Apple is an undeniable trendsetter. You can add “i” to the beginning of just about anything these days and sound more important. Almost any item they come out with is instantly coveted. People stand in line for days to be among the first to buy their products, but not everyone shares the same feelings as the masses. In fact, some of what has made Apple so successful are the same things that drive others away! I have a sided opinion about Apple, but I can see both sides of the love/hate relationship.
The following examples highlight a few pros and cons of Apple as I see them:
Apple’s products, quite simply, just work. First of all, they’re known to be among the most reliable of consumer electronics. On top of that, there’s almost no fiddling with drivers, there’s no going deep into server settings for emails, and you almost never have to worry about a program doing harm to your device. Apple has such tight control over who releases something for their products that they can ensure a worry-free user experience.
Apple’s electronics are intuitive to use. Believe it or not, it’s not that hard to learn how to use an iPod/iPhone because they were designed to be as user friendly as possible. And there’s almost never a time where you can’t find what you’re looking for, whether it’s a setting or an app. It can be overwhelming to buy a new product and feel like you need to memorize a manual before you can use it, but Apple has effectively removed this barrier.
iPad users were recently confused as to why their “Screen Orientation Lock” button no longer worked. Well, Apple changed it to a mute button…just because that’s how they want it. Almost every single Apple device is, shall we say, a “locked-down” experience. The flip side to the tight control of their products is that there is almost NO customization to be found. The endless settings and 3rd party programs (like the ones commonly found on other phones like Androids or Blackberries) are almost nonexistent. People who like to “tinker” with everything they buy tend to find very little enjoyment in their Apple experiences.
I understand that certain agreements need to be reached with publishers because iTunes sells so much content, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for users. For example, transferring songs and videos to an iPod is a one-way proposition – iTunes to iPod only. There’s no going back. If your computer breaks, and you want to transfer all your iPod music to a new computer…. tough luck. Sure you can buy some expensive 3rd party programs to circumvent Apple’s restrictions, but that’s the type of hassle most people think they’re avoiding by buying Apple in the first place. Most other devices sure don’t have this issue. (TIP: Back up your iTunes folder to an external device regularly to avoid the pain of going through this)!
I believe that there has to be some middle ground to be found with Apple. I can’t see the benefit of changing what a button does without giving the user the option to change it back. Apple makes such high-quality, user-friendly products, but I feel that they are missing out on a large segment of consumers who just want some kind of customization.
Which side of the argument are YOU on? What would you like to see Apple do differently for their loyal base of customers?
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