Adventures with my iphone and at the Apple store

I bought an iphone last week, and had to swap it out today- for a weak battery. My impressions of the phone, and the customer service I received at the store

I took the plunge and bought a 4 GB Iphone last week after the price dropped.  (The 4GB phone has officially been discontinued, but is still available on the website - "while supplies last.”)

In my first week with the phone, I have been quite pleased overall with the phone and its various functions.  The ipod works great, the internet is a little slow, but pretty functional, even on a 2G network.  The stock quotes, email, calendar, google maps, etc are excellent.  As a phone, it is ok too. 

All in all, I was quite happy with the thing, but the battery wouldn’t last more than about 10 hours- barely making it until I get home at night.  The phone IT people assured me that this was very abnormal, and told me that if it continued that I should bring the phone in to return it.  I live a few blocks from the store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, so I headed there this Saturday.  The place was truly mobbed.  It looked like a going out of business sale- with huge lines at the registers, and to see and touch the various gadgets they were selling.  I was directed to one line- then another, and then told I needed a reservation (not mentioned by the phone tech support people) but that I could stand by at the “Genius bar” and that it would take less than thirty minutes.  The “geniuses” told me that the line was more than an hour long.   Eventually, I made an appointment and returned today.  My appointment time came and went and eventually, I had to demand to be taken care of in a more or less timely manner.  The genius I was paired with was then brilliant.  He first assured me than the battery life I was experiencing was normal, and that there had been no battery issues that he knew of with the phone(or any issues at all. )   Eventually, he agreed to swap out the phone, and moved the SIM card into another phone which didn’t get any cell reception at all.  At the same time, the person next to me was returning her second phone in two weeks for reception problems (which her “genius” told her couldn’t possibly be from the phone).

Another phone swap and an hour later I got a new seemingly fully functional phone. That, and a bunch of questions about apple.  On the one hand, this is a marketing phenomenon of incredible proportions. One gets the feeling they could sell just about anything- for whatever they want.  They also really do design beautiful and very elegant devices.  There customer base is motivated, and apparently undeterred, by the sign of an impending recession.  On the other hand, the Iphone seems much less reliable than the company has let on.  The fact that refurbished Iphones are already on sale through apple only 3 months after the product launch, suggest that I am not the only one, going through several phones before finding that works- at least as far as I know. 

Also, the store was so busy, that no one who worked there seemed to know anything.  Everyone I asked t gave me different instructions on what I needed to do to exchange the phone- not a good sign for a company which is so dependent on the love affair its customers have with it.  For now, I will keep the phone (happily), but leave the stock out of my portfolio.

Joshua Avram
Joshua Avram: MD, Wash U; BS, Yale. A noted cardiologist, the doctor applies his medical knowledge to his investing in large pharm and biotechs. The doctor has correctly predicted several very exciting biotech acquisitions over the past several years, including the acquisitions of Esperion (Pfizer), Amylin (Bristol Myers) and Imclone (Bristol Myers). The doctor is presently long Novo Nord

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  • DanS

    September 17, 2007

    Wow! I am very glad I waited to buy one. Apple better get its act together.

  • larry

    September 17, 2007

    This was my experience exactly. What a joke!

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