I’ve been a huge Apple supporter for almost a decade. In our house, we have a MacBook Pro, iMac, three iPads (iPad 2, iPadAir and iPadPro) and two iPhones (SE + iPhone5). I also recently bought some AirPods, and we’ve had Apple TV and AirPort for a while. We also have a series of older products such as an iPod Classic, iPod mini and iPod shuffle.
There are a lot of things I love about Apple, including the ease of synchronising across devices, the look and feel of the products and in general, they work fairly consistently well.
However there are more and more things lately that I don’t love. This actually mades me sad, as it’s a love-affair I’d like to keep! I don’t want to “break up” with Apple but am lately considering looking elsewhere. Before I do, I thought I’d break it down and see what others experiences have been. Here’s some of my issues – do you feel the same?
Apple is expensive. This is no secret and the trade off has usually been that “it works”. It does – mostly. How long is it reasonable to expect that they work though? Considering warranty is only for a year and YOU have to pay extra as a customer to extend this to three? I actually don’t mind paying for value. However sadly at least to me, at those prices, (perceived) benefits seem to be slipping.
Before, I thought “expensive” meant it may last 10 years. Now I’m realising that realistically 1-5 years is more likely, if that.
For example, the AirPods I bought recently didn’t actually work when they were unboxed. I could exchange them for no cost – but it was still my time and effort to do so. Now the replacements often drop out and this is something that I am not sure can be fixed. When they work – they are awesome. However now, a couple of months after I spent a fortune on them, the new “improved” version came out.
I don’t even know if this is a word, but it comes to mind when I think of what feels like a constant cycle of new products, updates and operating systems. Many Apple customers are what are called “early adopters” and as Seth Godin talks about in his book “This is Marketing”, these early adopters get a buzz from new stuff. This innovation is certainly a foundation on which Apple has always been built, but when is enough, enough? Sure, it’s great to continue to improve products, but when you buy something (expensive!) and the new, BETTER version comes out just a few months after, it’s not a good feeling. Beyond that, how “great” is innovation when it’s only built to last around 5 years?
Did you know 5-7 years old is “vintage”
I do love my MacBookPro and use it every day. However a couple of years ago when the keys were rubbed off, I was already told it was not possible to replace them. Then it slowed down significantly, but my brothers managed to upgrade it for me – not something the average consumer could do though, and new models don’t allow for this at all.
Then, the charging cable split. It cost me 80 euros for a new one. Now, my enter key has cracked, I’ve been told by Apple and another repair store that at 5-7 years old, a device is “vintage” and parts no longer available: https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT201624
Seems a little crazy to me that a laptop can still work well, but because of a cracked key, it’s basically useless.
My iMac also slowed down significantly after about 2 years of use and despite to being awesome when I bought it, now after just a few years is practically useless for the purpose I bought it for, which is video editing. I can’t upgrade this and it’s worth very little to trade in.
Push towards Apple “lock in”
Something I’ve not been a fan of recently is that despite spending a lot on devices, there seems to be more of a push towards also buying subscriptions such as iCloud and iMusic. From a company perspective – this makes sense, they want to lock you in to Apple and increase revenue. As a user though, it doesn’t work well. Then not only have you spent a fortune on a device, but it doesn’t work as well without the subscription. You can do this – but by default, it seems to be built to be “better” if you do.
For example, for files, I don’t just use Apple, I also have Microsoft and Google files. Therefore I bought a Dropbox and Google Drive subscription instead. I am not going to pay to “double up” with an Apple subscription. My music isn’t just on iTunes, we also use Spotify. I don’t like Apple Photo. Sure – it’s a competition between all the big Tech players but us end users end up being the losers, and expected to continue to pay more on top of the already expensive device purchase prices.
Beyond that, much of the Software I have purchased is for a Mac, so if I swap now (back) to PC, I’ve wasted further expense.
(Lack of) Service/Appointments
In theory, I love the Apple stores. They are beautiful, and the lure of talking to experts before or after I spend thousands is ideal – however to make an actual appointment in my local store in The Hague is near impossible. They only show a week’s appointments on the website at a time, which are usually completely booked out. So then comes the “game” of constantly checking back to see if there is a new appointment actually available – not to mention at a time that suits. And even at the high prices of products, they won’t cover them more than a year unless you buy additional “AppleCare”. If you don’t, or it’s “out of care”, service is so costly (such as with my iPhone’s cracked screen or exhausted battery) that you are actually better off buying a new product.
To Apple or not to Apple?
As I’ve been fairly Apple focussed for the last decade, I don’t even know if these issues are just an Apple things or across the industry?
And what now? Should I just accept Apple is not perfect and spend another small fortune on a new MacBookPro? Is it “better the devil you know?” Will I miss my MacBook and other Apple products if I stray? Will it be stressful and inefficient to mix and match new non-Apple products?
So if I want to stay in this “relationship” will Apple change? Or do I need to change? Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable in that I want products of this price to work for more than 2-3 years. Maybe I’m not the actual core target market – Apple seems to have made their fortune going after those who are prepared to pay for new products every year or two.
Ahh, all the questions and decisions we have to make as consumers…..thank goodness we have blog posts and social media to share and process our emotions before we spend our hard earned cash….what are your thoughts?