Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

Summary: Apple is back in the same box Steve Jobs put it in 25 years ago.

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A friend had trouble with their iPhone yesterday and enlisted me in a trip to the Apple Store.

(The Apple store in Lenox Square Mall, Atlanta, from Apple.com.)

Three hours later I realized that Apple is back in the same box Steve Jobs put it in over 25 years ago.

To continue the morning's baseball theme, It was deja vu all over again.

My friend's WiFi was on the fritz. The battery was losing power faster than a politician under indictment. No problem, he said. I have an appointment.

The store was tightly packed with people, even though it was Monday afternoon. We were called at 3:18 for an appointment scheduled for 3. After examining the unit our hyper-friendly Apple geek suggested a reboot. No good. Sadly he suggested reloading the operating system. Some 15 minutes later, still no good.

OK, he said, we can fix it, but it will take time because it's a hardware problem. Wait, my friend said, that's my home phone. Can't I just buy another?

Sure, the geek replied. Just get in this line here. How long is this line here, my friend asked. About an hour-and-a-half to two hours, came the reply from the line monitor.

Some 45 minutes later, while my friend frantically used his AT&T data minutes to try and order a new phone online while standing in the Apple phone ordering line, his girlfriend arrived like cavalry to the rescue. She wasn't under Apple's spell. She pulled us out and said my friend could buy something later.

Suddenly, in the mall parking lot, a miracle occurred. There, right across the street, was an AT&T store. A company-owned store, its happy little death star sparkling in the sunlight.

Eureka, my friend said. They sell iPhones. So we went over.

It was night-and-day. By which I mean the AT&T store was nearly empty. The help was not overwhelmed. They were waiting for us. We were taken to a man named Scott, who engaged my friend in earnest conversation while I perused the inventory.

Look, I said, this Samsung CaptivaCaptivate costs just what the iPhone would. It's an Android phone designed to look just like the iPhone, and it seems to have all the same features as the iPhone. Hint, hint. (Thanks to ITGuy08 for catching the misspelling.)

Well, Scott replied, we don't have any iPhones in stock, but I can get you into a Captiva right now. A half-hour or so later my friend was a happy Android user, asking me if I wanted an iBrick.

There are some important lessons here:

  1. Apple claims to be unworried because it is selling iPhones as fast as it can make them. Even faster.
  2. Apple is not scaled to meet demand for its product, and certainly not for its retail services.
  3. Alternatives with the same look-and-feel are available now.

Back in the 1980s, PC users had to live through 6 years of FUD, waiting for Microsoft or IBM to get their act together and deliver a graphical user interface similar to the Apple Mac, introduced in 1984. Apple had 5 years to own the market, yet its insistence on complete control meant it couldn't meet demand. Microsoft won.

It's happening again, Steve. Only it didn't take Microsoft 6 years to match you. Open source did it in two. And that's why Android phones now out-sell the iPhone. They're not better, they're just available, and you don't have to go into the 7th circle of Apple Hell to get one.

Topics: Smartphones, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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39 comments
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  • But Apple LOVES its customers ;-) (nt)

    nt
    Economister
    • Which would explain the packed stores, continually

      top rated marks in customer service, brand loyalty, etc.

      But, hey, don't let facts get in the way of your little personal envy-driven hate fest.
      frgough
      • Here are the facts

        @frgough I do not stand in line...anywhere except perhaps the grocery store. Certainly not for any technology product. The "fact" is that if given a choice between something great that I have to wait in line for Vs somthing that is 1. good enough for my purpose, 2 available right now and 3. probably a bit cheaper...I am not going to wait in the line. There isn't enough time n my life for that.

        Add to that the fact that no matter what hot new gadget you buy today, it's going to be outdated by next week's hot new gadget. One more reason why good enough is good enough.

        This is not hate. It's not envy. It is just assessing my priorities and saying I will not stand in line for a phone...any phone...no matter how good it is. Next time I'm buying a phone if there is a long line to buy an Android phone and I can walk in and buy an iPhone right now, I'll probably get the iPhone...though ask yourself: How likely is that?
        cornpie
      • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

        @frgough <br><br>You know what other small groups have extreme loyalty and top marks in satisfaction and service?<br><br>Cults. That doesn't negate the fact that they are sinister. I'm not saying Apple is a cult (though it does have cult like followers, like anything else can). I'm just saying universal truth is not measured in mass appeal.<br><br>As a hard core Google / Droid 1 user, I think Apple makes neat things. After all, Mountain View and Cupertino are neighbors and I'm born and raised in the South Bay. I think that Jobs is the wet blanket of the company.
        midenginedrift
      • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

        @frgough Hardly a hate fest, he said it outsells the Iphone, and is stating a fact. To be honest I don't know why consumers put up with queuing for hours to pre order their Iphones then wait for them when they can have phones just as good right now and all that without Apple's you do as your told mentality.

