Apple’s proclivity for splashy new product announcements tends to leave people who have invested in their products feeling left in the dust, far too often. Raffi was complaining about the new Airport Extreme cards not working in his not-yet-six-month-old TiBook. Here’s my reply:
Are you on a network that gets better than 11Mbps (that is, are you on an T3 or better)? I imagine at MIT you are but I imagine that the vast majority of tibook owners have your home setup (cable/dsl) or a work T1
and that’s it. Even if you have that much pipe, could you use it? I bet MIT’s network has some rate limiter somewhere that would prevent you from getting over 11Mbps even at midnight on Christmas when the network is dead.
I agree with your post in general — I think it’s totally lame that Apple screws people who just bought tibooks for Christmas or whatever. I think they should have an upgrade path where you could send in your old
tibook and they would upgrade some of the pieces (like say the superdrive) with whatever the latest and greatest is. Even if you didn’t get everything at least you would feel like they remembered that you bought a big product from them a month ago or whatever. I bet people would even pay for the right to have their tibooks upgraded if the price was reasonable.
But on this particular issue I think it’s not worth getting excited about. Bitch about the superdrive and the wifi antenna on the screen! Those are things that would directly improve your tibook ride.
That’s my two bits.
Apple is now attracting a different kind of user (although, it’s been a problem for years — check out this Doonesbury cartoon from May of 1994 — that’s a Mac all right). The mass of developers swarming all over new Apple laptops and OS X won’t be happy unless they have the latest and greatest — and Apple is kidding themselves if they think that means people will buy a new laptop once a year. I think they need to figure out how to tend to the developers who are buying their products. Happy developers == more development on your platform == more customers.
One of the companies that sells the primordial iPod ancestor, the Compaq Personal JukeBox (PJB), has a great program where you can upgrade your existing PJB for a fee. You send them your PJB via FedEx, and they:
- Install a new Toshiba 40 GB Hard Drive to in your PJB 100
- Transfer all of your existing music to the new 40 GB drive.
- Run system diagnostics and reassemble the product.
- Upgrade to the latest software.
(Taken from their upgrade offers page.) Then they FedEx it back to you. Most customers report a one-day turnaround. People are ecstatic to be able to renew their investment in the product, and it makes users much more loyal to and appreciative of it. Apple needs to figure this out. They even have a newly-built advantage: Apple Stores that could do upgrades on the spot.
I know that there’s an Apple operations executive having convulsions just from me typing these words — either from fright or more likely from hilarity. Yeah, there were probably only a few thousand PJB owners, and the upgrades probably came in around one a day at peak. But come on, Apple, figure it out — it’s not like you have that many customers yet. Certainly not so many that you can afford to lose a customer like Raffi.