Are negative reviews uncovering a bad Apple?
So, the highly anticipated iPhone 6 was recently launched but has this product finally cemented the decline of Apple as a leader in the marketplace of smartphones? If we look back to a time when Steve Jobs drove the company forward he was revolutionising the industry.
Looking back to the history of Apple and what they brought to the table they introduced the first smartphone that got the world hooked on the concept, designed the first MP3 player with any appeal and introduced us to the endless abilities of a touchscreen tablet with the invention of the iPad.
I always admired the PR department of Apple; they have launches down to a tee. They have planned appearances of the phone months in advance, orchestrated perfectly timed controlled leaks and ensured that key journalists always feel special by including them in VIP preview events. They are experts at what they do. When it comes to smartphones Apple were always leaders, but are they now starting to fall behind and slowly be overtaken by Samsung? And more importantly do their marketing and PR team know how to deal with the less than perfect reviews of their new products.
My answer to that question is no, I honestly don’t think so, and the recent reaction to the bad review of the new iPhone 6 from Computer Bild magazine is the perfect example of this. Following negative reports that the new iPhone easily bends, Computer Bild magazine decided to test it out, filmed it and uploaded their findings to their website which were less than positive. The five-minute clip reached over 350,000 people via YouTube and was broadcast on blogger and news stations.
So, how did the German department of Apple respond? Not in a very good way. Instead of focusing on the issue and addressing the concerns that had been raised in the video clip they got in touch with the publication to let them know that they would no longer receive testing devices or be invited to any official events in the future. So the message this gives – do not dare to be negative about us or you will lose the privileges we give you.
In my opinion Apple could have turned this into a positive. They could have acknowledged the flaw, taken into consideration what the video was saying and offered answers to the questions that were raised. In contrast, what they have done is indirectly tell the world they are unsure of themselves and that anyone who dares to be negative towards them (even if it is legitimate criticism) will be cut from the inner circle. Following from this, how can consumers really believe positive reviews in the future, will there always be a question over the fact that the journalist is writing what he actually thinks or is writing what he thinks Apple wants him to write so he remains within the inner sanctums.
Computer Bild has since written an open letter to Apple, which can be read in full here. Apple has yet to respond! In my opinion Apple need to begin to understand that their competitors are catching up with them…fast. They need to be prepared for negative reviews going forward and must learn to deal with these professionally.