What Apple can learn from McDonald's

[Editor's note: Tim Woolery, aka Tim the IT Guy, works hands-on in IT in the Bay Area. With nearly 15 years' experience at everything from CAT 5-cabled steel furnaces to intercontinental remote-controlled radio stations, Tim's able to spot and plug holes in the coverage of important tech news. Rather than bone up on change management best practices ourselves, we decided to let Tim post for himself once a week.]

TIM THE IT GUY — Even an Apple Store employee called Friday's iPhone launch "Not very Apple-like". It would've been a lot shinier had Apple stuck to releasing only one complicated product at a time. But no, some marketing whiz decided to debut an all-new phone and upgrade the old phones on the same day. On top of that, Apple unveiled an applications store and also forced users of Apple's $99-a-year online email and sync .Mac accounts to self-migrate to a completely different platform — whether or not they were buying an iPhone. Here's why compared to previous Apple launches, Friday was one big mistake:

What Apple can learn from McDonald's

Unike most Apple products, none of Friday's new toys were simple retail boxes to be sold over the counter. Each required its own special technical prep -– carrier activation, a software upgrade, or a self-migration process. Apple failed Change Management 101: They scheduled too many logistics and IT changes for the same day, with each change performed before anxious customers' eyes. Any one of Friday's problems would've been defendable on its own. Instead, it seemed as if Apple were trying to disable as many customers as possible.

You never go into McDonald's and find they've got a new burger, plus an upgrade to the Quarter Pounder, plus a whole new kind of sugary drink all debuting on the same day. Mickey D's sticks to one rollout risk at a time, and lets everyone else get their Big Mac as usual. That's what added insult to injury: Apple's stores, nearly empty because they could handle only a few iPhone buyers at a time, were closed to customers who'd come to buy a laptop.

When the next-generation iPhone comes out, I hope they put aside the other new goodies for later. Release one change per week as a separate launch. That's what's frustrating: Friday's four-way fiasco could have been a month's worth of buzz.

(Photoillustration by Jackson West)