iPhone 4 recall "inevitable" as PR experts call for action

Apple is under increasing pressure to recall or offer a fix for the iPhone 4 public relations experts said today, if it wants to keep the iPhone brand name strong and sentiment towards the Cupertino-based giant positive.

In light of the reception issues, which Apple says is a software bug -- whereas users say it is caused by touching the antenna on the side of the device -- market share has fallen and people are turning away from one of Apple's most popular devices yet, as bad consumer sentiment towards the iPhone 4 as word of its reception woes continues to spread.

Cult of Mac recieved comments today on the issue by some of America's leading public relations experts, many of whom believe a full hardware recall is "inevitable" and will have "potentially devastating" effects if not announced soon.

"Apple will be forced to do a recall of this product,” Professor Matthew Seeger, an expert in crisis communication told Cult of Mac today. “It’s critically important. The brand image is the most important thing Apple has. This is potentially devastating.”

Dr. Larry Barton, author of Crisis Leadership Now and a leading expert in crisis management, told Cult of Mac that Apple needs to have a "military-like response" to the issue, which so far has not been evident.

Echoing these statements, Consumer Reports spoke out today about the issues -- which have seen them make reccomendations against purchasing the iPhone 4 -- in a post on their blog, urging Apple to provide a resolution for the problem at "no extra cost to consumers" and saying that aside from the antenna grievance, the device sits at the top of the list of best available smartphones.

"Apple suggested owners mitigate the problem by holding the phone differently or purchasing a case. But those solutions put the onus on consumers and skirt Apple's obligation to offer a product that works consistently and reliably out of the box," they wrote.

"We think it's the company's responsibility to provide the fix—at no extra cost to consumers."

Some have begun speculation that Apple, which continues to push the idea that an iOS bug is responsible for the woes, may offer their bumper cases --which fix the issue by stopping skin contact with the antenna -- for free to iPhone 4 users, removing the current $29 fee and alleviating the need for every iPhone 4 to be recalled.

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They won't recall, they'll probably have to offer the rubber bumper band for free and accept that customers will maybe want a refund. That would be cheaper than recalls per unit, and then fix it with a revision.

Neobond said,
They won't recall, they'll probably have to offer the rubber bumper band for free and accept that customers will maybe want a refund. That would be cheaper than recalls per unit, and then fix it with a revision.

While I doubt a true recall might happen, either way, Apple seems to be in a pickle: if they recall, that's pretty self-explanatory that they had an issue with the phone; if they simply offer free bumpers instead, that's pretty much a self-admission of an issue -- although I can see Apple trying to pass it off as a charitable action lol. And I doubt everyone will be so easily appeased. I wonder if the FTC is sniffing around on this?

@ir0nw0lf - Exactly. They won't issue a recall because it will humiliate them and acknowledge the issue, so they'll be forced to offer the bumper cases for free and pass it off as a good will gesture. That will immediately get Apple fans onboard and we'll see forums flooded with comments about how generous Apple is and how it was never really an issue in the first place.

Why don't we let them release their supposed software fix first in the case that it would work...

If they do a recall I hope it wont take another 2 months for it to be available, I need a new phone and i don't want any android crap...

Leonick said,
Why don't we let them release their supposed software fix first in the case that it would work...

If they do a recall I hope it wont take another 2 months for it to be available, I need a new phone and i don't want any android crap...

It doesn't work. Unfortunately.

Just recall the dam phone, its clearly a problem why don't they do anything about it. On the most part im sure if they said look hay we messed up and redid the work, im sure some would try the next one, the last few phones have been fab. Apple just recall it, fix the problems and start again, yes it will cost them, but it will cost them a lot more if they dont fix the problem.

Can't see them recalling it. I suspect new batches might have some sort of coating over the antenna and combined with the software fix should get rid of the issue.

Apple will probably issue a statement if you're having problems with your iPhone then you can swap it for one of the new ones (when they eventually make a fix)

There's absolutely no iPhone 4's on sale in the UK, stock seems more limited than usual and I suspect it's because they've stopped manufacturing them until they can get a fix made. It says 3 weeks for delivery of an iPhone on the Apple site (US as well) so something is up with the manufacturing.

DomZ said,
Can't see them recalling it. I suspect new batches might have some sort of coating over the antenna and combined with the software fix should get rid of the issue.

