At what point do the facts matter?
Posted by Eric Brooke
Like many Tech junkies I have being following the rumours, the comments and the suggestions about the iPhone 4 and its so called antenna ‘issue’. I think its fair to say that most rumour sites and newspapers have really exaggerated the overall impact of this issue. I was left with the impression that about 50% of users were ‘suffering’. Some experts and journalists were ‘suggesting’ a product recall. The Consumer reports were not recommending the phone implying this issue did not affect any other phone, as it was not mentioned for other Smart Phones.. And of course this was Apples’ Vista from Microsoft..
So I thought I would watch Steve Jobs press conference with his side. http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/100716iab73asc/event/index.html
- All Smartphones have issues, interesting comparison here http://www.apple.com/antenna/
- He stated only 0.55% of iPhone 4 customers have called AppleCare about the antenna issue.
- Return rates through AT&T for iPhone 4 are at 1.7% for comparison iPhone 3GS return rate was 6%.
- AT&T data on dropped call rates. Less than one call per 100 more than iPhone 3GS.
I was very surprised to hear these figures, not because I don’t believe Mr Jobs but because my impression from the collective media was so out of sync with the facts.
Consumer Reports apparently missed the same issue with all of the great smartphones out there. It makes me wonder the quality of their testing. http://blogs.consumerreports.org/electronics/2010/07/apple-iphone-4-antenna-issue-iphone4-problems-dropped-calls-lab-test-confirmed-problem-issues-signal-strength-att-network-gsm.html Were they driven by listening to the buzz? A quick web search shows a lot of smart phones with simliar problems..
- Samsung I9000 Galaxy S: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LROTHrTR92k
- HTC Evo Signal Attenuation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pj2YBYTbag
- Droid Incredible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaDE941PzQk
- Nexus One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEIA_lMwqJA
- Nexus One vs. iPhone (start at 1:29): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvMoV4_C4aA
- Nexus One (after Google’s update to correct): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2g5J4qPp54
- Nexus One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deCkjeHYT-g
- Android G1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CDaxhjUs9M
It did not escape my attention that the vast number of critics making comments about the iPhone 4 did not actually own one. Was this a form of iPhone envy? It goes without saying that general public view Apple as the leader in the market, which from figures they have a bit to go, why worry about facts.. But humans do love to knock the ‘perceived’ leader in the market.
This social media hype, reminded of the DJ that was announced dead on Twitter, until he tweeted revealing it was not true. http://www.nowpublic.com/culture/dj-tiesto-has-not-died-his-twitter-account-confirms-he-fine-2637723.html What if he did not have a twitter account? What if he titled is next album “From beyond the grave (according to twitter)”
People really like to pass bad news fast, regardless of if it is true.. mobs seem to form on the online social media tools quicker around negative issues. I think online social media tools can pass stupidity, far faster than any tool we have had in the past. And I think the human race will prove this too the extreme. But of course we should not forget the other side, that social media tools are very effective for passing propaganda from one firm to another.
I feel disappointed that most of the reports from professional journalists, including the New York Times had sources that stated things which according to Apple are “patently false.” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/technology/16apple.html?_r=2 hmm does that mean I trust a corporation over a newspaper..
It worries me that facts are not important, that there is no accountability for untruths. It seems less and less people check the sources of information or at least confirm with another source. It feels like people are lazy about their information and its’ validity. This is often covered up as ‘opinion’ and maybe I am just as guilty. I am a little old fashioned I will try to check the facts, read different newspapers to get past the propaganda pieces and past the editors ‘view’ or the owners ‘view’… but like many on this planet my thirst for ‘knowledge’ sometimes outsteps the need for proven facts..