Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 01:40 PM
"With the iPhone 4's reception problems now out in the open, as a result of a Consumer Reports test, Apple will be forced to do a recall, says Wayne State University's Prof. Matthew Seeger. A specialist in crisis communications, Seeger argues that Apple's reputation is at stake. "It's critically important. The brand image is the most important thing Apple has. This is potentially devastating," he remarks."
Even the guys from Top Gear are making subtle references to the iPhone 4 "Grip of Death" as it has been called, so it really has gotten legs. But for someone such as the Professor Seeger to say a recall is in order is a bit much in my opinion.
Sensationalism comes to mind, especially since it is timed with the test results by Consumer Reports. The same results that claim the iPhone 4 is the best smart phone out there, but days later say wait and see what happens before they can actually recommend it. So which is it Consumer Reports? Looking at some of the replies to a Business Insider questions, it appears for most people it is no worse than they were getting with other versions of iPhones, and in some cases, they are getting better reception. And there has even been critique of the testing method used by Consumer Reports.
It boils down to the two issues with the iPhone 4:
- the loss of call quality or dropped calls when held in a specific way;
- the software display error as it relates to the signal strength.
In my mind, it isn't so much the issues as the way Apple has dealt with them. Granted, they have said they will be issuing a software update to fix the signal bar display problem (which led some to believe it was part of a coverup), but as far as the antenna issue, the most reported fix was from a Steve Jobs email that said "hold it a different way or put a case on it." This really isn't the response some people had hoped for, so of course it also added fuel to the flaming of Apple, even though it was a common sense answer that actually works.
That being said, Apple has a history of lagging on response to some of the issues that crop up with their products, not exactly being Johnny Appleseed on the spot when it comes to acknowledging problems, and this one isn't any different. We are seeing reports of discussion threads being deleted (and then added back) that reference the issues, but when you get right down to it, Apple has always been quick to delete or close threads that are just avenues for complaints instead of solutions. The support forums belong to them. If you want to post complaints instead of asking for solutions, there are other avenues with which to vent, so I can see their point. But in light of what was happening, all this did was give the critics more ammo, especially when they add the threads back into public view.
There are various reactions to all of this, some are calling for free or discounted bumpers. Others are calling for recalls, like the professor quoted above. And others, like me, think this is a non-event, hyped up by jumping on the "Apple Screwed Up" bandwagon. The most quantitative negative result of all this has been a drop in the price of Apple shares, down 3% in trading on Tuesday this week. And I suppose, if Apple doesn't get a handle on the negative PR surrounding this issue, that it could result in even lower stock prices. But on the other side of the coin, the sales estimates are still strong per most analysts. So what does that mean? I think that customers are either ignoring the reports or they are, like me, happy with their iPhone 4 and that this is a much ado about nothing.
Bottom line, if you are having issues and don't like the iPhone 4, you still have time to take it back. No one is stopping you.
Jeff Campbell is a fan of all things Apple, an X-boxer (the 360 kind) and geek. He works as a floor supervisor in a 911 center in the Portland, OR area, and lives in a small town just north of Mt. Hood with his wife, two kids, two dogs, a snake and a tarantula. Oh, and a three legged cat named "Tres."
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