Apple’s Unusual PR

Yesterday we discussed some of the problems people are having with the new iPhone 4. There are a few major issues that have been making headlines, and naturally some customers are looking for answers. In the past, emailing Steve Jobs directly has been useful in solving a conflict with Apple. Jobs sometimes chooses to act on the behalf of the customer. Other times, and I suspect it is most of the time, Jobs blows people off. He knows he can afford to, because no matter how bad he treats a customer, people will be beating down doors to buy his product. It’s good to be the king, at least in this case.

A customer reportedly emailed Jobs about the antenna issue. There are a couple of versions of the response going around. One has Jobs saying, “Just avoid holding it in that way” (Engadget). Another has Jobs saying prefixing the above statement with “Non issue.” Here is a follow-up from Apple, reportedly toting Jobs’ company line.

“Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”
Apple (via Engadget)

Basically, if your phone doesn’t work, you’re holding it wrong. Oh and did we mention you could buy our $30 case to fix the issue? But then again, every phone has this issue so get over it. Pretty poor customer service, but if you can treat customers like dirt without any dent in your bottom line, why not? Sarcasm and cynicism aside, this is not the way to run a business, no matter how big it is. There are some real people laying down quite a bit of money for a brand famous for its “just work” modus operandi. Apple has some explaining to do.

On another note, it looks like there were 50 or so replacements for the cracked cases. It looked like Apple’s service was improving, but that too has been nipped. People’s nearly indestructible iPhones apparently are quite easy to destroy.

The quality controls on the new iPhone, and even the iOS 4 are not quite up to par for Apple. Apple has thrived on the reliability people have come to expect from it. These issues are out of character for Apple, a chink in the proverbial armor. One would think that Apple would bend over backward to maintain its image. It isn’t, and evidently it doesn’t need to. People are still buying the phone in droves.

I would hope that Apple tries to do right by its customers. So far it hasn’t. One can always hope though.

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