Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Virtual Marketing & Sales by Apple Computer Inc.

Looking for the next great idea from Apple Computer, Inc. (NSDQ:AAPL)?

Apple iPhone 52776
Here's an interesting new development. Apple, Inc. recently applied for a patent for a new Online Shopping Atmosphere. This will be a virtual Apple® Store possibly located in Second Life and other MMRPGs*.

What if Apple decides to offer a virtual reality upgrade to their iTunes music store?

Mysterious Store Interior, Annapolis 50433

I occasionally see avatars walking around in SecondLife wearing iPods®. However, all Apple Inc. products tend to be unique and original in every way, including the marketing. You can expect Apple's virtual reality store to feature all the cool things you would find in a physical Apple Store at your local shopping mall. You can try out the iPods, ask a question at the Genius Bar, you and 50,000 other people, at the same time.

Apple's VR store, iStore, iShop, or maybe still simply iTunes must be available independently of Linden Labs, Inc. or the operators of any of the large MMRPGs. That's just the way Apple does things.

How an Apple iShop Might Work

Based on my experiences with SecondLife, here's how I am speculating the VR store would work:

1. Existing users of iTunes simply download the software required to enter the virtual iShop. (Similar to the SecondLife process). New users must create an account.

2. After the software is installed the user goes to some address, logs on, agrees to terms of use, and gets to choose or design an iShop avatar.

3. To get started shopping quickly customers would be encouraged to first pick a generic but still very stylish avatar. This is Apple Inc. we are talking about, style is all important. Modifications like tattoos, studs, and leather pants can be added later.

4. A virtual store could allow "Live" concerts to take place in an unlimited number of iShop store departments. Book readings by famous authors, self-publishing or photos/books/movies, advance movie screenings, special public events, etc. at any time, in any language.

5. If Apple software engineers really teemed up with people at Linden Labs and a team from Activision Blizzard, formerly Blizzard Entertainment, avatars from SecondLife and World of Warcraft could enter the Apple iShop and browse for a new 3G iPhone.

Imagine seeing a Blood Elf, two Orcs, and a Draenei walk in to the iShop! Paladins would be required to leave their weapons outside.

New Apple Product Development Prototyping

A well-designed virtual Apple store, thought out in great detail, would allow Apple's customers to try out new consumer products that have not even been invented yet! Virtual worlds are fantastic for prototype development and inexpensive testing of new product ideas. It is no surprise Apple is joining Reuters®, Nissan®, and many others in SecondLife.

MMRPG - stands for Massive Multiplayer Role-Playing Games. World of Warcraft is another example of an MMRPG.

Related Article #1
Related Article #2

Earlier Posts on SecondLife and the online games business:

Suicide, Murder, and Virtual Worlds

Why Bother Marketing in Virtual Worlds?
Why Do Business in SecondLife?
Virtual Reality in Second Life
India, Google, God, and Technology

The author owns shares in Apple, Inc. and related firms.

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