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Apple’s biggest asset is not the iPhone 4

Apple’s biggest asset is not the iPhone 4

It was sleek, it was efficient, it was technically flawless… in short, Steve Jobs’s press conference was everything the iPhone 4 should have been. Could Apple rot without Jobs, asks Sam Potter.


July 18, 2010 3:42 by

In the end, from the jaws of defeat, came victory.

The seriousness of Apple’s situation this time last week should not be underestimated: Having just launched one of the fastest selling technical gadgets of all time (perhaps the fastest) and the fastest in its own history, the firm should have been on top of the world. But when an independent American testing organization Consumer Reports said reception problems meant it could not recommend the iPhone 4, the result was startling.

In a single day, Apple shares dived 4 percent, wiping almost $10 billion from the company’s valuation. Speculation snowballed in the media and on the internet that Apple would be forced to initiate a full global recall of the device, or embark on an epic hardware repair program. The rumors reached fever pitch when Apple announced an unscheduled press conference for the end of last week.

In the end, the speculation proved misplaced, and mounting disillusionment among consumers seems to have been diffused. How? Apple will give iPhone owners a new case that it says will help prevent the problem, and that is pretty much that. Panic over.

But the reason the panic is over is thanks to more than just some free cases. In the surprise press conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was dazzling. “We’re not perfect,” he told an enthralled audience, “We love our users, and if we screw up, we pick ourselves up and we try harder,” he soothed them.

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