The iPhone 4 was supposed to be the most successful iPhone to have ever hit store shelves. After all, the device is well-built, runs iOS 4, and includes a front-facing camera that allows users to have video chats over WiFi with other iPhone 4 owners. It’s a major upgrade over its predecessor.
There is just one problem: its antenna
During the first week of availability, Apple was fielding questions from angry customers asking why, upon holding the new iPhone, they were losing signal. Steve Jobs and his PR team attempted to quell the unrest by saying that it was simply the way users were holding the smartphone. It wasn’t enough. As more people bought the iPhone 4, the complaints grew louder. All the while, Apple wouldn’t admit that there is a design flaw in the device.
Nearly a month later, issues with the iPhone 4’s antenna continues to plague the hardware company. And as hopes for a recall to fix the iPhone 4 increase, Apple has instead decided to go silent on the issue. Apple’s stance is unfortunate. And it’s making the company look bad. Whether it wants to admit it or not, the iPhone 4 has an antenna problem. And it needs to be recalled. Here’s why:
1. It’s the smart move
Although it’s the last thing Apple wants to do, recalling the iPhone 4 seems like the best move right now. There is a growing number of consumers buying the iPhone 4 and experiencing antenna problems. Although Apple keeps saying that there are some folks in areas where signals are stronger that are enjoying better reception, they are few and far between. Unlike every other iPhone that came before it, the iPhone 4 is having a connection problem with AT&T’s network. To say that it has nothing to do with the design of the device is a mistake. Recalling the iPhone 4 now would show that Apple really does care about its customers, and will do what it must to set things right. It might be a costly endeavor, but it’s a necessary one. And the company should accept that.
2. The outcry is building
It should be interesting to see how long Apple will allow the outcry to continue before it finally has enough and decides to address the iPhone 4’s antenna problems. So far, Apple has been content to simply wait it out and hope that the complaints die down. But that hasn’t worked. As more customers buy the iPhone 4, the complaints continue to grow. A recall would quell the unrest and get Apple back to selling smartphones. Isn’t that what it wants?.
3. The longer it waits, the worse Apple looks
As the complaints start adding up, Apple is making itself look worse and worse by saying little about the iPhone 4’s antenna problems. As much as it might want to ignore the issue, and make everyone else forget about it, it can’t. Consumers expect a solution sooner rather than later. By recalling the iPhone 4, the company will finally show that it has heard what its consumers are saying, cares about their happiness and will work toward rebuilding its relationship with its customers. By waiting so long, Apple is making some wonder if it really cares. And that could significantly hurt the company’s revenue going forward.
4. It seems like the only way to fix it
Apple has said that if users hold the iPhone 4 differently or use a case, they shouldn’t have any trouble using the smartphone. But most folks want to be able to hold the device any way they want. And to simply use a case, which adds money to the prospect of owning an already expensive smartphone, is unacceptable to some customers. Rather than turn the problem into a potential revenue generator, Apple should fix it. The iPhone 4’s problem is that the antenna is on the outside of the device. With some small design changes, the company can fix that issue in no time. There is no reason to wait any longer.
This Is No Time to Stonewall Customers
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?