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NewsPoster Oct 9, 2012 04:14 AM
Opinion: Apple, over promising and under delivering?
Some recent experiences I have had with Apple on a personal level have started me questioning the direction that it is headed. From a financial perspective, the company has never been stronger - it has <a href="" rel='nofollow'>over $100 billion in cash</a> and it is the most valuable company in the world based on its current market cap. However, I wonder how much of this success built on the incredible loyalty that Apple has created within its customers and whether the patience of Apple's fans may eventually run out.<br><br>I was among the first batch of customers to pre-order the <a href="" rel='nofollow'>iPhone 5</a> when it went on sale and received it the day it shipped. This was a pleasant surprise as Apple has previously delivered pre-ordered products days after they officially went on sale. However, much less pleasant was the discovery that I had paid top-dollar for a black iPhone 5 64GB model only to discover that it had shipped out of the box with some (minor) damage; it is one thing for me to 'break-in' an iPhone, I just don't accept that it should ship that way. It was a surprising issue that also <a href="" rel='nofollow' rel='nofollow'>affected other Apple customers</a>, inconveniencing them when they should have been enjoying their new phone.

In addition to the three dings on the device, I was disappointed by the build-quality of the model I received. Sir Jony Ive placed a strong emphasis on the care with which Apple crafted the iPhone 5 saying that Apple had gone to "extraordinary levels of fit and finish." At one point in the promotional video for the iPhone 5, Ive highlights how each of the two glass panels on the rear of the device is <a href="" rel='nofollow'>selected from 725 separate pieces</a> from which the two best fitting parts are matched using two 29-megapixel cameras. The iPhone 5 that I received had a perfectly flush bottom glass panel (as promised), but the top panel was noticeably ill fitting. There was a distinct bump when running my finger from the aluminum panel across to the glass panel that clearly did not live up to Ive's promise of a "seamless" fit, or a variance that could be "measured in microns."

I took my iPhone 5 to the Apple Store at Broadway in Sydney to show the finishing flaws to an Apple 'Genius.' He advised that Apple would only replace the device on the spot if it had more significant damage. As I had bought it from the Apple Store online, I was however entitled to return the item for any reason within a 14-day period. On contacting Apple support, I was asked to send through photos of the iPhone (embedded below). However, I was concerned that the black model was more <a href="" rel='nofollow'>prone to scratches</a> and asked for a white model instead. I was told that I couldn't do that, but that my options were to have the black model exchanged, or to receive a refund.

I opted for the exchange. Initially, I was advised via an order notification that the replacement would ship in 3 - 4 weeks! I got back in touch with Apple and was advised that this was not the case and was reissued with a new notification and was promised that it would arrive by the end of the following week. I was at home over that period and agreed that this would be ok. At the end of the next week, I placed a call to Apple asking them where the replacement iPhone was - I was told that it would not arrive until the next week, on the Monday or Tuesday.

As I was going to be at the office on those days, I requested that my order be cancelled and my money refunded. However, I was told that this would only happen after Apple received notice of a failed delivery attempt, leaving me both without an iPhone 5 and about $1,000 out of pocket in the interim - hardly the epitome of customer service. Reluctantly, I decided to try reserve an iPhone 5 online. Despite getting online as soon as reservations opened over a period of three days, I was unsuccessfull in obtaining an iPhone 5.

Giving up on the online lottery, I headed into the flagship Apple Store, Sydney to pick one up. I arrived before the store opened and waited (while feeling foolish as people walked past me thanks to Samsung's <a href="" rel='nofollow'>cheeky advertising</a>). It turned out that, indeed, I was being played for a fool. Apple promises on its website that each day customers can either try to reserve an iPhone 5 or that 'Limited quantities are also available for walk-in purchase on a first-come, first-served basis." When I entered the door as the second customer through, I naturally expected to get an iPhone 5. Instead I was told that I could only purchase one on a contract, and that outright purchases could only be made through the reservation process.

When I pointed out that this information was not supplied on the Apple website, I was given the predictable excuse that this was because of "overwhelming demand." Naturally, I asked why Apple makes a promise on its website, but the Apple staffer tried to explain to me that "limited" could also mean that I could reasonable expect to find "none at all." You have to question the wisdom of being so critically low on stock for what is a key product. It might help increase the perceived desireability of the product, but it also leaves Apple at the real risk of losing customers when there are plenty of attractive alternatives on the market.

Against the backdrop of my iPhone 5 saga, the home button on my third-generation iPad started to play up and become unresponsive at times. I booked it in at the Broadway Apple Store for a 12.40pm appointment a day ago so I could pop up there from my office during my lunch break. Apple will cancel an appointment if you are late, however, I arrived early at 12.32pm and was pointed to a spot to wait after checking in. At 1.00pm, 20 minutes after I was supposed to have been attended to I gave up after discovering that there were still people waiting in front of me to be served. From a casual count, I could see that there were at least three people waiting for each 'Genius' that was actually on hand to serve customers.

