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Apple don’t always get things right

As Apple continue to face criticism for dropping Google maps and using their own flawed, half finished system, many people are wondering whether this will impact the iPhone 5 sales performance in Q4 this year.

We say it won’t cause any problems for the company. Why? Well, Just look at their track history. They may be seen as one of the most advanced technology companies on the planet, but this isn’t the first time we have seen problems with a new release.

This isn’t the first time the company have been in the spotlight due to a technical glitch or poor manufacturing quality control.

The most recent event happened in July 2010 with the ‘Antennagate’ scandal. New owners of the iPhone 4 complained that the reception quality was failing when their hand bridged a gap between two external antenna on the lower left of the chassis. Apple’s answer was ‘Don’t hold it that way’.

Jobs initially thought the complaints were a sophisticated smear campaign against the company but at a press conference later he said they would give out free covers for the iPhone. Only 0.55% of Apple users complained, according to Apple.

How did this damage the company? The iPhone 4 sold more than the 3GS and still sells well. So much for that issue then.

MobileMe in July 2008 was a much touted service by Apple. It was the companies first excursion into cloud computing. Apple created a paid for service to synchronize calenders, email, settings and address books between any Apple devices. This launched at the same time as the iPhone 3G and the App Store.

MobileMe was not one of the companies prouder moments. The service was poor and people didn’t receive email with long outages on a semi regular basis. Steve Jobs sent emails to the staff saying the service was ‘not up to Apple standards’.

The MobileMe staff were hung, drawn and quartered by the temperamental CEO. They were called into meetings and Jobs ripped into them on several occasions. A famous speech was leaked to the press. He asked the MobileMe team what the software was meant to do. When they answered he said “So why the f*ck doesn’t it do that?”

Jobs fired the team leader of the MobileMe division. The service is now called iCloud. It works better.

If, like me you bought an iPhone in June 2007 then you will remember this one well. Apple released the first iPhone then at $600 for the 8GB version. By September they dropped the price by $200. The backlash was phenomenal for the company. Apple servers were overloaded with emails and Jobs was forced to admit the mistake.

He said at the time “Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these.” The early adopters were subsequently given a $100 voucher for the Apple Store. People still weren’t happy and Jobs defended the position saying “this is life in the technology lane’. Many people said they would never buy Apple again.

Scratched iPod Nano screen. Photo by weedavid on Flickr.

Believe it or not, there was once a time with the iPod was popular. The Nano version was showcased in October 2005 however it quickly became apparent that the screen scratched very easily. People complained and Apple didn’t issue a response. Not for a while and they admitted there was a problem with a small portion of the screens that were sold.

Did the Nano flop? No, it went on to sell millions and drive sales for the quarter.

In 2003 Jobs showcased the PowerMac G5 desktop. The web team released the news before the official presentation. The Apple website on Sunday evening was brimming with high resolution images of the new product before Jobs Monday speech. The guy in charge was apparently fired for this.

In July 2000, the Cube was released to ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the Apple lovers. This seven inch cube design was a passively cooled system which you had to pair up with a keyboard and screen. It was aimed at ‘prosumers’. Sadly the device went out of date quickly as it couldn’t be upgraded. No provision to add more memory, or upgrade the graphics cards. The price was also very high. This was one of the few devices that didn’t sell well for Apple as you could buy a desktop Power Mac for less, which included a screen.

Other issues occured, in that the mould lines would crack along the sides of the chassis. The machine was retired in 2001.

Many of you will be too young to remember the CD burner problems. Apple and Jobs in particular were convinced that the way ahead was a DVD drive. Sadly the drive they included in their iMacs, PowerBooks and iBooks didnt have a drive that could burn CD’s. Napster grew in popularity and people who bought one of these computers were unable to burn the files to a compact disc. This did hurt the company as Mac sales dropped by 33% while the PC market grew by 10% in the same time period. Jobs admitted they made a mistake and ‘missed the boat’.

Long before the iPad, under the rule of CEO John Sculley, Apple released the Apple Newton device, which was marketed as a ‘personal digital assistant’. This device could understand hand writing and store contact details. Sadly for Apple the handwriting recognition rarely worked, not helped by the weak processors in 1993. When Steve Jobs returned to the mantle, he killed the Newton completely. Sadly he couldn’t erase it from the annals of Apple history.

Kitguru says: Apple don’t always get it right, but even when they don’t it never seems to phase their growth. Not many companies can get away with making huge errors.

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