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Friday, January 4, 2013

Why Steve Jobs is Rolling Over in His Grave.

iPhone 5 w/ Lightning Port

I have always felt that those of us born in the 80’s had a special kinship with Apple Macintosh products.

After all, many of us were introduced to computers via “Word Munchers” on hand-me-down Mac computers during our early developmental years. Who doesn’t recall those big-backed-dusty-grey computers with the rainbow apple icon on the bottom right lining the elementary school library or in the back of Mrs. Thompson’s third grade class.

Consider the infamous 1984 ad. This Super Bowl ad catapulted Apple into popular culture and is based on breaking free from the wolf-pack. The ad is derived from George Orwell’s book 1984, in which society is controlled by Big Brother and is being incessantly monitored.

The people are brainwashed and fueled with hatred for the past and societies other than their own. The young woman in red shorts is suggesting Apple Macintosh will give people freedom in computing like never before.


Though we were but mere tots when this ad debuted, we somehow understood its implicit meaning. Throughout the years, Apple has always transcended status quo -- a sort of embodiment of the resistant, independent and at times entitled millennial babies.

We readily accepted the anti-establishment sentiment personified by the Apple brand. As with any sound product that stands the test of time, Apple has moved farther and farther away from red-headed-step-child status into the popularized hipster-chic realm.
Still, I found no issue with them. Their products were well designed and sleek -- ever-evolving and resilient even and though at times I grew weary of the race for the newest iProduct, I was always impressed with the thoughtfulness of what they had developed, the speed at which it was developed and how Steve Jobs always found a way to build a buzz around its unveiling.

I was concerned at how the company would progress once Jobs, its founder, creative mastermind and patriarch, had passed. New CEO Tim Cook did not seem as though he could inspire and incite as Jobs did, but who am I, but a mere observer.

And then there was the iPhone 5. Yet again, sleeker, larger display screen, lighter, shatter resistant, better camera. Win-win, right? Wrong. Even though, as of last year, Apple was supporting a universal, micro-USB charging standard the new iPhone 5 includes a resized, redesigned, and still proprietary new dock connector cleverly named “Lightning.”


According to the Twitterrati, members of the Blogosphere, my informal independent study and this article by Molly Wood, Apple's decision to use a smaller dock connector instead of Micro-USB is consumer-unfriendly, bad for the environment, and offers few, if any, obvious tech benefits.

Cell Phone Waste

This is the first time in our 20+ year courtship that I have been disillusioned with Apple. It is clear to me that the decision to “upgrade” the dock connector was primarily based on driving the company’s licensing and propriety connection technology business.

The public is still climbing out of a catastrophic economic decline, yet we have supported the Apple brand by buying (and/or lusting after) multiple iProducts. As a reward for our loyalty we must now buy adapters and additional premium cables for our iHomes, car chargers, basically all new accessories.

Who among us still uses our 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation iProducts? Precisely.

I feel strangely taken advantage of. Somehow Apple’s dock connector decision feels off brand and corporate -- the greatest fear of any modern day tech company.

Even if Jobs had left this move in his post mortem plans for the company, I am a firm believer that he would have either postponed its introduction or found some way to spoonful-of-sugar it.

I will be keeping a watchful eye on Apple moving forward. Unaddressed, consumer snafus like this mark the beginning of a market decline. In the future let’s hope Apple will do a better job of gauging nuanced consumer sentiment and the ecologically impact of covert profit-driven business decisions.

Kelliann McDonald is an author, a marketing and public relations strategist and a community advocate. A recognized #BrandMotivator™, McDonald works to generate results that attain and surpass brand and organizational objectives. For more from McDonald, Follow her on Twitter @KelliannMc, Like her on or Follow her on Instagram @kMcDiva for #CasualKel photos.
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