It was not quite the 45-minute Genius Bar waiting saga I had to endure about two years ago at the Sydney Apple Store when an Apple MacBook Pro trackpad failed on me. I wrote to the late great Steve Jobs about that episode. What prompted me to write directly to him about it was that Apple promises "Geniuses have extensive knowledge of our products..." While I waited on that occasion, two or three geniuses became free and could easily have seen that my trackpad was faulty. However, it turns out that they were only trained in iPhone support. In my letter to Steve I said that they weren't really 'Geniuses' as promised, but more like 'idiot savants'. I ended up getting a call from the Sydney Apple Store manager as a result, and not long after Apple instituted some changes to help address waiting times. Apparently, Apple still has some way to go on that front.

For all of Apple's well-earned success, it has managed to achieve this despite the fact that they have had some high profile service and hardware-related failures in recent times. The iPhone 4, of course was plagued by a <a href="" rel='nofollow'>faulty antenna design</a>, despite Apple's claims to the contraryelectron. MobileMe had a <a href=" " rel='nofollow'>disastrous roll out</a> and was ultimately replaced by iCloud, which has had a patchy track record too, while it also removed service features. Recently I was one among over a million users who <a href=" " rel='nofollow'> lost access to iCloud email</a> in an outage that extended over 24 hours. This could explain why Apple again offered former MobileMe subscribers an <a href=" .year/" rel='nofollow'>additional 12 months</a> on its upgraded storage plan for free. The iCloud team wrote to affected iCloud users acknowledging that such an outage was unacceptable.

Its social music sharing service <a href=" gration/" rel='nofollow'>Ping has flopped</a> and been discontinued, and now <a href="" rel='nofollow'>a purple lens flare issue</a> seems to be affecting the iPhone 5. And let's not even get started on the new Apple Maps app; enough has been <a href=" val/" rel='nofollow'>written about that</a>, but it does typify what I perceive to be a serious problem at Apple. It is <a href=" .top/" rel='nofollow'>developing a reputation</a> for over promising and under delivering on its services, its customer service, as well as its products as the many examples I have presented here testify to.

I have spent a good deal of money on Apple's products over the years, even when Apple did not enjoy mass consumer appeal -- I actually miss that version of the company; it was still small enough to be responsive and was much less 'corporate.' I don't feel that Apple 'owes' me anything for my loyalty, but I do believe that at the least I, or anyone, can expect is that it should make good on all the promises it makes. That it has apologized for its failures, or tried to rectify them on some level has been a positive. However, relying on my loyalty, or that of others, will not sustain Apple forever. For a company with over $100 billion in cash, and which makes substantial margins on most of its products, I expect better.

At the moment, the recent Apple failings outlined here do not appear to be hurting the company's bottom line. Though, it has to be asked how long this can continue? As the competition continues to get closer and closer to Apple in terms of product design, content ecosystems and operating systems, potential Apple customers might start to take their business elsewhere. If Apple eventually stumbles, it may not be at the hands of its competition; it is quite possible that Apple could be responsible for its own undoing.

Underpromising and overdelivering would seem a better approach for Apple than its current tendency to overpromise and underdeliver - better to pleasantly surprise your customers than leave them open to potential disappointment. Tim Cook's <a href=" fixed/">apology</a> for the Maps app debacle and the <a href=" rel='nofollow'">re-writing of its Maps app description</a> downplaying its capabilities may force Apple into such a rethink.

I still don't have an iPhone 5 and it doesn't look like I will be getting one any time soon. The new Nokia, Samsung and HTC <a href="" rel='nofollow'>Windows Phone 8</a> smartphone are certainly worth a look and I await their arrival with keen interest - at least I won't have a problem getting any one of them on release.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'>By Sanjiv Sathiah</a>
News Editor

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FireWire Oct 9, 2012 05:02 AM
Really? A biased and ill-informed anti-Apple article within MacNN? Bringing back the antenna-gate issue even after everyone in the know know it,s a common problem with most phones (did you see the videos duplicating the issue with all other major brands?). Talking about the supposed purple haze issue even if it's common knowledge that all cameras display some kind of lens flare if pointed at the sun? Blasting Apple Maps even after Consumer report concluded that it was "not bad after all"? And so what if Ping was not popular? Did somebody was penalized? And let's not forget it was mostly Facebook's fault for wanting Apple to pay million even though the integration is free for others? And yes, servers DO have hiccups from times to times, especially for a highly popular site like iCloud or MobileMe, with its millions of users and huge data transfer...

The only real problem is the tiny dings in shipped iPhones, which is not really Apple's fault.. it probably happened at Foxconn, and would have happened anyway after a few days of usage..

I would expect that kind of article from other publication, not from within MacNN.... you're a disgrace
FireWire Oct 9, 2012 05:08 AM
May I suggest you read your own employer's publication?
glawhorn Oct 9, 2012 05:14 AM
Sorry about your experience. I'm even sorrier that you think a few bad experiences spell doom for Apple, or any company for that matter.

The reality is that Apple has a fantastic success rate in what they do. If they have a failing, it seems to be consistently underestimating how many people will want a new product on day one.

So, your phone had some blemishes. OK, I understand that. I'm really glad that you posted magnified pictures of the "chips" (which I couldn't see, myself) so that there is at least proof. And I'm amazed that Apple refused to hand you a new phone the moment that you revealed that you were unhappy because of a cosmetic issue that someone with normal eyesight could not see in a normally lit retail store.

