Apple is famous for its advertising that its products are easy to use and problem free. Thus, when it is confronted with problems in its products, it’s perhaps predictable that it would get a bit defensive. It often glosses over complaints or stretches the definition of the word “working”. Despite some signs that it was turning a corner, responding to hard drive issues on its MacBook Pros, a recent report from Gizmodo indicates more of the same.
A customer named Manoj Gupta took his iPhone to the local Apple Genius Bar when he became frustrated with its tendency to frequently drop his calls. The Genius Bar gave Mr. Gupta some good news — his iPhone was perfectly fine and working and needed no repairs.
The bad news? The phone dropped over 22 percent of the calls it made in the test routine. But the Genius Bar printout reassured Mr. Gupta that 22 percent call drop rates were actually quite good — and that most of AT&T’s iPhone customers have 30 percent or more of their calls drop.
Granted, Apple may be getting more than the fair share of its criticism for this egregious claim, but its lack of concern and its customers plight and its decision to partner with AT&T, whose network is obviously not up to snuff, are an invitation to such critique. As for AT&T, it seems hard to believe that it will be able to retain many customers in areas where its dropping 30 percent of their calls. While call drop rates are traditionally higher in New York City, they’re seldom that high.
AT&T is offering a solution to their customers — buy their own 3G hotspot for $150. AT&T will soon be rolling out its MicroCell, a femtocell device that will offer a bubble of 3G coverage. It is unclear, though, whether customers will be required to subscribe to one of AT&T’s unlimited calling bundles ($20/month) to use the device.
AT&T and Apple are confident that their customers will stick with them — even if they drop 30 percent of their calls in some areas. And AT&T feels that it is giving customers plenty of options, allowing them to subscribe to an extra service to help fix the shortcomings of its network.
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