But I couldn't help feeling that Jobs missed the point. In the news conference, he said, "You know, we're not perfect. And phones aren't perfect either. But we want to make all of our users happy. And if you don't know that about Apple, you don't know Apple." I believe he meant it, but his strong focus on how much people like the iPhone 4 and how reception issues are a fact of life -- a fact of physics, he said -- made the positive action come across as defensive and reluctant, even if sincere.
I suggested earlier this week that Apple was wrong not to be upfront with its customers during in this drama. In the news conference, Jobs complained that only 22 days had passed since the iPhone 4 was released, and that his engineers had been working very hard to figure out the issue being reported in that time. It's great that Apple reacted quickly internally, but not great that the company went silent during that time. At the least, it could have ackowledged that there might be an issue and it was actively investigating. That would have relaxed customers and the media, who Jobs tried to blame for whipping up hysteria. It's easy to blame the media to deflect attention from your own mistakes.
The fact is, Apple's own silence let the darkest fears take flight. Jobs doesn't seem to get that; instead, he defended his decision to say nothing until he had a full answer: "The fact we didn't say anything after a week, it's because we didn't know enough. And it's taken us a while to get the data. If we'd have done this a week and a half ago, we wouldn't have had half the data that we shared with you today." I'm sorry, but Apple could -- and should -- have kept us informed along the way.
But the best example of Apple, or at least Jobs, not getting the point of all the hysteria over the iPhone 4 was in the Q&A. When asked if Apple owed users an apology, Jobs didn't say yes. Instead, he talked about doing well for customers and investors. He should have said yes. It doesn't matter that the iPhone 4 issue appears solvable or that the underlying issue is one that can affect any phone.
Apple claims to be all about its customers and doing great things. Doing great engineering and design isn't sufficient to live up to those goals. Treating customers with respect and honesty and directness -- acting on the alleged relationship with them -- is part of the process, too. That's where Apple continues to fall short.
This article, "iPhone 4: Apple does the right thing, unconvincingly," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Gruman et al.'s Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile computing at InfoWorld.com.