A few meandering words on Apple and iPhone 4

A super post by @bhatnaturally prompted me to participate in a discussion on how Apple PR is the worm in the Apple. (Please excuse). He agrees they really need to be subject to a PR review (Excuse again).

He also pointed me to this article that argues Apple’s iPhone woes are needlessly amplified because of the legion of playa-haters just looking for an excuse to bash a company that has achieved so much loyalty and success. One of the author’s arguments centers around “It sold so many units! And there have been no returns. So how is it a problem?”.

I think there is a problem. And don’t tell me about high sales figures. I think I know why that’ll happen even if they launch iTamagotchi or iPetRock.

Apple have mastered Pavlovian conditioning and transformed it into high art. They have done this using brilliant marketing, word of mouth and of course, excellent products that have been designed with sleek minimalism but mask high complexity.

Over a period of time, they have managed to drum up excitement and exceed expectations with every launch. After the first iPhone who would bet against the next version garnering a better response? Not me, at least. I was too busy buying it.

My point. Apple have ensured enough buzz with their previous releases to ensure future releases will match or exceed those numbers. So I’m not surprised that a problematic release is still skyrocketing in sales.

Now why haven’t people returned it? I’m sure everyone is aware of the pejorative “Mactard“. I’m not a mactard but I most certainly am a iPhonetard. Apple loyalists have earned this moniker through years of blind defense of Apple’s policies, their feature-deficient products and turning a blind-eye to what can only be construed as PR high-handedness. Do you really expect these people to be caught returning an iPhone? That said, everyone agrees the phone is superb otherwise so I believe purchasers live with this trade-off.

So what I’m saying is, Apple have a problem. The iPhone is just a small part of it. Their disastrous marriage to AT&T has not only dented the credibility of the whole package, but now it appears they’re going out of their way to absolve themselves of any guilt by giving advice that is the equivalent of “Fuck off” written in a large neon sign.

I feel cheated. I can live with the slow introduction of features (hey, they should be tested thoroughly right?), the high prices (my company reimburses the phone plan) and Uncle Steve’s insistence he knows best (all visionaries are misunderstood in their time), but making statements like “Hold differently”, “Use tape” that are more suited to an S&M session than a press-release just indicates they’re REALLY beginning to take us for granted.

I’ll be sure to give the salesperson at the store a mouthful when she’s ringing up my new iPhone 4.

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5 responses to “A few meandering words on Apple and iPhone 4”

  1. Mahak Dewan says :

    I sincerely I hope i can use this //Apple have mastered Pavlovian conditioning and transformed it into high art.// in my business school case study one day. (With due references).

    I am Apple fan too but feel that customers are now taken for granted. iPhone4 was launched without enough testing. iPad is ridiculously priced but a saner investment than iPhone4.

    Too many newer versions are released with not enough gap. Classic case of Product Cannibalization. I suggest Mr.Jobs to take sessions on Customer Experience concept ASAP.

  2. bhatnaturally says :

    Awesome post! ‘We can’t do no wrong, the problem is with you’ type attitude definitely screwed up Apple’s image even among Mactards. While I do defend Apple products and even advocate the brand to friends, I now wish the brand would conduct itself differently with their consumers.

    • daddysan says :

      Sire, thanks for the comment. Appreciate your encouragement :). I am an Apple fan as well, just wish they’d get off their high-horse. No hubris is sustainable.

  3. i_r_squared says :

    Thank you for the sanity. This is exactly my problem with Apple and mactards – in words far more lucid than I could be arsed to write out and post. I will be pointing junta to this by way of explanation the next time I am called a Jobs-hater (which I am), not to be confused with an Apple-hater (which I am not – at least in the absence of mactards).

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