I arrived with only minutes before the opening of the Apple Store Vancouver to see what I expected to see. Hordes of people (some already wearing Mac t-shirts) to enter into the opening of the new Apple Store. It is small in comparison to the new Boston Store but is similar in size to the Palo Alto Store I had seen years ago.
Over all I was impressed with the Apple Store and welcome it to Vancouver. It is sorely needed.
I have always been an Apple fanatic, but see, it’s not my fault. I was thrust into the computer age at the very young age of five, I think.
My father is a school teacher and he purchased an Apple two-plus for the house. The next couple years were a vast experience of syntax errors and catalog commands. I had to learn simple programming terms if I wanted to play any videogames.
As I grew, I found a different company and another cult following of something even better: The Amiga 500. It was my only brush with another computer system and not a bright one, although it’s word processor and printer got me through college. It has some great games and awesome graphics, but my overall use for the power of this computer of that time was far lacking.
As I sought a career in photography and journalism I realized that I needed to get back to Mac, and through college I was introduced to the iMac.
I graduated college and moved to Yellowknife. It was their I picked up my first Mac from a friend for $500. It was a great steal and allowed me to work from home and connect to the Internet, it was also nice to see Steve Jobs back on board.
And while I did occasionally use a windows machine, I still loved my Mac and how it was so simple to use. I was blown away when a friend of mine had upgraded to OSX but I knew my iMac couldn’t handle it. So I had to wait for the new OS.
Go East and find thy Jaguar
I left the North with my iMac and moved to the Prairies of Manitoba where my new job had me on a G4. Although it had the processing power it was still classic. This was all the power anyone could ever need, right?
I noticed more friends were ditching their spyware riddled window machines for the new, sleek and cool iMac and something called the iPod. While I decided to leave full-time employment and freelance my new laptop went on a safari and found a Jaguar (OSX v10.2).
I decided to move back to Vancouver and it seemed that everyone had an iPod. My laptop was showing its age and the 10-gig hard drive was barely enough to process files of today’s digital life.
As I reached the 30-something and ventured into a new career as a web designer, I found that the Mac is not perfect for everything and Mac still had a lot of work to convince the masses. But the tide was turning, the stable Intel chip was part of the process.
While my need grew from a 12-inch iBook to a 17-inch MacBook Pro, I also love the new chip and new power. I am left with a few questions for my fellow Mac cult members.
I have always loved my Apple for being the little quite guy in the corner who knew all the answers, just very few paid attention or cared. But now that people are flocking to the Mac and Apple is also the undisputed king of digital music, will they still be that friendly little (well not so little) company who make great products, have great customer service and a loyal cult following?
If we don’t remember History are we doomed to repeat it?
I remember a coffee shop that used to have great customer service and a loyal cult following. Unfortunately, it thought it could monopolize the market and lower quality and no one would care. Well I’d say you take a look at the Starbucks share price and tell me different.
Also, what is the difference between Howard Schultz telling me how I like my coffee to Steve Jobs telling me how I want to use my computer? Well essentially, there isn’t. And how are computers and coffee related? They are both related to the Customer Experience.
While Apple is riding the wave of great usability and Apple stores are opening up world wide to huge crowds and fan fair, can Apple really keep its loyal fan base while appealing to the mass-market consumer? Starbucks is having to close stores, retrain staff and look to save its reputation with the customers it still has left.
Author Leander Kahney speaks about how Steve Jobs can rarely, if ever, give interviews. He never tells people when products are released, and released hardware and software locks down in propriety software and then people are told to sign a multi-year contract with one company or another. Yet Apple still wins over thousands of customers, which says something about how this one company is still doing everything right.
But if Shultz walked up and told me what coffee to buy or how to buy it and, oh yeah, sign this multi-year contract if you want to drink our coffee, I’d tell him to shove it.
So I will line up with the other members of this cult as that little company from Cupertino opens its latest Apple Store in Downtown Vancouver (Pacific Centre Mall, 701 West Georgia Street, Saturday May 21, 10:00am). I am still its biggest fan and avid user. But I only worry that if all the hype of a store opening and all the pomp and circumstance of a MacWorld will ever succeed the value of what is really important: the quality of the product.