iBooks at the Olympics

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Do you want to take your PowerBook to the Olympic Games? Go ahead; just be sure that you tape over that Apple logo on the back cover. According to Kieren McCarthy, writing in The Register, IBM is making Olympic attendees mask the logos on their non-IBM laptops with black tape. The idea is that if IBM is shelling out big bucks for sponsorship, it only wants Big Blue portables showing up from down under on television.

But what about the iBook? How does one tape over that enormous Key-Lime border? The answer is you can't, short of wrapping the entire thing in electrical tape.

Although IBM did not respond to my request for confirmation (and never mind the implications of bringing a laptop to a sporting event ), the article made me realize something about the iBook: it advertises itself. Like the Sony VAIO or Volkswagen Beetle, the iBook is unmistakably recognizable.

In that respect, the product is far superior to any high-end Dell or IBM laptop as it reinforces Apple's brand recognition, and thusly Apple's fortunes. Let's suppose that a camera does pan across the crowd and catches someone hunched over a ThinkPad. Would the fraction of a second that the IBM logo is displayed -- if it were even legible -- be enough for it to register in a viewer's mind? Probably not. But suppose that the camera pans across a bright orange portable computer instead. Nevermind that the logo is covered, it has to be an iBook.

In short, the iBook, in addition to being a smart-looking machine, is an effective guerilla-marketing advertisement. And unlike the iMac, which has the same qualities, the iBook is portable and therefore can advertise for Apple anywhere: on a plane, in a park, at the train station, or even at the Olympic Games.

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