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Falling out of love with Apple

As featured in DisruptiveViews

I can’t say I’m an Apple ‘fan boy’ or ever have been, but I do seem to have had almost every Apple device made since the first Apple II, including the Lisa and Newton! But I’m sad to report that my ‘love affair’ with Apple is starting to peter out, and not because of the technology.

For a start, I had absolutely no compulsion to be in the first herd of adopters of the Apple Watch and I’ve yet to find someone who raves about the device (except for guest blogger, Jonathan Jensen who I am sure has Apple tattooed on his person somewhere). For a start, who wants a watch whose battery runs out in less than one day? Go figure. I have enough trouble keeping up charges on my iPhone 6.

I have had an iPad since they first came out and the two models I have had have done exactly what was expected of them but with an 11” MacBook Air and an iPhone 6 I really don’t know if I need it any more. I’m really tired of having to start an app every time I need to do something online, much preferring the ease and speed of a web browser. I think it would be a fatal mistake for any company to think that apps will replace the browser completely.

But I digress, I have no real complaints about any of the Apple products I have, my gripes are aimed at a company that seems to be making some fundamental errors when it comes to caring about customers. Sure, I can go to any Apple store in the world and get superlative service for any issue – presuming I have a store near me.

What is really annoying me, and I guess many other people, is Apple’s total lack of ability to determine customer demand for its products, especially new ones. What is the use of releasing a product with all the usual Apple fanfare and then not have it on the shelves? Does Apple realise how annoying that is, especially when a loyal customer travels 7,000 miles only to be let down by an ‘out of stock’ sign and a vague estimate of next availability.

And I am not talking about the Apple Watch, in this case it was the newly launched MacBook – the one that has only one USB-C port. It comes in three colours to match your iPhone (give me strength) but I’d have been happy with one coloured poo brown if it was in stock.

The issue arose because my four-year-old MacBook Air is limited to 4GB of memory and it slows down dramatically when I have ten applications and windows open. Four years is long enough for any device so I thought it was time to upgrade. The first problem of living in France is that the MacBooks here come with French keyboards and the base unit costs 1,499 euros as opposed to the same unit in the USA at $1,299 plus tax, (the equivalent of 1,155 euros) and Singapore, where I hoped to buy one at SG$1,799 (1,190 euros).

You’ve probably guessed that there were absolutely none available in Singapore when I got there and the Apple website quoted 3-4 weeks delivery. Next option, buy one online in USA and ship it to a friend’s address there and collect at next meeting in Europe. Alas, no stock in USA and quoted 3-4 weeks delivery. Last resort, try to buy one online in France with US keyboard at inflated price – oops, 3-4 weeks delivery.

So what is Apple’s game? It seems that every time it releases a new device it runs out of stock immediately. You would think that with all its experience and big data analysis at its disposal it could get the most basic demand calculations right. Or is it a game it plays pretending that new device demand is fantastically above expectation and gives itself a pat on the back.

Some basic advice from a nobody, a once loyal nobody like me – don’t build me up to the point of purchase and let me down. I don’t like it and I’m guessing plenty of others feel the same as me. And while you’re at it Apple, please explain the wild pricing fluctuations between markets because I’m struggling to get my head around it.

We used to have a Big Mac index that was a pretty good indication of a nation’s economy based on the price of a Big Mac in that market. If we even attempt to use the MacBook index, as indicated by these bizarre pricing discrepancies, we would have France as a booming economy and Singapore and Hong Kong in recession.

Come on Apple, give the faithful some faith and start acting like a professional and fair-minded device manufacturer or the ‘fan boys’ may stop fanning the demand fire.