iPhone 4 Recall InevitableJul 13th, 2010 | By James Lewin | Category: Internet TV, Video, Video Podcasts
A massive recall of the iPhone 4 over its antenna design flaw is ‘inevitable’, say PR experts, because protecting the Apple and iPhone brands is more important than the multimillion dollar cost to fix the issue.
Yesterday’s announcement by Consumer Reports that they tested the iPhone’s antenna and duplicated anecdotal reports about the iPhone 4 ‘death grip’ pits Apple’s reputation against the most respected name in consumer protection. And Consumer Reports basically said that Apple was lying about the iPhone 4′s antenna problem:
Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4′s signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that “mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.”
“Apple will be forced to do a recall of this product,” said Professor Matthew Seeger, an expert in crisis communication. “The brand image is the most important thing Apple has. This is potentially devastating.”
“Apple needs to put this fire out now,” said crisis communication expert Dr. Larry Barton. “There has to be a military-like response to this issue. And we have not seen this kind of urgency.”
“They’re response has been lackluster,” adds Barton. “It’s been borderline irresponsible. They are in danger of betraying customers’ trust and hurting the brand, which is infinitely more valuable than any one product.”
Apple is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The iPhone 4 is their most successful introduction ever and an update to their most important product. But it also has a basic design flaw, which, for a company that prides itself on having the best design in the world, is a PR disaster.
I’m a big fan of the iPhone 4. For many reasons, it’s the best mobile device for podcasters, because it makes mobile podcasting of audio and video fairly trivial. And the antenna issue, while real, has had no impact on my use of the phone.
Nevertheless, the iPhone represents a multi-thousand dollar commitment for buyers – and the last thing you want to do after spending a couple grand on a phone is spend your next day answering people’s questions about whether you have to wear gloves to make calls.
The iPhone 4 may be the best phone ever – but I think the PR experts are right: an iPhone 4 recall is probably inevitable.
What do you think? Is the new iPhone’s antenna problem overblown, or do you think an iPhone 4 recall is inevitable, too?