Apple will probably issue a statement if you're having problems with your iPhone then you can swap it for one of the new ones (when they eventually make a fix)

There's absolutely no iPhone 4's on sale in the UK, stock seems more limited than usual and I suspect it's because they've stopped manufacturing them until they can get a fix made. It says 3 weeks for delivery of an iPhone on the Apple site (US as well) so something is up with the manufacturing.

Its been 3 weeks on Apple site long before the antenna issue raised its head. Stocks have depleted here in UK rapidly since it's launch, proving it's been a massive hit seller I called Apple last week, and they don't expect to get new stocks until after July at earliest.

I was planning to get my first iPhone now. Been waiting for a few months for the iPhone 4 to come out (and then it was sold out straight away). Meanwhile all these issues started popping up. All my colleagues who managed to get an iPhone 4 have all of the described problems as well.

Apple handing out free bumpers is not a solution, but a workaround. It won't fix the underlying problem. Besides, I buy devices also because of their looks, I don't necessarily want to hide them behind rubber casings. For a phone that costs almost 1.000€, this is not something you should have to put up with.
Can't say I'm too happy with my iPod Touch as well. Latest gen, and with the last OS update the battery went from lasting over a week to not even 2 days anymore.

So, I got tired of waiting, and ordered my HTC Desire yesterday.

Odom said,
I was planning to get my first iPhone now. Been waiting for a few months <snip> So, I got tired of waiting, and ordered my HTC Desire yesterday.

The Desire is very nice, I got two instead of one iProne and they work very well, impressed with android and the market has some decent apps, the eBay and XDA ones are particularly nice.

Besides the design, the Desire is far superior in pretty much every aspect.

And since you have to put an ugly bumper on your iPhone anyway, the Desire's design isn't that bad anymore.

Thing is, with Apple, we will ALL get replacements or our money back, no matter, so really, I don't give a damn one way or the other Because we bought 'quality' then you really cant expect anything else from a super company

*Cat goes headlong into pigeons*

scaramonga said,
Because we bought 'quality' then you really cant expect anything else from a super company

It was released with a major design flaw. How is that "quality"?

You know some Madison Advertising type is working up an add for (insert your favorite non Apple phone here) to push out the fact that "our" phone won't drop calls, and you can hold it any way you want. With or without a case.
Business, strike while the other guy is down.
I have lunch every week with a bunch of my amateur radio buddies and when that phone was first released, a bunch of us made inquiries as to how Apple was going to shield the EXTERNAL antenna from someone TOUCHING it. At the low power levels & frequency that the GSM phones use, it wouldn't take much to "short out" the antenna, throwing the SWR's out of wack.
Then to find out there are two antennas, one for wi-fi & the other for the phone, it just makes sense that if your antenna is resonant at a certain frequency, and (by covering the gap between the antennas) you ADD a few centimeters of LENGTH to that antenna, it won't resonate anymore, and the signal will go down.
Maybe they should have hired a CB radio operator, hell, THEY even know THAT much about antennas!

73's
KB0GNK

I agree it's a PR Disaster.. but it's still a BS bug, you need to hold the phone in a death grip to produce the problem.. Probably why everyone I know with an iPhone can't reproduce the problem in any way that could be considered, and only has ever lost calls because of AT&T's ****ty reception..

Except that the "Death Grip" is the NATURAL way to hold the phone while surfing and with the left hand while making calls.

I'm left handed and I hold my phone in the exact way that causes the issues with the iPhone 4. Therefore to me the situation is not exaggerated because it would render the phone unusable to me, as my signal strength varies considerably where I live.

At the end of the day I'm really not interested in how other people hold their phones or whether it affects them. All I know is that the issue makes the iPhone 4 a no-go for me.

I'm right handed and I also hold the phone that way. Often I hold it to my ear with the left hand and of course, every time I surf the web, I hold it in the exact way that causes the issues.

This issue is a no-go for both left and right handed users.

Apple should stop behaving like a spoiled kid and accept the criticism, say that they are sorry and move on by making a better second gen iphone 4- their attitude right now is very irritating.
Their focus should be on their product but when the product fails you should make your customer happy by first acknowledging the issue, saying that you are sorry and propose a good solution, the solution that they have proposed so far ( holding the phone a certain way) is a complete joke coming from such a big company.

