After more than a month of a litany of complaints, jokes, and serious legal complications swirling around the iPhone 4’s antenna/reception glitch, Apple is hoping to nip the issue in the bud with a press conference tomorrow.
Since the only thing Apple knows how to do is act better than everyone else and use a lot of lofty marketing speak, it should be interesting to hear what the company officially has to say about what is perhaps its biggest flub ever, one that has landed it in a colossal class-action lawsuit.
Reports of problems on the iPhone 4 surfaced the day the phone went on sale. Because the phone’s antenna is embedded to a wire coil around the edge of the phone, anyone who holds the phone in just the wrong spot will interfere with the exposed antenna’s reception. Since it is a fundamental flaw in the design of the phone, it is assumed that 100% of the more than 3 million units sold are affected.
Apple probably could have saved itself if it handled the situation better from the beginning. Instead of trying to offer any sort of remedy, Apple’s official statement was that anyone who loses signal strength was simply holding the phone the wrong way – it was their fault. Steve Jobs specifically told Apple Store employees not to offer free protective cases to anyone, and only under a mountain of pressure did Apple finally allow dissatisfied customers to return the device without a restocking fee.
Then, when Apple finally “admitted” guilt, it was in a statement that didn’t even address the issue at hand. The company promised to patch a minor bug that incorrectly displayed the phone’s signal strength but said nothing about the very real problems with lost reception. The story, however, made its way to many mainstream news channels that reported as though Apple had fixed the problem.
Watchdog groups were not about to let the wool be pulled over their eyes, though. Consumer Reports, which had previously given a favorable rating to the iPhone 4, released a statement saying it can no longer recommend the device to consumers. And angry consumers began suing Apple over the whole ordeal, which was just recently granted class-action status. That lawsuit alone could cost Apple hundreds of millions of dollars.
So yeah, to reiterate, whatever Apple says tomorrow should be very interesting.