Why don't you try this as an experiment?

First, find out the percentage of DOA Apple products.

Two, find out the industry average for DOA products.

Three, pop your iPhone in a case, as most people do.

Four, quit whining.

Or, buy an Android - then you'll at least have a legitimate reason to whine. Oct 9, 2012 05:15 AM
The company of Tim Cook is seemingly soft on the passion for excellence that marked Steve Job's company. No doubt Mr. Jobs was an impossible guy to work for but those people who simply want to do the incredible obviously flourished under his guidance and generally anything Apple did was incredible. Thinking about all that has come out (or not come out) since Tim Cook took the reins, and it's obvious that his standards have softened. iOS6, Mountain Lion, and other products are good - not 'Insanely Great".
kerryb Oct 9, 2012 05:23 AM
Thank you for taking super close up pictures of your new iPhone 5 otherwise I would have no idea what "damage" you were referring to. You have got to be the fussiest tech consumer in the world. Apple is a company that sells products made on a huge scale, there are millions of iPhones in the world. You are not buying a custom Rolls Royce but a $200 phone.
Zanziboy Oct 9, 2012 05:28 AM
Wow! The iPhone 5 is pretty darn good. I'll admit there is a lens flare issue when you point the camera into the sun. But, overall it's a very decent camera. (The lens flare issue will be probably be addressed in a later production revision with a new lens coating and darker black paint on internal camera elements.)
machobbes Oct 9, 2012 05:48 AM
I'm sure he will found more flaws under a microscope.
hayesk Oct 9, 2012 06:02 AM
While, it'd be nice if the phone was absolutely perfect, I still can't think of any other brand of phone that even comes close to matching the build quality and precision of an iPhone.
sgs123 Oct 9, 2012 06:21 AM
OMG! You might risk being seen in public with a phone that looks like it was in your pocket for a day for 3 weeks waiting until a replacement arrives?

Too inconvenient to return the black one to get a white one?

On a major revision like this, I generally wait for at least the 2nd manufacturing run general principle...
Grendelmon Oct 9, 2012 06:32 AM
By Sanjiv Sathiah
News Editor
Hahaha! Now that's funny... MacNN obviously doesn't *have* an editor!
GW5555 Oct 9, 2012 06:43 AM
While some may say the writer is overly picky, I do not begrudge him the expectation of a perfect iPhone when taken out of the case. I know I was thrilled when I got mine and it looked beautiful. Is it realistic to expect perfection every time we open the box? Maybe not, but that doesn't stop each and every one of us from expecting it anyway. Apple has made its reputation on the quality, functionality, and sheer beauty of it's products. We have come to expect more from them than we do from most other companies. Is it fair? Probably not. But Apple has made us expect more and they need to be aware of that. That does not mean that they MUST be perfect in everything they do. I much prefer a company that pushes the envelope and occasionally fails to one that plays it safe. But that does mean that Apple needs to be aware of this fact and act accordingly. Look at the Apple TV. A "hobby" product. A product that I, personally, can't say enough good things about. Part of its success comes from the fact that we had no major expectations of it. Apple snuck it in under the radar, letting it grow from interesting idea to what might be the cornerstone of the media center" concept. While Siri is constantly lambasted in the media, EVERY comparison of it to the competing products shows it as superior. Yet it is still referred to as a failure.

Part of the problem, I believe, comes from Apple themselves. When you present something as "world's best," the expectation is that it IS better than anything else, not that it will be better than everything else. THAT is the point of this article. Apple has made us expect the best, and advertised these things as the best, and we are disappointed when they are simply good. Perception is more important than people understand, and Apple needs to get a handle on that.

In addition, Apple needs to get a handle on their quality control again. The problem with being as big as they are is that scale is challenging. To make an iPhone 5 with such great detail and precision is a tremendous undertaking. Making millions is even more impressive. But to do so, at such a rate, at such a scale, and such a quality level, all at the same time, is just mind boggling.

Tim Cook's strength is supposed to be in operations, so I am hopeful that he can and will be able to address the scale issues. That alone will make huge improvements. But there is also a new mantra that Apple needs to believe. "Deliver more than you promise"
daqman Oct 9, 2012 06:47 AM
I am shocked by many of the comments here. The author of the article received a product that was supposed to be new and unblemished in a less than perfect condition. It is not unreasonable to expect that something new is in good condition and expect a replacement if it isn't. I've been using Apple products since 1984 and been banned a couple of times from various forums (yes you Gizmodo) for being a "fanboy". What I too have noticed is that the customer service level from Apple is falling as their popularity improves. If things go right they are wonderful but if they go badly then they are indeed very bad.

The fact that any one person had a wonderful experience or a lousy one doesn't make what the author wrote invalid. He has his opinion and experience and he is passing it on.
mac_in_tosh Oct 9, 2012 06:54 AM
"The only real problem is the tiny dings in shipped iPhones, which is not really Apple's fault.. it probably happened at Foxconn, and would have happened anyway after a few days of usage.".......