The problem with that, they're gonna lose lots of dollars for having manufactured millions of current gen of iPhone 4 since no one wouldn't want to buy it anymore

I wish the Windows 7 phone would be coming out now like the Droid X. I would have waited and bought the windows phone instead... I'll probably not buy another iPhone after this.

I wish the Windows 7 phone would be coming out now like the Droid X. I would have waited and bought the windows phone instead... I'll probably not buy another iPhone after this.

I have used iPhones since the first one, exclusively, Sunday I am going to return it and get the Captivate.

The only Apple product I own has failed me. So, Apple, you fail. Fix your damn phone and stop lying to your customers or they are all going to leave you like I am about to do.

If they just provided a free bumper for the phone, then that would satisfy most customers. Will be interesting to see Job's response to this...if he responds.

But that bmper makes it all most as big as a Droid X or an Evo 4G - effectively eliminating the one and only reason why you would by the iPhone over a Droid X or an Evo, its size.

techbeck said,
If they just provided a free bumper for the phone, then that would satisfy most customers. Will be interesting to see Job's response to this...if he responds.

If Apple simply sent a vacuum sealed fart-in-a-bag to many of those same customers to fix this issue, those same customers would be just as happy. Forget bumpers - vote FART-IN-A-BAG!!!!

drphysx said,
But that bmper makes it all most as big as a Droid X or an Evo 4G - effectively eliminating the one and only reason why you would by the iPhone over a Droid X or an Evo, its size.
Ehh what? The main reason to get the phone would probably be because you want to use iOS over android, not to save a few mm's with the handset.

If size was the big factor you'd pick up a candybar dumb phone which is half the size of the iPhone.

Use the iOS over Android? Are you crazy? Android is better in every aspect. Much better actually.

The only thing that's better about that iPhone is its slim design. Not everyone wants a huge phone like the Droid X or Evo.

Other than that, there's absolutely nothing that the iPhone does better than a Droid X or Evo. Especially it's OS sucks in comparison to Android.

drphysx said,
Use the iOS over Android? Are you crazy? Android is better in every aspect. Much better actually.

The only thing that's better about that iPhone is its slim design. Not everyone wants a huge phone like the Droid X or Evo.

Other than that, there's absolutely nothing that the iPhone does better than a Droid X or Evo. Especially it's OS sucks in comparison to Android.

I prefer iOS. That's my Opinion

Yeah, well, your problem. You could get a phone without antenna issues and a better OS.
I don't really care about your opinion, because apart from games, there's nothing that speaks for iOS against Android. Some things are debateable, this one is not: Android is by far the better OS.

I still don't get how this could have passed through quality control... Surely the technicians and other people higher up must have been aware of this issue before the product launched?

.Neo said,
I still don't get how this could have passed through quality control... Surely the technicians and other people higher up must have been aware of this issue before the product launched?

well it was lost in a bar

TechJunkie81 said,

well it was lost in a bar


True, maybe all the technicians were drunk while developing this phone.

funny how everyone is complaining about all this but i have not had a single problem with my phone other than the typical software bugs that come with a new update to a new number version.. my iphone 4 does not have the issue cause i am by a cell phone tower where i live so i can't be getting a weak signal. i have not dropped a single call nor have i lost data unless i am out and away from a cell phone tower. the same happened with my old 3GS as well.

snakes200 said,
i have not had a single problem with my phone other than the typical software bugs that come with a new update to a new number version..

I still cant work out how Apple PR have managed to make everyone think Windows bugs are more awful than Sex Panther aftershave, whilst Apple bugs are like nurturing Kittens.

snakes200 said,
funny how everyone is complaining about all this but i have not had a single problem with my phone other than the typical software bugs that come with a new update to a new number version.. my iphone 4 does not have the issue cause i am by a cell phone tower where i live so i can't be getting a weak signal. i have not dropped a single call nor have i lost data unless i am out and away from a cell phone tower. the same happened with my old 3GS as well.

Yes, because the thousands of people complaining about it must be complete idiots and have zero substance in their complaints, all because you yourself are not experiencing it?

Lame.

LiquidSolstice said,
Yes, because the thousands of people complaining about it must be complete idiots and have zero substance in their complaints, all because you yourself are not experiencing it?

Lame.


Calm down. That's completely different to what he said.

snakes200 said,
my iphone 4 does not have the issue cause i am by a cell phone tower where i live so i can't be getting a weak signal. i have not dropped a single call nor have i lost data unless i am out and away from a cell phone tower.

