May 7, 2011

An Open Letter to Apple: Dance with the Guy What Brung You

Dear Mr. Apple, Ms. Macintosh, Mr. Jobs, et al:

I LOVE Apple products! I've been a staunch user and advocate 22 years. The first one I ever encountered was at work, a Macintosh IIci with a 16MHz Motorola 68030 CPU with 24 MB memory and 40MB hard drive. My first home computer was a Mac Quadra 610.

Today, I drive an iMac 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo with 2 GB memory and a 300 GB hard drive. Admittedly, by current standards that's not a particularly hot machine, although it's more-than-fine for my needs. It is, however, waaay beyond what used to be.

At work, we slowly climbed the Mac product ladder as more effective models became available. After several years, though, office politicians replaced our department's Macs with Windows-based machines. Smart move, huh?  I was sickened.

From the start, Apple's machines had been easy to use. Now, that's called "intuitive." To me, it was simply fun. But with PCs, what had been uncomplicated, single-keystroke tasks suddenly became more difficult to accomplish -- IF they could be done at all. It was asinine for us to lose our most effective tools just so some Mac-hater "boss" could build his little fiefdom.

But I digress....

From the beginning, Apple focused on the consumer. It took a highly complex machine that only a mathmetician could understand and made it so Joe the Plumber or Joe the Car Salesman or Joe the Teacher, or even Joe the Business Exec, could use it. And that leads us to here ==> X.

Too often in life, success breeds failure -- that is, when we reach our goals, we tend to become satisfied, lazy, arrogant, smug, maybe even feel entitled. And that's what's happening to Apple. You're forgetting "to dance with the guy what brung ya."  More and more often, I see your company Microsoftizing itself. You're turning inward and working for each other instead of your user base.

 (I despise that word, "user." Ughh! Images of some unshowered pimple-faced geek sitting at his computer in his underwear drooling over online porn. But I guess it's the best term we have currently....)

Back to my point: Your highly useful calender/appointments application iCal was released in '02. Immediately, we, your loyal customers, found its font sizes too small. And we had no way to adjust them. That was nine years ago, Folks, and you've done nothing to fix it!

The same goes for your excellent Mail, Address Book, iPhoto and iTunes applications. And the text in the Apple Store. We have no simple way adequately to adjust the size of the fonts in any of these areas. In fact, most of your native OS applications' inherent fonts cannot be adjusted. The "solutions" we're given -- preference options, universal access and changing screen resolution -- are impractical and troublesome, as well. We can't increase the size of the type in the OS menu bar, either. (We could in your earlier machines. PCs can.) We can change the font size in the Help function. Why can't we also do it in these other instances?

Now, these problems are not a major catastrophes. But let's put them in context:

We Baby Boomers are consuming your products at a greater rate than ever. We're quickly becoming computer literate, and we're also probably the ones who employ apps like iCal, and perhaps even, Address Book, more often. Because we're older, more settled, entrenched in our lives and have more to keep track of.

Through the years, your products have been superior, so we haven't minded that you generally have charged a premium for them. We figure you get what you pay for. But loyalty only goes so far.

Your employees in Cupertino undoubtedly are young and dynamic. They probably all can read itty-bitty type. An increasing number of us, your customers, cannot, however. We've learned from the younger generations, though; we communicate with one another, and we have long memories. We don't appreciate being blown off because we're older.

We, your loyal customers, are really disappointed that you have chosen to ignore things that seem trivial to you, but are quite important to us. We believe that customer service is a footing for long-term business success.

So, it just seems like the smart thing to do is to shift your focus a bit. I may be wrong, but it's probably more important that you cater some to your customers rather than wows your peers. If your clientele leaves, can your employees buy enough product to keep Apple afloat? We, your loyal customers, have simple wants. You're neglecting them. Don't you think it's smarter to "dance with the guy what brung you?"

Then, we'll be happy, and maybe we all can just dance....

Scurvy McBeady,


Adam Ayer said...

Hey sass...
Just curious. Have you addressed this with the company itself? if not, maybe send this post to Mr Jobs.... Or start with your local chamber of commerce... Lol

Scurvy Mac said...

Not necessary. These complaints are all over the Internet. And if he's astute businessman, Mr. Jobs should already realize what a bit of customer relations can do for any company.
Tks for the comment.

Pedar Cedar Chopper said...

Scurvy, Congratulations! Your Navy training coupled with, dare one say, many years of being a professional wordsmith, have brought your bitching abilities to a new and highly polished level. In the meantime, Man Up! Throw the Jobs machine to the wolves and get a Gates machine. Build character! Immerse yourself in what real suffering is about. Who knows? You may even get a sympathy letter from the starving Armenian children whom our mothers were sure would be envious of our uneaten spinach. Hmmm... Then again maybe not. Please, forgive one if your chronicled travails fall upon ears somewhat deafened by too loud rock 'n' roll and shouts from "The Greatest Generation" of, "Turn that damn thing down! Ya wanna go deaf?" We both know that if Steve Jobs et al depended on computer sales sans toys, the Apple logo would be turning brown. Sorry Scurv, I don't think I'd get my hopes up on good responses based on complaints from the peanut gallery...yeah, we're back there again, i-whatevers notwithstanding. As with the federal government, they're aiming at our grandchildren, not us. Keep the faith and keep dancin'! Best, PCC

Cristi said...

My son in law is like you, an Apple worshipper! He finally tired of "fixing" my Windows based computer and bought a Mac for me last Mothers Day. (Yep, he rocks!) I'll forward this to him to enjoy and I completely agree!! These old eyes are not getting any better and the fonts keep getting smaller!! We need to start a group!! Love your blog by the way!! Cristi