MarketWatch’s Poletti: Apple can no longer afford clumsy product launches

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“Apple Inc. may be able to line up customers around the block, but even the iconic technology company can no longer afford clumsy product launches in the hotly competitive smart phone field,” Therese Poletti writes for MarketWatch.

“Rivals are probably chomping at the bit to take Apple down a notch for its rather flawed introduction of its latest gizmo, the iPhone 4,” Poletti writes. “While fans lined up last week for blocks to buy the iPhone 4 and Wall Street analysts were pounding the table over potential sales, some consumers were quickly venting about a problem with the new smart phone’s reception.”

“Demonstration videos on YouTube popped up,” Poletti writes. “Consumers complained in tweets about losing reception if they held the phone in a certain way… ‘Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas,’ Apple said in a statement. ‘This is a fact of life for every wireless phone.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Demonstration videos on YouTube did indeed pop up – and they prove Apple’s statement to be true:

Poletti continues, “On Monday, Apple touted the fact that it has sold 1.7 million units of the device in its first three days on the market. The company is also reportedly working on a software update to fix the issue with the iPhone 4, similar to what it did for its iPhone 3G two years ago, when poor battery life and other technical issues plagued early adopters.”

MacDailyNews Take: We were iPhone 3G Day One owners and we weren’t “plagued” by anything except people who were very interesting in seeing, holding, and trying out our new iPhones.

Poletti continues, “But such missteps may prove to be more costly now. Unlike two years ago, the iPhone is no longer the only compelling, touch-screen, Web-friendly smart phone available. Products like the Droid from Motorola and the Incredible from HTC are racking up big sales numbers.”

MacDailyNews Take: Good. They’ll need those profits to compensate Apple for the IP they stole.

Poletti continues, “Combine that with the continuous network problems with Apple’s only carrier in the U.S., the overburdened AT&T Inc., and consumers are now starting to realize that Apple is no longer the only game in town. AT&T’s arch-rival Verizon is spending heavily to promote Google’s Android operating system and devices built for the platform, and that carrier enjoys a far better reputation for service and coverage than the resurrected Ma Bell.”

MacDailyNews Take: A Cingular by any other name is still just a Cingular.

Poletti continues, “Recent market research data shows that phones designed around Android are starting to gain ground. Gartner Inc. said last month that in the first quarter, sales of smart phones based on Android surpassed iPhone for the first time in the U.S.”

MacDailyNews Take: How about trying the truth on for size, Theresa? Gartner said no such thing. Last month, Gartner stated only worldwide sales for first quarter 2010:

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 1Q10 (Thousands of Units)

Source: Gartner (May 2010)

If Poletti is instead mistakenly referring to NPD’s survey which did not even include business users, please read:
• Apple: Widely-misreported NPD data does not provide complete picture of U.S. smartphone market – May 11, 2010
• Don’t be misled by poorly-reported NPD Android vs. iPhone stats – May 11, 2010

Poletti continues, “Most analysts, for now, don’t believe the iPhone 4 antenna issue is going to be a big deal or impact sales.”

MacDailyNews Take: And, finally, there’s the lede, buried beneath a mountain of FUD. Typical.

Poletti continues, “Apple should not be resting on its laurels, nor can it afford to bungle new product launches with half-baked responses. Consumers now have plenty of other options in smart phones, and with better networks to choose from.”

Full hatchet job – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: What, did Dvorak leave MarketWatch, leaving poor, little, ill-equipped Theresa all alone trying to fling around her anti-Apple FUD?

Here’s the deal: AT&T is an albatross around Apple’s neck and if Steve Jobs doesn’t know it implicitly by now, he’s blind and deaf. We can only assume that a proven genius like Mr. Jobs has a master plan. For now, we’ll just continue to suffer along, but not so quietly anymore.

The “iPhone Death Grip” is a trumped up issue – as you can see from the videos above. However, if Apple says that a rubber bumper is required to the iPhone to work properly, then they should provide one free of charge in every box. We expect at least that much from Apple; a 29-cent piece of rubber marked up to $29 simply doesn’t cut it if it’s required for the phone to work properly while held in the hand.

As for the overall concept underlying Poletti’s FUDtastic mess, our own SteveJack laid it out much better weeks ago: Apple Inc. needs a bit of a tune up – June 08, 2010


  1. I give my comment posted on the original article. Surprisingly, they actually posted me in the sidebar!


    I cannot believe that you are still beating this horse that is long expired. Where have you been the last 24 hours?

    It has been shown over and over again by many blog posts that this is a VERY OLD issue that affects OTHER phones as well. As one link of where you can get 3 different examples of exactly the same effect on Nokia, Droid Incredible, and Nexus phones, see:

    – all examples are documented on independent youtube posts.

    Perhaps your question should be: Why is it that when the “grip of death effect” is discovered on Nokia, and Android phones no one makes a big deal of it. ONLY when the same laws of physics takes place on an iPhone is there a huge media feeding frenzy with self-righteous trash like yours.

