Since June 15 when Apple first offered the iPhone 4 for preorder, the company has made several wrong moves. It started when Apple decided to allow AT&T to control the iPhone’s preordering process.
By doing so, it left a key component in the purchase of the iPhone in the hands of a company that did an extremely poor job of handling orders. From there, the trouble continued. When news broke that the iPhone 4 featured antenna problems, Apple said that consumers should simply hold the device in a different way to cut down on reception problems. It simply failed to make things right from the get-go.
That’s extremely unfortunate. As one of the most beloved companies in the tech industry, Apple has a responsibility to address issues the right way. It might not be fair, considering so many other companies sweep issues under the rug, but that’s the problem with being the world’s most valuable tech company.
When the smaller, less important companies ignore problems, no one cares. But when Apple does it, the company is expected to respond with the right solution. But so far, it hasn’t. And consumers are left to wonder why Apple, the company they have had so much respect for, is leaving them out in the cold.
Of course, wondering about that won’t do any good. The time has come for consumers to finally stand up to Apple and hold it accountable. Here’s why:
1. It’ll never change
Apple has shown time and again that until it feels pressure for the issues its product has, the company will do nothing to address them. As unfortunate as that is, it’s reality. And until consumers start forcing the company to be accountable for its products’ problems, it won’t change its tune. Luckily, making Apple accountable isn’t all that difficult. Consumers need to voice their opinions in as many forums as possible. They should also consider alternative products if they feel Apple isn’t listening to them. The best way to make Apple listen is to vote with wallets.
2. The ego is annoying
By taking Apple’s poor treatment all these years, consumers have effectively allowed the company to have an ego. Unlike just about every other firm that fully understands what it takes to appeal to customers, Apple has the luxury of not really caring. And that general lack of care comes through in the decisions it continues to make. By calling Apple out on those problems, consumers change that. Apple’s ego has allowed the company to believe that no matter what it does, consumers will keep coming back. That will only change if they’re shown that the past won’t necessarily predict the future.
3. Where’s the care?
Perhaps the main reason why consumers should stop taking Apple’s treatment is because the company just doesn’t seem to care. When faced with complaints over antenna problems, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said consumers should simply stop holding the smartphone as they normally have. The company said in an official statement that consumers should release the death grip or find a case. By showing such a lack of care on Apple’s part, consumers are being backed into a corner. If they finally stop taking Apple’s poor treatment, the company will have no choice but to start caring.
4. Microsoft doesn’t get a pass
In the tech business, Apple gets a free pass for many of the mistakes it makes. But Microsoft is one firm that gets beaten up over the slightest infractions. Even when the company has done nothing wrong, critics come out to pan its actions. It’s rather unfortunate. And it’s about time Apple is held to the same standard as Microsoft. Yes, Steve Jobs is a flashier CEO and Apple delivers better products than Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be wrong. If Microsoft gets pummeled when problems arise, shouldn’t Apple get the same treatment?
Keeping Steve Jobs in Touch with Consumers
5. Apple should know there are alternatives worth considering
Apple seems to believe that no matter how much trouble its products might have, the company is in no danger of losing those customers to a competitor. It should be made abundantly aware of the fact that there really are alternatives available right now that can do a fine job of appealing to consumer desire. One such alternative is Google’s Android OS. The operating system might not have the polish iOS boasts, but it’s awfully close. And if consumers start picking up more Android-based devices because of problems with the iPhone 4, Apple will need to take notice.
6. It’s time to try something new
If nothing else, Apple’s handling of the iPhone 4 antenna problems show that consumers need to try something new to get Apple to start caring more about them. In the past, simply ignoring the company’s faults because its products were so nice might have been fine for some folks. But that mentality has contributed to the issues customers are having today. Apple is simply expecting history to repeat itself, and customers, so far, are allowing that to happen. It’s time to speak out and try something new. It’s worth a shot, right?
7. Apple should set the standard, not detract from it
Apple is the most important tech company in the industry. It not only has brought the tech sector to the mainstream in a major way, it has ensured that going forward, well-designed and desirable products will be making their way to store shelves. It has set the standard in software and hardware design. Perhaps that’s why customers should take issue with the company. Apple is supposed to be the standard-setter, not the company that doesn’t live up to its end of the bargain with consumers. As nice as Apple’s products are, the hardware company should handle situations like this just as effectively as it creates smartphones.
8. It’s good for Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is one of the more interesting CEOs in the tech business. Unlike so many other executives who like to stay in their office and out of the limelight, Jobs thrives on praise being heaped on his company. Any chance he gets, he takes the stage to deliver all the good news Apple wants to share with the world. He has basically created an image and star-like status that no other CEO has been able to muster. But maybe he needs to be taken down a little too. He might have the vision that no other CEO has, but he’s not infallible. And as his recent decisions have proven, there is work to be done. It’s about time consumers remind him of that.
9. It will happen again
Rest assured that without making a fuss over the iPhone’s antenna troubles, there will be more problems with the company’s devices. If nothing else, Apple’s antenna design problems were overlooked by the company simply because it knew that it wasn’t big enough for customers to stop buying the iPhone. But what other simple quirks will find their way into future Apple devices? If customers don’t make Apple know that the antenna problem is much bigger than the company wants to admit, they will have a hard time limiting such problems in the future. This is a test for consumers. And it’s up to them to respond.
10. It hurts late adopters
If nothing else, consumers should put pressure on Apple today to help those late adopters that will be affected by the iPhone’s problems at some point in the future. In every tech release, early adopters pick up devices first. They are not concerned with potential problems and freely accept them if they arise. But late adopters wait until they believe the device is ready to be purchased. If early adopters turn a blind eye to the iPhone’s woes, late adopters will be forced to deal with the same problems when they get their hands on the product. Customers should stick together. That means looking out for those that have yet to get an iPhone.