For Christmas this year I bought Cindy a 16gb iPhone at the AT&T retail store in Concord NH. Along with purchasing the most expensive mobile handset AT&T has in its portfolio, I also went ahead and bought the Unlimited Voice and Unlimited Data plan for the phone ($160/month). The deal was sealed with a two year contract. No problems…..right??? WRONG!
Today, when Cindy tried to simply add a $3/month Canada Plan it took over 30 minutes and 5 transfers. Worse, I had to get on the line with a representative who asked me a series of questions that we designed to prove I am who I am.
A. I never lived in San Diego?
Q. Which of these three counties did you live in in 2000?
A. None of the above.
After 5 minutes of this "Gestapoesque" questioning, I was then informed that I had to fax a ID and a Bill to AT&T in 3 days. At this point I asked the rep why I was having to go through this process when I have been a customer for over a year? He told me it did not matter. Cindy's phone has not been in use for more than 3 months and this is the process we would have to accept if we wanted to add a $3/month Canadian Plan. Its $3/month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF! You had no problem signing me up for $160/month plan for 2 years, but adding $3/month requires DNA and my first born!
Needless to say, I ended the process by hanging up the phone and asking Cindy to add the plan 3 months from now. AT&T, it really is sad to see you treat your best customers this way. YOU SUCK!
So, about 2 years ago I started to (as my brother so terms it) "macify" my life. This is no joke. I have 2 Apple Powerbooks, 2 Apple TVs, 2 AirPort Extremes, 1 iPhone, and 1 semi-active iPod (I have about 4 dead ones collecting dust someplace). This is not taking into consideration that my girlfriend, Cindy, also has her own Powerbook, iPhone, and active iPod (she has 3 dead ones as well). Our consumption of iTunes content generally runs between $150-$300 a month.
I will state up front that there have been more good experiences making this move then bad ones. However, there are several issues that I feel compelled to write about. This is constructive criticism for the folks at Apple. If I am incorrect in my points of views, I welcome feedback, comments, etc.
This is the center of my angst with Apple. I have become a power consumer of content offered through iTunes as I enjoy its vast and diverse catalog of media. Furthermore, I like that the content may be viewed via my AppleTV, Powerbook, iPhone, and iPod. Here are my beefs: iTune’s Digital Rights Management SUCKS!!!!!!! When you get to the core of Apple's DRM policy, users are essentially leasing (not owning) the content you purchase via iTunes. Now this is not a major issue except when you take into account price and accessibility. First, when you are paying $.99 (songs) to $14 (movies) for digital media content you are paying a premium! Think about it….at that spend level, you are not paying much more then you would pay to own the actual CD or DVD. You get the benefit of on demand content and Apple gets the benefit of the margins it makes off of selling content without the costs associated with traditional distribution channels. Here is the catch, because you are leasing instead of owning you are severely restricted in its portability (you have very limited ways in which you can move and/or share the content). To add insult to injury, Apple then ALSO makes you responsible for archiving the content you do "lease". If you’re hard drive crashes and you lose your iTunes library…your fault. If you think about it, Apple is having its Cake and eating it to.
It really is only a matter of time before users get fed up with this double standard. Apple, to get ahead of this issue I would suggest that you either change your DRM to allow users to OWN the content they buy from you or to provide services around the content they LEASE from you. If individuals are afforded ownership of the content, then they should have the rights unlimited portability and access to that content. If they lose it, then it’s their issue. If your DRM path continues down the lease path, then you should offer all of the content ever bought via iTunes via a web service. You should host the content on remote servers and allow lessees the ability to stream or download (with accessibility/portability restrictions) at will. If users lose the content, they can easily go to their account and retrieve a duplicate copy. Hell, I imagine that users would even be happy to pay a monthly fee for this type of service. I know that I would.
Guys…..the avg. 1 year life span on these devices is getting really, really, really, OLD! Fix your quality control or be prepared to lose your dominant market share to someone who does care.
Steve Jobs, you almost got the "Douche Bag of the Year" award when then first iPhone was released and it could not use standard earphones. Thanks for fixing that in the 2nd Generation models. This device is solid across the board except for the service provider. AT&T SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One more point re: iPhone. Your online/offline buyflow is a JOKE! Let me see if I get this straight. You cannot buy iPhones on the Apple website, but you can buy the AT&T Service Plan. You are required to go into a Apple Retail store to pick up the handset you tried to buy via Apple.com (WTF??). You can buy the handset and the service plan via AT&T's website—just not your own. You can also buy the handset and service plan via AT&T retail stores. However, if you buy the handset via an Apple Store then you have to wait to go home to set up a AT&T service plan via your iTunes Application. Am I straight on all of this??? Is this really the best way to sell this phone???
4. Apple TV
LOVE THIS DEVICE!!! I am contemplating canceling my cable service as I get my most of my TV/Movie programming from my Apple TVs (The only thing keeping this from happening is live sports broadcasts and Cindy's infatuation with DVRing scheduled TV programming (NO COMMENT)).
One suggestion: put a on/off button on this thing! What engineering braniac decided against a power option on a consumer electronic device??? There are often connectivity and/or sync issues that arise with Apple TV. The best way to fix those is to power it off and on. The only way to do that currently is to unplug the device.
So there you have it. I got that off my chest. Here's hoping that Apple monitors the blogosphere for consumer feedback!
Below is footage of police in Denver arresting an ABC News producer today as he and a camera
crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of
Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the
Brown Palace Hotel. This is such a violation of Freedom of Speech…shame on the Denver police. Its sad (ironic) to have seen this happen at a Democratic event. I am really tired of watching poilce behave in this fashion! So disappointing!
Finally!!!!!! I am rid of RCN. Thanks to Comcast, who worked with my condo’s property management company to wire our building for their services, I have been able to break the 5 year siege RCN had on my Cable/High Speed Internet.
If US Air was a cable company, they would be RCN. Absolutely incompetent. I used to pay between $300-$500/month to RCN (all on-demand programming….yes, I am a media WHORE). Then, my service started to go out on a monthly basis. RCN required that I take a day off of work so that their technicians could come in and fix the problem (which was basically the inability to access the on-demand and PPV catalogs). This did not happen once….but almost every month. I finally got so fed up, I stopped trying. I shifted my $200/month media consumption to the on-demand programming that my AppleTV and XBoxLive provided. By the way, BUY AN APPLE TV!!!!!!!! It’s AWSOME!
I am psyched to finally have Comcast as my cable and high speed provider! Thanks a ton for giving me an option that is other than RCN.