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Guide: Apple’s iPhone X Camera Issues Showcases a Surprising Anti-Consumer Side to the Company
Over the past 20 years, Apple has built its reputation as one of the most consumer-friendly companies out there. Their products are known to last incredibly long and users can generally get their money’s worth out of them with ease. While lobbing them about what you get for the money, many Apple users get excited up happy with their products as their durability is incredibly high for their computing equipment and the strength of their brand has made things like tablets, smartphones and smart watches become technology standards rather than the exception. Recently, issues have been trimmed up regarding the iPhone X’s camera – in particular its rear camera lens is vulnerable to tearing.
Reports of this problem have been popping up on Apple’s forums for months, and Apple’s suggestion for this problem is to have the device replaced itself – which is quite expensive. Buying one with a Sprint plan can run you about $ 36 per month for 18 months, while Verizon costs about $ 42 for 24 months. Replacing the device under warranty costs about $ 500, and AppleCare will cover most of the costs if you buy it in addition to your phone – but you’ll still have to spend $ 100 for the replacement device and deal with the hassle of moving things and / or re-downloading your apps in addition to having to re-login everywhere. It may be a less expensive solution to the problem, but it is one that seemingly could have been avoided.
According to iFixIt, the iPhone X’s back panel – the one with the one affected camera, is glued in place quite heavily. The lenses have been under scrutiny since Apple chose to use sapphire, starting with the iPhone 7, but these issues are completely new to the X and weren’t widely reported for the iPhone 7 and later. The weather has been officially blamed, but it’s not the main reason – it’s a matter of dubious craftsmanship on the part of Apple and a rare major misstep for them from a hardware perspective. The lens itself is for the double 12 megapixel camera’s at the back and with it features a solid f / 1.8 aperture that’s ideal for wide-angle shots next to a telephoto lens.
Apple is in a difficult situation in the short term, but it could get a lot worse if they don’t work on finding a longer-term solution. Simply swapping the devices can reassure customers, but Apple risks losing a customer every time they do. People generally feel ripped off when a device doesn’t work as advertised – and when one of the companies selling it makes it too, the standards are higher in the eyes of a consumer. Apple’s name is built up trust and goodwill, and they should not risk damaging it over time. Apple has had lean times before, and until they released the iMac G3 in 1999, they struggled for most of the late ’90s. It was the first spark that turned things like the iPod, then the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch technology from geek chic to cornerstones of a lifestyle.
Fortunately, Apple has the benefit of the doubt in the eyes of many consumers. They have developed a very loyal following and have a more forgiving audience than other companies, who can lose a lot of confidence in a very short time. Samsung saw its name pretty tarnished by the Note 7 battery issues that were so bad that you couldn’t even fly on a plane with the phone enabled. Apple has many options they can access for it. They can choose to retroactively refund a partial or full amount to customers as a token of good faith, or they can choose to fully cover iPhone X for Applecare users without paying for a replacement.
More than likely, the problem won’t be a mid-generation solution as it cannot be fixed with a software patch and with the amount of research and development required to fix the problem, they could just implement that solution in the following iPhone’s design. Plus, they can do that and claim that they’ve listened to their audience and responded to their needs – which is true, but only because it’s a need Apple itself seemingly created with an Achilles heel in the iPhone X’s design. In this scenario, they both come off as a company willing to admit mistakes, while also making consumers pay high prices to enjoy a solution to a problem that didn’t have to exist.
Chances are some sort of compromise will be found if Apple chooses to promise a solution for future devices or forgo costs associated with replacing the existing handsets. The latter is probably the best overall solution, as the former puts more pressure on the business to fix the problem for the next batch of devices – and by then there may not have been a fix that will allow them to last all year round – annual improvements of the iPhones. Apple absolutely needs to be as proactive as possible on this issue. Considering that previous models didn’t have the problem, it may be worth taking a single step back in the long run to take a few bigger steps forward.
Apple may be able to afford a problem, but they can’t afford a large-scale consumer response. Their reputation as a pro consumer company is something many companies wish they could have and risk being hurt that could hurt the business quite a bit in the long run. Hopefully Apple provides up a fixed one camera in the next run of the iPhone. Considering the latest models came out late last year, we’re probably ready for some new ones to close out the year. Apple has been very lucky with all the work they’ve put in to make the iPhone this good over the years, and this is one hurdle they will have to overcome in order to regain the bit of credibility they’ve lost with this problem.back to menu ↑
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