PR Experts: iPhone 4 Hardware Recall Is ?Inevitable?

fresh1

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This is pretty intrestering ....




PR Experts: iPhone 4 Hardware Recall Is ?Inevitable?
6:34 pm, July 12th, 2010, Leander Kahney

Apple will be forced to recall the iPhone 4 following Consumer Reports tests proving the ?Death Grip? antenna issue is not software related, but a hardware flaw, PR experts say.

?Apple will be forced to do a recall of this product,? said Professor Matthew Seeger, an expert in crisis communication. ?It?s critically important. The brand image is the most important thing Apple has. This is potentially devastating.?


Crisis communication experts contacted by CultofMac.com, including Chris Lehane, former Clinton White House ?Master of Disaster,? agree: the iPhone 4 reception issue presents a Toyota-style PR crisis for Apple, and the company must respond with a more meaningful fix than a software patch.

Apple acknowledged the issue earlier this month but said the problem was caused by the way the iPhone calculates signal strength. The company has promised to issue a software fix shortly. Many critics viewed Apple?s response as spin, which was compounded on Monday by a devastating report from Consumer Reportssaying the reception issue is hardware related.

Toyota has been severely punished for its foot-dragging response to concerns about the safety of the Prius. Toyota recalled about 10 million vehicles worldwide and its reputation has been seriously damaged.

?Apple needs to put this fire out now,? said Dr. Larry Barton, a leading expert in crisis management and author of Crisis Leadership Now. ?There has to be a military-like response to this issue. And we have not seen this kind of urgency.?

Dr. Barton said Apple should quickly issue a statement that either strongly refutes Consumer Reports? tests; or admit the issue and detail some kind of hardware fix. Saying the iPhone 4 has a problem calculating signal strength doesn?t cut it, Dr. Barton said.

?Their response has been lackluster,? he said. ?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, Dr. Barton noted. ?Their advisory is a serious one.? he said.

Dr. Barton is a former professor at Harvard Business School, Penn State, University of Nevada at Las Vegas and Boston College. He was Vice President of Crisis Management at Motorola from 1995 to 1999.

Crisis communications expert Chris Lehane, the ?Master of Disaster,? a nickname earned managing bad PR for the Clinton White House, said Apple dug itself into a deep hole with its software fix response, which was obviously rushed.

?It?s the ?half-loaf? approach,? he said. ?Apple was under tremendous pressure to respond. They pushed out some information that wasn?t really baked.?

Lehane said the statement only raised a red flag for organizations like Consumer Reports to take a close look at the issue.

?They found themselves in a hole, and they dug a deeper hole,? he said.

Lehane contrasted this to Apple?s response to the price drop of the original iPhone back in 2007. Faced with a backlash from early adopters, Steve Jobs quickly published an apology on Apple?s website and issued a refund.

?You acknowledge it; you address it; you deal with it,? Lehane said. ?Apple must protect its brand image, its crown jewels, at all cost. Apple has enormous consumer loyalty but it depends on whether people believe it?s credible.?

To protect its image, Apple will have to recall the iPhone, said Prof. Seeger, who is chair of the Department of Communication at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Prof. Seeger said Apple will likely delay a recall, and may issue a temporary ?patch? such as free bumpers. However, a recall is unavoidable to protect the brand, which is more valuable than the cost of a recall, Prof. Seeger said.

?Apple lives and dies by its reputation,? he said. ?We pay a premium for its products. We expect them to operate on a premium level. It?s very unfortunate, but they will have no choice but to mount a recall.?

Apple didn?t respond to requests for comment.

UPDATE: PR expert Rene A. Henry, author of Communicating In A Crisis, also said Apple should issue a hardware recall. ?They?ve got a problem and it?s no different from Toyota,? he said by phone this morning (too late to include in the original story). ?They?ve got to recall and replace it if they want to protect their image and reputation.?

?It?s going to be expensive,? he added: ?At least they are helping BP out. They?re keeping some of the heat off them.?

PR Experts: iPhone 4 Hardware Recall Is “Inevitable” | Cult of Mac



Fresh1
 

Duvi

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I don't think they really need to or do I even
believe they will recall. The most I see is
Apple allowing users to switch their devices
out past the 30 day buyer's remorse.
 

big9erfan

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I agree with Duvi. I don't see a recall happening at all. I see it quite a bit different than the Toyota issue as this is not a safety issue and can be drastically reduced with a case.

I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.
 

iPhoneDon797

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I see possibly an optional recall in a few months or Apple will start giving out the bumpers for free for people with the antenna issue. $30 for a piece of rubber is insane, even for Apple.
Apple needs to come up with a hardware fix before they can issue a recall anyway. There software fix I think is pretty pointless.
 

Duvi

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I agree with Duvi. I don't see a recall happening at all. I see it quite a bit different than the Toyota issue as this is not a safety issue and can be drastically reduced with a case.

I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Exactly. If it's an issue, most users have
8-10 days left (as soon received it early) to
return the device.
 

Moonbase0ne

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I see possibly an optional recall in a few months or Apple will start giving out the bumpers for free for people with the antenna issue. $30 for a piece of rubber is insane, even for Apple.
Apple needs to come up with a hardware fix before they can issue a recall anyway. There software fix I think is pretty pointless.

I agree. I just saw the bumpers and in a sense, I think the phone looks better with one(black iP4 with black bumper). But there is no way they are worth $30.00. And, if they help fix the reception issue, a lot of people would probably be happy to just get one free to fix the problem. Or, atleast they should maybe lower the price/cut the price in half, or something to that effect.

Though I think free is the only thing that will make some people happy.

