Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bitter Apple bites

Those who have faith in Apple's always sweet in every bite, have to take bitter bites these days lately. I think it’s inevitable, everyone has high expectation from Apple; which is considered as the leading computer manufacturer today.

It all started with the introduction of iPhone 3G at the WWDC ’08 by Steve Jobs himself, which in consequence of the new models’ price, the first gen iPhone got $200 price cut. Of course every early iPhone adopters, who bought first gen iPhone few days prior of the announcement of iPhone 3G, were feeling angry of the steep price cut. Apple then offered $100 credits for them to spend in Apple Stores, to soften the rage from its loyal customers.

Jim Darlymple from Macworld, has got a good point of view on this price cute matter: it wasn't about the money-rather, it was more about the feeling of being taken by Apple. Jim believes that the price cut is too much, too soon. And IMHO, he’s right. But what most annoying about this price cut is that Apple knew what it’ll do to customers, upset almost everyone.

"[Apple] definitely should have seen this coming," said Roger Kay, president of market-research firm Endpoint Technologies. And according to Apple, Jobs said Apple was trying to spur holiday sales and predicted that Apple would meet its stated goal of selling its 1 millionth iPhone by the end of September.

This has proven; that company’s profit is numero uno before pleasing the existing customers. Apple is not an exception.

And another biggest blow for Mac & iPhone users, is the not so long ago MobileMe email failure. Since launched on July 10th, subscribers had trouble accessing the site, and some even lost e-mail. The high hopes to have a new ultimate mobile experience from the company, who has brought the ultimate mobile phone right now, was turn into a huge disappointment.

For me, the intriguing part from Steve Jobs’ indirect ‘apology’ email is; how come it escaped out from Apple’s tight security? Remember, no body from Apple says anything without consent from Steve Jobs. I say that Apple needed to address the situation quickly before it’s going from bad to worse, and the only way to calm down the subscribers’ anger is through their own Apple idol; Steve Jobs himself.

Later on, when iPhone users have noticed that certain apps are disappearing from App Store. Either they’re good apps or bad ones, both consumers & developers are facing confusion when the apps are gone from App Store. I wouldn’t be surprised to see bad app like “I’m Rich”, which costs $999 per license and do nothing special, was erased by Apple. But for the useful apps like NetShare & Box Office, everyone is asking for explanation from Apple.

The reason behind why Box Office was pulled off from App Store is still vague, even Cyrus Najmabadi the maker said: "Apple pulled the app [July 31] without giving my any notification that they were doing it, or what their justification was for removing it. I've tried to contact them about the issue, but it's been a complete dead end."

But for NetShare, it looks like both Apple and AT&T are not going to let such application to be sold in App Store again. It reflects from what an AT&T spokesman has said: "The iPhone is not intended to be used as a tethering device and we have no plans to offer separate tethering plans for it.” He then added: “Apple runs the app store, so you'll have to ask them about the availability of this and other apps. For customers looking for a smartphone with tethering capabilities, AT&T has a number of other options to choose from."

What may have been missed by most iPhone users is probably the missing app called Slasher, the app was nothing other than a free application that would display an image of a knife and play a "horror" sound when the user made a stabbing motion with the phone. The Slasher developer; Josef W. Wankerl, was later told by Apple that the application’s content is considered “objectionable”. Apple note was referring to one of App Store’s regulation that reads:

Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”

It’s understandable that Apple tries to control over what apps are flowing through its busy and now crowded App Store, but how far will it plans to go disappointing more and more loyal Apple customers with unclear explanation like that, and soon enough iPhone developers as well?

There's also a problem with apps price fluctuation, App Store consumers are seeing apps price changed from time to time. Most notably is when an app was offered free, and the next day it's not. This is somewhat is one of few software developers' trick to work around App Store's ranking system.

After an app is getting high feedback and demands because it's a freeware, the developers can then switch the app's price anytime they want to. And with lack of extensive control from Apple on this new apps price trend, consumers need to be extra carefull when choosing the right apps for themselves.

So in the end, will all of these make Apple users go away? I don't think so, in fact we all will keep on coming back for more. Because there's one thing we love so much from Apple; it can produce better and more exciting products tomorrow. We all will be 'fooled' just like Calvin in the cartoon parody pictured right, click on the image to enlarge it. ~LOL~

The truth is, we always wanting for new shiny things to come out from Apple, even if it's only repackaged... Are we? Do you?

Sources are from:

[blogged with my Treo 750v]

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