Too Little Too Late for Apple? Maybe Worse…

Amid the excitement and chaos surrounding the release of the iPhone 5, many customers noticed that there were some problems with their brand new devices. Issues ranged from strange noises coming from the device to “leaking light.” ‘Whenever a new product is released by any company, it is never going to be perfect the first time around. However  as we have seen with CEO Tim Cook, customer satisfaction is king.

When customers complained about the new “Maps” app that replaced the Google Maps app, Tim Cook wasted no time writing a letter apologizing to customers. So it makes sense that when customers complained about Apple’s newest release, the iPhone 5, Tim Cook called for stronger quality control. But was what he asked for too much?

At the Foxconn production plant, workers, many from the quality control section, have gone on strike. From the China Labor Watch, we hear, “factory management and Apple, despite design defects, raised strict quality demands on workers, including indentations standards of 0.02mm and demands related to scratches on frames and back covers. With such demands, employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard.” Obviously, when it becomes impossible to do your job, strike is imminent. These standards led to fights among workers and quality control inspectors which ultimately halted production at times. This will delay shipments for iPhones for weeks.

The question I raise is how important is quality control? In my opinion, if Apple had shown more care about the quality of the design in the first place, then perhaps Apple wouldn’t have had to raise their standards so high. If anything this whole ordeal shows the importance of quality control from the beginning. Apple was most likely relying on the strength of their brand name and felt that strong quality control was not as important as getting as many iPhones out in a short amount of time to meet the record setting demand. And maybe they were right. The iPhone 5 had one of the biggest releases in smart phone history. People camped out for days just to get their hands on one. And even though there have been numerous complaints about the design, many are still lining up to get the phone. The other day I went to the Apple store to get my phone (the 3Gs) repaired and asked about the iPhone 5 because I was thinking about purchasing one. They told me they were out and had no idea when the shipments were going to come in because the employee described the deliveries as “random.”

So back to my original question. How important is quality control? One piece of data that I would like to see is out of all these people who complained about the phone, how many actually returned the phone? Apple possesses one of the strongest brand names with large amounts of customer loyalty. I would also be interested to hear how many people would take an iPhone 5 now that leaks a little light than an iPhone 5 that is perfect in five weeks. I’m sure the data would shock us all as many people prefer immediate gratification as opposed to high quality.

I would like to hear your thoughts on whether you believe in the highest quality control standards in relation to the phone or whether you believe that Apple should start churning out these phones like hot cakes and drop the price.



2 thoughts on “Too Little Too Late for Apple? Maybe Worse…

  1. It seems like Apple doesn’t have to worry about things like that because their brand name is strong. Millions of people lined up the 4s, knowing it wasn’t the 5, but it was new Apple product out so it was a must buy. Within the first couple of days the antenna was a huge problem and millions of people complained and Apple was forced to try and fix the problem. Why wasn’t this huge problem found out in the development stage? The quality of the product wasn’t as important as getting the product out. Sometimes it feels as if they are purposely doing this, so they can come to the rescue and show the customers that “Apple has your back” when you run into problems. Of course it’s just an opinion. Apple does make one hell of a quality computer, compared to competitors. The quality of the computers is ten times better than that of the iPhone, but that could be due to the price difference.

  2. I agree with the comment above. The ability to push products out as fast as possible appears to be Apple’s number one priority at this point. Quality can easily be put on the back burner with this kind of mindset. To me, this is a slap in the face to loyal customers. Apple seems to be just sitting back and letting brand loyalty do all the work. No matter how large and successful a company may be, there is a problem when an incident such as this occurs. Tim Cook’s actions seem to be an overcompensation for prior fault and carelessness. I feel as if the only reason he took such drastic action was to try to reel back in disappointed customers and give them a false sense of hope. Such a large company should take more pride in their products and not be so intent on pushing new products out at lightening speed.

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