iOS 7: A PR victory or an update too far?
On the 18th September, Apple’s brand new operating system, iOS 7 was released to iPhone, iPad and fifth generation iPod users. The release was met with blanket media coverage, with a plethora of technology outlets such as Tech Radar and CNET making it their lead story. In terms of coverage alone, this was without doubt a PR victory for Apple, who announced the update in June and then let it take on a life of its own.
However, criticism was just as quick to arise as praise was. For example, just days after the launch, pieces popped up listing the worst features of the new system, including changes to the keyboard display and poor battery life due to its complexity, demanding large amounts of energy to run.
The disparaging articles were also matched by complaints on social media, including swathes of screenshots on Facebook showing how previous operating systems, not the current one, were being uploaded and complaints about long waiting times for the update. With no social media presence to speak of and no statements being made addressing issues raised, Apple has stayed quiet so far. They are doing what they always do, simply letting the game play out and being as pragmatic as possible. Rivals such as HTC, who currently have a very heavy rate of engagement on social media, simply couldn’t stay quiet after announcing such a large update, people just don’t trust them that way. Only a brand like Apple can maintain its mystique, simply by saying nothing.
Another very recent problem for Apple is a fake advertisement stating that the update makes iPhones waterproof, with some very expensive results for some unfortunate users. This story gained heavy coverage and could prove a big problem for Apple, as it shows just how easily a rumour can gain traction in the social media sphere. With their silent approach to social media, something else like this could be even more of a hassle for the brand.
Having said this though, iOS 7 is a major marketing victory for Apple. Positive articles clearly outweigh negative ones. Even comparison pieces note more good features than bad ones. Not only this, recent articles have shown that there have so far been 200 million iOS 7 activations, an incredible amount in just one week. This huge activation rate shows just how committed to the brand Apple’s users are, and indicates a loyalty few other smartphone brands can boast about.
In the same week that rival and former heavyweight of the smartphone arena, Blackberry, announced massive job cuts, Apple has won the day in positive media mentions. How rivals such as Sony and Samsung respond however, should be very interesting…