Apple, Buddy, It’s Not Looking Good

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I love Apple. Between my MacBook Pro, iPhone 4S, Apple TV, iPad 2, iPad Mini, and a half dozen different iPods I have been a devoted customer year after year. Sadly, today I start lowering my expectations. Eras come and go. Apple will be with us for a long time but, unfortunately, with the passing of Steve Jobs, the soul is gone. I have waited month after month, watching to see if Cook could nurture the soul of Apple and I am now quite sure he can’t.

Here’s my list of complaints:

1. The iPhone 5. It’s a big hit. No one is complaining that it is slimmer or lighter. Sometimes, though, companies do something that works in the short run but it hurts them in the long run. I’m talking about making your phone look and feel more like other phones. I think the iPhone 5 gave up some of the design features that register, in our unconscious, as being signs of quality. First, they reduced the weight. Since the remaining weight is spread over the five’s larger size, the phone feels much lighter. Weight, though, is an indicator of quality. It tells you the product has substance. Weight, wasn’t a problem for the iPhone.

Now, lets consider the opportunity cost of a slimmer and lighter phone. Don’t fix what’s not broken, especially when there’s something that’s broken that needs fixing. The 4S is a beautiful phone. It also happens to have a battery that leaves you with a fancy paperweight halfway through your day. Apple could have put in a bigger battery. I think we can all agree the iPhone could use a few more hours of battery life. How about more space so you can truly keep ALL your photos in your pocket? And maybe all your music too. And a few great movies, documentaries, or TED talks in case you have some down time to kill. Maybe even download shows by the season. You’re thinking that I’m an old geezer right? Haven’t I heard of the cloud? Well, let’s talk about that.

2. The $25 annual fee I pay Apple for iTunes Match, to sync iTunes through the cloud, should be considered a scam. Let’s summarize the point of the cloud. The point is to be able to access all my music since there’s not enough room on my phone. Apple logs what music I own and I can access all of it from anyplace I have Internet. So I do, then my phone fills up with music and says I can’t download any more because my phone is full… That is interesting because I thought I was paying to prevent this situation. What’s the point of paying to have all your music in the cloud if it just fills your phone until its full and then says you can’t download any more songs? For that matter, you also can’t download more apps or take more photos either. I expected that if the phone is full and I have 4 gigs of music on the phone, that if I suddenly need to snap a photo, it would overwrite the songs I downloaded longest ago. That way, when dealing with a full hard drive, I can still listen to any song I want, fill up with more photos, or download an app. Seems like the point of the cloud… But I guess Apple hasn’t spent much time thinking about it? What do you think?

3. The new iPod nano. It’s ugly, looks cheap and the circular logos are ugly too. Enough said.

4. The new Apple commercials were apparently created by the same guy who did the commercials for the MGM Grand and the Bellagio Vegas hotels. The audio makes me envision an advertisement for a family vacation by the pool where the father sneaks off to the roulette table. Here’s what they look like. Compare that to the Justin Long ads. Then to the iPod nano Feist commercial. Then to the original iPod commercials. Lastly, compare it to the original Macintosh ad that was so innovative for its time that it won awards.

I think we’ve seen Apple’s best days and that all of us Apple-freaks are going to be disappointed more and more. This isn’t an attack on Cook though. I think most CEOs are pretty unremarkable people.

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