Today will be an interesting day in Cupertino, CA as Apple will conduct a press conference at its company headquarters to talk about the reception problems of the Apple iPhone 4. Normally, press conferences at Apple or conducted by Apple are positive occasions...but not this time.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that CEO Steve Jobs actually knew of the new phone's reception issues but proceeded with plans for a June 2010 launch because he liked the new design. The confidentiality cone of silence over the development of the device inhibited the company's ability to test and get it market-ready, thus causing the real market problems now being experienced by Apple.
What's jarring about this is that, previously, any negative halo over the product was due to the issues with exclusive carrier AT&T's network, overburdened by the data use of Apple consumers. Now, for the first time, Apple is feeling the pain of negative customer experiences and, while they are reception related, they have to do with the built-in antenna on the iPhone.
What do we make of this, given that this is a company who ascended to its place of brand stature and loyalty by developing products which consumers coveted for their sleek industrial design and unrivaled user interfaces? Yes, other Apple products--even though it's been awhile--have failed to engender consumer demand. (Can you say Apple TV?) But, none has received this manner of ridicule by consumers, media and late-night talk show hosts. Normally, that's a place reserved for partner AT&T given its network woes.
It will be interesting to watch this brand mini-drama play out. And, it will be interesting to see how this might benefit the burgeoning market for Android devices.