love-hate relationship with Apple products. (Image credit: Bevan Goldswain | Shutterstock)

Updated at 1:56 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Apple once described its products as insanely great, and throngs of people around the world agree. In 2012, the company sold more than 600 million devices and users sent 800 billion text messages on iPhones, according to a presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference last year.

At today's much-anticipated event, the Apple team unveiled two new phones — the higher-end iPhone 5S, with advanced photo filters and a lightning-fast processor, and a cheaper iPhone 5C that should be more appealing in emerging markets. But what exactly makes these products so popular? And why do some people hate Apple products with such fervor? From their sleek design to their control over the final product, here are five reasons people love (and hate) Apple products.

1. Design

It's no surprise that most fans rave about Apple's sleek designs. Steve Jobs once said "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," and many of Apple's products take this motto to the extreme. Simple buttons, touch screens that "feel" good, and intuitive user interfaces make Apple products a snap to use. [9 Odd Ways Your Tech Devices May Injure You]

"Apple developed a reputation as a product that is extremely easy to use and that has become part of the brand," said Scott Thorne, a marketing professor at Southeast Missouri State University.

2. Limited control

But simplicity can also be limiting. Apple's famously easy-to-use interfaces don't allow for a lot of customization and prevent "power users" from making many changes.

The company also tightly controls the specifications for developers of apps for the iPhone and the iPad, and sells only a few models of smartphones, tablets and computers.

For people looking for options, this lack of choice can seem downright totalitarian.

But from a marketing standpoint, constricting choice may not be a bad thing.

"In reality I don't think consumers want as many choices as possible," said Lynn Kahle, a marketing professor at the University of Oregon. "We are so overwhelmed with decisions that we want to limit our options."

3. Image

Apple also has one of the strongest, most recognizable brands in the world. [13 Iconic Brands Still Made in America]

"It is much more widely known than Android is, even though Android has a much larger market share," Thorne told LiveScience. "Part of it is that there was an iconic figure at the brand pyramid and that was Steve Jobs."

Apple has also consciously marketed itself as the product for high-tech, glamorous creators and innovators, Kahle said.

"When they first started producing their personal computers they talked about them being insanely great and different from anybody else," Kahle said, referring to personal computers (PCs).

4. Insulated world

Apple products are compatible with other Apple products, making it a breeze to download songs from iTunes onto a computer, and onto an iPod or iPhone.

But while this insulated world is great for people who want to buy all their products from the company, it can be a burden for people mixing their Samsung phone with their Macbook Air, Kahle said.

5. Overpriced

For every Apple fan boy, there's a hater who rolls his eyes at the mention of every "overhyped" iProduct.

"Some people have argued there are other products that are equivalent to Apple products or even better for lower prices," Kahle said.

Apple haters feel that most of the company's cache comes from image, rather than actual features in their products. Still, those complaints may be missing the point, Thorne said.

"People don't buy features in a product, they buy benefits," Thorne said.  Among Apple's benefits are its perceived coolness and its ease-of-use, and having all the most advanced features may not actually enhance users experience, he said.

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Tia Ghose
Managing Editor

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.