This Is No Time to Stonewall Customers

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-07-15 Print this article Print

5. AT&T isn't playing ball

Apple was quick to point out when it admitted that it has been calculating signal strength improperly that folks losing connections to the network are in areas where coverage is poor. It was a thinly veiled attempt to pass some of the blame on to AT&T and its poor coverage. But AT&T has so far been unwilling to agree with Apple. By admitting that Apple is right, AT&T would make itself look bad, and effectively help Apple pass the blame on to the carrier. For consumers, that just might be a good thing.

6. Droid X is on its way

Apple's culture dictates that the company doesn't worry about competition. But it might be time that the firm start taking notice of what Motorola is doing with the Droid X. The smartphone, which is scheduled to hit store shelves on July 15, is arguably the best competition the iPhone has ever faced. The device boasts a 4.3-inch display, HDMI for watching HD video on a television, and more. Plus, it runs Google's Android operating system, which has quickly become the desired alternative to iOS. If consumers that have yet to buy the iPhone 4 are worried about the device's antenna problems, they might just opt for the Droid X. And if that happens, Apple could have some serious trouble on its hands.

7. The evidence seems overwhelming

Although Apple is quick to point out that the iPhone 4's antenna works better than its predecessors, and the design is ideal for users, the evidence of antenna problems seems overwhelming. Consumer Reports recently said that it can't recommend the device because of witnessed antenna problems, consumers are increasingly complaining about the iPhone 4, and reports keep swirling that the issues get worse when a user puts their hands over the lines on the side of the smartphone. Simply put, the iPhone 4 has a real problem that goes beyond its signal-strength calculation. Until Apple admits that, addresses the problem, and gets the right smartphone into users' hands, it will be trouble for its bottom line.

8. It won't go away

Unlike so many other issues with Apple products that have quietly gone away over the years, the iPhone 4's antenna troubles just won't. The reason why is simple: it's the most popular product on store shelves today, and millions of people across the world are buying it. And when millions of people start complaining about a product, others tend to listen. For a while, it seemed that Apple hoped that the world would just forget about the antenna problems. After all, that has happened numerous times in the past. But Apple is quickly realizing now that such a tack won't work with the iPhone 4. And it will take an admittance of an issue, and probably a recall, to actually satisfy customers. It's not ideal, for sure, but it's the necessary step.

9. The competition is capitalizing

How much longer will Apple allow the competition to capitalize on the iPhone 4's antenna problems before it decides to fix the problem itself? Motorola has been running ads alluding to the iPhone 4's problems, and saying that if consumers buy the Droid X, they won't have any such trouble with its smartphone. Even Verizon has been piling on as a way to take aim at AT&T. By ignoring the problem, and saying that users need to hold the iPhone 4 differently, Apple is effectively allowing the competition to continue to capitalize on a topic that it has no defense for. That's not good for business. The iPhone might be the world's top smartphone today, but that might not be the case for long if the company keeps releasing a product with antenna problems that the rest of the competition can poke fun at.

10. What about future products?

The more Apple denies that the iPhone 4 has a design flaw, the harder it will be for the company to sell products going forward. There is no debating that there is a problem beyond how iOS 4 calculates signal strength. And until Apple admits that, it will continue to receive complaints, consumers will be far less likely to respond well to future products, and pundits will wonder if the company really is putting the best products out on the market. It's a real problem for Apple. And until it starts to realize that, and address it with a recall, the company will see all these problems get worse. Does Apple really want iPhone 4 troubles that is penetrating the entire market to continue indefinitely?

It shouldn't. 


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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