For those who are not familiar with French – and I can’t believe I’m doing this – “Aïe” means “Ouch!”. Ok now the introductions are done.

The iPhone is doing so great that Apple decides to screw things up! This the first time I read so many negative reviews about an iPhone. Many do not like its shape. I, for that matter think it looks like a common HTC from afar! And now comes the “death grip” issue.

As a Brander, I have one strategic question plaguing me: Why Steve??! Why?

We have a saying in Arabic that vaguely translates: “The mistake of the brave equals a thousand mistakes”.

Recovery is the hardest thing to do for successful organizations, especially those who do very few mistakes but ones on such a scale. A faulty MacBook would never cause such a fuss, but an iPhone? Holy s**t!

Apple’s brand has shifted dramatically with the launch of the iPhone. The whole weight of the brand was launched from “Mac Land” to “iPhone Land” overnight. Apple “is” the iPhone. The Mac is just… ummm… another good product. Was apple lured by its own bait?

Did we need an iPhone 4 now? And if yes, did we need that bad as for Apple to come up with a generically looking product and with a faulty antenna? I mean, for heaven’s sake, who makes a faulty antenna anymore??

Everyone gave Apple a break when the iPhone 2G came out with no MMS, an ice-age camera, and features, so basic that it only served as a “have-you-seen-me?” gadget. That was ok. It’s an Apple and we love it.

But a faulty antenna? Come on!

To add more nails to the coffin, Apple plays it stupid by claiming it’s an easy to solve software issue. They had to go through the humiliation of “Consumer Report” to let it out that it’s a serious hardware issue. And for almost the very first time in their history, the media is talking about and I quote “a Toyota-style recall”!

I am a Mac freak myself since 1984! I used almost every Mac you can think of. I worked for Apple for 7 years. I lived the Scully dark times. I own 3 Macs and one at work, and have 3 iPhones at home.

But that’s not a reason to be blind! Being loyal is one thing… Being a blind follower is something totally different.

I am loyal to Apple, and will always be. In fact, this very loyalty is what opens my eyes wide to flaws, big or small. And the iPhone 4 is one big spoof!

I was waiting to buy mine. I saved the cash, did the research and the asking-around. Everything was planned and ready to roll. Now, I realize how lucky I am to leave in a country where you have to “beg” for an iPhone, pay 3 times the street price and jail-break it! It actually gives you time to “think”! And think, I did (Thank you Yoda).

Result? I just bought myself a 3GS this afternoon.

Apple is in the best products it does…. Not “any” product it does.

Apple’s brand is the perfect incarnation of excellence. But excellence is a double-edged sword, the other side of which is keeping up with yourself before doing so with your market.

Branding is about consistency. The drawback is that the better you do, the higher the bar.

But hey! If you can’t keep up…. Work at Microsoft!!

©2010 Ibrahim Lahoud


7 Responses to “AïePhone!”

  1. July 15, 2010 at 00:30

    Oh so true!!!…
    Im an apple, not to mention steve jobs, fanatic myself but everything thats been happening is just breaking my heart. I keep on trying to convince myself that this is some kind of ingenius marketing stunt or something…dunno, ANYTHING!

    kudos for the post eby!ive actually been waiting to hear what u think abt this whole thing.

    Also…awesome finish!

  2. July 15, 2010 at 09:40

    Yas! Thanks a million for your kind comment. As a Mac addict myself, I felt compelled to look at the issue from a branding perspective. Can’t help it! 😉
    Stay in touch

  3. July 15, 2010 at 09:40

    What amazed me also, was Steve Job’s response : “Just hold it the right way” . It is outrageous!

  4. July 15, 2010 at 10:08

    Yeah. I was so disappointed by the “Charismatic” Steve response. Even Steve Jobs stopped being “Apple” over this. Now, I am waiting to see the firefighting. This is where crisis management should be at its best.

  5. July 15, 2010 at 11:46

    Whatever happened to usability testing, focus groups, product trials? You were right about one thing, the bigger you are, the harder you fall..but really? This is unacceptable..especially from a giant like Apple. I’m happy with my good old 3g..why change a good thing? Let your successful products run their course, and make sure you have all of the kinks worked out before launching the next generation..everyone knows that..

  6. July 15, 2010 at 11:47

    Love the tape visuals btw,,did you come up with that? Hilarious!

  7. September 23, 2014 at 02:12

    Very descriptive article, I liked that bit. Will there be
    a part 2?

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Reason To Believe by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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