Today saw another Apple PR fails as the company waited once again to be forced to act – over this time Right to repair Pressure. The company has finally accepted that Consumers should be allowed to repair their own Apple kit, including the latest and most complex equipment.
Apple’s previous opposition was widely viewed as greedy and incompatible with that of the company environment Attitude. Many repairs are simply not worth repairs at official Apple prices, which increases the likelihood that consumers will simply dispose of defective devices and buy new ones.
This isn’t the first PR mistake of its kind. I’ve argued earlier that the company has done exactly the same thing over the years Appstore: Fight hard until it clearly lost the argument and then be reluctant to make changes.
Apple does this behavior look like the bad guy if it could have looked like a hero just by taking exactly the same actions earlier.
PR disaster # 1: App Store commissions
me before drafted a WWDC keynote announcement The company could have made the move from 30% to 15% commission before it was cornered. I argued that this would have turned a PR disaster into a triumph.
The developers would have been on their feet and applauded. And if the 2% of the big boys had railed about it, nobody would have cared. The only reason Epic Games attracted even the slightest sympathy for his position for claiming to stand up for the little guy.
There probably wouldn’t have been any Investigation of Congress, and no US Antitrust law affecting Apple. And because Apple makes most of its money with the greatest developers of all, it wouldn’t even have lost a lot of money years ago.
Instead, Apple did made a similar changebut in a way that didn’t generate the same goodwill. It only succeeded when it became clear that it was a defensive move trying to beat back criticisms that had already been made. And it couldn’t even go public with that the 98% figure because that would have been embarrassing to admit that it essentially was made a U-to turn on his previous position – what it continues to defend even now.
I said at the time it was a clever U-turn, and it was – given the hole the company had already dug. But it was stupid that Apple even dared dig this hole.
PR disaster # 2: Against DIY repairs
Apple has resisted the idea of DIY repairs using a variety of tactics including:
- Scare tactics
- “Booby traps”
- Withholding tools and information
One of the tactics used by Apple and other tech companies arguing against DIY repairs was to claim they were dangerous and quoted everything Fire hazard to consumers cut your fingers when replacing broken screens. While there are legitimate concerns about lithium-ion batteries, the folks likely to tackle notoriously tricky DIY repairs to Apple kits are familiar with the necessary precautions.
Many unofficial repairs have been hampered or completely prevented by effective booby traps. Examples are DIY home button repairs on the iPhone 6 which leads to the fact that the devices are bricked up, and the same thing happens with iPhone 8 screen repairs. this continues to the iPhone 13.
In other cases, Apple has configured iPhones to display annoying error messages after DIY repairs. Examples here are Battery change on the iPhone XR and XS.
Withholding tools and information
Apple has also made certain repairs impossible without access to hardware or software tools that are only available to Apple stores and authorized repair facilities. This started in 1984 with the original Macintosh case which was secured by special Apple-specific screws instead of standard hex head screws. More recent examples are the 2018 MacBook Pro and iMac Pro, which no longer works after a repair without an Apple software tool and iPhone 12 camera repairs prove impossible without access to the same tool.
Apple only acts after global pressure
Apple is now trying to look like the good one by doing the Notice.
“By providing better access to genuine Apple parts, our customers have even more choice when a repair is needed,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “In the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to genuine Apple parts, tools, and training, and now we have an option for those who want to do their own repairs.”
This is the same company that has consistently used all of the above methods and more to prevent this from happening. Apple has now acted just because the pressures to do so became insurmountable. Let’s just look at a few examples from this year.
In May, the Federal Trade Commission specifically called Apple because of “anti-competitive repair restrictions”.
Apple also restricts access to service manuals and has issued copyright deactivation notices when they are posted online [and] connecting components to the logic board, which can make repairs uneconomical.
In July, the Biden government announced it would act on this report and introduce new laws to force companies like Apple to Allow consumers to repair their own devices, in connection to an implementing regulation for the introduction of repair rights.
That same month, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak added his own support for DIY repairs, on the grounds that the company was founded on open source computing, and the FTC announced a new policy in favor of the right to rectification.
In September, AAPL tabled a shareholder resolution calling on the company to “discontinue its anti-repair policy“So as not to damage the company’s reputation.
I could go on The point is, Apple fought DIY repairs by all means until it became clear it encountered too much resistance – and then made an announcement to portray itself as a generous benefactor to the same consumers it had previously blocked.
Another Apple PR mistake must be avoided
Twice Apple has put itself on the wrong side of history, and twice it’s too late to put things right.
It wouldn’t matter if the only advert was in the trade press, but both topics have received widespread coverage in the mainstream media as well. In both cases, Apple took a selfish stance, waited for political and public pressure to grow, and then acted hesitantly. In both cases, the PR damage was already done.
There will be other such problems. China is likely to be one of them. I hope Apple has learned these lessons and that no more Apple PR will be missed.
That’s my opinion – what about yours? Do you think Apple is right to protect its own financial interests for as long as possible, or should it instead deal with the longer-term reputational damage inflicted on a company whose most important asset is its brand? Invest in what Steve Jobs called the brand bank? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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