Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Sales Fails: The 2 minute ride

     Sales Fails will take a look back at some of the stupid ill-fated techniques Apple adopted in order to get customers out the door with a product, and today is the turn of the 2 minute ride.

    You see, before the iPhone, the store was actually a good place to shop. There was no over-crowding, no dumb fucking Specialists and absolutely no box-pushing. So much so some customers would be really surprised when you'd talk them down from a MacBook Pro to an entry level MacBook, and you could pretty much spend as long as you needed without rushing or being forced to sell them a product they didn't need and would never use.

    Maybe the 2 minute was the beginning of the end. We were told that you could now demo all the features of a Mac in 2 minutes, then move on. You had to open PhotoBooth, take a picture and drag it into Mail and Word. It never worked because, in our store at the time, there were no other customers to move along too. Specialists were confused after being told 'spend as long as the customer needs' to 'just give them 2 minutes'. Now you'll probably be lucky to get even a minute with someone that doesn't have a trendy haircut and knows what an eMac is.

October is the iOS security flaw month at the iPhone Fever!

     No, you're not reading an old story. There really is yet another serious iOS security flaw which allows someone to access information on your supposedly password-protected iPhone.
    As the Brazilian fellow in the video above shows, all that you need to do is grab a password-protected iPhone running iOS 4.1, pretend to make an emergency call but dial ### or some other nonsensical number instead, tap the lock button real quick, and tada! You'll have access to the device's contacts, voicemail, call history, voice control and phone features.
    I replicated this trick successfully on  iOS 4.1. When trying this on an iPhone iOS 4.2 Beta 3 I couldn't replicate the security hole. This could mean that Apple is already aware of the flaw and has the fix ready although  this is very similar to the security flaw discovered on the iPhone in 2008 allowed people to easily bypass the lock screen to access mail, contacts and bookmarks. Apple later acknowledged the bug and issued a software update patching the issue.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The new AppleTV

    Apple again arrive behind the curve with this crock of shit. I'm sick of uneducated people buying any shit with an Apple logo on it, and AppleTV is the best example of a piece of shit that we sell.

Here's a poster I made for overcoming possible customer objections, I might see if they'll let me put it up in the staff area:

Apple personal information free give-away. Snoop it while it's hot!

    Hidden in music files gotten from iTunes is  all the information needed to identify you. You won’t find it disclosed in their published terms of use. It’s nowhere in the support documentation. There’s no mention in the digital receipt. Consumers are largely oblivious to this, but it could have future ramifications as the music industry takes another stab at locking down music files.
    Here’s how it works: Apple knows your private data; before making the song available for download their software embeds into the file either an account name or a transaction number or both. Once downloaded, the file has squirreled away this personal information in a manner where you can’t easily see it, but if someone knows where to look they can. This information doesn’t affect the audio fidelity, but it does permanently attach to the file data which can be used to trace back to the original purchaser which could be used at a later date.
    As usual Apple refused comment on the matter, but there’s ample proof of what’s transpiring. Using simple file comparison tools it’s possible to verify this behavior by purchasing identical songs using different accounts and see if they match. This unfortunately applies to both purchased and free music you might have gotten from the iStore - even if it's DRM free!

Sales Fails: Personal Shopping

I suppose the idea was good, you could book in to have some time with a Specialist rather than just come in walk around trying to find somebody, but ultimately it was pointless. Managers would never check to see if anybody was actually booked in, so it would be a scramble to find somebody anyway. And when you book in, you probably expect it to be planned and have someone who knows what they're talking about- maybe in the beginning, but that soon faded when they started hiring fucktards.

The original Personal Shopping cards (either pictured here to a darker blue, I can't remember and don't really care) had a specific code on the back that you had to type in!! Imagine that, so you've been in, realized it was rammed, got one of these cards, gone home to book in, to come back. Pointless. They then realized that the code was a shit idea and have made it so any fucker can book in. They bullshitted about how successful it was, and that a huge percentage of people that have a PS will end up buying (as opposed to someone who comes in and says 'Can I buy a MacBook?'), so you have to book them in. My managers were so interested in bonuses and figures that they made us book fake PS appointments for walk-ins that bought computers so that the PS buying percentage was very high.


iOS4 - Jailbreaking fiasco

     Now that all the jailbreaking tools use the same exploit
it looks like finding the right one that won't break your device is no longer an issue - they all break your device!
     The reasons why most hackers only use know security holes  are either trying to be one step ahead of Apple, so the hole doesn't get patched on the next iOS release or simply keep the secret that gets them your credit card number. 

