I am typing this post on my battery-burning iPhone 4S. A few hours from now, I will probably be viewing it on my 13″ aluminum Macbook, notorious for occasionally being as slow as a Windows machine.
Apple products can be frustrating. One, they make you WANT them, even if you can live without them. I never felt the need to get an mp3 player, but when I first laid eyes on an iPod Mini, I instantly wanted one. A year later, when I got the clunky, limited-edition iPod Photo U2, with a radical 20GB of memory, I toted that thing around even if it was ridiculously thick, heavy, and prone to freezing up on my library of (mostly Limewired) songs. I took special pride in thinking of the 5,000 songs I could fit on it. When it finally conked out, I’d only managed to fill 1,500. Most of that mega-memory NEVER went to use.
…Yet I still wanted more. I was buying the POSSIBILITY, more than anything: the powerhouse library potential in a sexy package. And that is what Apple is famous for–making clients want more. Like the tempting fruit the company is named for, Apple products look delicious and promise a sensational experience to boot.
The actuality is often not as rosy–a Mac can get as buggy and frustrating as a PC, trust me–but that fact matters less in the face of the true reason why I am an Apple devotee:
In my Marketing Management textbook (Kotler & Armstrong; Principles of Marketing, 14th ed.), I read about the notorious case of Michael Whitford and his MacBook-smashing YouTube video. For those not in the know, Whitford did the shocking deed of smashing up his MacBook with a sledgehammer (and posting the video on YouTube) as a response to Apple refusing to honor his malfunctioning MacBook’s warranty due to (supposedly fictional) “spill damage.”
A year ago, I was about to do the same thing to my Mac. My two-year-old machine, despite running on what is called the least buggy OS next to Linux, had decided to perform what is known as “kernel panic,” or what I call the “gray screen of death.” At random points, if I tried to post a document, photo, or other file online, my laptop would freeze up and demand I restart it. This would go on with insane regularity until I dreaded using my Mac and winced every time I tried to upload a file, awaiting the trickling gray screen with its “RESTART ME” message.
I tried MacHelper forums, but even after pressing buttons and deleting excess apps, the kernel problem persisted. Finally, I backed up my “boyfriend” and took him to the Power Mac center for a diagnosis.
Initially, the verdict was that my “awesome” browser, Rockmelt, had created a compatibility problem with my outdated OS. The solution, then, was to acquire the newest OS, Snow Leopard–a whopping 4,000php for the cure. I was just about set to do so, when the Geniuses (and their manager) stopped me and decided to tinker with my machine to find a more cost-effective solution. They realized that the problem was that my user account had somehow gotten corrupted–it wasn’t just a Rockmelt problem, after all; even my other browsers led to kernel panicking–and that I would have to create a new one and remove the old in order for my Mac to work. What followed was a grueling three-day process of transferring and recovering files, from lost Stickies to missing Photo Booth photos, which had me even calling and pestering the Apple Support Team via their personal FBs and cellphone numbers. Despite this pestering, though, the team continued to sound happy to help me, and would even follow me up to check that their troubleshooting worked.
After three days, the fix was final, and my Mac has not kernel panicked since. The bill? PHP 0.00.
I had been about to drop 4k, and instead stole probably that amount in man-hours from their team, even impinging on their personal time.
From a business perspective, I would be what is called a “barnacle” customer–loyal but not profitable. The fact that, even if it’s 2012, I am still using iLife and iWork ’08 on the old Leopard OS, is testament to that. My iPhone boasts a more updated system to my MacBook, and only because updates are free. In fact, so is my iPhone–both my old 3G and my new 4S are rewards from the Globe loyalty plan. Apple has earned very little from my patronage, yet the patient service I’ve received would only be offered to premium clients in other brands.
Despite my Macbook (which still likes to sluggishly load) and my iPhone issues (such as an inability to Bluetooth), I remain a loyal Apple user. My next laptop will inevitably be a Macbook (Pro next), as will my next smartphone. I will still willingly choose to suffer Windows compatibility issues and missing Excel macros for my schoolwork, just to keep my iOS. Why? Because I am guaranteed that when I finally get fed up, Apple Support will be there to help, and I can smugly smile at my frustrated Windows counterparts as my bugs get fixed and theirs persist. (Is there a cure for the Blue Screen of Death, I ask you?)
In the end, I love Apple for the same reasons I patronize Starbucks–they may be overpriced, but the service is worth the extra cost. It’s not about looking cool for me: my Mac is a laptop, not a status symbol. What I’m after is the great CRM–customer relations management–and in that sense, Apple has delivered and more.
Written on my iPhone