Samsung’s recall of the Galaxy Note 7, represents more than simple caution on the part of the Korean tech giant. It’s also an opportunity the likes of which Apple hasn’t seen in years.
The recall relates to the chemical makeup of the battery units, a component that companies are fiercely secretive over. In this case, however, it has resulted in more than 30 phones so far exploding, and users posting their charred remains online. The problem for Samsung , as it begins a complicated, costly and damaging recall process is that it doesn’t know whether the problem is inherent within a particular batch of phones, or impacts upon all of them. In fact, Samsung doesn’t even know what the specific problem is.
In a strange move, they are replacing the phones with a newer batch – presumably assuming that the new ones will not have the same issue – but this is a significant risk.
With the new line of iPhones coming out next week, Apple has the opportunity to demonstrate it is the pinnacle of technology and quality once more, and it’s unlikely that the marketing giant will fail to capitalise on the opportunity. We can expect Tim Cook to completely ignore Samsung, and point to additional features and enhancements designed to increase reliability and safety for Apple customers.
As a result, the damage to Samsung could be far greater than a few annoyed customers not having their phone for a short period of time. With a majority of Western society now relying on their smartphone as a primary means of communication, reliability is no longer a feature – it’s a prerequisite to purchasing, and when people are let down by a brand, they are statistically likely to pay extra money to distance themselves from that supplier.
Mobile phone users were in a significant transition phase, with people deciding whether to move all of their devices to Samsung and Android based on exceptional reports on Samsung products. Other Android suppliers have also been reaping the rewards, but the timing of this could mean the golden days are over, and Apple users could well revert back to what they know best.
It could even spell the fast track of additional Mac devices – such as the first upgrade to the MacBook Pro in years. If ever Apple were planning on surprising the analysts, who have become incredibly consistent in their predictions, now is the time.