Thoughts on S60

reflections on the most popular mobile operating system worldwide

What I Like About Apple

with 3 comments

Apple

After my recent experience with trying to get a hold of the N95-3, I’ve been able to take some time and really appreciate some things from Nokia’s newest competitor. Regardless of whether you love or hate the iPhone there are just certain things Apple does better than the rest of its competition on all fronts and it’s ignorant to pretend they don’t.


My original order from Mobile City Online is still in some form of disarray and the final straw is probably going to be drawn tomorrow. I was told my replacement would be shipping out today, but by the time MCO closed, they still didn’t have a tracking number for me and I was told to call tomorrow to get it. If it doesn’t ship out tomorrow, there will be no way for me to get the phone before my trip to Chicago on Thursday and I’ll have to wait until I get back to deal with it. I had originally placed my order on the 26th of September with overnight shipping.

I happened to visit an Apple store today while I was at the mall just to catch a bit of the vibe that was floating through the air. The store was filled with at least 20 or more people while the rest of the stores around it and throughout the rest of the mall, for that matter, were almost empty. After talking to some of the associates working there, I started thinking about some of the things Apple does really well, especially when compared to their competitors.

Apple is Available

If for some random reason on any given day I decided I wanted to purchase an iPhone, it would be obnoxiously easy to obtain one. I can think of at least 3 places I could drive to buy one within the hour and a plethora of reliable places where I could order it confidently and have it the next day without even considering a possible complication. There’s two Apple stores that I’m aware of within a half hour of my apartment as well as an AT&T store right down the street.

On the other hand, should I decide to buy any of Nokia’s unlocked devices (particularly a new one), I’ve already made my decision knowing it would HAVE to be shipped to me. The only relative equivalent of an Apple store for Nokia in my area would be the Nokia experience center where even there, I’d have to order a device, but at least I’d get the opportunity to see it before I spend my money. Within the entire country, there are only two, authentic Nokia retail locations that sell their stock directly out of their store and they do allow items to be ordered and shipped out of those locations.

Of course, just like Apple, Nokia has its own website where phones can be ordered and shipped to make up for the retail locations not doing so. That makes sense to me. I wouldn’t expect an Apple retail store to ship me an iBook if I called and faxed them my credit card information (though they probably do and I just don’t know about it). The problem with this is Nokia has stock of items in their flagship stores that is NOT available on their website. Whenever a new device comes out, the Nokia flagship store is always the first to carry them and eventually the stock will trickle down onto its website, but it usually takes anywhere from 2 weeks to over several months for some models.

If that wasn’t enough, stock is usually released to other wireless dealers before Nokia for many of their models, and at much lower prices as well. The E61i and E65 were available for quite a few months before either flagship store or Nokia’s US website had stock to sell, and when they finally were made available, the price was usually higher than what the other retailers had been selling them at all along.

Having worked at Circuit City since I moved to Georgia, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of a customer’s experience. Regardless of the product or how it’s sold, a customer is much more likely to buy a product and services if they know they can have their questions answered easily before and after they buy it. When I went to Apple today, I had an associate come up just to talk to me. I didn’t have any questions (though he could have answered them if I did) for him, but we just started a conversation and he treated me like a human being. He didn’t try to shove features down my throat or specifically sell me anything; we just started talking. The entire customer experience is not something that can be done by advertising a high-end device in a newspaper or launching ad campaigns about the open platform, and most people who aren’t obsessive like me aren’t going to take the time to learn about a device on their own.

I haven’t been thinking like a typical wireless consumer since my first unlocked phone. I knew the risks involved with ordering a phone from a 3rd party dealer every time I did it, and had no regrets or issues whatsoever until now. Based on my recent experience with Mobile City Online (and having been a Nokia fanboy for several years), I can’t possibly imagine how Nokia thinks they can ever outsell the beast that is the iPhone with so much support behind it. Devices aside, what normal consumer would want to go through half the aggravation I’ve gone through just to get a high-end phone?

After dealing with Mobile City Online for almost three weeks now, I honestly feel like I have to fight to get the phone I want. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t Nokia be fighting to get me to buy their phones? When it comes to phones, I’ve always done my research to know exactly what I want to buy before I buy it, which should make it all the more easier for me to get what I want when I want it. I’m not going to browse around in a phone store looking at every model before I make my decision, I’m not going to bother a rep with questions, and I’m not going to do something careless like drop my brand new phone and demand Nokia fix it. For people like me, shopping for an unlocked Nokia should be much easier than the average consumer who isn’t as interested in phones as I am. What about the rest of the world who wants to have the experience of shopping for a phone and the support to go with it? Where’s Nokia when it comes to that user experience?

Needless to say, I’m a bit disappointed in my current situation trying to order this damn phone. The only reason I’ve been so patient is because I want it so badly, whereas I think anybody who might be half as interested as I am might not have even bothered after all of this. I’m also fairly sure that a majority of those who bought the iPhone don’t even know what the N95-3 is, and even if they did, I wouldn’t blame them for choosing it just for the superior support that came with it.

I’m not going to blame Nokia for Mobile City’s errors, but I will certainly blame them for forcing their interested customers into ordering from such unreliable companies due to lack of availability.

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Written by Jonathan

October 16, 2007 at 5:47 am

Posted in Rants

3 Responses

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  1. I must say that you’ve nailed it on the head. When I went to buy the iphone (2 week flirtation), it was like they laid the red carpet out for me. “no sir, you don’t have to wait in line, those are for accessories only. That gentlemen is processing the iphone purchases” 60 seconds later I’m walking out of the Apple store satisfied. With Nokia, it seems like we have to go through these shady transactions with sketchy online retailers that we know nothing about…..they live in New Orleans but their business is based out of NYC and they import in from HK. We have it…now we don’t….would you like to cancel your order?!….well…we already sent it…sorry you were misinformed, it’s still not in stock…

    …please…give me my FKN money already. I love Nokia but until NA gets their act together we’re always going to be the lowest man on the totem poll.

    greenteeth

    October 21, 2007 at 2:26 am

  2. That’s not even the half of it. I didn’t even mention warranty issues from these various “retailers”. I don’t even know which retailers retain Nokia’s warranty and which ones don’t.

    Jonathan

    October 23, 2007 at 6:26 am

  3. Hi there, I wandered in on the link from hofo.

    I have to agree with you, although I got my iPhone at the AT&T Store at launch and although you really couldn’t get a lauch iPhone unless you stood in line, once the post-launch stock rolled in, you could pretty much get the iphone in any Apple store or AT&T corporate store.

    Sadly, I lost my iPhone in a cab a few months back, but it’s a partial comfort to know that if the urge for me to buy another one hits (perhaps if the price drops again and newer, cooler firmware updates are released) all it would take is a trip to the apple or at&t store.

    Perhaps I’m taking for granted I’m right in downtown Chicago, but a new unlocked Nokia is as easy as a 15 min trip max to the Flagship Nokia store on Michigan Avenue. There’s also a Flagship Motorola store on Michigan avenue as well.

    If you do visit Chicago, my personal favorite place to shop for unlocked phones is Chicago’s “Little India”. There are TONS of stores on Devon Ave by Western that has unimaginable stocks of unloced GSM phones. One place in particular, Overseas Electronics. Their website is a bit cumbersome, (welectronics.com)

    But seriously, they practically have had every released Unlocked GSM phone I ever looked for so if you are in Chicago, I recommend dropping by thier store. 🙂

    mobileobsession

    February 3, 2008 at 8:03 pm


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