Poor Apple. Again.

This time last year, Apple launched a new operating system that had numerous technical problems, as well as a mapping app that was so inaccurate that it became the target of many jokes.

Fast forward to this year and, once again, Apple’s recent product launches (including 2 models of iPhone 6, the Apple Watch and Apple Pay) have been followed by criticism and jokes. Many jokes. Not even the gifting of U2’s album to iTunes users escaped:


And, as if to add insult to injury, @BBCTech quickly posted instructions on how to delete the free U2 album, here:


Ah, Apple, Apple. What happened to you?* #PoorApple.

Can anything be done about this negative opinion?

Research conducted by Muthukrishnan and Chattopadhyay** (here, but paid access only) shows that comparing the brand with other options (for instance, saying product A is faster than product B) is not a very effective way of reversing consumers’ negative opinions, even if the comparison is favourable and it’s made by a trusted third party. This is because making explicit comparisons about some attributes makes buyers question performance across the other attributes not included in the comparison (for instance: yes, A may be faster than B, but B has more accessories / lasts longer / etc than A). Instead, to revert negative impressions, marketers should avoid comparisons with their competitors.

The problem with Apple, at the moment, is that they can not avoid comparisons: the iPhone has been compared with Samsung phones, the Apple Watch with Sony’s SmartWatch3, and so on.

To break this cycle, Apple really needs to change direction – just like when it changed the focus from laptops to mobile devices (first the iPod, then the iPhone). Like McDonalds is doing with food sourcing, or Google with self-driving cars. Better still would be for Apple to connect at an emotional level, as Coca-cola has done with the Share a Coke campaign.

What do you think? Can Apple turn the negative opinion tide, and go from #PoorApple to #AppleWin?

* For me the tipping point was how Apple reacted to the iPhone 4’s signal problem (i.e., blaming the users for holding the phone on their left hands). Oh, and iWeb, whose users were completely abandoned by Apple (Can you feel the bitterness?). And the appalling working conditions in the components’ factories in China. The sky-high prices. The copyright fight with Samsung…

** Muthukrishnan, A.V. and Chattopadhyay, A. (2007). Just Give Me Another Chance: The Strategies for Brand Recovery from a Bad First Impression. Journal of Marketing Research: May 2007, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 334-345

4 thoughts on “Poor Apple. Again.

  1. Is is fair to say they moved from a vision and purpose mindset – to a mere product and specifications execution?

    Of course it was always about shipping tin really.. but there was a share of mind.

    Being very left-brained about it I admire that Apple only enters proven markets, i.e. Apple Pay after we have had 4 years of payment uncertainty, iPad after the tablet had already been fettled by others… They are not the innovator and thought leader (Google X and driverless cars….) but they do ship and forecast in a way that justifies their share price.

    I expect the markets to settle at an #AppleWin judgement. This is the north star for APPL. Its just a tech business.

    (So have you ordered yours? Will you buy MC Hammer pants to allow you to put in the 6-XL in your pocket?)


    1. Well, what do you know?! I did the get XL and I am loving the screen quality and the battery life. But I struggle to fit it in my pockets and, worst of all, running with it 😦


  2. Well, yes, the patent and copyright fight has really lost them a lot of points in my book. But on the other hand, I have a 4 year old MacBook that still works almost like on the day I bought it. I have never experienced that with any other laptop I worked with. Also, my iPods are still my favoured devices to play music on and create my own bubble while traveling. But, I’m less excited about the new products. Maybe because, well, the markets are settling on a more balanced view. There always be fanboys (and girls), and haters, but in the end, it’s ‘just’ a company putting devices in the market, and who will have to fight with the competition to get consumers to buy their product. I’m not sure they’re failing. I think they fell off (or stepped down from) the pedestal people have put them on in the Jobs-era. But that was not a normal situation. So, then they were extreme, out-of-competition, winners. Now, they’re one of the other players. Not a win, not a fail, but a simple matter of how it is supposed to be?


    1. Oh, PS: I do like free music. Especially from U2. So that scores some points. But giveaways are nice, not game changers or match-deciders.


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