Published on: March 29, 2012
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I started the week with what I called a gentle criticism of Wegmans. As we head toward the end of the week, let me offer some gentle criticism of Apple...
Mrs. Content Guy is verklempt.
She has this great 24 inch iMac desktop computer that I got her more than five years ago for a big birthday. (I can’t tell you which one.) She got a notification the other day that she needs to update her computer, moving it from the current Mobile Me online system to iCloud. When she tried to do so, she was informed by the computer that she first needed to update her operating system to the current Lion OS. When she tried to do that , she then was notified that she cannot, because her computer is too old ... it is not designed to handle the new new system. So she cannot upgrade her operating system and cannot upgrade to iCloud, which is a problem because Mobile Me will stop operating at the end of June. The computer will still work, but its ability to synch with her iPhone, for example, will be severely compromised.
As I say, she is verklempt. So who does she call? No, not the Apple Store. She calls me.
So I go into the Apple Store and talk to the folks there and while they were very nice about it, the facts are the facts. And when I objected to the fact that they are essentially making her computer obsolete before its time, they said that Apple works on the premise that most people get new computers every three to four years.
There is a broad philosophical issue at work here. The folks at Apple said that the simple reality is that technology moves forward, and at some point, advances get to the point where old computers simply cannot keep up. That is the nature of technology - it moves forward. And to expect Apple to keep old technology functional is to work against the basic nature of what technology is supposed to do.
Now, I’ll buy this last argument. (Mrs Content Guy, not so much. She would argue that Apple should have left Mobile Me operational even while shifting to iCloud.) But I do think that Apple has dropped the ball in terms of customer relationships.
There should have been a better way to inform customers about these changes and that the implications might be rather than just through a series of notifications that led us to an inescapable conclusion. And they could have offered some sort of rebate program on old computers to make the act of buying a new computer - to replace one that seems perfectly functional and efficient - a little less painful.
In some ways, I think Apple is taking us for granted. With some reason, to be sure - we are totally committed to Apple products, to the Apple eco-system, and we’ll eventually replace the desktop machine with a new one. But we’re not going to feel good about it. Not this time.
And that’s a shame. And a lesson for marketers everywhere.
That’s is what is on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
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