I will start by reminding you that one of my first posts on this blog was about an Apple event, where I talked about all their new products. I have always been a fan of Apple products, especially as a designer. However, this wasn’t the only reason. I loved the experience they provided to their customers, I loved how you were treated once you walked into the door of one of their huge shops, and most importantly I loved the feeling of safety knowing that I’m buying products for life. When every other software was prone to constant freezing and dying, I was willing to pay more to get the quality of an iOS.
This is not me living in my own bubble. Five years ago, I had a mac for a long time and, after a while, the charger stopped working. I remember walking into an Apple shop, rushing my way through because I had homework to do, and no laptop. I was immediately greeted and comforted that they will do their best to help me with my issue. Unfortunately, I needed to send my laptop for repair and get some parts replaced, which I did. Two days later (and yes back in the days it only took them two days), I got my laptop back. However, the charger didn’t work. The staff did everything they can to help me, and after realising it had something to do with my laptop and it wasn’t recognising new chargers, not only did they apologise, provide me with a brand new old model charger, but they let me keep the replaced hardware and gave me a refund. This is when I really felt the value in being an Apple customer, and this is exactly why I had chosen their products.
Since then, I became the owner of two iPhones, two iPods, one mini iPad, an apple watch and two MacBook Pros. Yes, this is how much of a fan I am. I never imagined buying any other products and kept trying to convince people of the value of being an Apple user.
On Wednesday, I walked into an Apple store in London, with an emergency. My track pad wasn’t working and I believe because I accidentally dropped some water on one side of my laptop. Trying to find someone that could help me took me around 15 mins. When I finally chased a member of staff down, I told them what has happened and that I urgently needed my laptop for work, also expressing my concern that some water might be inside, and ruining the hardware as we speak. They told me it is impossible for them to help me today and that I should come the next morning before the shop opens and wait for a walk-in appointment. Desperate, I didn’t care, I just wanted my laptop back! So I wake up early the next day, arrive there as early as possible and wait for the store to open. The queue was horrifying. There were at least 30 people waiting after me.
After they took our names and details, we were told to wait for a text message notifying what time our walk-in appointment is. I waited for 30 mins until I received a text message saying I can come in. But that wasn’t it. Not only did they make me wait for an hour there, they also told me that it doesn’t matter that I was one of the first people to arrive that morning, the system decides who the next customer to be assisted is. !!!!!!!!!
And trust me, I haven’t gotten to the worst part yet. While I was waiting, there was a woman next to me whose computer was in perfect condition, but wouldn’t it just wouldn’t turn on. After check-up, they came back and informed her that it wasn’t her fault, but her laptop reached the end of its life cycle and that it would cost her more than 500£ to fix it. I didn’t realise that Apple now designs its products for obsolescence.
After waiting for almost an hour and a half, it was finally my turn. I have to be fair and say that the staff member who assisted me was really nice and helpful. However, after also taking my laptop inside to check it, he came back to inform me that just changing the track pad would require them to change the whole keyboard part and it could coust 400£. Yes.. Just for a track pad!!!! Why would Apple, a design company, design its hardware in a way that means replacing one small part could mean replacing almost half of the laptop???!!
This is when it hit me. Apple has been seriously playing us and convincing us that they are actually innovating. Just take a look at the iPhone 6, 6s and 7 and tell me what their innovation was! And they claim that they focus on solutions, not features.. I’ll leave that up to you to reflect on.
The biggest reason most of Apple’s loyal customers are still purchasing their products, including me, is to not disrupt the whole synchronised system of smartphones and tablets.
That visit to Apple store was my tipping point. It saddens me to have gotten here, but I can no longer be fooled. Apple has lost three of its most important values: innovation, quality and customer service. On their website, Apple talk about human-centred design.. This is anything but human-centred. The only value Apple is focusing is customer-centred. And there’s a big difference between the two.