One of the companies that I have often evangelized is Apple. Not because they create attractive and user friendly products. But the part that they understand people’s needs better and implement those needs in a manner that the users can engage better with. Known to most, Apple can be seen as an underdog, not because the company’s ambitions were small, but because they had a policy to keep their algorithms and codes private. Apple started with the cause they would manufacture their own hardware, and provide the software for it. Naturally, this would make them encounter a lot of resistance against players like Microsoft, that had chosen to license software to compatible hardware manufacturers.
I was aware that Apple computers looked better, were better at graphics, and were less prone to viruses. But these facts were not substantiated until my friend and I started to compare our first laptops. Mine being a Compaq Presario 2134AD (I’ll always remember the Model Number, for the part it was a stretch in student days to go in for a high-end machine), and his being a PowerBook G4. Though mine shipped with 40 gigs of storage, his had 60, there was a startling difference when it came to looks. My Compaq machine was adored by many, but at the end of it, to me it was just the same old windows machine, similar to the desktop that my father was using all by himself, and something told me, my decision would have been better researched, had I once taken the pain to investigate Apple products.
Time went by, and though I had used a few Apple computers by then, my first real experience of purchasing Apple products started when I got my sister her first iPod Shuffle. With a 256 MB capacity which seems meagre by all standards today, this was my first stab at installing (not yet downloading) iTunes and I encountered great opposition from my friends, who were earlier users of WinAmp and Windows Media Player. The ease of use with iTunes as a jukebox player is what excited me. I was a recent business school graduate, and I did not have much time or money to invest into a new laptop, so the much coveted apple hardware I planned to buy was still some distance away.
Then Apple announced its decision to move away from Motorola Hardware, unto Intel, and also previewed Mac OS Leopard. I decided I shall wait. But before I could go ahead and get one at the time of such a release, my sister mentioned that I could use her newer HP Notebook, which had newer hardware, as after finishing her studies, she wasn’t needing a lot of computing power, and preferred the use of her desktop instead. Not until late 2008, when Apple unveiled the Unibody Design, did my desire for an Apple notebook manifest.
In India, where I reside, I must mention that Apple has forgotten last mile delivery experience for its customers. The dealers are not renowned, and the customer is mostly left at the mercy of Apple Customer Relations to resolve issues that happen with the hardware, that is often not perfect. Repeat, it is well designed, but not free of defects. My sister’s iPod was replaced within two months of purchase. My laptop was replaced for a faulty network port within a month as well. And for both issues, I had to go through laborious calls to customer relations, only because the dealers in India, that happen to be authorized resellers and do not feel it is necessary to deliver last mile service to customers. It’s not a blanket rule, but the pockets where they are at fault, impact greatly on Apple’s reputation in a market that’s promising and growing like India.