Why Tim Cook and Apple Need to Apologize to My Mom
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Forget about Apple Maps. We're done with apologies that Tim Cook and Apple (AAPL) have now made for the major slip committed by a company synonymous with perfection. Tim Cook and Apple can now move on to offering my mom a major mea culpa.
Among the more remarkable milestones in the cultural phenomenon that now has entire families seated at the dinner table staring down at individual Retina displays rather than individual portions of steak and peas was the day a message arrived from my mother this year bearing this signature: "Sent from my iPhone." New York Jews like me always worry about mothers intruding in their lives from the cradle to the grave, but meddling in the world of a younger person's technology?
Mind you, my mother has had the same Toshiba laptop for near a decade, still uses her AOL account (LOL) as her primary email address, and still wakes up each morning to listen to terrestrial radio on a faux-wood grain-finished countertop receiver bought at Radio Shack (RSH) when the word "Tandy" still had relevance in the world of technology.
The baby boomers, living longer than any previous generation and with more disposable cash to burn -- thanks to the good ol' days of housing market bubble sales and 100 years of union middle-class-making, including the comfort of defined-benefit pension plans (such a thing ever existed in this "every man for himself' nation?) -- will not be denied the right to keep up with the technological Joneses (in my mother's case, defined as the "kids" in her office and the teens on the subway).
I don't see the existence of the baby boom demographic-technological complex just in iPhone sales to my parents and their friends, but in the sudden appearance of my parents' social inner circle in people I "may know" on Facebook (FB) . There's something eerie about the Facebook profile photo of a person you may know , but who you do know is still making Jiffy Pop on the stove for their grandkids and driving an Accord for its reliability. They seem to stare out at me with a slightly anxious smile, as if they're surrounded by a glass box, and as they press against its sides are saying, "How did I get here?" and "I'm not so sure I like it ... help, me?"
Which brings to me the furor over Apple Maps and Tim Cook's apology for not getting the app perfect in the iPhone 5 launch as Apple replaced Google's much more well-traveled Maps application (Full disclosure: I have yet to download iOS 6 on my iPhone 4S because I use Maps more than I would use any of the new features in iOS 6, and frankly, I don't see the point of screwing with my trusty Maps just for the "cool" factor of camera tricks and Passbook and the faster speed of the new OS -- iOS 5 is plenty fast for me, thank you very much.) I will wait for Apple to get it right, and judging from the "improvement" in Siri that occurs as a result of community use and input, I will be waiting a while.