Dear Mr. Jobs
I wish to congratulate you in your ability of rejuvenating the Apple brand over the past decade. The first computer my family ever purchased was an Apple IIc. My school computers were always Apple hardware. However, for most of my adult life I’ve been a PC and never owned a post iMac Apple product but always envied those around me. When I have to work in the Computer labs on EKU Campus, I choose Mac. Because of this long distance love affair, I received my first iPhone as a gift, and my view of Apple as a company and a brand has dramatically changed.
In 2007, I was given an iPhone (8 GB) for Christmas from my wife; she had been secretly saving for the purchase for several months. Much to her chagrin, it failed to work out of the box. She cried and apologized all day. The AT&T store said that it was a SIM Card reader issue. When the store manager called Apple Customer Service, they explained that I had to return the phone directly to Apple with a turnaround time of approximately 10 business days. The store manager did not understand why this was necessary when they had iPhones in stock. He chose to replace the original, even though it was not company policy (January 2008).
This iPhone was wonderful and I showed it off to all of my friends, family, and co-workers. However, it began to develop yellow and green streaks on the screen and air bubbles under the glass plate. When I took the iPhone to the Apple store in Knoxville, they apologized and happily replaced it (March 2008). Its replacement developed air bubble issues and I continued to use the phone until it was unresponsive (September 2008). I returned this phone to the Knoxville store as well and was given a replacement. Both of these phones were given to me without a box and it is my impression that they may have been refurbs or returned phones that had been restored to factory settings within the store.
My fourth iPhone began to have syncing issues, App refresh issues, and crashes with the OS 2.2 update. These problems continued with the 2.2.1 and 3.0 updates, it also developed air bubbles. After contacting Apple Customer Service, I was able to solve the problem, only to have them begin again after approximately 13+ usage hours. Frustrated by these failings, my wife and I called; then, emailed Apple Customer Service with a letter similar to this one. At that time, my wife received a call during the day, and she was made aware of the fact that none of the previous issues had been reported by the Knoxville store. In addition, the Apple records did not have my current phone shown as being used by an AT&T customer. Their response to the issues was a iPhone 3G replacement that would cost me an additional $99 because the old one was out of date. My wife agreed not knowing that I had this same option available through an AT&T upgrade. I returned my iPhone Edge to Apple; since, my wife had agreed to the trade and it did not change my upgrade schedule with AT&T. However, I was disappointed in the fact that up to this point, my wife had spent $600 on my iPhone and I had yet to receive a device that worked. I mentioned this to the Customer Service rep and she seemed genuinely concerned but did not offer any additional reimbursements.
When I received my current iPhone 3G last June, It worked well and I was extremely happy with the OS 3 updates. However, with each update since the original, I have had to reinstall USB drivers on all three of my computer. Starting in April 2010, after an update, my iPhone 3G no longer registers as a camera on any of my computers. I have reinstalled USB drivers and completed two restores. The first restore was required because of an attempted/failed sync that sent the phone into a cycle of unstoppable refreshes once the phone was unlocked. (I lost approx. 150 photos of my daughter as a result of this restore.) The iPhone continued to freeze and refresh unexpectedly; so, I completed another “successful” restore.
Currently, the iPhone will sync with iTunes but still does not show as a proper camera. I have reinstalled all Apple software; however, this has not solved the problem. In addition to the sync/download issues, streaming podcast via wifi has become a consistent problem. It will crash 7 out of 10 times while streaming on my home network. I choose this option because I try to save space for pics since I cannot currently download onto my computer. I must say that my frustrations with the iPhone have begun to ware my patience with the device and Apple as a brand. Whereas, I use to taut the abilities of my phone and the Customer Service, now I’ve become unimpressed and repeatedly lowering my expectations of performance. The convenience of being able to share digital pictures of my daughter with her grandparents has been wonderful. When it works, it is a great tool; I even convinced my in-laws to buy one. Yet the most disheartening thing was a comment my wife made after we watched the Keynote last week. She said, “What? I can’t believe they have a better phone already. Isn’t that a fourth upgrade or something? I feel like such an idiot for spending $500 on a phone that has never really worked. I should have waited.”
Now, I am wondering why I even want to keep my phone. As it stands I could walk into to AT&T get a free phone, reduce my monthly phone bill, and just run my iPhone 3G like an iPod Touch that sort of works. I understand hardware limitations often restrict software ability. Does this mean that Apple anticipates making their devices obsolete within two generations? If so, why were we not told this? I want to be a loyal Apple consumer. I even had visions of using my awesome iPhone as way to convince my wife that we should become a Mac family. Yet, my history with this device and the current view of consumer bounce-back on iPhones, begins to worry me. As of right now, I don’t know if I want to upgrade to a new iPhone 3GS let alone 4. It seems like I would just seem gullible when the next one no longer works.
Part of me says cut my losses, wait out my family plan contract with AT&T, and go somewhere else. Maybe, after the iPhone 6 or whatever comes out, enough of the kinks will be fixed, and it will be worth my money to purchase again. However, the rest of me, remembers writing DOS code on my family’s Apple IIc and watching the floppy disk boot. Those moments changed my life. I’ve been using and teaching with computers ever since.
I guess what I am trying to say is, what can you tell me that would give me hope to stay with Apple?