Does Apple love its’ customers?

07Dec08

Apple is on top, iPods and iPhones are still selling in nice numbers, the notebooks have gained market share… But there is a fine line between luxury, premium and overpricing!

Customers like premium, no doubt and Apple has been  en vogue for a number of years.  Premium is justified by a mix of product quality, customer experience, image.  Design plays a big role, in Apples case both the form as well as the interface.  Innovation is equally important, and Apple has truly innovated over the years: iPod, iPhone, iTunes,  multi-finger input, interface, ease of use, sexy design…

Though I contribute a lot of that success to the overall value for money which until about 2 years ago included a competitive price.  There was always  a premium and it was worth it.  Since then Apple again has become comparitively more expensive to the tech device world.  In other worlds, whereas the rest of the IT hardware prices have fallen a lot, Apple has only done so very slightly, preferring to justify the price with hardware and software improvements.  That is ok up to a certain point, the famous tipping point. Example the screens.  Yes Apple uses great displays, but they are shiny and glossy.  The resolution is ok and comparable to typical customer notebooks. But those tend to be half the price. Maybe Apple designers and Steve Jobs say, more resolution is not needed, but  a lot of customers might disagree. Example mobile iDevices and iTunes, incredibly desirable but increasingly obstrusive, riddled with restrictions and even intrusive action to undo, disable or delete stuff.

Apple is walking on ice.  Macs, iPods & co have become fashionable and for some people must-haves.  But fashion is short-lived, especially when pricing and value for money drift apart, when premium becomes a luxury or worse a rip-off.

And then there is the question of love!

Protection becomes a lock-in for customers and a lock-out for competitors and third parties, but what if you lose your key? What does it say about trust? About respect?

Protecting the company against copycats and competitors is about defense and seriously goes against an easy user experience. I have to worry about how many times I have distributed my music files over different devices, I have to worry about what system / hardware I am using, I have to worry about not being able to listen to my music again. I have to worry about Apple disabling applications on my iPhone…  I was in love, but I am not so sure anylonger.

Aiming for a monopoly through proprietary protocols and patents makes you lonely and ultimately vulnerable.  Everybody will take a shot at you, especially if it is lucrative and promising.  Yes, it has worked for companies like Microsoft in the past, but those times are over. Yes Apple has had the advantage of being loveable, but love can also turn quickly against you – if the love is not reciprocated.  Isn’t love also about trust? Does Apple trust you?

Note: I have been using Macs for about 4 years now. I have now an Ubuntu notebook and am not sure if I will get another Mac anytime soon. What I want is open protocols, a worry free experience,  and better screens which don’t glare back at me and offer a better resolution for more visible content. And I want fairer pricing. I hate to be locked-in or locked-out.  I want to leave and join as I want, I love freedom, I love choice. I expect mutual respect. And I want Apple to love me too 🙂

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2 Responses to “Does Apple love its’ customers?”

  1. I suppose you could ask, “Is Apple putting too much of a gloss on things?”

  2. 2 dfd

    Hogshit. Users can’t even transfer their iTunes bought songs to another so-called inferior mp3 player


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