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Could Apple’s Recent PR Blunders Halt Expansion in Boulder?

Could Apple’s Recent PR Blunders Halt...

As the first company to pass a market cap of $1 trillion, Apple has a lot of eyes watching its every move. For decades Apple has been a leader in the tech world, from practically inventing digital music, to reimagining the cell phone, and now expanding into music and television streaming with Apple Music, and Apple TV+ (which is planned for launch later this year, as announced at an Apple event in late March).

Apple is constantly expanding domestically and globally.  In fact, late last year Apple announced plans to expand their Boulder office in the next three years. Apple’s Boulder campus currently has around 250 employees, and some estimate that number could grow to 500 by 2022. Though no official comment has been made on the types of jobs that will be created, it is suspected the majority will be in software development and other tech-related roles.

However, there have been a few bumps in the road for Apple lately. At the start of the year, Apple decreased its’ estimated earnings by $446 billion. It’s not unheard of for sales to slow down for a tech company, and especially after 10 years of dominance, it’s no surprise to see profits start to slip.

Innovation is at the heart of any successful tech company, and what Apple lacks in innovation they more than make up for in user experience and branding. That’s why many were shocked to hear that Apple was pulling the plug on its new AirPower wireless charging pad (some pun intended). The AirPower promised to get rid of the mess of wires currently required to charge Apple devices. Designed to charge an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods wirelessly all at once. This decision seemed sudden, as packaging for the recently released second-generation AirPods included an image of the AirPower.

Apple’s senior VP of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, released a statement:

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have canceled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”

What makes this situation more concerning is that this isn’t Apple’s first major fumble of 2019. In late January consumers discovered a bug in the Apple enabled FaceTime app that allowed iPhone users to listen to someone else’s phone without their knowledge. The bug allowed an iPhone user to call someone through FaceTime, and hang up before the receiver answered. Essentially the phone acted as if the receiver had picked up the call, allowing the caller to hear everything the receiver was saying. Some consumers reported being able to see others through their phone’s cameras without their knowledge.

It’s no surprise that shortly after the bug was discovered by Apple users it was trending on Twitter. Apple responded with a brief statement, saying they “identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.” This statement seems pretty far off from Apple’s usually well-crafted press releases.

Apple later released a statement that felt much closer to what Apple consumers are used to. It was a genuine apology, compared to the previous robotic update on serious software and privacy issue. The statement read in part:

“We have fixed the Group FaceTime security bug on Apple’s servers and we will issue a software update to re-enable the feature for users next week. We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug. We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this process.”

So what do these PR missteps mean for Apple? In the grand scheme of things, these incidents won’t have too large of an impact. The billion dollar a year company will still rake in enormous profits, and the company will continue to innovate and release technology that changes the way people live their lives.

Apple has not announced any plans to delay on of the campus expansion projects they announced in 2018. This means that Boulder will more than likely see their Apple campus expand by nearly 50% by 2022.

For a smaller company, these slip-ups could be detrimental, it’s never good to see a company completely abandon a product that’s been heavily discussed by executives and consumers, or have slow responses to privacy concerns. However, these blunders are not to be written off, they might be signs to the end of Apple’s reign as the leader in the tech world.


About Eddie Fitzgerald: Eddie is a senior at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, and Swyft’s Denver PR intern. He is moving to Denver after graduation, and is looking forward to experiencing the world of public relations in the Mile High City. As Swyft’s Denver PR Intern, he utilizes social media, blogging, and tech PR activities to support clients. Swyft is a tech PR agency in Houston, Austin, Denver, and Antwerp that provides PR services and trade show PR support for tech companies around the world. Their services include media relations, content and inbound marketing, CPC campaigns, and marketing automation consulting.

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