Magical and Revolutionary? Audience Sensemaking of Apple's iPad
Watkiss, Lee. “Magical and Revolutionary? Audience Sensemaking of Apple's iPad”. PhD, Boston College, 2016. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107421.
My dissertation examines changes in audience sensemaking by the public and media about Apple’s novel product, iPad. My study begins on December 28, 2009, one-month before the introduction of the iPad by Apple and ends with the anniversary of its retail availability on April 2, 2011, shortly after the launch of the second-generation iPad. Using primarily qualitative methods, I analyze archival data including online forums and news articles to understand audience sensemaking as it unfolds. I investigate how sensemaking by the two audiences a) changes over time, b) changes with different types of material interaction with the product, c) incorporates the use of functional and symbolic frames in their public discourse about the iPad, and d) changes based on the public role of the audience. In doing so, I advance explanations as to how meanings about novel products stabilize. More broadly, I elaborate how nascent product categories can emerge by focusing on the cultural-cognitive processes that undergird product classification systems. As a result, I offer novel pathways for product category emergence.