Every time Apple releases a new iPhone, it makes headlines. That’s nothing new. It’s also not unusual for the legions of Apple fans to find something to complain about with their new phones – remember the complaints about poorly placed antennas that dogged the iPhone 4?
That issue was resolved by fairly quickly, but we’re not sure that’s going to be the case with the iPhone 6’s issue: the fact it bends in user’s pockets.
This is obviously a problem. iPhones are not cheap. Nobody wants to plunk down hundreds of dollars on a phone to have it get damaged in the course of normal usage within days of acquisition. People are taking their discontent to social media. Some complaints are clever – we’re particularly fond of the Dali Edition graphic that exaggerates the scale of the problem greatly – but others are straightforward demonstrations of the phone’s failing that are going viral fairly quickly.
The question then becomes how should Apple address this situation?
Tactics we’ve seen the company use before that haven’t worked include blaming the end user – that was the case with AntennaGate, where iPhone owners were told that if they’d just hold the phone in a completely unnatural, counterintuitive position, they’d have no issues – and attempting to ignore the problem out of existence just haven’t worked.
Instead, Apple, which has put some effort into publicizing their Failure Analysis’s team’s existence and efforts to identify and rectify problems before the phone went on the market, needs to get in front of this situation and address directly why that team missed a fairly large problem. They also need to communicate what they’re going to do to make this situation right by their customers – sooner, rather than later, if they want to preserve what appears to be a rapidly-deteriorating supply of goodwill the brand enjoys.
The time honored formula of acknowledge the problem, explain causes, and identify the corrective measures, coupled with a sincere apology, is one that has served countless brands well when they’ve run into PR nightmares like the one Apple is experiencing with the new iPhone. Let’s see if that’s what Apple is going to do to keep their customers from getting bent out of shape.