Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

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Buying an iPhone? Don’t buy it from Apple

13 November, 2008

My first generation iPhone recently turned up its heels (but that is another story… and one Apple seems reluctant to comment upon). So, into the glorious glass and customer service edifice that is the Apple Store, Sydney.

I made an appointment to tell someone the product was broken (don’t see why I needed to do so, but did…). They confirmed said malfunction, and told me I’d need to fly to the US to get the phone replaced (and proposed Hawaii as good this time of year). Rather than pay the airfare, I figured I would buy a new (3G Australian approved) phone.

Ok, I figured, I’ll go to Telstra and buy it from there, but when I suggested this they told me I was better off buying it from them as they would set it up correctly for me (definitely implying that Teltra wouldn’t. Experience led me to beleive this was possibly correct!). So, I said, I was to buy a phone now. This is where the fun started.

“You need to make an appointment.”
“To buy a phone I need to make an appointment?”
“Yes, that’s right. we can fit you in tomorrow.”

 Suffice to say that I started to go ugly at this (I’m trying to be a paying customer, remember! and they’d just convinced me I should buy from them) and so they found me a sales person. Magic.

Pleasant. Got me phone. Pulled up my Telstra customer record (which was at least 9 months old, but she didn’t seem to mind that) and off we went. Of all the things I was most concerned about – I wanted to make sure that i didn’t lose my Memo service (Telstra takes messages for you and sends you and SMS) and that the phone was set up correctly. I was reassured at least three times that the Memo service would be untouched. Even when I pointed out that form said “Vidoe Voicemail” I was reassured that thsi was for video calls only and my memo service would be fine. A few minutes later – ‘bingo’ she says, all done.

I decided to access the Apps Store and – what do I find – my login is only valid for the Australian Apps Store and yet for some reason, my phone has connected me to somewhere else! Apple person not in the least worried, tell sme to go home and synch and all will be fine. Somewhat suspicious, I do so.

After some false starts and a complete reboot of the PC, I synch my phone. Only to discover that it has not be ‘set up correctly’ at all:

  • timezone still Cupertino (all appointments out by a good few hours!)
  • software not updated to latest version
  • internet setting not set up correctly for carrier

and then, the worst thing! I got a message saying I had VOICEMAIL!!! I don’t do voicemail. At all. Ever.

So, back to Apple (yes, I made ANOTHER appointment so they could do what they hadn’t done right the first time). And, after a bit of a wait, get told a) sorry we didn’t set that up right b) oh, well you can do that at home c) well, it’s working now atht you’ve fixed it up isn’t it. As to the memo vs voicemail – got politely told that was nothing to do with them and I’d need to go to Telstra.

Long story short – I did. Telstra took their usual half hour and 2 supervisors to explain what memo is to the salesperson and I am back happy there. Went home and upgraded the software myself and now I think I can say ‘bingo’ – I have a properly working Aussie legal Telstra connected 3G phone.

If you’re thinking of buying and iPhone – can I strongly highly and forcefully recommend that you get it from you carrier? It might not have been set up correctly for me (which I ended up doing myself anyway), but at least one bunch of setting (carrier related) wouldn’t have been screwed up. I confess, I should have realised that something might not be the way it should when Apple’s carrier records were almost a year old.

Apple – you need better care and attention to this! How about:

  1. no appointments for people buying a replacement product because you can’t fix/replace the broken one
  2. don’t promise to set up my new product correctly and then completely fail to do so
  3. don’t be complacent when I point out that it isn’t set up correctly
  4. don’t reassure me about settings that you cannot control or don’t know about
  5. don’t give me ‘genius’ staff who have to get other people to help on the product that I booked for (one genius clearly was not iPhone savvy)
  6. do something more than look superior when you stuff up
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Anyone want to buy a (slightly) used iPhone?

10 September, 2008

This is being written on an iPhone. I have a relationship with my iPhone which is starting to change my relationshipo with my Internet-connected laptop. But it has also slightly changed my mobile phone behaviour – and in ways that I can feel I am starting to rail against.

Love the interface? Yes, but…
Love the interconnection between apps? Yes, but….
Love the large display? Yes, but….

I recently asked a group of about 60 GenC’s whether they wanted an iPhone or not. About nine of them did – a respectable 15%, not bad. I was curious as to how the rest felt, and asked who had no interest or intention of getting an iPhone. I confess, i expected similar numbers, but I was wrong.

40% of them did not want an iPhone. In a couple of cases, it was anti-Apple sentiment, but even ignoring that… Some had tried it and rejected it. One had received and iPhone and gave it away after a week, one had gone into the Apple Store to try it out with the intention of buying it – but ended up walking away and is still looking for a new handset. For almost all of the 40 of didn’t want it – they saw the iPhone as a neat little browsing device, but a substandard mobile phone.

Why? They didn’t like the soft keypad – they preferred the numeric keypad for text entry as they could type without looking at the keys.

They wanted MMS so they could share photos. They wanted flash, they felt cheated by a far less than fully-featured GPS. And most of them already had a music player they loved (often an iPod), so they didn’t need a duplicate for this.

But close behind the (in)ability to text at 60 words a minute blindfold, and send and receive photos, was the lack of decent Bluetooth support – how are they meant to share with their friends without it?

I remember my frustration with journalists who never understood what MySpace was, get all frenzied over FaceBook. At the time, and still, I think this is in part because they never gotMySpace (it was for a younger, less structured and more creative demographic) whereas the more formal structure of FaceBook and the slightly elitists sense of community they found there appealed to them – so we had a year of journalists talking up FaceBook and heralding the death of MySpace. I have a feeling we’re seeing a bit of this now – Apple has always been a phenomenal marketing company (even if not a great technology company) and their concentration on user interface and experience cannot be denied. So now we’ve got a raft of journalists who suddenly getthe mobile internet – because they’ve got a real internet device in their pocket, even if it is not a great mobile phone.

For the mobile Internet (and the Internet will go everywhere) – the iPhone can’t be beat. But as a really mobile connection device – there are some pretty fundamental flaws. I might be fine about the changes to my internet behaviour, but I’m not happy about the loss of some really mobile tools I was used to. And certainly, according to one random sample of GenC – the iPhone just doesn’t cut it as The Most Desirable Device (which admittedly, most of them are still waiting for).

Apple’s Kool Aid sure tastes great, but maybe we need to slow down our drinking.

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Seeing some light

14 April, 2008

Two recent things have happened that make me feel as though we really are on the cusp of some exciting new stuff in the mobile application world.

 I’ve talked about how raving over the mobile internet is really just raving over the current major communication form on the brand new medium (radio with pictures). This shouldn’t be taken to mean that I don’t think the mobile internet is a good thing – I think it is great, long over due, and I am really looking forward to seeing more smart sites being built. I just mean that the mobile internet isn’t the end game.

In the last week, I’ve seen some serious and beautiful work done around a mobile social networking that includes location, presence, awareness and groups (and profiles, and chat and dating). It’s gorgeous – but sadly only for iPhone users.  There is a good Techcrunch article on it.

I understand, but don’t necessarily agree with the elite angle this socnet is aimed at. It really is for the ‘already well connected’. But it does show that thought is going that way. I doubt we’ll see social networks limited to any other handset as none of them (yet) has the social cache of iPhone.

But I do think we’ll start to see more use of groups. I designed a mobile social network called ‘tribz’ some three years ago (a little head of its time) and I still believe that the world, socially, comes in different sizes for us. Not all friends are made alike and we need to be able to manage them, as groups, in different ways.

Stirred enough to be determined to finish the business plan this week. Interested in being part of this?