Bite Of The Apple
The Apple user is a very particular species in the universe of modern technology. We love computers and use them – I have been writing on Apple computers my entire life – but we are doomed to knowing nothing about them, as any true geek knows. Apple products are all about dependence, because nobody but Apple can fix them or really learn how they work. We are helpless when something goes wrong, we call Apple, they always answer, they always speak our language, they are always there to help. Apple is the Mother, we live in their comfortable eco-system, ever more dependent on 1 800 My Apple. I forget many numbers I need, but I never have forgotten that one. Apple's genial and hip techs – I love listening to their music, very current – they are always there to take our hands and walk us through our own dilemmas.
For a price, of course. I can't imagine how much money I have given Apple for equipment, Apple Care, warranties, Cloud Storage and extra memory cards and ships. I have an Apple Computer, an Ipad, an Ipod, an Iphone, and I haven't the slightest clue how any of them work. I talk to Apple Tech Support more than to many of my friends and most of my family. When my first I pad cracked after I dropped it on the road, I took it to an Apple store in Albany, they gave me another one for free, thanking me for my honesty – I said it was my fault – and for my long and proud record as an Apple customer. Steve and I grew up together, sort of.
Apple is the control room of my creative life, the manager of my photos, the dispenser of my podcasts, the source of my music, the editor of my videos, the repository of every word I ever write. Every now and then, I get restless, chafe at the warm grip of Apple – I miss Steve Jobs, he was my advocate, my protector, the architect of my creative work – and try and break out. Nobody should control your entire creative life, spread it around a bit. I have my periodic rebellions.
This time it was over the trouble I had trying to get my Ipad replaced – they sent the wrong one, took hours to figure out the problem, and then told me to drive two hours to an Apple Store in a couple of weeks (next available appointment) to sort it all out. So I pouted and stewed, returned the Ipad, went online and ordered Google's new Nexus 7 mini-table which costs about one-fourth what an Ipad does. It can do e-mail, browse the Web, help me manage my social media empire, all I need. I don't need 800,000 apps, technology can take you where you don't want to go. I'll show Apple, they will be sorry.
The Nexus 7 was the first non-Apple computing device I have purchased in my life, I have it in the back of my head that it can replaced my doomed Ipad with this little machine, it does everything I need it to do, or so the reviews say. I didn't tell Google that they had a chance to win over a life-long Apple customer, because I know they don't really care, they just say they do.
I promised to keep you informed about how it went, and it has not gone well. The tablet arrived this afternoon in a plain box, not the stylish sleek white packages from Apple. I took it out, plugged it in. It flashed a few times, opened a Wi-Fi window and then got stuck there. It wouldn't move, offer any prompts. There was, of course, no handbook or instruction packet, you are supposed to wade into an online forum to understand what you paid for. I poked around online – why are the online questions never, ever, the ones you have? – until I found a phone number and to Google's credit, somebody did get on the phone.
Unfortunately, he had no idea what I was talking about or how to help me. After three or four holds while he conferred with something or somebody, he told me to push some buttons and when nothing happened, he put me on hold again and said he was out of suggestions.
I would receive a new tablet, he said, Google would contact me by e-mail within seven hours – this would be the warranty department. There were procedures, to follow, he said, but he had no idea what they were, and once I followed them, a new table would be sent to me, mine was obviously defective, and I had 21 days to return the old one. I would get a mailing label in my inbox when the warranty department declared my machine returnable. After I got off the phone with my bewildered tech supporter, I was asked to take a phone survey which explained that Google really cared about my experience. Sure, not yet. I haven't heard from the warranty department either, just a few minutes to go. I gave them an earful on the recorded message. I will not hear back.
Yesterday, Apple Tech Support saved me from a potentially disastrous memory issue with my photographs. They were strikingly efficient, responsive and determined, we spent two hours together, it was above and beyond. So I'm not impressed with Google. I guess Google doesn't test it's machines before they ship them out, this one was a mess. I guess they think nobody – even first time Android users – need actual instructions. I guess their tech support is easily stymied and quick to quit.
I haven't given up. I want to see it through. The afternoon had me thinking I ought to start researching Ipads again, but I will keep an open mind. Life happens, anybody can make a mistake, this one probably made in the south of China. As of now, I still have no idea what the Nexus is like, how it functions, or whether I can really use it. I keep thinking if something is made for teenagers, it is likely to be good enough for me. But Google is not Apple, not yet. More later.