When word of the flaw in the iPhone 4′s design first surfaced, Apple went into deep denial. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was sending people emails telling them to get a life.
Soon Consumer Reports said the stories about dropped calls and the antenna were true. Apple had to capitulate.
Jobs made a large public apology and offered customers a rubber bumper for the iPhone 4. The bumper case keeps your cotton-picking-fingers from bridging the intentional gap in the phone’s case and shorting the antenna.
Jobs tried to spread the blame around by claiming Blackberry, Nokia, Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers had the same problem.
Not true the phone manufacturers shouted back in unison.
Motorola turned Apple’s claims on their head in a series of funny ads that said “No Jacket Required” for the Droid X.
Antennagate was the reason given last week for the sudden departure of Apple Senior VP Mark Papermaster. Although he wasn’t the person responsible for the mistake by Apple, somebody’s head had to roll and Papermaster was expendable.
It was in the course of discussing the firing that Mitch Wagner made the admission the iPhone 4 wasn’t perhaps the best voice phone on the market.
Mitch is a freelance journalist at ComputerWorld and staunch defender of Apple, the company and its products. The fact that he made the admission in the middle of his story is telling.
While he surrounds the comment with lots of positive statements about the iPhone 4, it’s getting harder to ignore the fact that many people are looking at other phones besides the iPhone like Android.
Here is what he said in context.
“The iPhone 4 antenna problem appears to be more of a PR problem for Apple than a major product flaw — or, rather, it is a major product flaw, but one which apparently effects a relatively small number of people. It appears in places where the AT&T signal was already weak.
The iPhone 4 is a great smartphone, so long as your primary use for a phone is not for making voice calls. If you primarily use your smartphone for email, Web browsing, Twitter, Facebook, photography, playing games, listening to music, or any of the other things that the iPhone is great at, then you’ll be very happy with the iPhone (I am).
If you’re primarily using your phone for voice calls, you’re better off with a different phone.
Antennagate is a good example of how a wrong decision can come back to haunt companies with previously stellar products. Apple should have looked at Toyota who seem to have recovered from their safety gaffe by issuing clear apologies and advertising that stresses their safety record over time.
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