A couple of observations coming out of the Apple announcement the other day.
Apple really missed on the pricing for the new iPad Mini. The $329 price point for the 16GB flavor of the new “must have” iPad Mini feels too expensive especially when compared to the tablets of competitors Amazon and Google that each start at ~$200. You could even see Apple trying to justify that price point by having Phil Schiller make a very rare but overt “point, counter point” (Jane, you ignorant slut) comparison of the iPad Mini to the Google Nexus. As soon as he started in with that comparison, I had a feeling that the pricing was going to be expensive relative to the competition. His comparison was basically trying justify the benefits of the iPad Mini ahead of revealing the price, so to ease the pain. I never thought the iPad mini was going to come in at $200, but I was thinking somewhere in the $249-$299 range. If they came in at that range, I think that would have sealed the deal for the Tablet marketplace. Now, I think there is still a window for others to play in.
Secondly, I think Apple did some damage to their brand with how they have handled the “new” iPad (i.e iPad 3 and iPad 4). Releasing an updated version of their iPad on Tuesday, just six months after they released the “new” iPad (3rd Gen) is not going over well. Beyond a Twitter storm, a site called CouponCodes4U.com ran a flash poll on their site (granted, not exactly scientific but still…) that conlcuded:
Forty-one percent of the respondents, who all stated that they owned at least one Apple product, said they had bought the third generation iPad. Of these, 83% said they felt “cheated” by the announcement of the fourth gen tablet.
Not the kind of feedback I’d want around a product release.
And personally, I purchased a “new” iPad in late August, just about 2 months before the Tuesday’s announcement, because my iPad 1st Gen died but also because I didn’t think an another upgrade would be happening until early 2013. I have called Apple and even went to my local store to plead my case and to no avail.
For a company that takes such efforts to make sure things are done pixel perfect, you would think they would manage things like this a bit more effectively.
This past Friday, my iPod died. I was sitting at work listening to some tunes and cranking out a project brief, when all of a sudden it just stopped playing. When I picked it up, the back of it was smoking hot to the touch, and the software was freezing and sputtering. If it was a car, it was the equivelant of lurching and choking and shaking violently.
As any normal person would do, I started to hit every button to see if it would start playing again but nothing happened. Then, I went to the Internet. How can I reboot this thing? Maybe it just needs a little refresh as in my 1.5 years of owning it, I’d never rebooted it. As we all know, we all need to reboot every once in a while.
A ha! I found it. A very informative iPod site detailing exact instructions on how to reboot my iPod. “Your data will not be effected when you reboot your iPod.” it said. I hit the “Menu” and “Play” buttons at the same time for about 10 seconds (yes, I had the 3rd generation iPod which I’ve always been somewhat bitter about, being that I purchaed it all of two weeks ahead of the 4th generation release…but we won’t go there) and it rebooted. Ok, this is good, I said. It appears to be working fine now. But to my horror, every song, podcast, and piece of information on my iPod was gone…Casper…no where to be found. Yes, everything was in iTunes on my home computer, so it was not an unmitigated catastrophe (unless you consider the commute home that evening), but this was not expected based on what I read (Mistake #1: Everything on the internet is not fact). And the iPod was still smoking hot on the back too. Now I knew something was seriously wrong.
I wake up on Saturday and try to sync it with iTunes, and again it fails. I bitterly head downstairs to eat breakfast, and there it is…slapping me right in the face. Its an article in the NY Times by Joe Nocera titled “Good Luck With That Broken iPod” (fyi…the online article is behind the NYTimes “Select” service, so I can’t link to it). The timing was impeccable. The article essentially said that if your iPod breaks, there is little that Apple will do to help other than saying “Go buy a new one” and offering an extended warranty. Bitterness turned to frustration.
On Sunday, fearing the worst, I took my injured iPod to the local Apple store right when it opened. One of the salespeople took it and tried to bring its software back to factory condition. Alas, that did not work as he determined it was a component issue, which costs $250 minimum. As the article said, “Go buy a new one.” So I did, reluctantly. Some silver lining is that I was able to give my broken one back to Apple and they took 10% off the cost of my new one. This time, I did buy the warranty.
So now I have the new iPod Video with an extended warranty. My plans to replace my 5 year old behemouth of a digital camera will have to wait another year or so. I use my iPod every day when I commute to work. I’m not going to say “its more trouble than its worth” because there is no way I could survive my commute without it. But still, its been a rocky relationship….