I'll never understand why there are some people that feel the need to jump to Apple's defense over every issue. They are just a company, a big company now, that is out to make as much money as they can.

I thought the article was well-reasoned and fair. I'ts Apple that promotes its products as being of the highest quality, even magical. So I can understand the disappointment at getting a new iPhone with chips in it. But to say it's not Apple's fault, but Foxconn's, is not logical. Apple contracts with Foxconn to produce these items so is responsible for seeing to it that quality is maintained.
Gazoobee Oct 9, 2012 06:56 AM
Just as a data point ...

I have bought five iPhones, all ordered online the second they were available.
3 out of 5 came with "manufacturers defects" and had to be replaced right away.

Each time it was a nightmare of customer service just to convince Apple to replace them. Each time I had to wait, like the author, and each time they tried to replace my full-price unlocked non-contract phone with a refurbished one, (while simultaneously swearing that because they called it "genius stock" instead of refurbished stock, that it wasn't refurbished).
Gazoobee Oct 9, 2012 07:00 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by GW5555 (Post 4195278)
... Is it realistic to expect perfection every time we open the box? Maybe not, but that doesn't stop ...
I think you are missing the point.

When a product is advertised as "perfect" (this one is), and you buy it off-contract at full price (close to $1,000 where I am and I think even more where the author is), then the expectation that it come out of the box without dings and scratches is entirely reasonable.

It's not a lottery. The idea that we should expect that some are perfect and others are not and it's kind of a crapshoot which one you get it just ridiculous. Yes, it should be perfect every time, right out of the box. If that can't be done, then they should stop advertising it as such, or start charging a lot less.
lkrupp Oct 9, 2012 07:33 AM
In the last paragraph of his screed the author threatens to drop Apple and move to either Android or Windows 8. I wonder if he will then stop writing for MacNN and start writing for an Android or Windows 8 fan site. I wonder if he will then start whining and complaining about the absolute crapfest that is cheap, plastic-cased hardware.

Yet another "Steve is dead so Apple is doomed" article. These same pundits were always lambasting Apple under Steve for his hubris ad arrogance and how he alienated more people than he convinced. Now that he's dead the company can't survive without him? So which is it?
fritzair Oct 9, 2012 07:40 AM
The little dings are a sign that you should drop the Apple phone, and go to Windows or Android. You will do well in the role of finding the tiniest of marks and how because you are a journalist you expected special treatment for a very popular product. You major issue was trying to be the first one out of the gate. Next time wait a month and you can buy, return, buy return as many cycles as you please in a timely manner.

Geoduck Oct 9, 2012 07:49 AM
I think the author is correct. Apple has gotten sloppy. They still make great products but the meticulous attention to detail in both hardware services and most importantly cutomer service is slipping. Too bad as it's what brought me to Apple in the MacII/MacSE days. I think the author is exactly correct and it's sad.
macphone Oct 9, 2012 08:09 AM
Comments are typical of what one would expect from ignorant fanboys who can't stomach the thought that Apple isn't a golden, perfect company. They have zero tolerance for anyone who doesn't simply glow with adulation for Apple. Grow up assholes!

I've grown up with Apple. I love their products - well since Steve let Jony design them anyway - and love using them. My house lives in the wonderful garden. But that doesn't mean things are perfect. manufacturing defects do happen and in this case one CAN and SHOULD expect flawlessness for and expense close to $1000. You would in any other jewelry so why not your jewel of a phone. I do accept that all manufacturers, Samstung and Nokeya, also have similar minor issues and recipients of their hardware probably exchange them too. But you don't hear the fanboy BS there. Seems unique to Apple fanboys.

The author is expressing a concept that seems to be true. Apple is changing, as it should. Steve said "don't ask what Steve would have done". I'm sure Tim's Apple will be just fine. The company will change. That's a good thing which Steve would have wanted. He left his soul behind as a guide, but real men and women now guide its future and Apple will settle in a different place. I'm confident its fans (like me) will find the new Apple to be as good as Steve's Apple. Hopefully the immature fanboys will also become more tolerant of others. One can only hope.
Lynn_Fredricks Oct 9, 2012 08:26 AM
I see not much changes on MacNN. Someone says something negative about an Apple product and many replies are to make personal attacks against the original poster.

I probably would miss most of those flaws on his iPhone. However I know that in some markets at least, if enough customers brought back products like this, the reseller would ship the entire shipment back to the vendor and cancel any payments due until it is resolved. Regardless of the reason why the product or the customer experience was bad, it should be made right, and quick - if not, then Apple will rightfully earn a tarnished reputation and deal with the costs of high returns.

It doesn't seem reasonable to accept worse customer service dealing directly with Apple than you would expect with any other reseller.
bjojade Oct 9, 2012 09:13 AM
Looking at the photos, the 'dings' that were found are smaller than the dust specs that are collecting on the phone!! Now, I've seen some pictures posted with phones that have obvious cosmetic damage, but the marks in this posting are so minute, that even with a closeup image and the blemish circled, it's hard to tell that there's even an issue. Certainly not enough of an issue that it would be worth sending back for.

