Dear iPhone4 Customers,
Over the last couple of weeks, there has been enormous amount of hysteria about Antenna reception issues related to the iPhone 4. The number of customers actually impacted by this problem is quite minimal, because it only affects people in weak signal areas, and only if the phone is held in certain ways. However, at Apple, we have always believed in delighting customers, every single step of the way - right from the experience while you shop, the experience when you unbox the product, the experience using the product throughout its life. If there is the slightest problem in that experience, real or perceived, it will not be an Apple experience any more.
We wish to offer our customers the following options -
- Extended risk free return period upto 365 days if you have purchased the iPhone4 before 31 Jul 2010. Instead of the usual 30 days, please feel free to try out the product over 365 days. At any point, if you are not satisfied, you can return the product to the nearest Apple Store for a full refund of purchase price. Or just register at the Apple Website and we will arrange to pick up your phone from you, and refund your money. We will also work with AT&T to waive your 2 year contract, if you choose to return your phone. You will however have to bear the AT&T fees for using the phone for the period you choose to keep the phone.
- In addition, if you have purchased an iPhone4 before 31 Jul 2010, you can get free bumpers - just download the "iPhone4" app from the AppStore, select two colors of bumpers, and we will ship those 2 bumpers to you FREE. You can get more colors for $4.99 each. In addition to this, in the same app, you can enter your MobileMe subscriber details, and select Extend Subscription to get 1 year of MobileMe subscription for Free - if you are not currently a MobileMe user, you can sign up for a new MobileMe account free for the first year. If you still decide to return the iPhone 4, you can still continue to use the MobileMe service for free.
- We know iPhone 4 works well for significant majority of customers, and with the bumpers, should work well for pretty much everyone. However, we still realize that the last couple of weeks have been hard for the Apple faithful - especially early adopters. For all our early adopters, here is a special offer - if you have bought an iPhone 4 before 31 Jul 2010, you can exchange your iPhone4 for the then latest release of the iPhone for FREE, 24 months after you purchased the iPhone4. Effectively, when it is time for you to upgrade your current phone, the upgrade is free.
(the above offers are applicable to customers who have purchased an iPhone4 before 31 Jul 2010. All iPhones bought after 31 Jul 2010 will not have the antenna reception issue).
Apple Customer Care
-- This is a hypothetical mail - something I think Apple can and should send out, to mitigate the Antenna issue. Firstly, this way of response will work out a lot cheaper for Apple. Giving a 365 day risk free return costs very little effectively - most people will choose to keep the phone, with the free bumpers. The bumpers themselves should cost Apple just 10-20 cents each in volume. There is already lot of talk of MobileMe becoming free, so giving away MobileMe also will not cost Apple much. In all likelihood, Apple can extend iAd program to MobileMe as well and recover their costs easily. Also, because of the free upgrade to iPhone6, the resale value of the original iPhone4 will likely be a lot higher than the return value of the phone - so in all likelihood, even a dissatisfied customer would rather sell the phone on eBay than return it to Apple!
The only real cost to Apple would be the free upgrade to iPhone 5 on launch - but even this is not really a cost to Apple - because this will be an exchange offer - an Old iPhone4 can be refurbished and sold contract-free, for $299 - so if it costs Apple $100 to refurbish these phones, they can easily sell the old phones back after fixing the antenna issue, and changing some external components - like glass, stainless steel, etc. They could possibly even change the battery to give better battery life. Even if Apple decides not to refurbish these phones, and just recycles the materials, the fact that 10 million phones are not flooding the second hand phone market will give a great boost to iPhone sales in 2012.
The beauty of this solution is that it costs very little in reality, allows significantly higher sales of iPhone4 - I would expect several million people signing up for iPhone4 before 31 July, if they can get a free upgrade to iPhone6 in 2 years. This is one way for Apple to convert a crisis into an opportunity, and regain the trust of customers. Rather than spend $1.5B today, Apple can get more customers today!