Saturday, September 26th, 2009

So What do You Think of Apple’s Attempts to Cover Up Exploding iPods and iPhones?

August 21, 2009 by Rico Mossesgeld  
Filed under Cellphones, Portable Audio

To be fair, it’s Apple’s status that are causing people to pay attention, when they hear stories about iPods and iPhones exploding and injuring their owners. But the company’s stance of offering refunds in exchange of keeping quiet also merits notice.

iPhoneExplodeAt first glance, Apple is protecting its bottom line—which any publicly-listed company has a legal an obligation to do, given it’s responsibility to shareholders to increase share value and dividends. What I personally find disturbing about reports requiring silence in exchange for refunds is that the company wants to be held unaccountable for obvious design faults with its products. Something that literally explodes in your face and causes injury is a flaw that needs definite addressing.

I’m pretty sure Apple’s working on the problem as I write this, but the reality is that while patches (usually) do a good job of fixing software bugs, there’s really nothing much you do about hardware bugs, especially since iPhone users are locked into two-year contracts using the same device.

What Apple can do though is tell owners what steps to take with their iPhones and iPods—which the company already does to a certain degree, on its website. But that’s not enough. What’s needed is a clear announcement revealing that iPods and iPhones have actually exploded and caused injury to a minor percentage of owners. They should detail what steps they’ve taken to investigate the problem, making clear their findings to help people avoid the same fate.

Granted, this approach is honestly bad for business, as it sullies Apple’s reputation for great industrial design, and may even lead to government-mandated recalls. You can also bet it will lead to class action suits.

But the company should also consider the long-term benefits of being honest with their customers. I’m pretty sure the Steve Jobs fan club would immediately paint any explicit admission of exploding iPhones and iPods as a sign that the company has its customers’ best interests in mind—and they would be right. This is definitely better than trying to buy the silence of people, only seeing them complain to the media of Apple’s attempt to keep its slate clean.


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