“There is an App for that” – is the mantra nowadays, and I really hoped for one, to solve the major task of telling me where I can buy an iPad. Anywhere, in any physical store along my long drive from San Francisco to Pleasanton. In the real-time, always-on age it should not be a big deal. But it is.
Of the two potential sources Best Buy fares better: at least they have an online inventory locator, which tells you none of the stores have it
Apple stores (the best retail experience in any industry)? Fuhhgedaboudit. You can order online and wait two weeks for delivery, find retail stores, even make personal shopping appointments, but the online system can’t tell you availability in the individual stores. But the Apple site certainly looks better than Best Buys. Design without content.
So I am back to the Stone Age method: calling stores one by one. At least my smartphone helps with that: Google Maps pulls up the stores in the area, and I can touch to call them one by one. All Apple stores answer with this message:
Thank you for calling the Apple Store in ….. The magical and revolutionary iPad is now available…
Except it’s not. Available. You have to get to a live salesperson, store by store, to get that information. The welcome message is a cheery lie. Once again, Best Buy fares better: the welcome message apologizes that they did not receive new shipments, and all their stores are out of iPad inventory.
So that leaves me with one choice: ordering the iPad online. Which I did. And don’t get me started on how many things went wrong during the order process…
I know, I deserve it. After all on the long ride from Google I/O @ Moscone to Pleasanton I had two gorgeous smartphones next to me, on the passenger seat. Both Android.
Update: An interesting comment exchange on this post @ Enterprise Irregulars:
Just wanted to point out that Apple has the ability to do this (they have implemented this on their site before with the iPhone rollout) but have chosen not to. By not pointing out availability it will inevitably draw more people in the store to see all the Apple technologies available. I’m not saying it’s right, but with such a must sought after product, it is smarter.
and my response:
Yes, I have no doubt they have the ability – especially since I know a little about their back-office systems:-)
But is not showing it a smart choice? They sure don’t pull me in their stores, I don’t have hours / days to waste. And I’m not too pleased with the attitude that uninformed customers can be used for Apple’s convenience. Apple is for customers, not the other way around. With cool products they can afford to forget about this for a while, but not in the long run.
There, I said it. On the day Apple’s market cap exceeded that of Microsoft