An Open Letter to the CEO of Apple
As I've reflected on the iPhone 5 review that I wrote earlier, I kept coming back to the same theme in my mind and decided to try to do something about it. So I thought I'd write an open letter to Apple's CEO, Tim Cook:
Dear Mr. Cook,
I'm as true of an Apple fan as they come. My very first computer, in the late 1980's, was a Mac Plus. I mastered Dark Castle and ran through Lode Runner in the family's basement every day after school. We even stuck by Apple in the rough days. When my friends were getting new games and exploring software stores, I was relegated to the "Mac Section" which was usually one or two shelves of productivity software. But again, we stuck by Apple.
I've always felt like the Apple experience was second to none. While my friends navigated things like "C:\DOS\GAMES\" and so on, all I had to do was double click to get where I wanted to go. There was no programming theory for a 12 year old to understand, it was all right there, visually, in front of you.
I even loved Apple so much that I joked to my mother in the early 1990's that we should buy Apple stock (boy, are we regretting taking that as a joke today!).
I was one of "those guys" who woke up at the crack of dawn to stand on line for the launch of the iPhone 3G a week and a half after my birthday in 2008. After holding out after the introduction of the original iPhone because I figured "why do I need a phone that does all that?" I loved it.
Naturally, I upgraded to the iPhone 4 when it was released. Apple took a little bit of a hit with "Antennagate". While others slammed Apple's response as "too little, too late", I thought that the goodwill gesture of a free "Bumper" or other case was nice (I've had many, many years of practice of being an Apple apologist).
But now I'm afraid that I've come to something that I just can't get on Apple's side with. While I've been enjoying the blazing speed and the bells & whistles of my brand new iPhone 5, I'm left with a bit of a sour taste by the glut of now useless accessories that currently sit around my house and car. While I understand the desire for technological advancement and the reasoning behind the new, unobtrusive "Lightning" connector, I think that Apple has made a major misstep by pricing Lightning to 30-pin adapters at $30.
For $30, I could have bought any number of chargers, docks, and connecters for my old iPhones.
Again, I understand Apple's desire to innovate and advance, but I also think, especially in the highly competitive Smart Phone market, you need to keep your loyalists now more than ever. To new iPhone users, "ConnectorGate" is a non-issue, they'd have had to buy new accessories anyway. But the long-time users are out of luck.
While I think that it would be a nice gesture to take a cue from "Antennagate" and offer a Lightning to 30-pin connector to iPhone users who upgraded to the iPhone 5, I also understand that it would probably be cost prohibitive. But I do think it would be reasonable to offer "legacy users" a discount. Many car dealerships offer discounts to customers who are on their second and third vehicles of the same brand, so why not offer the same benefit to iPhone loyalists who now have to wrestle with the debate of whether to swallow the $30 (or more if you don't want to have to remember to bring your adapter with you everywhere), wait for cheap (and possibly illegal) knockoffs to come out, or just trash their now useless accessories.
So my official proposal, Mr. Cook, is a 50% discount on a Lightning to 30-pin adapter for customers who have owned a previous model of iPhone for at least a year. I think this is a reasonable solution and a fantastic way to show your loyal customers how much you value them.
I hope you'll take this letter in the spirit with which it is intended, as a thank you for your continued high quality and innovative products, and as a plea to show your fans how much they mean to Apple as a company, a brand, and a way of life.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.