Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Head Hurts...

I usually ignore link bait - and lists of 10 whatevers tend to be link bait - but this one was truly stupid, and came from an unusual source. Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, we have: "10 things Apple won't tell you."

We start with "1. Our customers are worn out." This turns out to mean that they don't like having new products released regularly. This from the company that release one new phone a year, which is immediately sold out and in short supply for two months afterward. And in this leadoff position, we have the insight that "Software upgrades also gently nudge people to buy new hardware." Sure. And hardware failures not-so-gently kick people to buy new hardware. Apple provides an incentive to spend more money on better stuff, while creating long-lived products so the frugal can keep on working.

"2. Be careful of that app." This is an anecdote about how some child in Rockville, Maryland spent $1,400 buying something called Smurfberries through an in-app purchase. Yup, giving your kid the equivalent of a credit card and not paying attention can be expensive. Please don't be stupid.

"3. We're getting in the way." This is a complaint that people check their electronic gadgets too often when in company. It's rude, yes, but hardly unique to Apple.

"4. You may spend more with our devices." Apple people spend more on cell phone bills and more on e-commerce sites than non-Apple people. Not sure why this is a big deal, but my reaction is: no one is forcing you to spend.

"5. We need another game-changing gadget." Seems more like an issue for shareholders. And I'm of the view that competition is good for consumers.

"6. The iPhone is overpriced - even compared to the iPad." This is typical of what I hear at work on a regular basis: price should be some (relatively small) markup over cost. You know how that happens? Someone else builds a product that's as good a value, forcing down margins.

"7. Don't be fooled by our soft sell." This is a complaint that Apple Store staff are polite and engage customers, finding out what the customer wants before trying to sell anything. The Journal is really complaining about good customer service?

"8. Our features are falling behind." AKA "We want bigger screens." Well, maybe, maybe not. I look at some of those huge Android phones and laugh, but different people have different preferences. We don't judge. Much.

"9. We'll hook you for life." Complaining about the Apple ecosystem. I dunno. At work, I type on a machine running Windows XP, locked into both a Microsoft operating system and Microsoft Office, except for those times I have to open a document in WordPerfect, sent by people so locked into that obsolete piece of sh…software that they can't make the transition to Word. And one of the examples of lock-in, I kid you not, is someone's concern that he'll lose his song ratings if he moves his music to a Kindle Fire.

"10. Our fans don't care if we screw up." Listen to any episode of Hypercritical, with John Siracusa. The name of the podcast isn't chosen at random, and the target of Siracusa's biting observations is often Apple. The example under this number is that a group that wants Apple to improve working conditions in China "said they won't be discarding their Apple products." Yeah, because other manufacturers have the same problems, and, by the way, what idiot would dispose of an expensive product (as opposed to not buying another one).

Really, what a pathetic effort (except that the link bait worked).

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