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View Full Version : It's the End of the World for Apple! or Not, Depending on What You Believe I Suppose...

Jeff Campbell
07-13-2010, 09:40 PM
<p><em>"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."</em></p><p><em> <object width="600" height="360" data="http://www.youtube.com/v/hXmH2QTZH0Q&amp;feature=player_embedded&amp;ap=&amp;fmt=18" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hXmH2QTZH0Q&amp;feature=player_embedded&amp;ap=&amp;fmt=18" /></object></em></p><p>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.</p><p><MORE /></p><p>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&nbsp;<a href="http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/07/13/consumer_reports_ranks_apples_iphone_4_best_smartphone_available.html" target="_blank">best smart phone out there</a>, but days later say wait and see what happens before they can actually&nbsp;<a href="http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100712/consumer-reports-by-the-way-the-iphone-4-is-also-the-best-smartphone-on-the-market/" target="_blank">recommend it</a>. So which is it Consumer Reports? Looking at some of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/questions/wait-has-anyone-actually-experienced-any-reception-issue-with-the-iphone-4" target="_blank">replies</a>&nbsp;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&nbsp;<a href="http://www.edibleapple.com/consumer-reports-iphone-4-results-and-flawed-testing/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed:+EdibleApple+(Edible+Apple)" target="_blank">critique of the testing method</a>&nbsp;used by Consumer Reports.</p><p>It boils down to the two issues with the iPhone 4:</p><ul><li>the loss of call quality or dropped calls when held in a specific way;</li><li>the software display error as it relates to the signal strength.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>In my mind, it isn't so much the issues as the way&nbsp;Apple has dealt with them. Granted, they have said they will be issuing a <a href="http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/07/02appleletter.html" target="_blank">software update</a> 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.</p><p>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&nbsp;of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.9to5mac.com/apple_in_crisis" target="_blank">discussion threads being deleted</a>&nbsp;(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.</p><p>There are various reactions to all of this, some are calling for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/07/13/growing_attention_on_iphone_4_signal_issues_presents_risk_for_apple.html" target="_blank">free or discounted bumpers</a>. Others are calling for recalls, like the professor quoted above. And others, like me, think this is a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/iphone-4-non-issue-2010-7?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed:+typepad/alleyinsider/silicon_alley_insider+(Silicon+Alley+Insider)" target="_blank">non-event</a>, hyped up by jumping on the "Apple Screwed Up" bandwagon. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cultofmac.com/apple-shares-slip-on-death-grip-concerns-recall-worries/50723?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed:+cultofmac/bFow+(Cult+of+Mac)" target="_blank">most quantitative negative result</a>&nbsp;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.</p><p>Bottom line, if you are having issues and don't like the iPhone 4, you still&nbsp;<a href="http://macenstein.com/default/2010/07/there-are-approximately-10-days-left-to-return-your-iphone-4/" target="_blank">have time to take it back</a>. No one is stopping you.&nbsp;</p><p><p><em>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."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1240336793.usr1.gif" /></p><p><strong>Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Thoughts Media Review Team</a>! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested?&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Then click here for more information.</a></strong></p></p>

Jason Dunn
07-13-2010, 09:58 PM
I think, ultimately, there's a real problem here - and even if it's not as bad as some people say it is, Apple screwed up with their design. The right thing to do would be to offer free bumpers for anyone that wants them - but that would require Apple to admit that the iPhone 4 isn't perfect, and that's the real problem here...

07-13-2010, 10:19 PM
Offering free bumpers would certainly go a long way towards ameliorating the ill will that is growing towards Apple, although honestly, I think it's a tempest in a teapot. (Sort of reminds me of the universal hate for Vista, which I think was ultimately also undeserved).

The problem is that Apple pulls the head in the sand routine far too routinely! As great as their stuff is and even though their support system is world-class, Apple tends to be maddeningly and infuriatingly deaf to customers when their systems don't work as advertised. I've seen this pattern time after time after time. Apple will NEVER fess up to a problem until the outrage becomes load enough to force them to. In this, they are way more arrogant than Microsoft ever was and sometimes it makes me want to wash my hands of them. (But I won't - I love their stuff too much). This whole "grip of death" fiasco, whether real or imagined, is doing a world of harm to Apple and I find it absolutely stunning that Apple isn't being more proactive in dealing with it. In the end, I suspect Apple will do the right thing, like they did with the whole Mobile Me fiasco, but like the Mobile Me issue, it will be only when they don't see that they have any other choice.

I do sometimes think that Apple has gotten too big for their collective britches. Steve may be good at spin and the RDF, but when it comes to dealing with major issues like this, he and his company are clueless. Their cult of secrecy I've always felt has been a major Achilles heel for them and I'm convinced that unless the company finds a better way to deal with issues like the "grip of death" its arrogance and unwillingness to deal with problems in a straightforward manner are going to bite them in the butt and do irreparable harm to the company in the long run.

Oh, and for the record, my iPhone 4 hasn't dropped a single call in all the time I've had it, although I've had a case on it since the 2nd day I've owned it. It in fact has done much better than my erstwhile 3G in that regard. Nor have I had any problems with the proximity sensor although again, I use a BT or wired earpiece with mine so I almost never hold it up to my face.

Jerry Raia
07-13-2010, 11:33 PM
Maybe if they weren't so secretive during development it would have helped. Instead of hiding the iPhone 4 in a case (which masked the problem) that made it look like the 3GS while they were running around testing it, the problem would have revealed itself to Apple BEFORE the phone hit the streets.