Is Apple Becoming the New Walmart?
A few days ago, Chris Herd wrote an article, “What Apples Lack of Progress Teaches Us,” and it reminded me of how apathetic Apple had made me to its products. I no longer feel the need to purchase Apple’s latest and greatest new device. They have lost their splendor, but more importantly they have lost their propensity to gap the distance between the present and the future.
Once a symbol of future growth and knowledge, the bright blue shirts worn by Apple employees are now comparable to the bright blue shirts worn by Walmart employees.
These shirts once meant a genius, a product guru, was about to serve you. The genius could show you the ways of the future, teach you the advanced capabilities of your new device, and mainly, find a way to make technology usable for everyone.
Apple once felt like going to Universal Studios. Today, it feels mundane, a chore.
Part of the reason is these genius’s are no longer product experts. They simply lack product knowledge. They constantly have to seek out their manager for a solution. The user becomes inept because (s)he cannot be educated of the features when the educators do not know them. Finally, you have to go through about five people to get your product fixed. Their streamline process today is about as useful to consumers as Ford’s assembly line.
Like Walmart, Apple under the directive of Tim Cook brought on mentally-handicapped people to the genius team to make Apple more inclusive. But Apple has never been an inclusive brand. It’s allure lies in exclusivity that uses geniuses to bring the knowledge of the elders (computer engineers) to the proletariat.
So, why allocate resources to hire people who cannot push the mission forward, especially when other brands such as Walmart have dedicated positions for the mentally-handicapped? They are included in other realms, so why take away from the user-experience in the store to compete with Walmart?
The more Apple hires the mentally-challenged, the more they diminish Steve Jobs’ original mission: Simple UI and UX.
Now, the user must greet someone to then greet someone else to then have their problem solved. If that person can’t solve their problem, the “genius” must now go to a manager. Cook turned a two-step process into at least a three-step process, making Apple less user-friendly.
Moreover, it distances the user from the brand. As a consumer, I feel discourteous flashing my new phone into someone’s face who is unable to use it. Immediately, I turn to find someone else to solve my Apple problem. Now not only do I feel discourteous but I also feel impolite for ignoring this employee who cannot solve my problem. This is the first contact the user has with the brand, and it is negative in terms of how the brand makes the user feel.
Additionally, its not just the customers who are agitated by the inefficiencies: “I am being inundated by LinkedIn messages and emails both by people who I never imagined would leave Apple and by people who have been at Apple for a year, and who joined expecting something different than what they encountered,” said one recruiter who works closely with Apple.
Yet, sales are higher than ever. Cook prides himself on this fact and continues to mention the fact that Steve Jobs could have never come out as homosexual as he has done. Although Steve Jobs was a heterosexual.
Also, the age old adage of correlation does not prove causation can de dealt on the table as well. Apple has a name and a reputation for quality products, but more and more slip ups (such as the wireless headphones) will lead Apple down a rabbit hole.
Apple needs to restore its roots. It needs to get back to creativity, simple UX and UI, as well as redesigning the future, not upgrading the present.