Even with a bad Apple, breaking up is hard to do

I am a Mac user and a fan of Apple products, but lately I can’t help but think that I’m in a sort of abusive relationship—along with all other Apple customers. So, I’ve made a list of positives and negatives to help decide if I should stay or go.

Turn ons

1. Better products.

Face it, almost everyone wants a Mac, an iPad, an iPod or an iPhone. Apple products aren’t just better, they’re cooler. Like the gorgeous star quarterback in high school, Apple knows everyone wants it and so can get away with almost anything.

2. Ongoing workshops

One of the highlights of buying a Mac is that you can take free workshops any time they’re offered. Run by enthusiastic Apple “Creatives,” these are a highlight of the Apple experience. And every time I go to one, they restore my faith in the company.

Turn offs

1. Arrogant CEO who treats customers poorly.

Customers camped out overnight for the iPhone 4, giving Apple about $1.7 million in sales in three days. When they complained about poor reception, what did they get? Steve Jobs told customers it’s their own fault. And you can get a quick fix if you buy a $29.99 “Bumper.”

Don’t we have a reasonable expectation to have a product work out of the box without having to buy add-ons?

2. High prices with no sales.

Speaking of the money we spend, Apple products are priced at the premium end of the scale. I’m somewhat ok with this because normally their products are superior. However, once a new version is introduced, the price of the previous version should drop.

3. “Experts” and “Specialists” help you only until you agree to buy.

Do high prices necessitate rude service? I think not. But, in an Apple store, often the salesperson is very happy to help you…until you decide to buy the product. Then you’re on your own. (This happened to me and I’ve seen it happen to others.)

4. The Genius Bar.

Isn’t the hallmark of a Mac the fact that it’s simpler to use than a PC? If it’s so easy, why do I need a genius to help me? And why do I hear so many stories of these so-called geniuses being rude to customers seeking help? (See example here.) Oh, I know. It’s because the whole “genius” thing has gone to their heads.

5. Response to poor data service from AT&T? They extend contract.

If Apple is a company filled with geniuses, why do they still insist on partnering with AT&T? Even people without iPhones have heard how frequently calls drop with the iPhone on AT&T. Customers made it known they wanted different choices. But, what did we expect? Geniuses know it all—why should they listen to lowly customers?

6. Questionable labor practices in China factory.

More than 10 worker suicides this year certainly make me question conditions at the factory Apple uses to make its iPhones and iPads. Apple and FoxConn have both publicly committed to improving things. But this situation is disturbing enough to make you wonder.

7. Doesn’t play nice with others.

Steve Jobs’ notorious inability to play well with others (See Adobe and Google) worries me. While he has valid concerns about security of Flash®, he seems to be welcoming a battle that would leave Apple customers with very few choices.

As we get closer to Internet television being a reality, I would like to know that having a Mac won’t handicap me when it comes to choosing other services. What makes Jobs think everyone should do things his way?

Is it time to break up?

Putting up with all of this, why do we still buy? When you buy a so-called elite brand, isn’t one of the perks better service? When will we finally stand up for better treatment?

I have to admit, I cut boyfriends away much faster. But I’m not ready to kiss Apple goodbye. Am I crazy?

How about you—what would it take for you to say no to Apple?


For more on Apple, check out these Apple and Mac blogs: Cult of Mac, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, The Apple Core, and for fun, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. There are many more out there, so Google away.


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