With other phone manufacturers, there are blemishes far worse than that on many phones. The difference being that their phones don't start with the tight design standards of the iPhone, so a mark the size of a dust speck isn't quite as noticeable.

Its funny that you complain about the ordering and return policy of the iPhone, and blast how horrible Apple is. Have you even TRIED seeing what the competition is doing? If another manufacturer's phones are on backorder because of overwhelming demand, do you think they would do any better with returns? Highly doubtful. Until Apple came along, the average repair wait time we had for phones sent into the manufacturer for repair was 45 days. Yes, 45 days that customers were without their Motorola RAZR while it got sent in for service. And that phone was a $500 phone as well, just a few short years ago.

Apple's done a HUGE amount of good for the industry. Are they perfect? No, of course not. But some of the expectations are simply unrealistic.
PraiseJobs Oct 9, 2012 09:15 AM
Blasphemy. May you burst into flames of 1,000 lap top batteries. Praise Jobs.
FireWire Oct 9, 2012 09:16 AM
Come on.. users are complaining about "dents" many times smaller than a tiny speck of dust:

Even owner of $20 000+ cars don't go around inspecting their new car with a magnifying glass.. and if the did, I'm sure they would find dents larger than this!

And we are attacking the OP because even if he's working for a Mac publication, he contributes to make a mountain out of something irrelevant. "oh look, something I don't like! let's make a -gate out of it!". Why bring back the pseudo antennagate which ended up only affecting a few customers and turned out to be reproducible among most brands of phones.. And the new "purple haze-gate" which is again useless whine.. ALL cameras produce glare and flares when pointed at the sun.

And finally, stop calling it a 1000$ product. Just sign a goddamn contract like everyone else and consider it a sub-200$ product! Unless your previous phone broke and you absolutely need a new one, you have zero excuse to make fuss about signing a 2-3 years contract.. And buy a goddamn case! There, no more antennagate, no more dent-gate! Just be intelligent, use common sense and stop whining!
VoiceOfReason Oct 9, 2012 09:30 AM
Author, you are very wordy. You ramble. Your opinion -- whatever it is -- gets lost.
slboett Oct 9, 2012 09:30 AM
This article is hilarious. I'm OCD x10, but jeezus H - do you use your phone or sit there stroking it every night? I don't use a case on my iPhone as I like to use the coin pockets in jeans to carry it. Same with my jackets. It gets dinged and scratched, but after 2+ years, my iPhone 4 still looks more than good. People like this simply need to get a life - and don't start with the "fanboi" crap. I've been an Apple CUSTOMER since 1985, and I expect good things from them, but this is insane. I think anyone with this kind of "problem" is in for a life shock once real problems make their way into your life.
glawhorn Oct 9, 2012 11:28 AM
Just to be clear, the issue is NOT that the author had a problem with a product, but that he is using his specific difficulties to defend an attack on Apple's general performance as a company: "Apple, Over Promising and Under Delivering." My phone arrived in factory (not perfect) condition. No scratches, no obvious issues, but I'm sure that I could find them if I began looking. As far as I'm concerned Apple delivered exactly what was promised.

If the author's experience counts as evidence that Apple is losing ground, then MY experience counts as evidence that Apple is just as good as ever and getting better all the time. What he could have done - and didn't do - was weigh the millions of phones that were received in as-promised condition, and do a little math.

And yes, it IS too much to expect perfection from anyone, Apple included. Perfection doesn't exist.
slboett Oct 9, 2012 01:30 PM
Tarnished over this? I think not. Join me in Beverly Hills - we'll go over some cars that cost $500,000 and up. We will find much more wrong with them than on the iPhone 5.
While we're at it, we'll drop by a jeweler and look at some watches. Same thing. People are just dopes. It's a GD phone. Use it.
Steeve Patrick Oct 9, 2012 02:08 PM
Apple is more than an iPhone maker and this is where the article is flawed. Such tiny flaws don't reflect badly on Apple but rather how your expectations are unrealistic.
testudo Oct 9, 2012 02:16 PM
Hey, people, how about some decent criticisms of the article, instead of "wow, just another Apple hater" (and not realizing most people reading that statement would say of you "Wow, just another apple fanboy".

I don't get the connections he's trying to make. He bought a phone. It wasn't suitable, so he was told he could return it. Up to this part, I'm fine. And if he skipped the next 500 paragraphs, he would be OK. But then he whines because he couldn't be without it (where's your old phone, dude?). complained that they wouldn't replace it immediately (apparently under the impression since he received his, but that it wasn't perfect - but did work - he's a more important customer than all those waiting to get theirs; hey, they all paid for their phones already, dude). Then the shipment of the replacement was later than expected (what? a shipment was delayed? I've never heard of that at any other company!). So he goes out and wants to buy a brand new one, stands in line hoping to get one at the store, and then told he can't. Horrors.

At this point, I had long given up caring for I had one unanswered question of this: Why was it so important that he get an iPhone 5 as soon as possible? Maybe I missed something (like an Australian law requiring all peoples to get iPhone 5s immediately or be ready to be castrated).

