I used to be an iPhone guy. I had the original iPhone and I fed my habit over and over, all the way through the 4S series (Siris?).
Then I wasn’t an iPhone guy anymore. I have stayed true to all my other Apple products because of their design, functionality and, yes, “cool” factor. The iPhone 5 and 5C in their rainbow colors, though? I said keep ‘em, even as my then eleven year-old begged for a 5C.
My wife gave in to his big eyes and “I need a smartphone so you can text me at school, Mom” argument. He got his coveted iPhone 5C and I bailed for the comfort, connectivity and customization of the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Game on, Grasshopper.
His first 5C failure came in the form of a faulty screen. Apple Care to the rescue. Replaced. Next, two non-functioning Home Buttons on consecutive units. Ta DAAAA. “Thanks for making me get Apple Care, Dad.” Then came the overheating and, now, back to the Home Button issue, but this time on the 5S he chose after he reached his melting point. In all, five…count them…four 5C’s and a 5S.
Undaunted, the boy now wants an iPhone 6. Sucker. But he’s a trend-following teen, not a savvy consumer like Dad.
The recall of iOS8’s first patch fell on his deaf ears. Phones that bend in one’s pocket? No problem. Except for Apple. They need to face up to the fact that they may be the high investment brand on the product ladder, but they aren’t all that.
Here are a few lessons that Apple might want to consider:
- It’s time for a little Quality Control on those phones. Hire a reliable materials testing lab to be sure that the frame doesn’t bend, the touch screen reads whatever magic makes it work, and that the buttons all push without incident. A carefree experience engages, while a careless design outrages. Know the difference and do something world changing about it.
- If you screw up, admit it and fix it. With or without Apple Care. Take a look at your history and figure out what you did wrong, and right. The word whispered among the Genius Bar crew is that the iPhone 5s all had a bending problem, too. So why did you let it happen to the iPhone 6 series? Oops?
- Watch out for social media. It’s gonna getcha. Apple Lovers want to love the brand, but they will move from advocates to critics unless Apple takes a decisive course of action and owns up to the issues in a very public way, at the same time that they get all NASA Apollo 13, and work the problem. If engineers could save three guys a quarter-million miles into space with cardboard, duct tape, and some cotton underpants, Apple can fix their bendy phones and replace them with more pocket-friendly models. The time to do that was yesterday.
- Finally, we recommend that Apple coordinate with third-party providers of accessories to launch the stuff that saves iPhones from human destruction on the same day that the product goes on sale. I drop my Galaxy Note II on a daily basis. The aftermarket case that I bought on its birthday has saved the phone time and again, around the world. Like Superman.