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An Open Letter To Apple CEO Tim Cook

Posted by tomwiles at 3:51 PM on October 5, 2012

ear Mr. Cook,

Like many people, I converted to Apple products because it represented real value. My first Apple computer was a second-hand Mac Mini with a Power PC processor. I was impressed by the fact that a clearly obsolete machine could remain so useful and usable at several years of age, when other older computers of the same vintage were long gone.

My next Apple product was a white plastic MacBook with an Intel processor, which is now six years old. Impressively, the machine still remains highly functional today.

Since then, I went on to get a seventeen inch MacBook Pro, two Intel Mac Mini machines set up in home theater configurations, two iPod Classic MP3 players, an iPad 2 and an iPod Touch.

Apple purchases were easy to justify. An Apple computer might cost three times as much as a competing piece of hardware, but the Apple operating system could usually be counted on to continue to function years longer than a competing Windows counterpart. Back in those days, Apple machines were also repairable. My seventeen inch MacBook Pro has been repaired twice, and I’ve replaced the battery myself once.

In my mind, the Apple brand represented usability, innovation, and long-term value. It was easy to recommend Apple products to friends and family, because genuine value was present.

Unfortunately, in the past year or so there has been a change. Recent product releases have failed to excite me. New Apple laptop computer designs present hardware that is close to being non-repairable and disposable. Apple has become a high-end disposable Bic computer. In the realm of phones, Apple, once the innovator, is now failing to catch up to competing Android phone features. Apple seems to be preferring to go down the path of suing competitors such as Samsung in a desperate attempt to cling to past glories, rather than continue to experiment and innovate towards future effulgences.

Apple founder Steve Jobs was a brilliant innovator, albeit with some flaws – i.e., he tended to be controlling and manipulative. As a genuine innovator Mr. Jobs was ultimately successful in spite of those flaws, not because of them. It’s been a year since the death of Steve Jobs. I fear the remaining imprint of Steve Jobs on Apple as his personal innovation fades is deteriorating into Apple embracing the skeleton of the dysfunctional parts of the Jobs personality. The genuine innovator at Apple died a year ago. Growing tendencies toward control and manipulation remain.

Steve Jobs created an unprecedented amount of momentum, which Apple still benefits from today. Apple, now at its pinnacle has reached unbelievable heights even as there is an unnoticed malignancy.

For me, the thrill is gone. IOS 6 diminished my iPad 2 experience. I rely heavily on Google Maps, including both the satellite view and Google Street View. The new Apple satellite images in IOS 6 are clearly inferior and fuzzy when compared directly to Google’s superior satellite images. Street View is gone. The YouTube app is gone. Apple has embraced Steve Jobs’ desire to punish Google for coming up with Android and daring to compete with the iPhone. The removal of Google Maps and the YouTube app in IOS 6 is a move born out of spite, not innovation. Actions taken out of spite are always a mistake.

In Apple’s more humble past there has always been a core of users, often dubbed the “Mac Faithful” that would stick with Apple and buy their products no matter what. In recent years, under the renewed leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple was able to finally move into the mainstream, picking up a vast bulk of new customers that lack this zealous loyalty. People like me were enticed to buy Apple products by the genuine value they offered.

As a long-time consumer of technology, I lack this Apple zealoutry. My loyalty extends only to products that offer good value. I can only speak for myself, but at the present time I don’t see myself buying any additional Apple products anytime soon. I am wondering how many other recent Apple customers share my lack of loyalty?

What has befallen Apple is unfortunate. It was always fun watching the presentations of world-changing innovations. These days, not so much.

Sincerely,

A now-unhappy customer.

8 Comments

  1. From Jimbob at 4:55 pm on October 5, 2012

    Todd, while I share some of your same sentiments towards recent Apple releases, I believe this may be a natural evolution just as is death. You claim Apple may be holding onto past glories, but isn’t worshipping Steve Jobs and his accomplishments the same? I agree that there will not be another like him. Likewise, there will not be another Michael Jordan.

    I too, am not impressed with the recent iOS release. I am lucky that I only converted my iPod and waited and still waiting for all the mess be cleaned up with version 6. I have an iPad 2 and iPhone 4S as well. I truly believe there is a problem for Apple to fix and so far, how they’ve approached it is disappointing. I don’t believe that Apple’s best option was to recommend solutions from other providers for mapping needs.

