In a move that couldn’t have surprised anyone, Steve Jobs told a hastily assembled press conference crowd that everybody who bought an iPhone 4 gets a rubber buggy baby bumper, or if they already purchased one for the ridiculous price of $29 (can those things cost more than pennies to make?), they’ll get their money back.
Still unsatisfied? Jobs will open his wallet and personally reimburse you for your iPhone after he gives it a thorough inspection. The deal is good till Sept. 30, when Apple will determine whether there’s a better solution.
And according to Jobs, Apple employees are “working [their] asses off” to find that solution. In fact, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that cots have been set up in the engineering office as Apple employees toil ’round the clock. Maybe they should also check up whether the iPhone 4 explodes while they’re at it.
Jobs was pretty pissy and couldn’t believe the sensational coverage, especially since 0.55% of users complained — I wonder how many of them were left handed. He moaned about the term “Antennagate.” Did he not realize that the media blows both ways sure, they’ll call your toy tablet the greatest device ever one day and then call you a fraud when your latest product has a flaw, one that supposedly every smartphone has — Jobs demonstrated with similar signal loss by squeezing a Blackberry Bold, a Droid Eris and a few other competitors.
I wish Jobs didn’t feel the need to whine about the media coverage because all of Apple’s other moves were commendable. Then again, apparently Jobs rushed to Cupertino from Hawaii, where he was vacationing, so maybe he’s allowed to spread some piss and vinegar.
“You know, we’re not perfect,” he said. “We know that, you know that. And phones aren’t perfect either.”
I remember when Apple ran commercials stating that Macs never crash — mine crashed just this morning — so admitting to occasional failings is a breath of fresh air from the company.
But is humility (even when it’s laced with bitterness regarding missing a luau — Jobs had the perfect lei picked out) a good thing in this situation? ChangeWave’s survey conducted right after the iPhone 4 launch found that 52% of potential smartphone purchasers had their hearts set on Apple’s baby; will this highly publicized screw-up — and the idea that Apple isn’t perfect — change hearts and mind?
In the echo chamber known as the modern mediascape, it’s hard to tell when there’s serious public discontent. Even David Letterman’s quite funny Top Ten list of last week seemed to be mocking the excessive media coverage. Perhaps Jobs was right to criticize the media’s over-the-top reaction — he might have dialed into the public sentiment that the tech media are a bunch of dramatic boors.
Speaking of public sentiment, a person-on-the-street video by Switched.com released a few weeks ago documented that most New Yorkers had no clue what a Google Nexus One was. Following carrier pullouts by Sprint and Verizon and the shuttering of its online store, Google announced in a blog that, a little more than six months after its launch, the Nexus One is pretty much finished:
“This week we received our last shipment of Nexus One phones. Once we sell these devices, the Nexus One will no longer be available online from Google. Customer support will still be available for current Nexus One customers. And Nexus One will continue to be sold by partners including Vodafone in Europe, KT in Korea, and possibly others based on local market conditions.”
From seeing the phone in action at Google’s NYC headquarters, I got the impression it was a nice piece of tech; certainly those TechCrunch guys were impressed and it took second place in ReadWriteWeb’s Best of the Web 2010 poll (behind the iPad, of course). But the marketing for the device was next to nonexistent and sales were pitiful — at least in comparison to the iPhone, which it was supposed to slay.
Unfortunately, the direct-to-consumer sales plan, giving the carrier the slip, appears to have been ahead of its time. I won’t give up hope that we see a Nexus Two one day… One day….