April 23, 2010

Apple is Greedy. Must Be Run by Liberals.

I think that Gizmodo made some bad choices, but Apple, Inc. is just a big jerk about the whole leaked 4th Generation iPhone thing. Apparently, some sort of police investigation is under way. Whether that means Apple filed a crime report or not, I think Apple should use this as a marketing opportunity, instead of another attack on the people. See the story at TUAW. And because I think this is a well written article, take a look at the TUAW's post about the potential crimes and suits that could be filed against Gizmodo from Apple, Inc. and The State of California as a result of the leaked 4th generation iPhone. I have a real love/hate relationship with Apple, Inc. I love their products, their designs, their way of moving beyond what the other guys are doing to make some of the best technology products in the world. I hate their business model, their weak customer connection once a product is launched, the fact that they slow play everything from updates in hardware and software to establishing alliances with other companies, and the way it seems they believe they have everything figured out already and are just not letting us have it yet. The iPhone came out and amazed the world. It was the most user friendly, feature rich, powerful and fast, cell phone in the world. Of course, instantly people started to notice missing features. Hackers quickly plugged these holes with a hacked phone called jailbroken. But Apple, Inc. did nothing to answer these request from consumers for over a year. They had a small software upgrades or two, and then the iPhone 3G came out. This model fixed the cell network speed issues, but did little for the phones feature set. Meanwhile, hacked or jailbroken phones had many of the desired features (namely the cut and paste feature). Only then, after over a year and 2 models, did Apple start to update the software with features people wanted. The iPhone 3GS came out a year after that and Apple added more requested features to this new model. But some of the features weren't supported on the older models of the iPhone. Apple claimed the older phones couldn't handle the new features, even though jailbroken iPhone users were able to use many of these features. Now OS 4.0 has been announced and Apple is again bringing features that people have wanted for years now. They also announced that some of the features won't work on the earlier models. And, Apple will no longer support the first generation iPhone. So what I'm trying to get to is that Apple is all about the money; which I'm sure makes some people happy, but I think their business model could be tweeked a bit and they'd make as much or more money. Here is what I think: 1. Introduce the product the way you always have. Do the big surprise reveal like always, talking about this most "revolutionary" product, and show the slide show with most of the great features of the device. 2. Bring the product to the market. After the big reveal, continue to bring the product to market at the scheduled release date, sell the crap out of the product, talk about how wonderful sales are and about the fact that you are doing so great. Tell us all about how you have the most amazing whatever, blah, blah, etc. etc. 3. Now it's time to LISTEN TO THE CONSUMERS. After the product is out for a while, start listening to the feedback. But don't just stick to the average Joe users. Start listening to the nerds, the experienced ones, the modifiers, the hackers, the bloggers who write all about your products and provide you with free advertising. Listen to the people! 4. DO WHAT THE PEOPLE ASK! Add the features. ALL THE FEATURES! Add these features the consumers and bloggers and nerds and experts are asking for. Don't introduce a few at a time. Jailbreak an Apple owned iPhone, look at some of the great features that are available, recreate them only better, and make it the next model or the next OS release. Make your phone the best by miles. 5. STOP THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU CAN MAKE MORE MONEY IF YOU DRAG OUT THE UPDATES OVER SEVERAL YEARS AND MODELS. Do everything the best you can now, and the people and your staff and the world will help you realize the next step. That's step #3. Make the next model the perfect phone, with everything you could think of and users talked asked told you about wanting. I know the consumers, bloggers, experts, and nerds are going to find more "stuff" they want the device to do for the next revision. PLAN THOSE FOR THE FOLLOWING MODEL or SOFTWARE UPDATE. 6. Stick to your set refresh/revise schedule. This is very helpful for consumers. If they know you are working on the next model and it will be out on a specific date, they will continue to buy from you. Right now, I'm waiting for that next generation iPhone. If the leaked 4th generation model is truly coming out in July, I may not make the switch to Android that I've been debating. 7. Market to, hear from, and love on, the buyers. When someone becomes an Apple customer, don't look at them as a person who you made money from, but think of them as someone you can continue to make money from. 8. Fix your arrogant image. Take a situation like the leaked 4th generation, and run with it. I believe this is a huge opportunity for Apple to look like the greatest company in the world. Many people who have been put off by the company's apparent arrogance would easily be won over if say, Steve and Gray showed up and revealed the phone together. Steve can make jokes at Gray's expense, making it clear that this was not what the company wanted, even clarifying that in the future this sort of thing could have bigger consequences for the involved parties but Apple is understanding of the mistake this time. By taking the "oops, I can't believe this happened but oh well" approach, Apple would seem sympathetic to Gray, caring about its customers, less worried about the almighty dollar, and become a company with a people focus as well as amazing products. Apple has an opportunity to make this a huge PR campaign. Final thought...I do believe the first generation iPhone did revolutionize the cell phone industry. Every mature cell phone company is still scrambling to find a form factor that can compete with the iPhone. But as the get closer and closer to the iPhone's first model, Apple could be designing the next revolution by building out the very best and most complete iPhone now. Inspiration will come from the perfect phone, leading to the next revolutionary device.