Thursday, January 26, 2006

Don't blow it Apple!

I’m the first to espouse the uniqueness and fun of Apple’s products. From the very first Apple product I brought home and unwrapped in 1993 (my Mac Classic II), I’ve always appreciated the elegance of what Apple does, right down to the packaging (yes, I’m talking about the box and wrapping).

Apple has more or less been traveling the road to renewed success and viability since the release of the iMac, OS X, and then the iPod. But there’s a price to success. Companies can get sloppy and greedy...just look at Microsoft for the textbook definition. They’re currently faced with a white elephant in the Windows OS; will they sack it and start over like Apple did with Classic in favor of OS X, or will they continue trying to nurse that bloated sack of crap into some sort of functional tool?

I’m currently looking at buying a new iPod Video to replace my 3G from a few years ago. My 3G came generously with a dock, headphones, AC adapter, firewire cable, a remote, a case, and other various nicknacks. Like many of you, I also bought third-party accessories for it that totaled in dollars as much as the iPod itself.

After I carried my iPod for a while, I noticed its battery surely didn’t last as long as the promised 8 hours, even if I never used the backlight. I could get 4 in the beginning, which rapidly decreased over a year. I also noticed how easily the shiny chrome backing of the iPod scratched, apparently by just taking it in and out of the Apple-supplied case. Apple, why not design a case for the iPod that doesn’t need another case to keep it from scratching? Dumbasses!

Apple found itself reeling, fighting lawsuits and customer dissatisfaction over its sloppiness--from horrible battery life to iPod nano scratches. Apple had to offer costly placation deals, like the iPod battery replacement program, that they could have avoided by being candid and factual in the first place.

Later, we saw instances of Powerbook and iBook battery and screen defects--more sloppiness, more legal haggling, and more expensive Apple service programs to address the public relations damage. I wonder if Apple is just riding the cash cow or if they’re actually paying attention to their customers (not if you read the Discussion boards)? Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for their success, but I’m disappointed with some of the crap they’re letting out the door lately. Don’t release a new iPod generation each year if it’s not freakin’ ready...OKAY??!! QC your products Apple.

As I’ve now come to find out, Apple is releasing the iPod Video without a dock, remote, and AC adapter. All that stuff has to be purchased extra now and totals well over $100. And most of those expensive third-party accessories I bought are no longer utile for the new iPod, because Apple keeps shunning any particular standard and modifying things--important things (like electronic connections)--with each new iteration. And one can only wonder if it’s profit motivated, because it sure isn’t customer motivated!

Well, here’s a new Powerbook audio defect that Apple's currently trying to ignore; Apple’s official, laughable advice is to avoid multitasking. We’ll see if quality gets better or goes down with continued success, just as quality suffered and continues to do so at Microsoft. History has shown quality suffers when a company sees itself as invincible; Steve, don’t become the next Bill Gates! Remember...think different!

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