The Antenna issue is getting a bit out of hand, and while we didn't explicitly cover Consumer Reports' redacted statement in which they cannot recommend the iPhone 4 to consumers, Apple may be forced to recall their handset because of it. Cult of Mac recently spoke to quite a few PR Experts who are not only astounded at the "crisis," but are placing bets that Apple will be forced to recall the iPhone 4 as the antenna issue is hardware related (and cannot be fixed by software).
Apple is stuck in the worst case scenario -- a Catch-22 if you will. If the antenna issue remains, there will be outcry about why Apple isn't doing anything and why they're continuously ignoring or ignorantly downplaying the various reports we've seen publicized. At the same time, if Apple recalls their product or admits theres an issue outside of software, bad press will remain and Apple risks losing market share. While some consumers don't seem to mind, it certainly gives the competition leverage as new customers decide upon their smart phone of choice.
A few statements from Cult of Mac on the iPhone 4 issue:
“Apple will be forced to do a recall of this product,” said Professor Matthew Seeger, an expert in crisis communication. “It’s critically important. The brand image is the most important thing Apple has. This is potentially devastating.”
“They’re [sic] response has been lackluster,” [Dr. Larry Barton] said. “It’s been borderline irresponsible. They are in danger of betraying customers’ trust and hurting the brand, which is infinitely more valuable than any one product."
Prof. Seeger said Apple will likely delay a recall, and may issue a temporary “patch” such as free bumpers. However, a recall is unavoidable to protect the brand, which is more valuable than the cost of a recall, Prof. Seeger said.
This is the Apple Crisis. They're facing harsh criticism over reception issues that are clearly replicable, and issuing a software update that will 'reduce' bars isn't a smart solution. Mainly because non-techies will outcry that the software update worsen's their reception without having seen Apple's press release. The other issue is that the software update won't actually fix our hardware woes. We'll see what the future brings, but if the PR Experts are right, the iPhone 4's is looking bleak.
Personally, I don't think Apple will recall the iPhone 4. They're sticking to their guns.