Apple's Top 20 Public Apologies - InformationWeek

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Apple's Top 20 Public Apologies

Apple Maps mea culpa continues a tradition of atonement. Here's a list of the company's top 20 promises to do better.

7. For Siri's Purported Pro-Life Bias, December 1, 2011
Siri at one point responded to requests to find an abortion provider with directions to distant pro-life family planning centers rather than nearby medical clinics. Apple insisted it didn't intend any offense. "It simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better, and we will in the coming weeks," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told the New York Times. Like other course-change announcements, this one doesn't so much apologize as declare a different way of doing things, even if some publications characterized the statement as an apology.

8. For Causing Anxiety, July 2, 2010
When the iPhone 4 debuted in June 2010, users reported problems with call signal strength when holding their phones. Subsequent speculation suggested Apple's iPhone antenna design was faulty. Responding to an inquiry from Ars Technica, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple at the time, advised in an email, "All phones have sensitive areas. Just avoid holding it in this way." It later emerged that Apple's software was calculating signal strength incorrectly. The following month, Apple apologized in an open letter "for any anxiety we may have caused" and subsequently offered iPhone 4 buyers free cases so they could hold their phones however they wanted.

9. For Poorly Implemented Website Order Processing, June 16, 2010
When Apple began taking preorders for its iPhone 4 on June 15, 2010, its website couldn't deal with customer demand. This left many customers confused because their orders hadn't been processed or the order process was never completed. Apple issued a statement the following day: "Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock."

10. For Inadequate Product iPhone 4 Supply, June 28, 2010
The iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million units during its first three days. That's nowhere near the iPhone 5, which sold 5 million units during its first three days. But the iPhone 4 could have sold more, had Apple planned better. For that, Steve Jobs expressed regret. "This is the most successful product launch in Apple's history," said Jobs in a statement at the time. "Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply."

11. For Refusing To Accept Cash For iPads, May 19, 2010
Two years ago, Apple responded to criticism of its refusal to allow people buy iPads with cash by changing its policy. It didn't apologize, but it did change course without acknowledging any fault. That's similar to the way it handled its 2012 retail store staffing controversy. "We made a decision today to change [that policy]," Apple SVP Ron Johnson told San Francisco's KGO-TV.

12. For iPhone Activation Problems, June 21, 2009
When Apple's iPhone 3GS launched on Friday, June 19, 2009, some customers experienced delays of up to two days in activating their iPhones. That weekend, Apple emailed apologies to affected customers for "for the inconvenience caused by the delay in your iPhone activation."

13. For Delaying Push Notification Apps, June 21, 2009
Push notifications were a new iOS feature when the iPhone 3GS began shipping. But Apple took longer than expected to get the technical infrastructure for push messages up and running. As a result, iOS apps upgraded to take advantage of the Push API had to be delayed. Dominik Balogh, developer of NotifyMe, reportedly the first app to integrate push notifications, told AppAdvice that Apple's App Store staff had emailed him to apologize for the delay.

14. For Approving An Offensive App, April 23, 2009
The iOS Baby Shaker app presented users with a crying baby, which could be quieted by shaking one's iOS device. Doing so created crosses over the animated infant's eyes, a sign denoting death. Facing protest threats from child-protection groups, Apple withdrew Baby Shaker from its App Store and then issued an apology. "This app is deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store," an Apple spokeswoman told InformationWeek. "We sincerely apologize for this mistake."

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User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2012 | 6:23:36 PM
re: Apple's Top 20 Public Apologies
Interesting article. I love when this site publishes articles that look back at various aspects of the history of something - be it an OS, a major software company, etc. This really got me in the mood to read about PowerTalk and OS 7.5.x :)
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