from Ben Warner.
I picked up a new iPhone 6 this week. It’s a substantial upgrade to the previous iPhones, mainly due to the build quality and the increase in the quality and size of the screen. In every conceivable way, the iPhone 6 (and it’s larger brother, the iPhone 6 Plus) are significant upgrades to the Apple line-up. Of course, these aren’t the first large smartphones to hit the market, and Apple is late to the game in this regard; Google and Samsung have more available features and technology by comparison, but for those happy to play in the Apple ecosystem, these new iPhones are a significant step forward in the overall iPhone and Apple ecosystem experience.
The ordering experience, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. I can probably blame my telco for this as my order had to go through them to re-contract. You would have thought after so many iPhone launches they would get it right, but unfortunately, they stumbled. Perhaps I was in the minority of their customers, not having spoken yet to many others on their experience. The irony was that I wasn’t in such a huge rush to get the iPhone 6. My original plan was to pick it up after my upcoming five week trip overseas, but due to some poor communication on their part, things went a bit awry. I’ve listed below how it occurred:
- My contract ends at the end of October. Initially I was told I would have to wait until then otherwise I would be up for some break-contract penalties. No problem, I would get the phone after I came back from my trip.
- I visited a store to ensure my phone was unlocked for the overseas trip and was told that because I was within 90 days of the end of the contract, I could order the new iPhone without incurring any fees. This went against what I was told earlier, but this is good news right? And with their whiz-bang pre-order system on their website, it would be dead simple. Right? Later in the day, I did the pre-order and I got a confirmation saying I would receive it within 2-5 business days of launch day, and that I would receive delivery confirmation on launch day. Again, no problem, as I had a week to receive it before going overseas.
- Launch day arrives, but I receive no notification. I contact the call centre who “confirm” that it will be delivered the following week and I would receive delivery confirmation over the weekend or Monday.
- Monday comes and goes, no notification. I contacted the call centre and get the same response, except that it should get delivered by Wednesday.
- On Tuesday, I receive a text message saying my “iPhone 6 Plus” order has been delayed by four weeks, as stated in my original order. The problem was that I ordered the “iPhone 6”, and was told delivery would be within 2-5 business days.
- I contacted the call centre and told them I didn’t order a “Plus”, just a regular 6. They check the order and discover that their auto-notification system screwed up, but more importantly, it has somehow changed my order to the iPhone 6 Plus. Furthermore, they can’t correct the error without cancelling the order and putting a new one in the system, which by that time would mean that I wouldn’t receive the phone for four weeks because they were out of stock. They told me to go in store and try my luck – you just got to love call centres don’t you? I told them to cancel the whole thing and that I wasn’t happy (to put it mildly) for being stuffed around like this, especially when I wasn’t in need for it right then and there.
- I happened to walk past a store on the Wednesday, they had stock, and a really lovely store assistant served me and profusely apologised for the mix-up. She subsequently had to fix up the “cancellation” I asked for the day before because the call centre hadn’t got that right either. If I hadn’t gone in to the store, they probably would have delivered the phone to me in four weeks time. The store assistant fixed everything for me, got the phone sorted, and apologised again, and requested that I remember her customer service when filling out the evaluation I would be sent shortly. After all this mucking around, I probably should have just gone in to the store within the first two days of the launch and it would have been fine.
A certain level of craziness accompanies the launch of any new iPhone model, which is why I tend to avoid trying to get a new iPhone straight away. A month or two later is usually a good time, and I would have stuck with that plan if I hadn’t been sold on the pre-ordering system. I thought, get it online, it gets delivered to my place, and there’s no queuing in the store (which I never would have done any way). I could go easy on them and say that “these things happen”, but still, it was an unnecessary hassle.
Having said all this, and from what I said at the outset, the iPhone 6 is a marvelous phone. Having used it for a few days now, it’s significantly better than my iPhone 5, but in ways that are subtler. I find the experience akin from going from the 4 to the 5; all the phones were highly capable, but each subsequent phone just did it all better, faster, and more seamlessly. And despite having the white phone the last time around, I appreciate going back to the black phone. It makes the screen experience that much better.
I’ll likely do a more detailed overview of my experience with the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 after coming back from overseas. With those sorts of things you need more time to play with the hardware and software to see what it can do. I’ve always been perfectly happy with the Apple ecosystem, being my first choice out of the available options, followed closely by Windows Phone/Nokia. From what I’ve seen so far, the iPhone 6 will be a great phone experience. The Plus is too large for me, and if “bend-gate” is anything to go by, I’m glad I didn’t get the Plus otherwise I may have been in danger of bending it in one of my pockets!
On a side note, my Nokia 520, which is equally a fantastic phone but aimed at the low end of the market, finally got updated to Windows Phone 8.1. I’d been waiting for this for a while, given it had some great new features. In many respects, I felt like I got a brand new second phone with that release, and that it feels fresh and up to date. The only issue is that the update cycle is strange for this phone. Unlike Apple which controls the whole experience, and thus allowing them to nominate specific dates where everyone can upgrade, a whole host of factors can stop phones like the Nokia 520 from getting the update as soon as its released. It would be so much better if this wasn’t the case, especially when you consider that today’s modern phones are more like computers than phones, and that users treat them as personal devices. At any rate, I’ve got some holiday time coming up to play with some new toys!