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.