    So my thinking is that another company may take this opportunity and take advantage of Apple’s shortcomings and shine for the moment. I truly feel that Apple will recover as long as they try and move out of the shadow of Mr. Jobs. We all do need to move on from what was and to what will be. What will technology make easier for the common man?

    Does that make sense?

    Jimbob

  2. From geeknews at 4:58 pm on October 5, 2012

    Sorry you will have to get feedback from Tom, I did not write this piece.

  3. From JD at 5:39 pm on October 5, 2012

    I love how people who claim to be “long time” Apple fans suddenly go off because of short term issues.. especially ones we all know are blown way out of proportion.

    Now I agree that maps was a bit of a slip-up, I have already seen great improvements. A few photos of a melted bridge isn’t exactly the kind of thing that means I’m not going to be able to find my way to my next destination.

    i’ve submitted just a couple of updates to Apple in the last week and all have already been implemented. Thats fast!

    Steve Jobs did a lot for us all and certainly there have been some mis-steps in his time (remember antennagate? Just like mapgate, that too will pass…) I think you need to give it a bit more time before you decide on jumping ship. Or just jump ship, because it seems more like you are looking for faults and a reason…

    I’ll be back here in a few months and we’ll see how big an issue maps is. Youtube being removed was a GOOD thing – the app is way better now that Google is in charge of it. I also think when Google releases its maps for iOS it will be there to compete, not be a stale aging version like we had before.

    This is all good. Apple had to rip the band-aid off quickly… it stung a bit but we will all be better off. Maps as it is now takes less bandwidth, looks WAY better, and will be something that forces a much better consumer experience long term.

    I’d say Apple is right where it should be and still making great products.

  4. From Tim Verpoorten at 6:51 am on October 6, 2012

    This has the feel of link bait all over it. Take some absurd idea or statement and turn it into a melodramatic posting. I am certain you’ll get your desired hits with this blog bait. But you’ve pretty much lost any future credibility. Again, great example of the melodramatic.

  5. From Paul at 7:46 am on October 6, 2012

    I’m not here to depend apple. They’re human and they make mistakes. OTOH I sense a bit of resentment coming from you. Isn’t avoidance from resentment the cornerstone of your “philosophy”? And I think insinuating that Steve’s “character flaws” are what is behind apple’s missteps is melodramatic. Geez, come one Tom, if you don’t like the products – move on back to Windows and enjoy your Androids.

    Also, you forgot to mention how evil apple was for “breaking” Ubercaster, so you say. You know better than that, Tom. In this case it’s the sole responsibility of the developer to keep up with the times and operating system updates. Developers have unprecedented access to OS beta builds up to a year before a major new OS is released. How can you blame apple?

  6. From tomwiles at 8:50 am on October 6, 2012

    My intent in writing this piece was to express my honest thoughts. I do not speak for anyone else. I did not say I was a “long term Apple fan.” I started buying and using an increasing number of Apple products about seven years ago.

    I am not suddenly disillusioned with Apple because I’ve never had them on a pedestal – to me Apple has been just another company, albeit with often great products. I can and do easily make the jump to other products if something better comes along. My loyalty as a consumer doesn’t extend very far at all.

    All organizations suffer in varying ways and to varying degrees from different types of dysfunction. Sony is another example of a company that’s made some really great products over the years that has sometimes been the corporate equivalent of a crazed person with a dagger that has stabbed and slashed themselves more than a few times. Companies, just like individuals, can be self destructive.

    Just expressing my honest thoughts here about a corporation and its products, not attacking anyone’s religion.

  7. From Brent at 1:46 pm on October 6, 2012

    Hey Tom,

    What kind of computer would you buy if not a Mac?? Windows?? Good God I hope not! There is little choice these days as far as computers go. Great article Tom

  8. From tomwiles at 4:30 pm on October 6, 2012

    Brent, at the moment I have two Mac Intel laptops, a 17 inch Mac Book pro, and a 13 inch white plastic Mac Book. Both are in fine working order, so for the foreseeable future I won’t be buying any laptops. If something were to happen to destroy both of them, I could probably survive with my iPad and this Galaxy S3. I would have a hard time justifying the price of a disposable laptop unless it was very cheap. I continue to like OSX even though the latest version will no longer properly run the podcast recording progam I’ve used for years called Ubercaster. Despite what some people may think, I did not write this article in an attemt to stir anyone up or tear down idols, but to simply say in written form the conversations I’m currently having about this topic with friends in person, some of them who also own various Apple products.