iPhone 4 Glitches: 10 Reasons Why Apple Keeps Passing the Buck

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-07-06

iPhone 4 Glitches: 10 Reasons Why Apple Keeps Passing the Buck

In a statement released last week, Apple acknowledged that the iPhone 4 is having issues. But rather than pointing to a flawed design or issues with the software and how it handles signals, Apple said that the way in which the iPhone's operating system calculates signal strength is all wrong.

It's currently working on a software fix to make sure the signal-strength display shows fewer bars than it once did. But as consumers continued to have trouble connecting to AT&T's network when they covered the two antenna lines on the side of the phone, Apple keeps saying that it wasn't its problem.

It was a sad statement and an even worse position to put consumers in. There is absolutely no debating that the iPhone 4 has a problem that needs to be addressed. And although Apple wants the world to believe that the issue is due to AT&T's poor signal strength in certain areas, some owners of the device know all too well that something doesn't add up with Apple's explanation.

Rather than admit there is a real problem and take responsibility, Apple is doing little more than passing the buck. It's unfortunate. And by the looks of things, it won't stop doing so anytime soon. Here's why:

1. It's Apple

Apple isn't like any other company in the tech industry. The firm doesn't need to deal with the sort of scrutiny that companies such as Microsoft do. It's also beloved among consumers that are consistently impressed by the products the company puts out. Realizing that, Apple wants to do everything it can to maintain that comfortable position. It doesn't want to risk it by admitting that it created a flawed product that limits reception. It's understandable. After all, such an admittance could have a profound impact on its bottom line. But it doesn't necessarily mean it should have passed the buck to AT&T. Apple might be Apple, but it doesn't mean that it can't be wrong.

2. There's no reason for it not to do so

There isn't a very good reason for Apple to simply admit that it was wrong with the iPhone 4 and offer a rebate or free Bumper case. At this point, the company likely wants to do a lot more research before it even comes close to admitting that the iPhone 4 has a design flaw that its needs to fix. Plus, with most consumers ignoring the problem, it doesn't seem all that likely that Apple's decision to pass the buck is all that damaging to its brand. If there isn't a good reason to admit a design flaw, why do so?

3. The iPhone keeps selling

Much to the dismay of some iPhone customers that want to see Apple get down to fixing the iPhone 4, the company's latest smartphone continues to sell well. The company has sold millions of iPhone units since the device launched last month. By the looks of things, those sales continue to grow, regardless of the potential antenna problem. Realizing that, Apple has every reason to pass the buck to AT&T and make that company look bad in the meantime. Yes, it admitted that its signal calculation is off, but that problem is irrelevant to most consumers. With more iPhones leaving store shelves, it's simply the better tack to blame AT&T than to risk consumers thinking twice about picking up the smartphone.

4. There isn't any worrisome competition

If Apple was really worried about Google's Android platform or any other device on store shelves, the company would have been far more proactive when addressing iPhone 4 woes. Instead, the firm took its time to find the problem, said it was the way in which iOS calculates signal strength, and in essence, made AT&T look bad. The reason why it felt that it could follow such a strategy was simple: the company didn't have to worry about competition that could make it look bad. So, rather than acquiesce to the demands of disgruntled customers, Apple simply said what the problem was and moved along, not even considering offering a free case or rebate. But if the company was worried about the Droid X, it surely would have done more to make customers happy.

Apple Counts on Forgetful Consumers

5. Consumers tend to forget

The best part of this problem for Apple is that most consumers forget about issues over time. Yes, it might be annoying that iPhone 4 owners can't hold the device in a certain way, but to many, it's a small issue that doesn't trump all the benefits of owning Apple's latest smartphone. And since those benefits far outweigh the problems, it won't take long before Apple updates its software and the issue, seemingly resolved, is forgotten by the vast majority of users. Apple doesn't mind passing the buck on iPhone 4 issues because it knows that in the end, this will be long-forgotten problem.

6. It's easier to blame AT&T

The best aspect of Apple's relationship with AT&T is that the hardware company can blame these issues on the carrier and each time, customers will believe it. Think about it. Apple is one of the most beloved companies in the world. AT&T is well known for its sub-par connectivity. Wouldn't it be easier to blame the company no one likes than to make the firm that everyone loves look bad? It's common sense. In the end, it's easier to vilify the bad company than the good company.

7. Who can prove it?

Some iPhone 4 owners are saying that Apple isn't doing enough to address the smartphone's problems. In fact, they say that the company is simply applying a band-aid to a problem that is much greater. But proving that the iPhone 4 really does have a hardware issue when Apple continues to say it doesn't is a tall order. As many studies might come out, they mean little if Apple keeps insisting that its product isn't to blame. In the end, Apple will never stop passing the buck until it admits that its hardware is flawed. And so far, the chances of that seem awfully slim.

8. It has conflicting reports

Apple isn't totally wrong in this antenna problem. The company said in a recent statement that although some folks have said that they're having trouble with their iPhone 4's signal, others have said that the device is offering better connectivity than any iPhone that came before it. Realizing that, Apple might have reason to believe that the smartphone's problems are only related to its software. After all, if some users are happy with the device and others are not, maybe the iPhone isn't inherently flawed, as some critics have said. The longer there are conflicting reports about the iPhone 4, the more it becomes likely that Apple won't point its fingers at itself.

9. Steve Jobs has a legacy to protect

There's a key component in Apple's decision to pass the buck that consumers and critics can't overlook: Steve Jobs is extremely concerned with his legacy. Prior to Jobs' most recent stint with Apple, things didn't go so well for Jobs. He was ousted from Apple because his views didn't match those that were entrusted with a leadership position at the company. But upon his triumphant return, Jobs changed everything. He revamped his company and image. The last thing he wants to do now is sully either of those with an admission that the iPhone 4 has an antenna problem. As long as Jobs' ego plays a role in Apple's decision making, expect the company to pass the buck.

10. No one is holding Apple accountable 

Why should Apple hold itself accountable when no one else is willing to do the same? Although consumers are complaining about the iPhone 4, and Apple has been hit with some class-action lawsuits, there is no widespread outcry over the iPhone 4's antenna problems. No one is threatening to boycott Apple products. At this point, Apple's antenna complaints are limited to Web stories and a few trivial lawsuits that probably won't go anywhere. Until consumers start banding together to make Apple accountable, the company has little reason to address the iPhone 4's antenna troubles. At this point, consumers have done little to make Apple pay.

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