CultofMac contacted several experts in the field of public relations who had this to say:
Apple will be forced to do a recall of this product, said Professor Matthew Seeger, an expert in crisis communication. Its critically important. The brand image is the most important thing Apple has. This is potentially devastating.
Apple needs to put this fire out now, said Dr. Larry Barton, a leading expert in crisis management and author of Crisis Leadership Now. There has to be a military-like response to this issue. And we have not seen this kind of urgency. Their response has been lackluster, he said. Its been borderline irresponsible. They are in danger of betraying customers trust and hurting the brand, which is infinitely more valuable than any one product.
Its the half-loaf approach, says Chris Lehane, who was a PR manager for the Clinton Administration. Apple was under tremendous pressure to respond. They pushed out some information that wasnt really baked. They found themselves in a hole, and they dug a deeper hole, he said. You acknowledge it; you address it; you deal with it, Lehane said. Apple must protect its brand image, its crown jewels, at all cost. Apple has enormous consumer loyalty but it depends on whether people believe its credible.
Prof. Seeger, who is chair of the Department of Communication at Wayne State University in Detroit thinks Apple will likely delay a recall, and may issue a temporary patch such as free bumpers. However, a recall is unavoidable. Apple lives and dies by its reputation, he said. We pay a premium for its products. We expect them to operate on a premium level. Its very unfortunate, but they will have no choice but to mount a recall.
The pressure on Apple to respond in an appropriate manner has increased today after Consumer Reports independently verified a hardware problem and would not recommend the device.