For years now, Apple has been on a heck of a ride creating pleasing products with a loyal customer base, but suddenly this month the tide seems to have turned, at least in the press. As my DaniWeb colleague, Davey Winder pointed out last week, the press jumped on numbers earlier this month that showed Apple's famed customer service was down a tick. It was literally a point from the previous surveys, yet some writers treated it as a turning point.
Maybe what's turned is that the press tired of Apple's infamous arrogance has suddenly turned on the Cupertino company. I didn't realize it myself until I started gathering links for a possible post on the programmer poaching battles going on between Apple, Palm and Microsoft when I began to see a clear pattern of bad news over last week.
Apple Attempts to Block Profile on Steve Jobs (August 17th)
In what amounts to a ridiculous attempt to control the press, Apple reportedly attempted to block a profile on Steve Jobs from being printed in the Sunday Times. Granted, the article is often over the top, and it's in my view even a bit silly in parts. I'm not sure why they would care or think they could wield that kind of influence. They could just let readers decide, but it's yet another example of Apple's attempt to constantly maintain control of the message.
Lawyer Wars with Psystar (August 20th)
Next up were reports of issues during the on-going litigation with clone maker Psystar, which according to Macworld "complained to a federal judge Tuesday that a top Apple executive was "unprepared" and "unwilling to testify" during a recent deposition." This is part of litigation dating back over a year between Apple and Psystar over the latter's right to sell Mac clones. Apple once again might let the market decide instead of being threatened by competition, and letting the legal wrangling continue to be a distraction.
Exploding iPhones and iPods Oh My (August 20th)
The news kept getting worse for Apple when the iPhone Blog reported that at least 3 iphones or iPods have exploded in recent months. Everyone knows that Apple devices run hot because they pack the maximum amount of computing power in the smallest possible package, but an exploding device is disconcerting, even if they are isolated incidences.
Apple Blocked Google Voice? (August 21st)
Then on Friday came reports that Apple attempted to block Google Voice on the iPhone, which has by the way caught the attention of the FCC. PaidContent.org reports that AT&T didn't hold back as it threw Apple under the bus:
“Let me state unequivocally, AT&T had no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application for inclusion in the Apple App Store,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs. “AT&T was not asked about the matter by Apple at any time, nor did it offer any view one way or the other.”
Perhaps this is just a strange glitch in a month traditionally short on news, but the pattern was clear last week. It's entirely likely that consumers won't care about any of this. It's just background noise (except for the exploding iPhones and iPods), and when Apple makes its new product announcements next month, it will all slip quietly back into the background, but you have to wonder if at some point, it begins to catch up with the company. For now, it doesn't seem to care.