     So with the new jailbreak out everybody should be happy right? With all the unlocked features like working bluetooth transfers, mass storage mode, Symbian/MeeGo visual style (real) multitasking, even a half backed Flash version taken from Android and hundreds of other tricks they should be!
     But unfortunately for most of the users the cellular data connection. and FaceTime are broken. There have been reports that jailbreaking your iOS 4.1 device with one of the latest jailbreaks (Greenpois0n, Limera1n, or PwnageTool) can result in breaking FaceTime and getting no cellular data connection. Not exactly what you expected when you wanted those common sense features any other manufacturer offers, now is it?
Thankfully, there is already a fix that well, seems to work for most users. Apparently the issue has to do with some low-level SMS communication and a reset of the phone's carrier bundle, things that can only be fixed by downloading yet another app from Cydia and tinkering into the phone's settings.

Racist sales

      From more than one source it seems that Apple holds iPhones for sale out the back for white people, or as they call them 'promoters'. So if you look like you might be sending the iPhone abroad, to regions where the wealthy people there can't walk into a store and buy an iPhone 4, you may struggle to pick one up from an Apple Store. That seems pretty racist to me.
     Not that it's a fact obviously and I'm not saying it's true, it's just that it has been said more than once. Hmmm.

iOS 4 - as insecure as ever

Nicolas Seriot, Security Analyst,  created a proof-of-concept
"SpyPhone" app to show how easy it is to snoop on iPhone users.
     Lax security screening at Apple's App Store and a design flaw are putting iPhone users at risk of downloading malicious applications that could steal data and spy on them, a Swiss researcher warns.
     Apple's iPhone app review process is inadequate to stop malicious apps from getting distributed to millions of users, according to Nicolas Seriot, a software engineer and scientific collaborator at the Swiss University of Applied Sciences (HEIG-VD). Once they are downloaded, iPhone apps have unfettered access to a wide range of privacy-invasive information about the user's device, location, activities, interests, and friends, he said in an interview Tuesday.
     In a talk scheduled at the Black Hat DC security conference, Seriot will explain how an innocent-looking app could be designed to harvest personal data and send it to a remote server without the user knowing it.
      The rogue app could be hidden within an innocent-looking app, such as a game. Low-hanging fruit for rogue apps includes the mobile-phone number, address book data, and a notes section of the address book, where some people store bank account and other sensitive information, he said.
"It turns out that the full Address Book is readable without the user's knowledge or consent," Seriot wrote in a white paper (PDF) on the subject.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Product launches

When Apple launch a new product, you will remember how much you hated NSO. It will also remind you of your hatred for the fuckers queuing outside. But on the inside, it's just as painful. When Apple launched Leopard, they closed the stores during the day for a few hours and blacked out the windows because of all the super-secret goings on instore, before the OS went on sale at 6p.m. The dumb thing was, we had to image all the machines overnight, so the not-so-geeky customers that walked in in the morning got to play with it all day. But the losers outside didn't realize that.

Anyway, when a new product comes along, if you're Red Zone (followed closely by BOH) you'll be the first person that's asked if they'd like to over work and burn-out by working an amount of hours that probably breaks employment law. When the doors open, you will know practically nothing about the product as you either will not have even touched one, or there is one in the safe that you've seen for 10 minutes. The pathetic thing is, sometimes it's already out in the States but we'll still have no training on it. Current employees that imported an iPad were strictly told NOT to bring it in, and customers would come in and smuggly present their gold while the Specialists gather round and slither all over it. Then you won't be able to buy a discounted one for ages.

The indoor cheering as well. The congratulations. Agh fucking hell.

This image sums it up perfectly. God it makes me weep.

iPhone, not only a bad phone but an awful alarm clock too! [new iOS bug]

      Australian iPhone users have found out the hard way how unreliable iPhone is, as their handsets have failed to adjust repeated alarms to allow for daylight saving - if they've gone off at all.
      We're indebted to the Sydney Morning Herald, and reader Adrian Esdaile, for alerting us to this latest iOS bug, which isn't limited to the iPhone. Anyone depending on an iOS device to wake them is suffering from the same problem, which persists in sounding repeating alarms without regard for daylight saving, despite updating the system time correctly.
      It'a not the first time Apple has struggled with the shift of an hour. Earlier this year iPhone users found their handsets unable to cope with the start of the summer. One could set an alarm each night and expect to be woken at the right time, and one can always set a repeating alarm with a one-hour offset to allow for the peculiarities of the operating system - but it's not ideal.
      Australia isn't the only country running an hour out thanks to Apple - it seems that New Zealand Apple fans have been waking up an hour early for a week now, and learnt to cope with it while expecting a fix before the US switches off daylight saving on 7 November.
      Once Americans start getting inconvenienced Apple will no doubt take action, as support for the device is somewhere between none and nonexistent for the rest of the world

A quick thank you

Three cheers to Martin Bergesen for giving us an interview in a Norweigen newspaper. The Google translate link is here.

[iPhone Jokes] The other iPhone lawsuit

The other iPhone lawsuit

Movies you should watch: Office Space

Lumbergh fucked her.
If you're considering a job with Apple Retail (and if you've read even half the posts on this blog, then fuck you'll work anywhere), then there are a few movies that you should see first.

