Brand Bleed-through

A confession first … I came late to the Apple brand and I fell hard. I love the design, and the products always work beyond my expectations! I have one iPod for running, one for biking, and a waterproof one for swimming! I didn’t feel the need to stand in line for the iPhone on Friday, but I had one in my hands early Saturday nonetheless. It is as beautiful a design as I have come to expect from Cupertino.

Then things when south. My experience with AT&T/Cingular has not enamored me to their brand. The simple iTunes activation was just that—until we got to the AT&T part. Disaster. My pre-approved credit authorization at the store wasn’t accepted online. I called the help line. Long wait only to be informed that I had to return to the store. (Seems the long wait had to do with them being overwhelmed with the volume of customers … don’t they read the business press? DUH.) People at the store told me to call AT&T support. I asked to speak with a supervisor at AT&T help desk. She had several calls in the cue for her. (Big surprise.) I hung up. The store tech called back with a workaround, but I would have to sign up with a Tennessee phone number (where I bought the phone) and I live in Michigan. No thanks. Eventually I just ignored all the pre-authorization work I had done at the store and started fresh with the activation. It worked. Final glitch: The AT&T/Cingular service map clearly showed I was in their service area. Well, my front room is, but the kitchen apparently isn’t (I have a small house!). Signal strength is terrible. Enough bitching.

Here is the issue to me. By entering an insane agreement with AT&T as the sole carrier for the iPhone, the Apple brand is intimately connected to them. I believe after the early adopters, sales will fall if AT&T doesn’t get their act together. I am greatly surprised at Apple, as I have found they are really careful not to release products before their time. I would have thought they would have made sure AT&T was ready. So now I will sum it up this way … great iPod, lousy phone service.

Mike Neiss posted this on July 5, 2007, in Branding.
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