I myself am waiting for the Otter Defender case for when I'm at work, and a bumper like case that protects the back of the phone and possibly the front, not just the sides.
 

OTACORB

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I think the comparison to Toyota is meant to show how Toyota and now Apple are dragging their feet rather than just admitting there is real problem and doing something about it. I don't see a recall happening or even necessary. A redesign necessary to actually fix this hardware issue would take months.

In the meantime I think the smart thing at minimum would be to give the bumpers away for free. Admit there is an issue and move to get on the side of consumers rather than pretending it doesn't really exist at all. But has Apple grown to be such an arrogant company that they just can't do this? It seems so at this point.

Now that mainstream media has given this wings, it has taken a life of its own. I don't see it just going away with a software update either and their recent stupid explanation.

I will keep my iPhone 4, but I already invested in a case, so I don't have reception issues at this point, but the issue is REAL and just because some consumers can't seem to replicate it, doesn't mean this isn't a real and legit issue that Apple should handle up on. It is crazy to just blindly defend Apple.
 
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Fausty82

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To me, it's more telling of the arrogance of these corporations than anything else. Certainly there is a huge difference between the issue with Toyota and with Apple... but the common factor here is the arrogance, whether real or perceived makes no difference. If the public perceives it, to them it is fact. And the fact that Apple is denying any problem in the face of proof, well, the arrogance may very well be real.

To a large degree, I see the attitude of Apple being that of not willing to be "forced" into anything - including a recall... but ultimately, if the consumer sees this as an arrogant act by Apple thumbing their nose at them, it will hurt Apple more in the long run.
 

Alli

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Product recalls have never been done for anything that didn't somehow lead to serious injury or death (think Tylenol, Toyota, cribs). These recalls have all (and without exception) taken place long into the product's life, not within days of product release.

Anyone waiting for a recall of a cell phone will need patience, cause it isn't going to happen. If you are experiencing the antenna problem - take your phone back for a refund!

The consumer is responsible for his purchases. You can't purchase a load of manure and then complain because it smells like $hit - know what I mean?
 

chobbs1

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I don't see why people are calling for a recall???? Anyone that doesn't want their iPhone 4 can return it. It is still within The 30 day return period. I don't think this issue needs a recall but, as usual, I am I'm the minority.
 

RKMichael

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iPhone 4 recall

I feel like this hardware problem may have been due to an oversight because they felt the need to rush the phone to market to meet an incredible demand. After seeing all of this, I am glad I stuck with my 3Gs
 

longshadows

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You can tell Alli's southern!

Well put, Alli! We all heard about this antenna thing the very morning of the first day the new iPhones were selling. We discussed it and twittered the rumors while standing in line outside the Apple Store.

Now that the new has worn off and a bit of reality has washed the denial away, some want new phones. Well, for most new owners, you are still within your 30 days. Take it back. I doubt Apple will give you any flack.

Thanks, Alli, for cutting through the hype on this discussion! ;)
 
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toddrules

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After everything I read on the internet, I felt like I was the only person that got a good Iphone4. I love mine, works great, I don't hold my phone so it effects the antenna, nor have I been able to find a way where i could comfortable hold my phone to bridge that gap. In fact I have better reception then I did with my 3GS. Maybe this is all really over blown because the media loves a chance to jump on apple or maybe I just got the only good Iphone4 made.
 

Fausty82

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Well put, Alli! We all heard about this antenna thing the very morning of the first day the new iPhones were selling. We discussed it and twittered the rumors while standing in line outside the Apple Store.

Now that the new has worn off and a bit of reality has washed the denial away, some want new phones. Well, for most new owners, you are still within your 30 days. Take it back. I doubt Apple will give you any flack.

Thanks, Alli, for cutting through the hype on this discussion! ;)

I agree totally. And while Apple and Jobs may appear arrogant, it's like my Dad used to tell me - "it ain't bragging if you can back it up".
 

cardfan

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I don't see why people are calling for a recall???? Anyone that doesn't want their iPhone 4 can return it. It is still within The 30 day return period. I don't think this issue needs a recall but, as usual, I am I'm the minority.

I don't think it needs a recall either.

But merely saying "take it back" should send shivers down Apple's back. Especially with android alternatives like the Captivate releasing in a few days.

And especially with Bumpers that cost around a dollar to make laying around that fixes the issue but not elegantly.
 

TLD1

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I don't see Jobs & Co. admitting to anything, nor do I see a recall happening. Although I like my iPhone 4, and don't have any ready plans to revert back to being a BlackBerry user any time soon...I am far from a fanboy of any kind.

Apple is by far the most arrogant and brand-centric company in existance, and although the statements issued by them so far and the "software update" that is promised soon are both band-aids attempting to cover a huge gaping wound...I doubt they will do any more than what is absolutely necessary to keep the outcry to a dull roar.

My iPhone 4 is only having intermittant proximity sensor issues...and none that a software update might indeed fix, so personally I'm happy either way. Of course...a new phone would always be nice!:D
 

Dphone

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Product recalls have never been done for anything that didn't somehow lead to serious injury or death (think Tylenol, Toyota, cribs). These recalls have all (and without exception) taken place long into the product's life, not within days of product release.

Anyone waiting for a recall of a cell phone will need patience, cause it isn't going to happen. If you are experiencing the antenna problem - take your phone back for a refund!

The consumer is responsible for his purchases. You can't purchase a load of manure and then complain because it smells like $hit - know what I mean?

I've been in this forum for a little while now, and I must say, your the only one that makes perfect sense 100% of the time. Can I follow you on twitter and read great stuff as this ?