A few people have said to me, "have you seen Office Space?" because of the similarities between Initech, Chotchkie's and Apple. The managers at Apple bear a striking resemblance to the managerial characters in the movie, in-particular the smug-prick streak apparent in both Lumbergh and Stan. You will be told the Apple equivalent of "not wearing enough flair" or that "you're gonna need to come in on Sunday too" often enough to remind you of this movie.

Also worth noting is the hate, the sheer depression Peter feels towards his job. Unfortunately at Apple you don't get the opportunity to 'space-out', but, like Peter, you will no doubt have more than one manager come and undermine you if you've not been selling enough one to one or if you have upset a member of the holy Genius team.

Also note-worthy is the way in which Aniston's character leaves her waitressing job. This moment is executed in such a fashion it will inspire you to prepare something for the day you finally snap.

And of course the printers. Fucking printers. PC load letter.

Steve Jobs: philantrope or hypocrite?

     It seems that the iPhone contractor, Foxconn cannot keep itself out of the news and for all of the wrong reasons. After several highly-publicized suicides by Foxconn workers, a new leaked report shows that not much has actually changed at Foxconn. The Beijing-based Global Times reported on a study conducted by 60 teachers and students from 20 Universities in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

     Fourteen investigators were able to enter the company and experience life inside Foxconn for themselves. According to the report, at least 16.4 percent of Foxconn employees have been subject to "some kind of corporal violence," like that seen in a recently released video of employees being assaulted by Foxconn security.

     More than 38 percent claimed that their privacy has been invaded and 54.6 percent felt indignant toward management. Foxconn had announced a 30 percent pay rise for its employees following a number of suicides, but the report states that raises only amounted to 9.1 percent and that workers were also deprived of, "many of their welfare terms like subsidies, bonuses and so on."

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Personal Projects

A rare sight: a creative during a Personal Project.

    So you buy a service called one to one. One. To. One. As in, one person, a high paying customer like yourself, can sit with one professionally trained Creative that will teach YOU how to use the software. This actually does exist, with the rub being, if you can get a session. Apple will hugely oversell one to one and massively under-staff the Creative team. This means that you can actually book a session with a Creative, but there's a good chance it will be with an untrained FRS. What you also might be sucked into is attending a Personal Project session.

    What an utter waste of time. You're told you can sit for hours just working on a project with help at anytime from a Creative. The trouble is any Creatives staffed in to 'lead' the Personal Project session will be asked by management to swap iPhones for the entire time. So that's the Creatives and the customers Apple have lied to in one go.

Antennagate coverup over, Glassgate Coming right up

     When the iPhone 4 free bumper program finished a week ago, Antennagate "ended". But Ryan Block reports that the iPhone engineering team has discovered another major design flaw that could lead another iPhone 4 scandal.
     While we've had our own concerns over the iPhone 4's glass back, what the iPhone engineering team discovered post-Antennagate, according to Block, is that non-bumper cases that slide onto the iPhone 4 can cause scratching when particles get between the case and the glass. Those scratches can lead to serious cracking in no time.
      So if somebody puts a slider case on their phone, there's a possibility the next time they pull the phone out of the case, the back is totally busted, solely because of this design flaw. The potential issue's dire enough that Apple had blocked all third-party cases from the Apple Store until this week, even ones certified "made for iPhone." And Block hears that the engineering team has built a lab and test program just to examine this problem.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tutorial: How to take your lunch break

Apple employees' lunch boxes, yesterday.
It's not unusual to say that the person who most wants power and authority is, most often, probably not the best person to have it. You'll find at the Apple Store that most of the middle managers are confidence men; tricksters who are able to put on a face and get a position in management, but when it comes down to it they're fucking useless. At my store there's a real prick - okay, I suppose I ought to be honest, they are a lot of pricks - but specifically there are pricks who hold clipboards and 'lead' the floor. If you're a 'lead' at an Apple Store and you aren't sure why people don't like you, or why you don't get invited to drinks after work, or why you're 29 and still live with your parents, this clipboard has a lot to do with it.

iOS becoming globally the most unpopular OS (follows in MAC's footsteps?)

     New data from The Nielsen Company shows that Google's Android mobile operating system is now the most popular OS among those who bought a new smartphone in the U.S. during the last six months, with a 32% share of recent acquirers.
     Blackberry and Apple are meanwhile tied for a third place, in a "statistical dead heat," if we're to think of it world-wide. Among new smartphone purchasers in US, the Android OS is being adopted by 32% of handset buyers while RIM and Apple are tied for second with 26% and 25% of new users, respectively.
     This is certain to put iPhone in the corner considering Nokia's comeback with N8 and dominant market share in Europe and Asia. This data is interesting given earlier reports from analysts at Gartner who forecasted that Android would become the number one operating system in the U.S. by the end of 2010 and could steal the number one spot from Symbian in global market share by 2014.