Large Tech Companies like Apple do their best to keep a positive public perception of their products and their band, as they obviously should, but does Apple provide a platform for those in the news media to be critical of their platforms. Apple Executives, like CEO Tim Cook, rarely give televised or recorded interviews, and when they do one might get the impression that questions for the company have been screened, approved, and only have scripted answers intended to leave the brand with a coat of polish. I understand this is business as usual, however, marketing and promotion disguised as a candid interview are no longer fooling the masses, and in the age of social media customers feel empowered to demand answers even from brands as iconic as Apple.
Apple along with other tech giants are realizing that ominous silence in the face of mounting criticism is no longer a viable option. They have however yet to strike a balance of providing adequate answers to customers and not being too available for comment. As a result, they tend to only speak up only as a last resort. Of course to maintain their brand prestige they must give the impression that they always know what’s best for their company and the customer thus not needing to explain themselves to anyone (Unless customers discover their iPhones are being throttled due to battery issues). Unfortunately, at this time Apple is in a Scramble to decipher where their shortcomings in their business are hiding. Falling stock prices, weaker than expected iPhone demand, legal disputes with Qualcomm, and a myriad of product blunders, the latest being the iPad Pro #BendGate, are all plaguing the tech giant and has Apple doing damage control.
With all of this on Apple’s plate, you would think prominent news outlets would be pressuring Apple for a comment on these matters, there is however radio silence from the majority of the largest media companies. Apple did, however, respond to the Verge on the matter of the bending iPad after being pressed by the publication and the backdrop of public outrage. Apple added insult to injury by stating “iPads meet or exceed quality standards” and that slight bends in the iPads casing are “normal”. There is no accurate estimate of how many iPad Pros are affected by this, but to suggest that bends in the premium-priced iPad Pro are normal is alarming, to say the least. Customers are demanding clarification on this matter and it seems nobody with the proper authority is stepping to be a proxy between them and Apple. The Verge should be commended for reaching out for comment from Apple. The Verge and other prominent media outlets in the press should press Apple harder to hold them accountable and stop allowing Apple to set the rules on the questions they are asked and to what conclusion.
I’m not naive, Apple is one of the most recognized brands in the world with unparalleled power and influence. Crossing Apple isn’t in the interest of any tech publication, as coverage of Apple products and news is an enormous source of readership from their respective sites. Pressing Apple too hard could result in being cut off from working relationships with them which is never ideal. Apple knows they are at the head of this power dynamic and uses it to their advantage. As readers of these publications connect with other people online and discuss their concerns with Apple or other large companies they will look to these publications to ask the tough questions on their behalf. If not readers will consume content elsewhere, where the content creators don’t allow themselves to be pushed in a corner.