Consumers Should Be Mad as Hell Over iPhone Launch Debacle (But Aren't)

Techwriter10 0 Tallied Votes 631 Views Share

By all rights, iPhone consumers should be storming the gates of Apple headquarters this morning in true Bastille Day fashion after Friday's mishandling of the iPhone 3G launch, but as far as I know all remains calm in Cupertino, and consumers remain strangely silent over the whole affair.

In a post on Friday afternoon, my colleague Bill Andad (aka newsguy) rightly took Apple to task for failing to provide the necessary server capacity to ensure the iPhone 3G launch went smoothly. He's right of course. It's unthinkable that a company with the resources of Apple failed to provide a seamless experience for the loyal minions who waited in line, some for days, and were expecting after laying out the cash that, you know, they could use the phone. Instead the overloaded activation servers collapsed under the pressure and thousands of loyal customers were sent home and forced to delay gratification.

I almost feel sorry for the poor souls who waited so long, only to find out they had to wait even longer for the object of their affection to work. It had to be hugely deflating. I loved Peter Segal's line from the NPR game show, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, who joked the iPhone upgrade would tell you it loved you too. But does Apple love you too, that's the question. Is this the way a company with billions of dollars in cash reserves treats its most loyal customers, people who are so devoted to its products that they would literally sleep on the streets for a week for a chance to get the latest and greatest Apple device?

Andad pointed out in his post that if Microsoft had pulled a similar stunt, they would have been roasted alive across the internet, but for some reason, people seem willing to cut Apple an incredible amount of slack and criticism remains mostly tepid. When I complained about this on Twitter on Sunday, one of my journalist friends pointed out it's because Apple is a Teflon company and as such, essentially plays by a different set of rules (but of course, she said it in less than 140 characters).

I have to admit I've thought long and hard about purchasing the newest iPhone. I've gone back forth over the last weeks, and I've decided to stay on that fence for a while and see how this all shakes out. You may recall last year, a few months after the first wave of iPhone purchases died down, Apple decided to sweeten the pot. It doubled the maximum storage capacity, got rid of the 4GB model and cut the price substantially, once again, really pissing off early buyers (remember, that same group of folks who are its most loyal customers).

But as long as we as consumers are willing to take it, and Apple continues to fatten its cash reserves, I don't suppose anything will change. As it is, I'm going to take a wait and see approach. Who knows? After Christmas maybe we could see 32 gigs and another price cut, then they might have me, bad customer service and all.

blud 82 Linux Reject Moderator

The 10 1/2 hour wait was definitely an experience that I would never do again, but it did give me a chance to get to know people that I never would have run in to otherwise. By the end we were almost each others support group, because the wait was so dreadfully long.

In the end, I got my iphone, and I was happy, I have a feeling I applicate my iphone more because of the wait I had to endure to get it.

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

I'm glad you could see the bright side of a long day and I hope you enjoy the phone, but it's precisely this feeling of good will that endures in spite of the experience that surprises me so much.

Starrider613 0 Newbie Poster

I agree with what you write. I am really surprised at the capacity of some people to wait for hours to be the first ones on the block with a new toy. And to happily accept what can only be described as abuse by the company.
Maybe it is because I have been in the computer and telecommunications industries since 1986, but I cannot get excited over the introduction of products like the iPhone that have more and more features and do them less and less well.

micky0604 0 Newbie Poster

I am really surprised at the capacity of some people to wait for hours to be the first ones on the block with a new toy. And to happily accept what can only be described as abuse by the company.
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heyzarling 0 Newbie Poster

This is really an odd article. Humor me, and try and muster the courage to drink the Apple Kool Aid for a moment (I can't wait to get lit up by this entry, so I'll beat you to the first insult).

Apple produced a cell phone so vastly superior to anything previously seen with their first iteration of iPhone that it changed the industry. Yes, even with its omissions, it altered consumer perception of what was possible for cell phones. They got it to market, and it was, and is, simply amazing.

Now, v2 appears, better stronger faster, and the implication is that somehow those greedy Cupertino buggers really should've had this version ready first...or maybe that's unfair of them to want to be first to market? Yeah, who in technology wants that?

And the tremendous demand for the 3G meant slow activation. Whoopee. Yes, let's all riot over this. Ever been an early adopter? Followed by predictable whinging about Poor Little Old Microsoft, and an unfair playing field (struggling to hold back laughter now). Oh, Lordy Mama, let's not forget the parade of bogus OS's MS foisted upon us all...all the SP upgrades, the bugs, the drivers, the easy-access virus maybe Apple made someone wait 1-3 days for their superior product to work. I've waited years for my MS products to work reliably, never mind intuitively. And I'm still waiting.

But that's not all...additionally, Apple apparently wrongly now 'continues to fatten its cash reserves'. Those cash reserves are nothing new, and were possibly the only thing that kept Apple in the game over the years, allowing them to continually develop superior products in the face of The Gates Onslaught of Bad Technology. At this point, no spoonful of sugar is big enough to make the Vista go down.

See, the problem is, the good guys, the underdogs, the ones that continually made the very best product they practically could, bucking the status quo and the MS choke hold for all those years...the good guys won this time. Apple users don't 'drink the kool aid'. They are simply accustomed to superior interface, usability and reliability, and have been since OS 7. And Apple's marketing staff was smart enough to capitalize on this loyalty and cross-pollinate the cell phone world.

In the end, Apple users are loyal enough to wait a couple days for activation without throwing a hissy fit. Because Apple EARNED that loyalty with their user base. And you're right: if MS did the same thing, there would be big tantrums over it. Because MS has earned NOTHING with their user base. They have created and perpetuated an idea-poor corporate environment that will eat itself, in the end. Those MS users with the courage to admit they've been giving their money to the wrong team all these years will benefit by switching. Those who cross their arms and turn blue will see nothing but taillights, and the time required to catch up will only increase every day they hold their breath.

Your intuition is right: go buy that 3G iPhone. Get off the fence, and do it. You've been waiting for the wrong things to shake out for far too long already.

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

I' m a big Apple fan already. You don't have to sell me, but if you produce something supposedly so superior, you make sure your ducks are in a row when you're ready to go to market. You may disagree and that's fine. I welcome all comments and don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect them to be ready to go to market when the day arrives on all fronts. Otherwise the end result is they look foolish and are subject to deserved ridicule. No, it doesn't take away from the quality of the iPhone itself, but it certainly ruins the initial experience for many and I think it could have been easily avoided..

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