Wow, they never cease to amaze. Not a month after they released the amazing looking nano, they take the next step towards media convergance and release the often rumored Video iPod. The real challenge becomes how interested and engaging this will be with consumers. I think the popularity of the iPod is a direct function of the fact that with music/audio, you can be doing other things while you are listening. With video, you need to be fully attentive to the content.
But even if you don’t download a single video, the bigger screen, the larger amount of disc space, and the increased battery life are reasons alone to seriously consider an upgrade. My iPod is now closing in on 1.5 years old, and while it is still serving me quite well, I am starting to get a little bit of iPod envy.
A bit over a year ago, I purchased an iPod. While I have had a few bumps in the road while owning this product, I am pretty much lost without it, especially with the commute I have to work.
I key accessory of the iPod that I use all the time is the clip on remote, which enables me to forward past songs and podcasts I don’t want to listen to at that time without having to take the actual iPod out of my pocket, shoulder bag, or whever it is being held. About three months ago, the little “Hold” switch broke on the remote. I took it back to Apple and they replaced it with no problems. Then today, I noticed that the cable of the headphones was “fraying” and exposing its wiring. And being that I had this replaced almost three months ago, the warrenty on the replacements expired tomrrow.
So at lunch today, I went to the Apple Soho store to see if I could get replacement headphones before the warrenty expired. I walked into the Apple store, found a salesperson, and told them the issue. In the middle of my explaination, another floor person joined the conversation, assessed the issue as I showed the fraying headphones, and said “Come with me”. We walked over to the Genius Bar, they then took the old pair of headphones, and gave me a new pair on the spot, no questions asked. I did have to provide some info about my iPod but that was it. I was there and back in 45 minutes (took the subway).
Out and about on the Internet, people are confessing about those skeletons buried in the back corners of their iPods. You know who you are. Britney, Burt Bachrach, Neil Diamond…they are there on your iPod. As for me, well…I will admit that I have a few Sinatra songs, I have a Tony Bennett CD cued up, ready to download, and I am seriously thinking of adding some Elvis to the mix.
So all of two weeks ago, I proudly noted that I was a new owner of an Apple iPod. And what does Apple do? They go and release a new version of their iPod with a more robust battery, some software enhancements, a new navigation wheel, and a thinner body (barely). And to top it all off, the cost of their 20GB version was $100 less than what I paid for the same storage capacity, and their 40GB version was the same price as what I paid for 20GB!! So if I had known, I would have obviously waited, and then would have almost definitely purchased the 40GB version for the same $399 price. Needless to say, I am not happy about what has transpired. After multiple calls to American Express and Apple, Apple was able to issue me a $100 credit for my purchase to reflect the new price of the 20GB unit, and I do appreciate that. The price difference really irked me but I think the bigger frustration is that if I had waited two measly weeks, I could have purchased the newer model. I am still trying to figure out how I can get the new one, but if not, I am more than happy with what I have and getting the price break definitely makes me feel better about the situation. But I just knew something like this would happen. Its just my luck!!
So I ordered an Apple iPod this weekend. Looking forward to loading it up and using it!! I ordered the 20GB size basically because I could not justify spending $500 for it. They were running a promotion where I could get it engraved for free, which I gladly took advantage of. I put this url and my email address on it figuring that if I ever lost it, maybe some kind soul would email me and return it. Also, I figure 20GB is more than enough space for most of my current CD collection plus other songs that I will eventually acquire from iTunes. My wife was even nice enough to purchase a $15 Gift Certificate for me to get started on iTunes. I would have preferred the BMW for my iPod but beggars can’t be choosers. Rock on.
Update – The iPod was delivered by FedEx ahead of schedule at 10:18AM on Friday July 9th! Yay! Can’t wait to use it.
Here is an interesting site that iPod owners use to post new concepts related to future versions and services related to the wonderful Apple iPod: iPodlounge – All Things iPod
I really want an Apple iPod. They are just the best mobile audio devices around and they are so brilliantly designed. Then I could put my audio CD collection on my computer and put the actual CDs in storage. In fact, I really want an Apple PowerBook. We currently have a 4 year old Dell and that is just not cutting it anymore. What would be ideal would be for my wife Lisa to have her own PC and then I could have my own Apple. It would be the first computer that I would have for my web dev/services/design “side business”. It would also help me out as I create and edit video of the kids.