Few Mac users are more loyal or dedicated as an Apple customer than yours truly. There’s not much Apple makes that I haven’t bought or loved through the years.
I’m on board with Apple from the first Mac in 1984, through the dark years of the late 1990s, to the resurgence of Apple in the 21st century. Here’s how I handle the disappointments from Apple.
What? Disappointments? How can the Mac maker be disappointing to any customer when the alternatives of computing, portable music playing, and cell phone ownership are so sad?
One word: expectations. Long time Mac users probably expect more from Apple than of any other techno-gadget maker on the planet. Mostly, Apple delivers. Mostly.
Despite the beauty of a Mac, the wonderful capabilities of Mac OS X, and the clever design that hides complexity in iPods and iPhones and everything else Apple, it’s not a perfect world and the disappointments have been difficult to take through the years.
Historically, Mac users have always paid a premium compared to what poor DOS PC, and Windows PC users paid. Call it the Apple Tax if you will, but, in general we paid more for our Macs than comparable PC power.
That disparity has somewhat dissolved with Apple’s switch to Intel processors. These days, a feature-to-feature comparison of Mac to PC often shows the Mac is less expensive than comparable Windows Vista PCs.
Yes, I bought an original candy-colored iMac. Then bought more, but I avoided the candy-coated iBooks. Why?
Those clamshell iBooks were pure style over substance. Underpowered and over flavored. They were the Fisher-Price of notebooks. In a word: Ugh. What were they thinking?
Motorola & IBM
Please. Don’t get me started. Intel ate their lunch time and again without even trying to take it away. Macs from the late 1990s until the PowerPC G5 were underpowered and over priced.
Or hot. The G5’s claim to fame is a radiator the size of a 1959 Buick. Yes, Motorola and IBM could design and build fast chips back in the old RISC vs. CISC days, but it didn’t matter much to the average Mac user. Macs were slower in what counted.
Mac OS X
To be fair, using Mac OS X today is an absolute pleasure when considering the alternatives. Windows Vista is a pale imitation. The only difference between Vista and Windows XP is that more people know that Vista is worse. And Mac OS X is better.
Such was not always the case. The early versions of Mac OS X were sadly slow and lacked the variety of applications we see today. Mac users who ditched Mac OS Classic for the promise of a new world suffered for a few years.
Peripherals & Add-ons
This is a big list but you’ll get the idea. Mac users generally pay more for those Apple-branded items than PC users pay for more generic brands. Wireless cards. Wireless routers. Memory (from Apple).
Apple commands loyalty from customers and many of us return to the alter with cash in hand, willing to pay up for the privilege of being an Apple owner, a Mac user.
OK, this is not Mac related, but you’ll see the issues. Since the iPod’s introduction, Apple has played a great pricing game vs. competitors.
The iPod line is usually a bit more expensive than competing media players, but not much, and Apple’s ecosystem of iTunes syncing and peripherals puts others to shame.
Notable is the crippling of Apple’s hot new iPod touch. Crippling? Yes. It’s Wi-Fi so where’s Mail? Where’s VoIP and Skype? I know the game Apple is playing with the cell phone carriers, but it’s disappointing to see such a cool product missing so many obviously needed features.
Not a Mac, but I have a few disappointments with Apple regarding the iPhone, too. AT&T’s 3G network will come, so that’s not one of them. Neither is VoIP on the iPhone.
Again, the cell phone carriers run the show. Allowing Apple to play is a major change in attitude for those dinosaurs.
The $200 iPhone price drop just looked desperate to me, but disappointing a million customers a little bit who are already overwhelmingly happy about their purchase was a calculated risk, and based on Apple’s stock price these days, no one really cares anymore, if they even remember the insult. The iPhone is hot and may get hotter.
I keep telling myself that it’s just a cell phone that’s also an iPod. Why can’t you add more memory? Why is there no ability to record movies with the camera? Why can’t I synchronize notes? Where are all the 3rd party applications that would make the phone so great?
See where this is going? Apple gives us something that is more useful and enjoyable to use than competing products, but we always want more, hence, the disappointment. How do I handle it? It doesn’t take much. Look at what else is out there. Look at how Apple is not resting on their laurels but still upping the ante every year.
When my Apple product disappointments put me in a “I’m being gouged” kinda funk, I look around and consider the alternatives. Linux on the desktop? For geeks, maybe. Nobody else. Windows Vista? Please, we had all that back in Panther. How’s that Palm Treo compare to an iPhone? Hear that sound? It’s Palm Treo’s being dropped into waste baskets all over the country. The SanDisk Sansa is a cool player with oodles of features and it’s priced lower than an iPod. Too bad it takes three people to figure out how to use it.
Apple disappoints me. But not so much that I’m rushing out to buy anything else to replace what I’ve already bought. Microsoft and other techno-gadget manufacturers should pay attention. Apple’s been putting out cool stuff for a long time.