ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) released their findings for smartphone companies and their customer satisfaction ratings for 2014, and the results were a little surprising to some. For the first time, Samsung is beating Apple in this metric – 81 (Samsung, a 6.6 improvement) to 79 (Apple, a -2.2 decline).
The odd thing about this metric is that Apple increased their sales of smartphones in 2014, while Samsung decreased. Still, one only has to look back at some of the blunders Apple endured in 2014 to realize where the decreased rating comes from.
iOS 8 Rollout: Many users (myself included) with 16GB devices were unable to install the update via the ‘over the air’ (OTA) process due to the sheer size of the iOS 8 upgrade. Many users got through the entire download portion of the upgrade process, only to be informed at the last stage that their device could not be upgraded. Worse yet, the remedy for this problem (to perform the upgrade via iTunes) was not conveyed in the error message, so many people thought that they had no way to upgrade their device to iOS 8.
iPhone 6/6 Plus Supply Issues: Having supply outstrip demand is usually a good problem to have, but in Apple’s case with the iPhone 6/6 Plus, the shortages may have cost them some customer satisfaction points. There are well documented cases of people who ordered a 6 Plus on the day that preorders were first possible, but didn’t receive their devices for months later. Months. The supply was so constrained for these devices that you could routinely see people lined up at Apple Stores before they opened, trying to get whatever stock they had on hand, well in to December. As the year comes to a close, Apple has brought the wait time for a 6 Plus down to a day, but it’s been a hard struggle.
iOS 8.01 Update: Then there’s the infamous iOS 8.01 update. This update caused cellular issues in a large enough number of user’s devices that Apple pulled the update shortly after it’s release. Want to generate bad customer satisfaction? Release an update for a device that someone may have just purchased that essentially breaks one of it’s main features.
Apple had other, non iPhone related debacles in 2014 as well: the WWDC iPhone Keynote fracas, 2014 Mac Pro video rendering problems, a Mac mini update/non upgrade, an increase in repair costs for non Applecare covered iPhones, and more.
Apple had a lot to be proud of in 2014, but if Customer Satisfaction is still a metric they care about, they need to do better in 2015.
T-Mobile is continuing it’s aggressive push against the competition. It’s latest weapon is called ‘Data Stash’. It’s essentially the ability to roll over your unused data from one month to the next. Many of you will remember that AT&T (and Cingular beforehand) did something similar with your allowed voice minutes.
Enough is enough. That’s why we created Data Stash. Other carriers take away your unused data – the data you paid extra for – at the end of the month. T-Mobile is the only national carrier that lets you roll your paid unused 4G LTE data into the next month – all at no extra charge. From now on, you keep the extra 4G LTE data you paid for.
Here’s how it works:
Starting with your January bill cycle, Data Stash will be available to all T-Mobile postpaid Simple Choice customers
Sign up for a postpaid Simple Choice Plan with 4G LTE data for your phone (minimum 3GB 4G LTE data) or tablet (minimum 1GB 4G LTE data).
Use your data all month to stream, surf, and download worry-free.
At the end of the month, all your unused 4G LTE data – rounded up to the nearest megabyte – rolls into your stash to be used any time in the next 12 months.
This is a brilliant tactic. T-Mobile is really shaking things up in the mobile space. Their network is improving in many key markets, and a planned replacement of all their 2G towers in 2015 with 4G LTE will only strengthen their position.
The fact that Apple is gaining share in the wake of the iPhone 6/6 Plus release isn’t news. What caught my attention in this article is who is in second place – Nokia.
For the most recent quarter, Apple was within one percentage point of matching Nokia in a market seeing strong overall growth.
Nokia is still in second place? As an American, this is shocking because over here Nokia has been eviscerated. Their Windows Phones are losing share, and nobody in the US is buying feature phones. I had no idea they were still pushing large numbers of feature phones in other parts of the world.
Microsoft has really screwed the pooch with their Nokia acquisition. It will interesting to see how long Nadella will play the Windows Phone hand. I can’t imagine being a low single digit share mobile player is something Microsoft will continue to take losses on indefinitely.
Apple SVP Eddy Cue famously said earlier this year that 2014 was going to be a banner year for Apple products.
With the year coming to a close, now is a good time to reflect back on the hardware that Apple released over the last 12 months and examine where Apple went right and where they went wrong.
Category: Apple,Apple Retail,Hardware,iPad,iPhone,iPod,Opinion
With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, its as good a time as any to talk about the devious tactics the American wireless carriers use to get you to overpay for your new phone. (more…)
So much for doubling down on secrecy.