Now, he diverts this into a complaint about the Genius Bar (and this is where Apple over-promises and under-delivers: They aren't geniuses behind that bar!). And his complaint? He had to wait 20 minutes and it 'looked like' there were multiple people in line ahead of him. I don't know about that store, but my local store has a big screen at the bar that displays the list of people on the appointment list. For I've found in the past many people sitting at the bar waiting to be helped, not realizing they needed to make an appointment! But what does he want the geniuses to do? Should they have just kicked out the customer they were helping because it was taking more than 20 minutes (yes, that's what I wanted in the past, but do you really want that kind of customer service from Apple?). Should they change the schedule to 30 minute appointments (probably, but that's an Apple policy, the geniuses are stuck - and you're assuming as well that they weren't a genius or two short, which can really screw up a schedule). And he apparently did this all just to rehash his complaint from two years ago that some people who weren't trained to help him didn't help him with his faulty track pad (and, sure, if you don't know what you're doing, it might have been seen as faulty, or it could just be you turned it off by mistake!).

But after all this (OK, Apple's customer service isn't the best it possibly could be), how does this go into 'over promise and under deliver'? I don't remember being promised picking up an iPhone at any minute, or that tech support wouldn't have the same drain on their schedule every other profession has (or is your doctor or dentist never behind due to emergencies or things taking longer than planned?). Yes, MobileMe was a disaster at rollout, and some people will say it was always a disaster in one shape or another. And Ping was stupid (but anyone could see Ping was stupid the second it was announced, and Ping delivered everything it promised to deliver, it was just that no one cared). Gee, a couple of flops. Yeah, time to go under!

He mentions the Maps issue but fails to realize that as a whole other topic: "Apple has yet again 're-invented' the wheel with something missing the features of its predecessor". This has been going on for years (I think of FinalCutPro X, Quicktime X, Maps X - it must be an X, right! -, iCloud, ). This is standard "We're making it simpler so its better". That's Apple. That's the iOS in a nutshell. That's Apple.

So, yes, a couple of promises that failed to deliver, but in general, if anything, it's more a problem of Apple not meeting user expectations of greatness that they aren't deliverying. Sorry you can't handle that.

(And, wait, who's writing this critique of a critique anyway????)
testudo Oct 9, 2012 02:19 PM
OK, and I can't believe how stupid most of you are for missing the obvious sign of irony! Or was it sarcasm?!?! Anyway, it isn't to be taken seriously. It's all a joke.

The title of the article:

"Apple's over promising and under-delivering!"

And the crux/climax:

"I may have to look at Windows!"

OMG that is so funny!
fbpk Oct 9, 2012 03:12 PM
I can only agree with this article. I find that many of the 'flammers' miss the point. Apple has become much more corporate.

I am writing this post on a six week old MBPr. It is my third laptop (the logic board, video card and memory all went at once after 3 years 4 months on my last machine). And in case you think that I am a windows troll apart three laptops I have also owned or currently have in the household five desktop machines since 1992. We also have 2 iPads and a couple of iPods. I have wot work with Windows machines everyday and I am unlikely to ever willingly use one for personal use anytime soon.

When I ordered my new machine I was quoted 5-7 working days by on the website for it to arrive. What the website didn't say was that that was the time before it was ready to ship NOT arrive. So you can imagine my displeasure at being mobile computerless for nearly five weeks. not days. I suppose I would have liked some clarification abut delivery times rather than the sneaky way in which the info was kept from me. I just think that we would not have seen that happen ten years ago. I don't think it's a Tim Cook - Steve Jobs thing rather a reflection on a large company that has become less personable.