        My wife want's an I-Phone but blowed if I'm getting an Iphone-4 3 is all sold out and not available so they won't be getting my coin, but if they had good Iphones available right now (read not v4) then I would probably give them some money to keep wifey happy.

        What do you think is the better business decision? stock available so people can do business with you easily or no stock so it puts off customers?
        bluetech007
      • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

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  • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

    No it's not the same user experience. Android phones are iPhone knockoffs but they're not iPhones.
    davesmall
    • But it is close enough

      @davesmall

      My Droid X is close enough to my iPhone that I don't miss the iPhone at all. And the DX has capabilities that will never be offered on the iPhone.
      itguy08
    • Actually, it is better

      @davesmall

      With Droid, you don't have 1984 telling you what you can and can't do with your phone, AND the apps are more useful. Seems like Apple hates useful apps, but at the same time, they can allow X number of fart apps :)
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Right. Because Verizon doesn't control your UI or feature set

        and Google NEVER removes apps from its marketplace. Uh-huh. And you'll always get those timely OS updates rolled out right away.

        Look. If you like Android, good for you, but don't insult our intelligence with fairy tales to justify your opinion, it just makes you look defensive and insecure.
        frgough
      • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

        @frgough
        chuckle
        I have a Nexus One and yes - I get VERY timely updates - and yes it's running on ATT....
        rhonin
      • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

        @NStalnecker Ditto for updates on my Motorola Droid. As a brief history lesson for @frgough the Droid was released fall of 2009 with 2.0, updated to 2.1 in Spring 2010, and updated to 2.2 in Aug 2010. How is this not "timely"?<br><br>Also for @frgough: Why the anger? I just don't understand it. If someone says they hate Android (or anything else I use) I could really care less. It works for me and why should I be angry or even care if you like it or not. Yet Apple people seem to get so emotional over this. Just don't understand.

        But reading posts from Apple people is like watching Mythbusters - it's fun to just sit back and watch the explosions.
        cornpie
      • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

        @frgough

        Actually, Verizon doesn't control the UI at all. Not even the feature set. The manufacturer of the phone might.
        midenginedrift
      • Win

        [i]"
        But reading posts from Apple people is like watching Mythbusters - it's fun to just sit back and watch the explosions. "[/i]

        Win!
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • It's Captivate

    Not Captiva. At least get your story straight.
    itguy08
  • Your friend had a problem with their iPhone

    what, does your friend have multiple personality disorder?
    frgough
  • Sorry, but your story doesn't pass the smell test

    My wife's iPhone lost wifi. We made an appointment to the extremely packed Apple store in Perimeter Mall in Atlanta (the one just north of your stock photo).

    We went up to the Genius bar. Told him the problem. He looked at the phone. Verified the wifi was dead. Did the light scope check for water damage. Asked if we had synced the phone before coming down (we had). Five minutes later, my wife walked out with a new phone.

    Now, continue to sit here and tell us that Apple, rated for something like three years in a row as the company with the best customer service is another Microsoft.

    All so you can feel better about selling your soul to Google.
    frgough
    • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

      @frgough
      Don't knock it.
      Wife had same experience at an Apple store on the other side of the US (Manhattan Beach).
      Unlike this she has her 3GS still - not sure for how much longer though - on her third one (brick x1, battery x1)

      Suspect all stores have good/bad "geniuses" in them. Problem is one bad can overcome the benefits of a dozen goods.....
      rhonin
    • RE: Open source benefits from 7th circle of Apple hell

      @frgough All I can say is this is what happened. Perimeter Mall is near my wife's work. Maybe I should have sent my friend there instead.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • DUH. HAve you heard of an Appointment??

    Click troll blogger at action here.

    Go on line or on the iPhone. Make an appointment at the Genius Bar. I've never had to wait more than 10 min.
    thofts