So your argument is that the issue is exaggerated because you - living right next to a cell tower - haven't had any dropped calls? You can't be serious. What about all the people that live further away and had an acceptable signal on other phones but not on the iPhone 4 with its antenna issue?

Well, they deserve it. Apple is by far the most arrogant company around. They've used the words "magical" and "revolutionary" too often lately, and it's hard to forget their deceptice Mac vs. PC ads.

Now their arrogance backfires on them and I can't say I'm not happy about that...

Uhg..those I'm a Mac, I'm a PC ads were just plain terrible. Not funny, and full of arrogance. I agree, they need to step down and eat a big helping of humble pie.

drphysx said,
Well, they deserve it. Apple is by far the most arrogant company around. They've used the words "magical" and "revolutionary" too often lately, and it's hard to forget their deceptice Mac vs. PC ads.

Now their arrogance backfires on them and I can't say I'm not happy about that...

+1

Really don't have the time of day for them.

drphysx said,
Well, they deserve it. Apple is by far the most arrogant company around. They've used the words "magical" and "revolutionary" too often lately, and it's hard to forget their deceptice Mac vs. PC ads.

Now their arrogance backfires on them and I can't say I'm not happy about that...

+100000

Amen, brother.

I am enjoying all of this negative publicity Apple has been getting on the issue. Although, I'm still in the camp that the issue is exaggerated by people who don't even own or have used the phone, it is still a design issue that should not have made it out the door.

I'm at a lost as to what they can really do about it, short of a full redesign that is going to change the look of the phone in some significant way. They may be able to re-position the black band to the bottom or top of the phone, but i doubt it (antenna design is a very very tricky thing). Even if they did, people would complain that if they touch the bottom of the phone they drop calls or have signal lost or whatever. They might be able to coat the area or the whole metal band with something to add some insulation...it would no doubt change the look of the phone and add extra bulk.

I seriously doubt that Apple will do any of this, however. Despite this glaring, widespread, much publicized issue, Apple has managed to sell 2 million iPhone 4s. Those sell numbers blow every phone out of the water. Apple may lose face with some, but not enough to break their bottom line or their iPhone brand.

I hope that I eat my words on this but: Don't hold your breath for an iPhone 4 recall, because it ain't going to happen. At the most there will be free bumpers for complaining customers, but I doubt Apple will even do that. They will probably leave it on the market as is and not make the same mistake with the iPhone 5.

At the changing rates of the smarkphone market, Apple should be concerned by this - its just compounding the issue they have with their constant decline in market share, it seems to be solely Android who is munching it up too. At this rate in a year or so the iPhone will no longer be the market leader in the US.

I can't believe they're still trying to play that game. Wow is all I gotta say for what's gonna happen when they finally do a recall and what it's going to do to the company.

Is Apple seriously still claiming that this is a bug in iOS?

On another iOS note, haven't Cisco been running their own iOS on their hardware for years? Isn't there some sort of trademark/branding issue there? I'm assuming no since I've not heard anything about it...

Pong said,
Is Apple seriously still claiming that this is a bug in iOS?

On another iOS note, haven't Cisco been running their own iOS on their hardware for years? Isn't there some sort of trademark/branding issue there? I'm assuming no since I've not heard anything about it...


i was in an apple store on saturday getting my 3Gs replaced, making small talk with the guy re: this, its all just deny deny deny..

What I dont understand is the masses of consumers willing to accept the "quick fix" of putting a free bumper on their Iphone.

cloaked said,
What I dont understand is the masses of consumers willing to accept the "quick fix" of putting a free bumper on their Iphone.

Because lots of people wanted a case on it regardless.

Betaz said,

Because lots of people wanted a case on it regardless.

That means nothing, what IF you didn't use a case? You will end up having a product that does not work consistently and reliably out of the box.

Apple need to do a recall, full stop.

jOshay said,

Apple need to do a recall, full stop.

Completely agree... I'm an iPhone user since years and never use a case. One of the things that are nice about iPhone is the design. Why shall I put any ugly bumber on a good loking phone?

Betaz said,

Because lots of people wanted a case on it regardless.

Possibly, but with the product flawed without one, Apple needs to change the dimensions of the iPhone to include the 'needed' case/bumper.