I bought my first Apple product, an LCIII in 1987. Ever since, I've been a staunch supporter of the brand. User-friendly interface. Kick-ass design. A hipster status symbol for nerds. And while these products might require a greater financial commitment from users, we all know, cool will cost you.
I'm ok with this. So much so that those early iPhone buyers who complained of getting ripped off to the tune of $200 ($100 after the good faith rebate) simply for purchasing the device in the first two months of it's release, never got my sympathy vote. There's a premium on being the first kid on the street with the fresh new toy, which may be easier for me to say, as I was not a victim.
Here's where I believe the apple went rotten, and I'm surprised there isn't more talk about this:
My brand new MacBook came with the iLife suite pre-installed and a 2-month free trial of a ".mac account," which plays so nicely with the software. Dot mac makes it so you can share personal photos, videos, and all other kinds of media online with some very simple, intuitive clicks. Awesome, right?
Wrong. First, Apple pretty much won't let you start up your new computer without registering a .mac account - the two months of free service are just enough to whet your appetite before they stick you with the $90 annual bill to keep things running (they constantly remind me how many days I have left before it's not free anymore). Remember, this is a web site, that allows you to use APPLE products, which you've just purchased from APPLE.
I could begrudge a fee for this service if I didn't own a mac (.mac accounts would work with PCs, just not as fluidly). I could even forgive them a few bucks if I needed more online space than the introductory amount allotted. But if they want me to continue buying their iTunes, and iPhotos and all the other iCrap that I've long been a disciple of, then give me some iSpace so I can spread the gospel.
Until such time, my blogs will appear here - not at .mac - and my online photo galleries will have to be posted to rival, Snapfish, who will host my pictures for free, in hopes that friends and family will purchase a few images while they're there.
I recently likened this greedy corporate behavior to Starbucks. The coffee giant sees themself so vital to the world wide cafe-goer, that they can charge customers a per minute fee to use wi-fi in their stores, a practice virtually unheard of elsewhere in the industry. If you've taken a gander at Starbucks stock in the last year or so, this is just one business model that is not working for them. And from what I hear, it's about to change.
Mac seems to think that customer rewards are simply the release of more life-changing products for us to spend more life-changing disposable income on. Why should they actually "reward" us with incentives for buying their glorious things? Oh, and curiously, Apple shareholders aren't exactly going ahead with that second home or 40-ft. sea cruiser at the moment, either.
Note: It has not been lost on me that this post deviates from my blog's theme in that, my opinions/ actions haven't actually pissed anyone off, inadvertently. Quite the opposite. The intent of this rant is to totally and, advertently piss the apple executives off.
I'm not holding my breath.