On a happier note I did get very good assistance setting up my new time capsule. Applecare was great and I really like the fact that it is considered part of the applecare warranty I purchased for the MBPr. Now just to get it to backup wirelessly consistently . . . .
GW5555 Oct 9, 2012 07:56 PM
I think you missed my point. There is no way that any company can prevent issues, scratches, DOA, etc. It is how they handle it that is the true reflection of the the company. And while Apple is not handling that as well as they should, expectations are always higher for Apple.
rashonale Oct 10, 2012 07:39 PM
If only Apple took a a leaf out of Volkswagen's quality-control handbook from the 60s!
panjandrum Oct 11, 2012 10:22 AM
I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the fact that there several well-thought-out objective responses here. Even a year ago I expect the entire thread would have been nothing but rabid fanboyisms. I've worked in the technology business since around 1986 (original Mac + era), and the point the OP makes, while a bit "whiny", does hit on a valid (and worrying) point: Apple's products, both software and hardware have indeed gone downhill as soon as Steve began to relinquish control. The OS has become less-capable (2 example: try using multiple-monitors in "full-screen" mode, or compare the new iPhoto "full screen" mode to the previous iPhoto's vastly more useful true full-screen functionality) and significantly less user-friendly (2 examples; which sidebar makes it easier to distinguish between items, the sidebar in SL, or the one in Lion/ML? - Which Mail program has buttons which are easier to distinguish, Mail from SL or Mail from Lion/ML?). The hardware has also gone downhill. Steve almost certainly would not have signed-off on a new iPhone model that scratched more easily than the prior one. Additionally, Apple has dramatically ramped-up their "forced obsolesce" policy to absurd levels; abandoning hardware far faster than is actually necessary from a technological standpoint (makes sense only if short-term profits are becoming the most important consideration at Apple). (Two examples; the iPhone 4 runs Siri just fine, and the MacPro 1,1 supports advanced video-cards, Windows 64-bit, and Mountain Lion just fine; all things Apple would prefer you to believe you need a new Apple product for. Unbelievably poor business practices that is currently driving a lot of tech-savy Apple fans away from Apple products). It's hard to look objectively and a company we all put so much faith in for so long, but if the current trend continues Apple will certainly suffer long-term brand-name degradation (similar to what happened when the American public finally realized in great numbers around 1980 that american cars had become complete bottom-line trash.)
lkrupp Oct 11, 2012 02:37 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by panjandrum (Post 4195669)
I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the fact that there several well-thought-out objective responses here. Even a year ago I expect the entire thread would have been nothing but rabid fanboyisms. I've worked in the technology business since around 1986 (original Mac + era), and the point the OP makes, while a bit "whiny", does hit on a valid (and worrying) point: Apple's products, both software and hardware have indeed gone downhill as soon as Steve began to relinquish control. The OS has become less-capable (2 example: try using multiple-monitors in "full-screen" mode, or compare the new iPhoto "full screen" mode to the previous iPhoto's vastly more useful true full-screen functionality) and significantly less user-friendly (2 examples; which sidebar makes it easier to distinguish between items, the sidebar in SL, or the one in Lion/ML? - Which Mail program has buttons which are easier to distinguish, Mail from SL or Mail from Lion/ML?). The hardware has also gone downhill. Steve almost certainly would not have signed-off on a new iPhone model that scratched more easily than the prior one. Additionally, Apple has dramatically ramped-up their "forced obsolesce" policy to absurd levels; abandoning hardware far faster than is actually necessary from a technological standpoint (makes sense only if short-term profits are becoming the most important consideration at Apple). (Two examples; the iPhone 4 runs Siri just fine, and the MacPro 1,1 supports advanced video-cards, Windows 64-bit, and Mountain Lion just fine; all things Apple would prefer you to believe you need a new Apple product for. Unbelievably poor business practices that is currently driving a lot of tech-savy Apple fans away from Apple products). It's hard to look objectively and a company we all put so much faith in for so long, but if the current trend continues Apple will certainly suffer long-term brand-name degradation (similar to what happened when the American public finally realized in great numbers around 1980 that american cars had become complete bottom-line trash.)
Your entire post is personal opinion, not factual. And it's complete bullshit.
msuper69 Oct 11, 2012 05:24 PM
What dings?
Sure if you blow up the photo you'll see some.
Same with anything.
I call troll.
panjandrum Oct 12, 2012 08:34 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by lkrupp (Post 4195724)
Your entire post is personal opinion, not factual. And it's complete bullshit.
Actually, it isn't. Your post that my post is bullshit *is* an opinion. My thoughts that you are almost certainly a rabid Apple fanboy is also an opinion based on only your statement above. I could be wrong, you could just be trolling. Or, you could be trying to be ironically humorous, in which case that was actually pretty funny, but without vocal inflection or an emoticon of some sort I really can't tell if that was your intent. At any rate, most of my comments are not opinion, they are objective arguments supported by facts. The fact that you can't tell the difference (on this particular topic) also points to you being a fanboy. I think that we could all agree, for example, that it is a fact that it is more difficult to differentiate between a bunch of grey icons than between a bunch of differently colored icons. It is a fact that the new iPhoto does not really have a "full screen" editing ability, while the prior versions did. The prior versions also allowed pallets to be moved to other screens, the new one does not. It is a fact that Apple's full-screen mode for apps causes any additional screens to be useless while full-screen mode is in use. Those are facts. Now, you are perfectly within your rights to *like* the grey icons better and to *like* the new iPhoto better and to *like* the full-screen mode. If that's the case then that is just fine. But don't confuse *your* opinion with fact. I will concede that my comment that Steve would likely not have allowed a revision of iPhone in which the new model scratched more easily than the old could be considered my opinion. But I would suggest it is more of an informed guess than a simple opinion. I have read the bio, I've followed Apple since the Apple II era, worked in the computer industry for over 20 years, and am quite discerning when it comes to product quality.

P.S. You were not only completely wrong, you were also unnecessarily rude. Alternatively, I may not have a sense of humor... :)
Seward Totty Oct 15, 2012 07:04 AM
What I think Apple is experiencing is growing pains. Its retail operations have expanded exponentially. Apple now has thousands and thousands of Apple store employees, almost none of whom are granted anything resembling discretion in handling customer complaints. Apple retail employees go strictly by the book bc doing otherwise risks termination. You probably heard of the disruptions at Foxconn, Apple's contract iPhone manufacturer, recently by employees who objected to stricter quality control measures. Foxconn managment instituted these controls after undoubtedly getting an earful from Apple regarding blemishes in out-of-the-box iPhones such as the one you received. Apple takes itself very seriously and as we know from its Samsung litigation, will defend its reputation vigorously. The Apple you wistfully recall from a decade or two ago is still around and the values of that upstart company are still Apple's values today. Let's be fair and remember that Apple released many subpar products before it become the company that it is today. Performa, anyone? The deal is back then nobody cared about Apple because it was such a miniscule part of the competitive landscape. Now Apple is the big dog and it is the company in the crosshairs of the competition. The previous issues you mentioned? Antennagate? A joke. Cell phone attenuation is a problem with all cellular devices. Lens flare? A problem with any lens that captures direct light. The competition makes more of these issues than deserves to be made bc Apple is now...APPLE. It's analagous to the political process in this country now. Do not sell your device by marketing its own merits but rather by pointing out the shortcomings of the competition. A recent survey showed that the iPhone maps problem had no effect whatsoever on consumer buying intentions. None. Why? Because probable buyers know that Apple will fix the issue with an update or because the mapping issue isn't as big an issue for consumers as the tech press would have you believe.

