Last Tuesday Apple announced their new line of MacBook Pro laptops. An announcement I have been eagerly awaiting for months: the time would be right to make the case for a migration both at work and at home.
I was ready to buy but needed to touch one of the new beauties. The specifications were about what I expected. Now to touch one; see one; take it through its paces.
Wednesday at lunchtime, with great nervous anticipation, I headed over to the nearest Apple dealer, the local University Bookstore. Hmmm, the Apple stock seems a bit sparse compared to what I usually see there. Not a full compliment of laptops. I check in with customer service: “We have them on order and expect them in 10 days or so.”
Disappointed to say the least.
I give them a couple more days and on Friday I stop by a real Apple Store. They appear to have a full compliment of laptops; even some new literature but their preprinted spec sheets still describe the old versions of the MacBook Pro. There is a 17″ Pro open so I move in and start checking it out: cursor response sucks, iPhoto is really slow bringing up pictures. Hell, I’d never buy this machine. A 15″ opens up. Ahh, this is better. Something must have been broken on the 17″ machine. Why, though, would they leave a machine in that state out where customers would touch it?
Yet, something seems not quite right. The monitors look the same as the old models, there just isn’t the sense of pizazz that I expected. There was one young clerk there. I asked him if they had the new MacBook Pro yet. “No, we should have them in about a week.”
As I walked out even more disappointed I mentioned to the guy who was eagerly telling his girlfriend how much he wanted the new 15″ model that, well, that’s not one of them. Another disappointed potential customer.
I suspect this story has been repeated 100s, no, thousands of times since last Tuesday.
How hard would it have been for the Apple marketing folks to have shipped, prior to announcing the new machines, a set of the laptops to each of their stores for folks to come in and see. A birght marketeer would have made sure that each of their retail stores had a sign up sheet to place orders for the new machines for delivery in x days. A bright marketeer would have made sure that each of their clerks was trained to extract that order from everyone who walked through the door.
I’m not so sure Apple have bright marketeers on staff anymore. As for their retail stores, they could learn a thing or two about customer service from Radio Shack. Or, for that matter, from the University Bookstore I mentioned above. Their retail clerks pop out to help you almost as you are walking through their front door.