Apple is a brand which trades on the ‘cool’ factor: ‘look at us, aren’t we great?’ They have been successful in making people think their products are so good they are essential, manufacturing ever more beautiful and lighter machines fit for easy travel but not it seems for those of us whom opt for a location independent existence.
Sadly this is all Apple is, an attractive machine that has so far been more trouble that it’s worth (in more ways than one; photos, a trashcan that won’t empty, the list goes on). Perhaps they only want us to travel a few miles and then go home. They seem slow on the concept that for some the world is home.
Moving on to music and I don’t know if anyone else has had this problem but surely I can’t be the only one to move country and have their iTunes account based in another. This was until recently the case with me as iTunes UK offers better choice than China. So I attempted to update my billing and then the fun and games really began.
First I tried entering my new card details but wait.. I can’t change the country as that field is locked – as in unchangeable. It transpires that I can only change my region if I spend my remaining balance which is less than anything they have in the store so what’s the solution?
My contact with Apple chat was pleasant though in the end all that happened was a series of catch 22’s. I was amazed that a company born for the digital age is at heart so weighed down by regions and international law it is unable to offer a simple and satisfactory solution to those of us that happen to live in territories other than our own. And what if I move country again? Will these problems reoccur?
The person (clearly either new in the role or very young) offered me song credits which I mistook for customer service – forgetting that no longer exists outside Singapore – but the offer was soon withdrawn when they realised my account balance was so low (part of the reason I was attempting to update). The other reason was to purchase tunes which leads me to my next point: Does Apple want our business or not?
Eventually I was offered a lame offer to erase my existing balance in order to be able to change my region which I didn’t really want for the point I raise above; the UK store has better content. After an eternity trying to get this person to understand and help me during which time they (he or she) suggested it was a bank issue not an Apple one, I threw in the towel.
Next up I had to agree to having read the terms and conditions of iTunes in Chinese! At the time of writing it won’t recognise my phone number so I still can’t update. After numerous trials and many errors I got bored. Memo to Apple, yes you’re cool but can you make accounts easier for digital nomads? As in automatically updatable on ALL platforms, not just apple-id only to then be stuck in limbo land on iTunes. How many platforms do we need to update on exactly!? It turns out just one, but as yet it won’t update automatically.
Meanwhile the Apple Emperor has plenty of nice new clothes but is ultimately naked with nowhere to go. The saga continues.
*since writing this piece the Apple v FBI phone hack case has come to light and while I find it staggering the FBI can’t get into a phone considering what Edward Snowden is saying about the things authorities can now achieve, Apple refuses to assist which cements my thoughts on them as Gods above the law.