The cosmetic blemishes that you found on your new device should not be there. Apple should have replaced your phone with a new one on the spot. However, was there a way to prove that the blemishes were not caused by your handling of the device? That has to be an issue for Apple retail employees. A person gets his/her new phone and drops it immediately upon taking it out of the box. That person then goes to store and tells employee that this is how the phone looked when I received it. Tough situation and Apple has had to establish some sort of protocol to deal with potential issues like this one. Apple wants its customers to be happy. It has the highest retention rate in the industry. People will put up with bad service only for so long. Happy customers mean easy repeat business for Apple.
Kees Oct 15, 2012 01:01 PM
funny. In my opinion, Apple's hardware has been top notch of late. A 1.0GHz dual core cpu performing on par with quad cores clocked at 1.5GHz. Thinner and lighter phone, but without the cheap feel of 'competing' models. In general, thinner and faster seems to be the norm at Apple these days, and to me, they're delivering in that department. Personally, I'd not be bothered (or rather more likely, would not have spotted) the imperfections the OP is reporting, but you're free to return the thing, of course. To then be surprised or annoyed however that a replacement model isn't instantly available, is frankly, a little naive. It's only the launch of what still is the best selling smartphone on the planet, you know...

If Apple is 'under delivering', to me it's on the software side. I upgraded my gf iPhone to iOS 6, and it took her more than a week to even notice anything had changed. It's an entirely underwhelming effort, that, in my day to day usage has added nothing much in terms of usability.
The latest OS X versions seem to have taken the Google approach to software development; throw weird and uncalled for changes at the user and see if something sticks.
And I do agree iCloud isn't all it's made out to be. Actually, it's pretty much MobileMe without iDisk and Galleries, as far as practical use goes, imo.

But then again, the alternatives are far less enticing. Android is unpredictable, in my experience. Some things run smoothly one day and the next the same thing lags massively. And of course, stuff does kinda come together across Macs, iPads, iPhones with iOS as opposed to throwing Android in the mix.
And I had the unfortunate experience of bumping into a computer running Windows 8 (granted, beta) recently. It looks somewhat pretty, but as soon as you start navigating (this was a traditional keyboard/ mouse setup) it's an utter mess. I actually had to resort to Google to figure out how to quit an application in Metro, and then again when I wanted to shut the thing down. Maybe it's better with touch input, or when out of beta, maybe. But if you think, as I still do, all the iOS influence in Lion resulted in a step back in usability for OS X, than you should definitely check out Windows 8. We don't have it so bad after all...

I'm pretty sure I'll live with the few OS X/iOS shortcomings for a good while longer. Heh, maybe I'll even buy a dented iPhone 5 on the cheap ;-)
SwissMac Oct 15, 2012 03:00 PM
The author is right, Apple are no longer the perfectionist run company they once were. As far as i can see, Tim Cook made sure his position was secure by being nicer to staff than Steve had been, but then he's not really an ideas man, and he's certainly no perfectionist. Steve had vision, and he saw the merging together of art with science; all I can see Tim doing is smoothing out lumps in the process of buying, manufacturing, and supplying an iProduct. Would Steve have let the map apps through? No. Would he have let damaged goods be sold in Apple's name? No, he would not. That's why everything - well, nearly everything - that Apple has made has been leading edge and amazing.

Tim Cook doesn't have that perfectionist vision, and by trying to make friends with everyone, he's perhaps not driving things or people as hard as they should be driven to achieve perfection. He's obviously a nice guy, but Apple doesn't need a nice guy CEO, they need a perfectionist. One thing I can say happily though is that Apple's new head of retail is NOT the CEO! Now that really WOULD be a disaster...

As for those who say "other phones are bad too" they are making the wrong comparison; you should not be comparing iPhones or Apple with competitors, you should be comparing what is released with perfection, with what can be made to be possible. Profits don't come because you focus on profits; profits come because you make the very best things that can be made, and develop a reputation for excellence. Once you have that reputation, you have to live up to it.
Spheric Harlot Oct 15, 2012 10:49 PM
Because Steve didn't let Ping, MobileMe, the Powermac G4 Cube, the brushed-metal QuickTime interface, the buttonless iPod shuffle, the incredibly scratchable original iPod nano, or the iPhone 4 antenna happen.

No siree, Steve was infallible and shit golden eggs for breakfast.
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