iPhone 4 Complaints Mounting: A Rocky Rollout

Only weeks after hitting the streets, iPhone 4 and iOS 4 have been peppered with serious user complaints. Apple promises to fix the software problems. But is a recall in iPhone 4's future?

Wed, July 07, 2010
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"Developing for iOS seems to be heading in the same direction as Android, such as a variety of devices and different screen resolutions," Subramanian says. "It's hard to support it all. Granted, Apple isn't nearly as bad as Android, but it's not as simple as just developing for one device, which was the nicest part about developing for the iPhone."

How Will Apple Respond?

Apple is pushing hard on upgrades, says Subramanian, and it looks like most developers will be on board with iOS 4.0 by the end of the year. Moreover, Gartner's Baker expects Apple to deliver a maintenance release or two within the next couple of months that will address most of the software issues that have surfaced.

With the iPhone 4, however, hardware flaws present a bigger problem. The next version of the iPhone will naturally be more stable, say Enderle, although it's unclear if Apple will increase hardware testing given the leaks of the iPhone 4 prototypes. One prototype found (or possibly stolen) at a Silicon Valley bar and sold to Gizmodo belonged to an Apple engineer testing wireless coverage in the field.

Can Apple afford to wait for iPhone 5? Given the serious problems plaguing iPhone 4, says Enderle, the right answer could be a recall. "Customer loyalty is one of the most valuable and strategic assets they have and wasting that to avoid a needed recall would be penny wise and pound foolish," he says, adding, "No one wants to face Jobs' wrath if they had to actually do one."

Tom Kaneshige covers Apple and Networking for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Tom at tkaneshige@cio.com.

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