“History is a vast early warning system.” Norman Cousins
What is loyalty? Generation Yers like myself are often scrutinized for not having much of it, especially to companies we work for. We are fickle, we are shortsighted and we put our own aspirations above the greater good time and time again.
These are the accusations, anyway. I often refute that argument and urge baby-boomers to not just speak to younger people, but speak to us differently.
Today’s post may seem contradictory given that information. Read it anyway. It’s the story of how I’m choosing to be somewhat vengeful, even spiteful with my little purchasing power and my big mouth.
I was an early adopter of iPhone. Did I have the original design from Apple or stand in line for hours on end to be the first in the country to get the technology? No. But, I was still an early adopter. Far before the tech giant had penetration near 30% of the smart phone share where they stand today, I became a huge advocate of their phone for the simple design, beautifully crafted interface and formidable quality. I’ve owned an iPhone 2, an iPhone 3GS and most recently, an iPhone 4S.
I know, I know, I’m dated. Especially when you consider I’m a social media manager and digital marketer, the iPhone 4S is basically an antique in my circles. But for the benefit of my international readers (Olá Brasil!) and the tech-challenged, let me explain: smartphones in Canada are incredibly expensive. Moreover, buying a new phone by either breaking your contract or by purchasing privately usually runs north of $500, in fact for a new iPhone or Android device, it’s much closer to $1,000. Such is the state when the telecommunications industry is essentially an oligopoly. But I digress.
Where is this story of vengeance and spite you promised us? So this month my iPhone 4S broke after two full years of service *moment of silence for my dead homie* Upon taking it apart I understood what had gone wrong: the charging port in my phone had slowly become incapable of holding any lithium-ion goodness and no amount of battery charges or high-voltage chargers could change that. It breathed its last breath (I took it hard, clearly) and I found myself all of a sudden phoneless.
But that doesn’t sound like a reason to scream “damn you Apple!” from the rooftops. When my phone started to show signs of dying, I took to the internet to see what crazy hack or pseudo-fix was being implemented by my fellow geeks. What I found however were eerily similar cases of the charging port on the iPhone 4S going after two years. Not three years later or a year and a bit: exactly. two. years. In some cases, it went down to the day. In my case, it was two years, three weeks and a day. But one thing became very clear upon reading the hundreds of comments and appeals for help online: Apple did not invest in the iPhone 4S to last longer than 2 years.
This enraged me. They were effectively strong-arming me into purchasing a new device, something they’ve been accused of in many different ways before. But this time, it seemed as if they wanted to be rewarded for subpar workmanship. And I couldn’t handle that. Not after I had convinced so many of my peers to switch to iOS devices. Not after I had been a loyal customer for over 5 years, spending thousands of dollars buying phones and tablets from the big A.
But what can you do in the face of a big, powerful corporate bully? Not much to affect the bottom line. But, I can use one of the guiding principles of digital media to my advantage: personal recommendations influence purchasing decisions far more than advertising.
So, I’ve gone to those who I converted, to my friends and family, hell, to anyone who will listen, and I’ve told them what happened. Because sooner or later, they’re going to need a new phone and I want them to remember my experience when they put Apple into their consideration set.
The devil’s advocate here could point out that many phone manufacturers, not just Apple, produce products with life cycles around the area of 2 years and that the issue is industry-wide. I disagree. Would you like to know who else disagrees? My iPhone 3GS which my father still uses to this day, and every other phone I’ve owned which now serve as back-ups, functioning a decade later, whenever they’re called upon.
So take from it what you will, retain your fandom and dismiss my personal experience, or commit it to memory for the next time you’re faced with a similar decision. The choice is yours, the rant is mine.
Speak softly and carry a big stick? Psh. Speak loudly and carry an Android.