In light of what has become a PR nightmare over the faulty reception issues of Apple’s iPhone 4, could the tech giant be considering a recall? PR experts say it’d better.
In a recent Cult of Mac post, PR experts outline the dangers of Apple continuing to skirt the recent accusations of a bad antenna design, especially after yesterday’s news of Consumer Reports magazine claiming it is unable to recommend the iPhone 4 after recent tests found too many faults with the phone’s hardware. “Apple will be forced to do a recall of this product,” Matthew Seeger, an expert in crisis communication, told Cult of Mac. “It’s critically important. The brand image is the most important thing Apple has. This is potentially devastating.”
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Upon purchase, many users discovered that placing a finger over the bottom left of the phone could reduce the phone’s signal, or even cause the call to drop entirely, a glitch Apple blamed initially on a miscalculation within the formula used to determine how many service bars should be displayed. An optical illusion, simple as that – except that it’s not. In its report, Consumer Reports called into question Apple’s explanation of the issue, prompting many to wonder just how far the company would go to mask the problem. The answer? Pretty far.
Last night, The Unofficial Apple Weblog took note of a string of deleted forum threads on Apple’s web site, all pointing to the decision reached by Consumer Reports. All discussions dealing with the issue had been mysteriously erased, and lead users to one message: “Error: you do not have permission to view the requested forum or category.” Apple, it seems, has issued a total blackout of iPhone 4 reception dialogue, even directing its support team to call reception reduction due to handling your phone “a fact of life in the wireless world.”
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“Their response has been lackluster,” Former Vice President of Crisis Management at Motorola Larry Barton told Cult of Mac. “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. Consumer Reports is a well-respected publication with a long history of being impartial and fair. Their advisory is a serious one.”
Though Apple promised a free software update would be issued “within a few weeks” that more accurately displays signal strength, there has been little comment from the company or figurehead Steve Jobs, who was quick to apologize for Apple’s decision to drop the price of the iPhone just two months after it went on sale in 2007. In an open letter, he repented for the company and issued each iPhone owner a $100 store credit for their pain. Now three years later, Apple’s image is a target once more, only this time, a $100 store credit may not provide enough of a distraction to customers who can’t seem to make phone calls.
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