The posting problem is fixed and I got nice personal messages from a TypePad community manager giving me status updates. Apple, please take note of how it's supposed to be done. And thank you, Ginevra.
A couple of weeks ago, when my work MacBook died for the second time in less than six months I brought it to the Apple Store at UVillage. While the machine was still under warranty, my apologetic Apple Genius couldn't repair it until I produced some documentation. My previous failure had required a hard-drive replacement, during which the techs had failed to put the machine's serial number on the new drive. As a result, Apple couldn't track the repair or even find my machine in their system. After a drive home and then to the office in an annoying but ultimately successful search for the old repair order, Apple agreed to replace my machine with a brand new one and even copied all of my data from the old machine to the new. They've even called me to follow up and make sure the new MacBook is working properly. That's pretty good customer service and it turned me from a grumpy customer to a happy one.
After installing the 2.02 update on my first-gen iPhone, I can no longer install new versions of apps without first deleting the prior version. Aside from being incredibly annoying, this is a serious problem for apps that use and save data, because removing an app from the iPhone also deletes all of its related data.
Apparently, bricking my phone for a full day this month wasn't enough for Apple. Today, my iPhone decided that it wouldn't recognize headphones any longer and would only play music out of the built-in speakers. After trying everything I could think of, the only option left- short of a visit to the Apple Store - was to restore the software. Unfortunately, once the restore was completed I was greeted with the dreaded "Could not complete iTunes request" error message. More than two full weeks after the launch of the iPhone 3G, Apple still hasn't fixed its iPhone activation server problems. Apple may want to consider themselve a consumer company, but until they can deliver basic functionality to their customers without endless hassles, they're just another consumer unfriendly tech company. Citing unexpected demand as an excuse for poor performance just doesn't cut it anymore. Can you say "not ready for prime time?"
That old expression "nothing succeeds like success" is a load of crap. Apple created a feeding frenzy for its new iPhone 3G and for its iPhone 2.0 software for existing 2.5G iPhones. Success, right? Problem is, they can't handle the traffic to upgrade and activate all those phones and now a lot of very unhappy people are sitting around with very expensive, very stylish paperweights. I'm one of them.
So this raises an interesting question: is this just a one-time blip or a sign that Apple has a lot of work to do before it can become a truly consumer-focused company?
P.S. My AppleTV is bricked, too. Nice going, Steve.
Update: So where I was getting the ubiquitous and really helpful (unknown error -9838), now I'm getting (unknown error -4). Progress? Who the hell knows.
So, I just got a Facebook message from a friend who will be visiting Seattle with his daughter later this summer. He asked for recommendations on what to do. I made a few and then suggested he check out The Stranger for additional ideas, typing out the Web address. As if by magic, an ad for The Stranger appeared within my message. I didn't ask for it and had no way to delete it. I'm not too bummed because in this case it was totally relevant. But still. That's weird. And kinda creepy...
One of the hazards of being an Apple aficionado is that, because of the overwhelming hype, it's almost impossible to keep your expectations in check regarding new products. That's the case with the new 3G iPhone. Don't get me wrong, it's a better device than the original iPhone and cheaper, too. That's no small feat. But the sum total of new features is two: 3G networking and GPS. Those are both important, but not enough for me to shell out $200 or $300 (plus pay a higher monthly charge for data) to replace my original gen 1 iPhone, at least not right now.
On other hand, I might have ordered a new one today if Apple had added a couple of additional features. In particular, I was hoping for video recording, MMS capability and a camera flash (and/or a better camera). It's possible the first two might get addressed by third party developers (though I doubt it).
Still, I'm feeling pretty good about what I already have. The iPhone 2.0 software update will make the original iPhone do some new tricks. So I'll wait til Apple ships a 32GB model, at which point it'll be able to hold my entire music collection plus some video.
Wow. Just...wow. I've tried watching this three times. I make it about 30 seconds before I'm too embarrassed to continue. Is this really supposed to motivate sales people? Somebody needs to be fired. Or at least prohibited from ever again spending a dime of Microsoft's money.