Time will tell whether this mock up and case are the real deal, but if they are, you have to wonder… With using 3rd party labor and manufacturing, is it even possible for Apple to keep something under wraps anymore? Is the secrecy that preceded projects like the iPhone and iPad a thing of the past?
Great article from the NY Times:
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
The article skirts some of the main reasons why types of jobs aren’t coming back” Specifically, no mention is made of the high taxes companies pay in the US (which results in these jobs being filled overseas by ‘contractors’, whom Apple is not liable for).
Jobs is probably right that these jobs are never coming back to the U.S. though. And that scares the hell out of me. One day soon, the Asian companies that produce the hardware will figure out how to produce software that is good enough, and once that happens, the American companies who have used these Asian manufacturing companies will find themselves cut out of the chain, and competing with their manufacturers, who will be able to seriously undercut them.
Category: iPhone,News,Steve Jobs
So everyone is up in arms over the revelation that the iPhone (and 3G iPad) collects and stores information on every place it has been. More accurately, it stores information and location on every cellphone tower it has connected to. The longitude/latitude data that is being stored is obtained by cellphone triangulation, which iOS uses to determine location when no GPS hardware or signal are available.
The iPhone stores this information without your consent on both your iPhone and on your computer, if you are syncing your iOS 3G capable device to your computer and letting it create a backup of your devices data.
Pete Warden and Alasdaid Allan have crafted an app that scans this information, and places the coordinates on a map, along with a date scrubber to see where your device has been.
Looking over my data, it showed what I already knew – that apart from trips over the last year to Minnesota (business), Florida (family) and North Carolina, I lead a pretty boring life.
However, there is one anomaly that was odd.
I bought my iPhone 4 new last year on the day it launched, June 24th. However, the location data on my iPhone shows that it traveled down US95, right outside Las Vegas on June 23rd. I’m assuming this where the iPhone entered the country on it’s trip from China, and then was routed to a plane that took it to the Apple Store in Buford, GA.
The odd thing is the phone wasn’t activated until the next day. I had assumed that for the phone to log the location data, it needed an activated SIM card. Apparently, that isn’t the case.
So apparently your 3G iOS device will log it’s connection to each and every cell tower it connects with, even if it hasn’t been activated yet.
Either that, or my iPhone spent the night before it’s launch having a grand old time in sunny Las Vegas.
Spot on assessment from Ted Landau:
The very first slogan used to advertise the original iPod, back in 2001, was “1,000 songs in your pocket.” A coming slogan for the iPhone could well be “the only thing in your pocket.”
I’ve been thinking recently about all the stuff I used to carry around that the iPhone has made obsolete for me. Watch. GPS. iPod. Portable gaming device. Consumer grade digital camera. Phone. Put simply, the iPhone is the ultimate swiss army knife.
Category: iPhone,Link Roundup,Opinion
It’s been over a week since Apple held their “Antennagate” press conference, and while it is still early, I would say reaction to Apple’s free bumper remedy seems to be positive.
Apple is really going on the offensive, trying to communicate their point that all smartphones suffer some degree of radio interference when the phone is held in a person’s hand. Apple launched a new top level directory on their website “antenna” with examples of some of the more popular smartphone models exhibiting the same behavior as the iPhone 4. And it’s keeping this page up to date, adding videos of the Droid X and Nokia N97 in the last week to the previous examples.
Two weeks ago, Apple had a serious problem on it’s hands. I’d argue that it was more of a public relations problem than a product problem. They were getting beaten up in the press, and their flagship product, the iPhone 4 was in serious risk of becoming a punch line.
What was striking about the Press Conference was Steve Job’s tone. He clearly didn’t believe the level of noise surrounding the iPhone 4 antenna was worthy of the heaps of criticism it was receiving in the press (for the record, neither did I). He also clearly didn’t agree with free bumper solution. His tone during this part of the press conference can be described as nothing less than disgust. Hell, even the opening/closing music (Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader”)to the press conference indicates this.
I’m sure the lawyers at Apple saw the free bumper as a relatively inexpensive way to make the problem go away until Apple can tweak their manufacturing process to provide some sort of permanent solution to the problem. Delays in the white iPhone 4 from next month to “some time later this year” seem to support this theory as well.
My guess is that Apple is currently reworking the outer band of the iPhone 4 to remove the black lines, so that it’s not quite as obvious where it’s achilles heel actually is.
One month in to ownership of my iPhone 4 and I feel the same about it today that I did on the day I purchased it. It’s the best mobile device I have ever owned. It’s a marked improvement over it’s predecessor in every category – speed, signal strength, size, build, and fit and finish. Consumer Reports may have a hard time recommending it, but I don’t. If you want the best mobile device currently on the market, the iPhone 4 is it.