Apple Takes a Bite Out of Me
Dec. 1, 2011
I have always suspected it. Apple as a company is over-hyped. The company's new iPad users' support strategy proves it.
I ordered it online. It came in a box. There was no packing slip. There was no piece of paper telling you what was in the box.
Here is what was in the box: an iPad, a charger, a cord for the charger, a booklet, and a card.
The booklet was a warranty. It was written in (I estimate) 3-point type. There is no way I could read t. The card's type face was slightly larger. It mentioned two web addresses.
My wife found these two printed items. I looked. I could not.
I plugged in the charger. I plugged the cord into the iPad. An image of the famous bit-into Apple came up.
Soon, I learned I had been bit into.
On the screen was a small box that said configure. It just sat there. I tapped the screen. Nothing. I tapped the box that said configure. Nothing.
Then I thought: "These people have the reputation of being cute. The trick has something to do with cute. It's a puzzle for grown-ups" So, I used my finger to slide inside the box. It did not look like a slide, but was in fact a slide.
It could have said "slide to configure." But no. "We're Apple. We're cute. Figure it out."
I went through steps trying to configure it. The keyboard popped up. I went through steps until I came to registering. I tried. I had to enter my email address. It refused to accept it. It said I had already registered it. It offered no advice as to what to do next.
Maybe I did register years ago when I set up with iTunes. My daughter got me to do that. I never got very far with iTunes.
So, I tried to register with iCloud. It had a sample email address, but without instructions as to which email address to use. I tried to enter one. But I must have clicked the wrong button. The keyboard disappeared. I could not get it back. I tapped the screen. Nothing. Yes, there is an on-line digital manual. There also ought to be a site filled with instructional screencast videos.
Before you order one, click through and read the manual. Make sure it's worth the time to master the device. It may be. But be sure.
Or maybe you can find a teenager who can teach you how to use it. Maybe he can read the fine print booklet to you, too.
I gave the iPad to my wife. Maybe she like it. She likes puzzles. I don't. I like ease of use. I like instruction videos. I like "monkey see-monkey do."
If she masters it, maybe she can teach me.
Do I have a bad attitude? No doubt. But it is in response to what I regard as a customer-insulting company.
The iPad may be the cat's meow for teenagers who can help each other get started. But I am in marketing. I can sense "screw the user" right from the start.
This company has an attitude: "We are indispensable. Customers aren't. We don't care if you like our stuff or not. Put up with it."
I was sent "switch to Apple" eletters for 15 years. My response from now on: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
I suppose some Apple corps fanatics will blame me. It's all my fault. They reflect the attitude of the company.
There is a concept called the lifetime value of the customer. Here is what it teaches. It costs you a lot of money to get a new customer to buy the first time. If he becomes a fan, you make your profit on the back end: upgrades, support products, and so forth. Apple's lifetime value for me will be the cost of that iPad. If my wife doesn't like it, she can give it to my techie son for Christmas. He generally hates Apple, but he likes gadgets. Maybe he'll like it.
If I never use the iPad 2, there will be no upgrades for me. No iPad 3. No iPod.
The company should go the extra mile to get new users hooked within a few minutes. Puzzles are not the best way.
Apple is competing with Android. What is Android? It's a rival operating system for tablets that Google gives away for free to tablet producers.
My prediction: Android will win the battle of the tablets. It will take a few years, but Android will win. There are lots of hardware companies that will use the open source software made available by Google. They will compete against each other. They will improve the product line. In the battle for market share, open source will win. It's not patent-driven. It's customer-driven.