Business · Life in Silicon Valley · Uncategorized

An Open Letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook


Dear Tim,

First of all, belated congratulations on your promotion. I know it came from terrible circumstances. You’re handling it with class. Kudos for that.

Just to be clear, I love your products. I’m writing this on a MacBook Pro. Of course I have the iPhone and the iPad. I’ve got a damn box of iPods in the garage someplace. I’m old so I owned the Apple II and the original Macintosh 128k. Small black and white screen and enough RAM to hold the operating system and, um, nothing. It cost $2200 in 1984. If I’m doing the math correctly, in current dollars that’s like the cost of your Prius with the leather seats, nav system and upgraded sound system. I even got my boss to buy a Newton. Go look it up. You sold three of them. So on a percentage basis, I was one of your top reps.

I used to drink orange cinnamon tea at the Good Earth in Cupertino with my resume in hand hoping to strike up a conversation over a bran muffin and a tofu scramble with someone from Apple who might hire me. Even though at that time, I’d only worked at three jobs, it was a six page resume. I worked at a Burger King for a year, an amusement park and then Macy’s. Six pages. I can spin a little BS, Tim. I had Apple written all over me.

Now that you understand that I bleed Apple um, pure white, help me out.

Your battery life is terrible. Not yours personally. I saw that interview on Rock Center with Brian Williams a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, you get up at five in the damn morning or some such nonsense and put in a 20 hour day. I’m speaking of the products.

Every new generation touts “improved battery life.” Tim, I’ve had every generation of everything. If there’s been improvement, it’s barely noticeable. Like, not noticeable enough to mention. To your average customer, “improved battery life” would mean that they could sit at Starbucks and write an additional…let’s say…six pages of dialogue for their screenplay that will never get optioned. And that’s at a minimum.

And Tim, don’t embarrass us both by showing me a sparse yet aesthetically pleasing graphic of a bar chart showing battery improvement. Improved battery life is like pornography, to paraphrase former Supreme Court Justice Stewart Potter, I’ll know it when I see it regardless of your chart.

And the iPhone battery? When I go to the Apple Store, they tell me that I must have a rogue app running. Or too many apps running. Or Bluetooth running. Wasn’t that the point, Tim? To run apps? To do stuff I wanted to do because I decided that said apps or Bluetooth enriched my life? When you tell me to not do stuff that it seems I should be able to do, the dream dies a little bit, Tim. Just a little bit. Barely noticeable. I could do a sparse yet aesthetically pleasing graphic of a bar chart on my disappointment if that would help drive the point home.

OK, that last thing was kind of catty. I’m sorry. I really am a fan.

Here’s an idea: With your NEXT next generation products, instead of being obsessed with making it one one-hundredth of an inch thinner, make the thing as fat as it needs to be to have a battery that works in the real world. Or solar! I had a solar powered calculator in about 1987.

So Tim, thanks for reading. I know that batteries aren’t sexy and you’re busy with your new dream of becoming the new Bang and Olufsen and going into the television business but if I have to borrow my kid’s Samsung Galaxy S3 to make a call one more time, the dream could be gone for good, sparse yet asthetically pleasing graphic or no.




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