In the wake of Consumer Report’s recommendation to not buy the iPhone 4, Apple is in a rare predicament – backed into a corner by a trusted product-review entity. Instead of repeated cycles of fawning tech-relevant press, Apple has played defense to the massive chorus of complaints about the iPhone 4’s antenna woes.
Who knows what miracle Apple will attempt to pull when it releases the much-anticipated iPhone 4 software update. No doubt Apple’s stakeholders desperately want the update to fix the reception problem – or, at a minimum, stems the tidal wave of bad PR.
With the strongest rumors yet of the iPhone leaving its GSM cage, other wireless providers are understandably loathe to disturb the beast, given that they may have the chance to carry Apple’s products in the future.
That being said… to Apple’s hardware competitors, we’re wondering – where the hell are you?
Why aren’t Motorola, Google, and RIM, which all manufacture alternative smartphones, running 24/7 PR and media operations to reinforce the bad reaction to the iPhone 4’s (current) fatal flaw? Can you imagine the viral buzz that would generate from an aggressive campaign with a smart and witty ad at its core, one that pokes fun at the iPhone 4’s problematic reception? Maybe a twist on the “I’m a Mac” ads, where the iPhone 4 keeps dropping calls while the rival Droid/Nexus One/Blackberry works just fine?
Simply put, a reliable tech behemoth like Apple is rarely going to have a product fail on this scale. When it does, the competition must jump fast and go for the kill. And, that’s effectively what a PR strategy is all about.
If you think that doesn’t matter, consider the recent obituary of the Microsoft Kin. Had Apple stumbled closer to the death knell of the Kin, who knows what, ahem, reception that phone would be getting now?