I now dread going to the Apple Store, and that’s a problem for Apple

David Gewirtz for ZDNet:

I have never, not once, been able to have an Apple Store round trip take less than four hours. And that’s on a good day. When my wife and I went to buy our iPhone 6s Pluses a few years ago, the trip took three hours on the road plus four hours in the store due to the wait and fussing time at the store… When we went to get replacement batteries for our phones, it took one round trip of five hours to replace the batteries, and then another round trip of about five hours to replace the phone they broke when they tried to replace the battery…

This goes to Jason Perlow’s Apple Select plan, for all-you-can-geek Apple products. Last week, he advocated that Apple adopt a monthly charge that incorporates all their services, along with a regularly refreshed phone. In a sense, this is the Apple Upgrade program with movies, news, and storage tacked onto it. Having a Prime-like service for Apple services does make sense. But expecting customers to make a regular pilgrimage to the Apple Store to swap phones is not realistic because it is not necessarily something everyone is going to want to (or be able to) do.

Apple has to make the iPhone upgrade process painless. They need to make it work entirely online, and they need to make sure that you’re never, ever without your phone… Failure to do that will result in some number of customers avoiding the Apple Store, and more finding themselves in Apple Store hell. It’s not an enjoyable experience.

MacDailyNews Take: Generally, if the Apple Store is close by, you’re in a populated area, meaning traffic to and from the store can be an issue. Apple doesn’t place stores in low-traffic areas. The reasoning is obvious, but it doesn’t help the customer any. Plus, once you get into the Apple Store, it’s usually crowded. If it’s a mall store, you’ve got a three-ring circus of people trying to do iPhone screen repairs, purchase products, Today at Apple classes, diagnose issues, trying on Watches, etc. It’s nothing like what it once was (and will never be again), a mecca for Apple, mostly Mac, fans with some iPods around for fun. Those days are over.

If Apple were to somehow make the iPhone upgrade process easy and painless with customers always having a working iPhone, removing the Apple Store pain point, they’d likely sell more iPhones, more often (hello, shorter replacement cycle), and iPhone customers would be even happier than they already are!

This article was originally posted here