    One has to wonder: Do you rehash old tripe like this without making any attempt at keeping up on the latest information because you are just too lazy to to check things out? Or do you have some deep anti-Apple resentment that causes you to make such a fool of yourself?

  2. She is correct about one thing: Apple needs to get its act together better for its product launches. There have been too many issues like this lately that should have been caught prior to launch. To release the iPhone 4 and no one have noticed this reception issue is inexcusable. Even if it is just a software issue and doesn’t affect actual reception, it’s a black eye on a fantastic product.

    Many articles about the iPhone 4 are focusing on this reception issue rather than singing the praises of the Retina Display, FaceTime, etc. While some say any publicity is good publicity, not so in this case. The iPhone is established as a high quality product that just works. This reception issue, which should have been caught and rectified prior to launch, is starting to dominate the iPhone’s press, and that’s not good.

    Perception can equal reality, given enough repetition.

  3. Do not make me laugh.

    Apple shipt like 2 million iPhones by now and like supertiny amount of people noticed the “problem”.

    Other people had no idea they “had” the “problem until they saw it in the news.

    And many like David Pogue could not even reproduce the “problem” not matter how they tried.

  4. Enough with the “29 cent piece of rubber band marked up to $29” diatribe. You don’t know this for a fact and if Steve decided to sell pocket lint with the Apple logo on it for $499 it’s my choice to buy it or not. I don’t care how much they mark up their products. A company is in business to make money and the consumer decides if it’s fair.

    Anyway, off to email this wench and set her straight with a nicely worded response.

  5. Apple is treading the uncharted territory. Product launch is not really a new industry concept, and has been done forever, by many companies large and small. However, no company in the world has ever had product launches on the scale of iPhone (and iPad). Selling a product that complex, in such high volume over so few days, there simply is no prior experience anywhere on the planet. Apple is essentially learning by doing here.

    While the headline may be true (Can’t afford clumsy launches), there is nothing in the history of any industry that could have helped Apple prepare for these product launches, except perhaps Apple’s prior launches, but even those tend to pale in comparison with every subsequent one.

  6. MDN – if a rubber bumper is actually *required* for proper iPhone 4 operation, then I agree that Apple should include one with each phone purchase. Apple does have other alternatives in the future, however, including the addition of an insulation coating on the outside of the stainless steel antenna bands, or other design changes.

    MDN – If a rubber bumper is not *required* then please shut up and vote with your dollar. Either don’t buy one (particularly the $29 piece of Apple rubber that irks you so much), or purchase an alternative bumper, case, or skin of your choice.

  7. I love this pretentious “clumsy product launch” crappola. Compared to what? All the other routinely and smoothly run product launches all the other phone companies have when they sell 1.7 million new phones they’ve never produced before in the first 72 hours they’re on sale?

    Oh wait; nobody else is doing this… including you Therese, you utterly useless, pretentious, arrogant parasite. Steve and Co. are working their collective a$$es off making better and better products that benefit consumers and you’re pretending you’re superior to them and would have done MUCH better. You’re nothing but a disposable diaper on the a$$ of society.

  8. Apple’s “problems” are largely one of size of demand and attention to launch.

    For the former, the AT&T;and Apple web site traffic caused the problem on pre-order day – one that other smart phone do not have because they do not have the demand.

    On the latter, I do not believe that the iPhone 4 has any more problems than the first production cycle of any smartphone. However the huge media attention, which is desirable, does mean that every flaw will be amplified by media. Although some pundits will discuss the incidence of the issue, most headlines will merely trumpet the flaw and let the masses infer that all units are affected. Then every tech writer must discuss the issue, but generally leave out context, ie is this a common problem in that segment of electronics. WIth the “death grip”, Apple certainly seems to have been correct that many smartphones have this problem to some extent. Given the large first day sales, the prevalence of flawed units in the wild is also going to be high – if you sell 1+ million units, even 1% incidence of a flaw will leave a significant population with afflicted units = many posts on forums = false sense of high incidence by media & public.

    Don’t get me wrong – the reception problem for those that experience it during normal use is a huge problem and Apple needs to address it ASAP. I think the press release and the Jobs response should have been more diplomatic and somewhat missed the point (consumers having to worry about how to hold the phone is antithetical to “it just works”). However, Apple has generally been good about fixing issues in a timely fashion. The iPhone 4 has some really nice improvements to an already great platform. They also need to address the yellow spots issue. However, in the end, what most of the media are missing is that, in every other area, Apple delivered a strong product that actually is giving consumers a good experience. That will win out.

  9. Poletti is a hack.

    I confronted her in an email over 2 years ago when she stated that Apple had created the App Store only after developers had complained and demanded they do as such. My comment to her was that Apple doesn’t do something without a plan and the App Store had been planned all along, not as a reaction to developers angry demands.

    She demanded I give her my proof.

    I don’t need proof. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Apple had planned it from the start, and it’s even more glaringly obvious now, yet she’s not genius and failed to see it at the time.

    She’s an amateur who is about as right as Rob Enderle is.

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