How to make your customers feel the fool

In response to my last post, Damian points out via Twitter that, despite all my whining, I still want one (that’s my words, not his).

My response initially was: “yes, but I want to not want one. I really would like to boycott the damn thing in disgust, but noone can match the integration. I have a love/hate relationship with Apple. I’ll be cheering on any credible competitor that can challenge their arrogance.”

This is the thing – Apple’s balls-up makes me feel the fool for wanting their product. I stopped wanting to feel the fool some time ago, and will jump to a credible competitor as soon as one appears.

(I think that’s a testament to Apple’s brand – that I would take such a thing personally. But I digress…

I don’t purchase music from iTunes as there is a credible alternative without the lock-in – they’re called CDs. And I recently switched to use my Sony Ericcson W880i instead of my iPod, only to switch back due to the lack of integration. I want to avoid using the App Store as well due to the lock-in there – I simply don’t want to support it.

The thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way – I’ve mentioned my gripes more than a few times on this blog. But every time it happens, I want more and more for a competitor to step up and provide me with a decent alternative. I know I’m not alone.

And that’s something Apple’s current market success with the iPod and iPhone currently masks, and thus Apple’s arrogance continues unabated. This hubris (among other things) is what led them to become a minority player early in the PC industry (a position they’ve yet to escape in the personal computer market). I dearly hope they get slapped upside the head sometime soon by a competitor so they pull their head in and start serving their customers. Not that I’m holding my breath…

Update: Hugh posted the following cartoon on a slightly different front, but appropriate all the same:

The Traumatic Life of Bernard L. Cummings

4 thoughts on “How to make your customers feel the fool

  1. I’ve gotten beyond my desire for phones that do everything, because whenever I get one that claims to do everything, I spend months trying to make them work the way I expect them to, and after I’ve finally cracked it, I never actually use the feature.

    I never take pictures with a mobile phone because I hate the quality and it’s too much bother to get the photo onto my computer.

    I’ve been consistently suprised by buying the cheapest phone I can get that specialises in making phone calls, and then seeing what else it can do.

    My $49 phone, bought outright has a colour screen, can connect to my GMail account, has excellent battery life, and makes phone calls like a champ.

    The advertising for iPhone is slick – and I find myself desiring one as I walk past them, but I always remind myself how disappointed I am when I buy a phone that does “everything”.

    No doubt, technology has changed, and phones that do everything probably do them very well now – but I’m not prepared to make the investment to find out for fear of buyers remorse.

  2. Hi Michael – I have to admit I’m mostly in the same camp as you. I made the decision to get the W880i on that basis – I came to the conclusion that the “holy grail” of integration was just a figment of my imagination. The W880i does 80% of what I need and is a lot cheaper (and easier to get a hold of).

    That said – seeing the iPhone in action with friends it does 90% of what I’m looking for with better integration than even the W880i with iSync (which I had to hack to get working properly and even then still doesn’t handle music at all well).

    Plus I’m looking to do development for the iPhone, so there’s a professional imperative to understand what this sort of device is good for, and what it’s not, which is another reason I’m still interested.

    But your point is well taken…

  3. LOL, I can’t tell you how much my sides hurt at your anguish. I know first hand that glint of consumerist excitement struggling to coexist with your desire for socio-environmentally economic reform. You’ll get one, it’s just that Apple are busy engraving yours 😉

    Michael, the first concept that one has to deal with these little devices is that, despite the name, it is not just a phone. I was telling myself that while standing in line for 2 hours. I was telling myself that when told that there were no 16G iPhones left. I was even telling myself that while being indecisive about whether to pay insurance or not. However, after just a few hours with the thing I soon came to realise that in fact it wasn’t ‘just a phone’ but a multimodal communication device. Not a perfect device, yet, but nonetheless quite amazing. I’m enjoying a newfound mobile rennaissance that my Nokia 6110NAV, nor my friend’s N95 can offer. But that’s enough from me, I’ve got to get back to Facebook, or maybe a bit of Crash Bandicoot

  4. Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m currently ‘locked in’ to my blackberry curve, but I sooooo want an iPhone.

    Then I started to think about it. My Blackberry as all my corporate email, contacts and calendar with seamless sync (plus to-do’s …WTF is the story with no native to-do app on the iPhone?). It has a GPS with great nav functionality. It has EDGE data, an UNCAPPED data plan and I’ve installed Opera Mini. I get all my RSS feeds. I get my personal mail too via a native Gmail app. I’ve installed a 4GB mini-SD card so it’s also my MP3 player now (I rarely use my 40Gb iPod these days). It has a 2MP camera.

    OK, so it’s not the best interface – but it works. And on top of all those features here’s the killer …work pays for the blackberry access which includes UNLIMITED data (subject to reasonable use policy which I’ve never fallen foul of despite mammoth usage).

    The one thing that makes me want an iPhone is the 3G factor – both speed and coverage. My vodafone just doesn’t work in some of the places my job takes me. But I’ve just revisted the iPhone plans and they are sooooooooo ridiculously expensive that it reaffirms I’m onto a good deal at present.

    So that’s me done – I’ll get an iPhone when the commercial deal catches up with the technology. (and you all know I’m an early adopter so this is pretty damning…)

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