BRAND OVERCOMING IMPERFECTION AT APPLE

 

I have always believed that one of the strengths of Apple is their ability to create a cult like loyalty among their clients. If you believe the old sales saying of “Make one person happy, they will tell 5 people. Make one person unhappy, they will tell 250 people”, then that loyalty is very valuable as they are willing to overlook issues, to the point where they  openly defend these issues. I was in more than one debate on Apple versus Microsoft with Apple fans during my tenure at Microsoft.

It is an impressive measure of their brand strength, product quality and customer service (which is unbelievable).

I say all of this because my move to Apple was filled with high expectations. A transformational experience … as described by almost every Apple fanboy/girl who I spoke to. But it has not been perfect, in fact it has been filled with a number of issues and as a newcomer, with a clear bias (i.e. Working for Microsoft for almost a decade), I find it interesting.

An example:

One of the ‘must haves’ for our iMAC was the ability to use the screen as an XBOX screen so that the boys would not have to head into the basement to play. Sitting upstairs in the kitchen as a group is a family ‘must have’. I spent a ton of time researching this and thought I had it nailed with the Kanex XD. It allows you to take an HDMI feed and have it utilize target display mode on the iMac. Simply put – you can play your XBOX on the screen.

What I did not realize is that the ‘new iMac’ with the Thunderbolt upgrade does not support target display mode as identified in this KB article – Apple engineers didn’t build that capability leaving many Apple users in the cold. The greater issue is that at the time of purchase and through a ton of trouble shooting, no one understood this. Even yesterday, I tried a different product that they sell in the Apple store (Belkin AV360) and everyone in the store thought it would work. It did not.

On a general perception level, I find some of the basic functionality substandard (i.e. iPhoto is just unusable, Time Machine backing up every hour is silly, the mail experience isn’t great and I noticed a security update!), but balance that off with admiration for the industrial engineering and increasing admiration for many of the positive features of the OS (i.e. Watching my boys crank out a very cool iMovie on the first day we got the device). But it is not the perfection I was expecting.

So I conclude with two thoughts and one offer:

  • Every business should aspire to Apple like brand loyalty. As their earning results continue to show, it is a very enviable position to be in.
  • The power of the Apple community is very important. It is dangerous if newcomers set too high of expectations and are not embraced within the group and ‘assimilated’, quelling dissatisfaction.
  • If anyone would like to buy a fully functional brand new Kanex HD that works with a iMac older than March – send me an email because I missed the 30 day return date trying to figure it all out 🙂

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