So the Apple Watch has just entered the market. Regardless what people think or say, there is absolutely no question that sales numbers for the gadget will crush the roof. We already know this before it launched; it’s a pattern that has been tried and tested. Why though, you ask, are we so accustomed to Apple lording over the technology scene? To get to that, let’s back track some years to when the iPad was first launched. At that time, I did not expect the iPad to shake the tech industry the way it did. Scores of people were suddenly toting iPads everywhere they went. And then Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi promptly followed suit. Now the tablet market is every bit as booming as that of its cousin the smartphone. How did Apple do that? Magic? Voodoo? Nope. The answer, short and simple: branding. Think about it – the differences between a smartphone and a tablet stop at the physical level. Intrinsically, both gadgets do the same thing, and the tablet, which came later, merely boasts a bigger screen and stronger hardware, which may contribute a tad more to the overall user experience. Other than that, the tablet and the smartphone function in exactly the same way. The physical evolution of the smartphone into the tablet may have been an utter failure if attempted by anyone else. But because Apple was behind the product, the sales figures hit the roof, broke through, and soared into space. It’s amazing to see what difference a brand can make in sales. Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that the iPad is a bad item which sold well because of the brand – my main point here is that branding could be the boost to kick-start a new product or sale. Every success adds to the perceived brand value. The Apple Watch – like its predecessor, the iPad – is the newest in a long line of insanely successful product launches by the company. Before the iPad was the iPhone; and before that, the iPod, you get the picture. Each success was a brick laid for the future – strengthening the brand, and before we knew it, the brand exploded so spectacularly that it resembles a cult. Function and usability are fundamental aspects of any technological gadget. In Apple’s case, those are secondary considerations for customers. It’s the brand that inspires their decision to buy.