I bet there was much joy and jumping around like Tom Cruise on Oprah Winfrey’s couch at the Apple office when the business sold 10 million units of its new iPhone 6 phone after it was released a few weeks ago. For those of you who don’t know about that Tom Cruise moment on Oprah’s couch he was basically telling her how much he was in love with Katie Holmes. There he was jumping and bouncing like a little boy in a candy shop – well, we all know where that marriage ended up!
So how is it a business such as Apple, with a globally respected brand, great turnover and good products have such a series of epic fails around the release of what should be nothing more than a version of a pre-existing product?
For context, let’s take a quick look at what is going wrong:
The company was forced to pull the operating (iOS 8) system update because it basically rendered the handset to be nothing more than an iPod. Customers were reporting that they could not make or receive calls with some suggesting they could not even connect to the internet (which for some must have presented one heck of a reality check)
Other problems with the systems release included screen keyboards disappearing and let’s not get started on the App’s that wouldn’t work
Within days the #tag #bendgate began appearing because people were discovering , like Ellen Degeneres, that if the phone was near a little heat it might, well, bend
Not just restricted to the iPhone 6, the problems with the new watch have law enforcements in a spin where they are concerned that no care has been taken when it comes to driver safety. In Australia it even made the national current affairs slot when some commentators suggested that if people were sending, receiving or using the watch while driving they could be stripped of their driver’s license or face jail (for the really bad offenders of course). Why? Because a number of fatal accidents are caused by people being distracted and one of the offenders are mobile devices
Of course, the lessons that should be learnt are fairly basic:
Why would you release both a new iteration of a device and the operating system at the same time? Sometimes it is better to scale the launch of a new product and associated software to give consumers the ability to become familiar with one at a time – mind you, I would be having words to the testing team at Apple if I was CEO Tim Cook and asking “WTF?”
Road test the product: The mobile phone market is very competitive and with stories of the last release of test phones being found left in bars it is no wonder the cover of secrecy needs to be maintained – but, why not really road test the product? If things had have been done properly the heat problems that caused some phones to bend should have been picked up
The reality is Apple has a tribe of people that will continue to line up outside the store for days waiting for a new product to be released. But, customers are a fickle bunch and it is wrong to assume that they will remain in your tribe for life. Sometimes the smallest things can drive people across borders (in this case the kingdom’s of Samsung and Android) and so far the failures of the Apple iPhone 6 are not small things.
Key lesson: watch what you sell and when you sell it.
Of course, it’s not all bad for Apple. Since the product launch the stock went up 4% - but then, watch out for the Kingdom of Samsung and its army of Galaxy devices coming across the waters to further invade Apple’s territories – in fact, this is starting to get interesting so let’s ditch Tom Cruise jumping around Oprah’s couch and lets start thinking Game of Thrones! I can’t wait for the next instalment!
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