Hardware As A Service

Hey Tim Cook, hardware as a service is not about the payment plans; it’s about the way a company views its customers. From our standpoint, Apple still views its customers as hardware customers. Everything else is peripheral and meant to drive hardware sales. Viewing a customer as a client to whom you provide a service is a significant paradigm shift.

It changes everything.

Apple, unfortunately, has not fully grasped that.

Fostering The Hate

Service is about caring for your customers day in and day out. It requires constant attention. It requires a deep commitment to your clients’ best interests.

Service is not letting your loyal customers wallow in the mud for months until you decide to pull them out, wash them and offer them a shiny new suit. (aka, a new underpowered Macbook.)

They’ll hate you for that.

Some already do.

The MacPro users know the neglect.
Mac laptop users are learning it, again, very well.
And the iMac users are getting the hint.

Apple doesn’t care that you’re in need of an upgrade. Deal with it.

How deep the subconscious bitterness runs is hard to measure. But you’re lucky, Tim, there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance (CogDiff) in Mac users. We don’t want to switch. For years we’ve been justifying the Apple tax of having an underpowered machine. The quality was better, we’d say. The operating system was better. And the overall performance was close enough. That much justification, right or wrong, reinforces our choice. We’re in.

But something changed when you went Intel, something for the better. For four or five years, until about 12 months ago, no justification was needed. Macs were competitive in terms of specs. We could even claim value due to the old staples of superior OS, build quality, and design. We could run bloody Windows if we wanted. And at a reasonable price!

It was the high times of the Mac. And Mac sales surged as a result.

Lately, what’s happened to the people who bought into the Apple ecosystem early during this Mac heyday?

They’re being ignored.

And woe be the Mac Pro user. They not only been ignored, but spit on as well.

Macs Are Not Screwdrivers

Tim, a quick lesson in construction — screws don’t really change on a yearly, or even a decadal basis. A screwdriver manufacturer can continue to meet the needs of its clients by making the same screwdriver for twenty years.

Technology changes a bit more rapidly.

When we buy an electronic device, we expect that as the demands on the products increase, and as available technology improves, our preferred providers will incorporate current technology into new products on a timely basis. That way, when our current devices become unstable or too slow for our needs, we will have the option to buy a replacement device that will last a few years.

There is not one Mac available now that we can confidently say will meet 95% of our laptop needs for the next three years. There certainly isn’t one that we would call a good value.

That’s where the service mentality comes into play.

Apple doesn’t have that. You don’t care. You’re looking ahead to your next product.

The Rationalizations

We understand and accept that you don’t control the chips in your Macs. However, newer chips have been out for well over a year. And your token ram updates were like a slap in the face.

If your counter is that you provide regular updates to your iDevices, we agree. You do. We believe that we can count on regular updates to those devices. However, we also know that you are pushing the iOS Agenda. You want control over the hardware, the operating system, and (unfortunately) the content.

Citing the Apple doctrine of saying no so that your focus can be on the few important projects will only reinforce our argument. You say no to products. You say no to initiatives. And recently you’ve been saying no to your customers.

A Good Step Forward

The iPhone payment plan does exhibit the service mentality. Regular payments, at no interest, for a phone plus the right to upgrade every 12 months is a good deal.

The result of that plan is that, regardless of the fine print, Apple has now committed to a 12 month maximum upgrade cycle. Any longer than 12 months and the value of the plan begins to diminish. The agreement becomes false. You’re on the hook to provide the service.

The critical distinction between the iPhone payment plan and true service mentality is that service mentality does not require regular payments. Would you expect us to walk into an Apple store, hand the guy 50 cents and say, I’d like a service plan please. And then every five minutes get a deduction to our credit cards. No.

The service mentality requires instead a dedicated commitment of service from the service provider. By dedicated, we mean focus, understanding and the delivery of necessary capabilities. It’s hard.

Conclusion

Apple is great at building products your customers love. You’re great at finding capabilities that we may not have thought about but that are now integral parts of our lives. The genius bar is still ingenious and Apple support is still very high quality. And we fully believe that Apple cares deeply how its products are used.

Now is time for Apple to become not just a company who makes great products, but a company that we can count on, consistently, to help us be more successful at our endeavors. It is time to shift the paradigm, Tim, to service. It’s time for Apple to become a service company in the true sense of the word.

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