The iTunes Store

13 12 2007

Please Fix the iTunes Store

Since its induction on April 28th, 2003, the iTunes Store has been the internet’s most popular digital content source (that is, legal source). Yearly selling over 3 billion songs, not to mention millions of television shows, music videos, and movies, the iTunes Store easily holds the lion’s share of the market and has set the standard for digital media stores today.
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Experiences from the 14th Street Apple Store Opening

8 12 2007

So the day has come and passed, and now it is time to reflect. We left New Jersey for the city at about 1:30 PM, arriving at the Apple Store a little before 3 PM. When we arrived, the line was fairly civil and it was lightly snowing.

Contrary to some queues where you sit at your place, by the order in which you arrived, we were stuffed between two barricades, about 2 feet wide, which allowed for interesting queueing. As the line would move, groups of people would ‘cut’ others, sometimes purposely or sometimes inadvertently. Especially as the time passed, the line became increasingly packed which added to the fun. Sidney and I were separated close to opening, because selfish people who decided to knock down one of the barriers cut into the line, thus splitting us apart. Of course, this only added to the already prevalent pushing, chaos and general madness. Security personnel were present with the NYPD, but they were not doing a good job of crowd/queue control.

While waiting, it was funny to hear the confused people talk and even fight over the ‘free stuff’ supposedly being given away at the ‘iPod Store’. “I want some of those free iPhones!” or “Move out of my way, I’m getting a free iPod!!” were commonly heard throughout the four or so hours we waited. Some people even were reporting that everything in the store was free. However, Sidney and I were generally quick to correct the misinformation. While it is always Apple’s distinct style not to disclose these kind of things (such as detailed information regarding Grand Opening events), I thought that the general public could have been better informed.

However, once we got inside the doors — about 1 hour after the 6 PM opening time — things all went uphill. All the Apple staff were very courteous and cool (as per usual) and the store was just awesome. Quite possibly my new favorite Apple Store, dethroning SoHo. The DJ and dancing taking place on the third floor was cool, so we chose to chill there for the few hours we stayed inside. In fact, we were even approached by a few staff who conversed with us about the site (as we were filming, taking pictures, Live blogging and editing in Final Cut) — shoutout to you guys who were curious enough to ask!!

So in total, a great day, but for some flaws regarding the line to get in. I hope someone from Apple can read this. 😉

iPhone Advice

11 11 2007

The iPhone. The most anticipated cellphone, or even, Apple product of all time. To be the Macintosh of cell phones. Now approaching 1 year ago, the rumors were finally put to rest as Steve Jobs officially announced the iPhone at Macworld 2007. It’s now November 2007, and Apple is still lost in the cell phone industry which is a strange, messy world. Arguably more confusing then even the computer industry, not to mention a couple years younger. If Apple plans to continue making iPhones and gain significant market share, they need to stop making ignorant mistakes mainly- forgetting about the users!  Now let me preface this with the fact that I’m no expert, nor do I consider myself one. I am simply offering advice for Apple. But before I bash Apple, lets put this into context. The cell phone industry has the tendency to only care about themselves- and this comes at the users expense. This is almost reminiscent of Apple coming into the computer industry. The iPhone has shaken up the cell phone industry- there is no doubt to that. But Apple’s management and decisions sometimes reflect that of a typical cell phone company such as Motorola or Verizon. Apple needs to start acting more like Apple and less like them.

For example, although the justification was correct, the no SDK, use Safari route was not happening. Apple has since realized this and in February the iPhone SDK will be available (which took some fighting). Another poor decision was the initial pricing, some people cringed over a $499 and $599 phone. It was among the major criticism against the iPhone, besides that the carrier (AT&T). And when iSuppli revealed that it only costed Apple $245.83 and $280.83, for the 4GB and 8GB respectively, people wondered why it was priced so expensively. I would still think of this as irrelevant had the price stayed the same. When Steve Jobs announced in September that the 8GB iPhone would be $399 and the 4GB would be scrapped, this came to joy of non-iPhone users, but for the faithful who had purchased one within the initial two months were in dismay. I’m not arguing that this price drop was necessary, it will definitly boost iPhone sales, I just think it should have come a few months earlier. Imagine in to June, if Apple had cut the price last minute!? It would have fed the already media frenzy surrounding the iPhone even more- and the claims of it being too expensive would have disappeared. Plus, they would have sold more iPhones!

But even with that aside, the iPhone has been highly successful. Thousands are sold every day, and now with the launch in European countries, the goal of 10 million by the end of 2008 seems achievable.  So what am I saying? To appeal to customer, Apple needs to remember not to make ignorant decisions. They need to focus on making the best products, and deliver that promise all the way through to the end user. That means being able to add calendar appointments on the phone (do I hear 1.1.2?) or being able to run Applications off the phone itself, varies by person. Be it AT&T’s pressure or internal mishaps, Apple needs to remember to be Apple.