10 million new iPhones sold in three days. Wall to wall five star reviews. And still this has somehow been a bad week for Apple.
Its U2 album giveaway continues to rile disgruntled music fans (even though you don’t have to listen to it), the first update to iOS 8 left thousands of devices without mobile signal and a series of images and videos showed the new iPhone 6 Plus being bent out of shape.
iOS 8 is clearly the biggest issue Apple has had to deal with. 8.0.1. was only meant to fix a few small bugs but ended up grabbing headlines with its cellular failings and Touch ID niggles.
40,000 handsets were said to be affected. This was clearly annoying for Apple, and more importantly its users, but remained a relatively small issue in terms of numbers, despite the column inches devoted to it.
‘Bendgate’ has been a great chance for rival manufacturers to try and shoot down Apple’s famous design smarts. The fact that users found their phone skewed after hours stashed in a pocket was obviously not a great look for Apple.
Had it made the big phone too thin and compromised on strength? Seeing as the one video of a phone being bent required a grown man to use all his strength to do so suggests perhaps things have been overblown somewhat.
But it’s Apple’s reactions to these two problems that is more instructive than the problems themselves.
Under Steve Jobs, Apple would have most likely ploughed on and ignored any concerns until the story died down.
This approach backfired spectacularly when it was found the iPhone 4 lost signal when held too tight.
Instead, Apple has made public moves to apologise and reassure. It pulled iOS 8.0.1. quickly, said sorry, and has now released a new update.
There’s even a tutorial on how to roll back from iOS 8.0.1. if you don’t trust the newest version. That’s progress.
Allowing select journalists into its labs to see how it stress tests the iPhone 6 in the wake of the bending allegations also marks a new step in being more open.
Apple did this with the antenna issues with the iPhone 4, but it came so late in the day that it was almost an afterthought. Not this time.
Letting major outlets see how it put iPhone 6 models put through their paces is reassuring, especially just days after the story broke.
The fact that Phil Schiller revealed only nine complaints had been made about the iPhone 6 Plus getting bent tells its own story.
So, this week may have been a bad one for Apple. But once the sales figures come in for this year, it’s unlikely many will remember these hiccups in the long term.
And largely because Apple seems to have learned its lesson from past PR errors.