Apple cannot overlook clients' concerns

Around the world, iPhones are falling victim to what consumers and technology experts have referred to as the touch disease. It interferes with the phone’s ability to register a person’s touch inputs on the screen, which either severely handicaps the device’s functionality or renders it completely useless.

Consumers have responded to what they believe is negligence on Apple’s part by filing a class-action lawsuit. It accuses Apple of fraud and violating California’s consumer protection laws. It also claims that the company hid the defect and has not addressed the problem in any way. The telling symptom of an iPhone that has the touch disease is a flickering gray bar at the top of the screen. Soon after the gray bar appears, the phone’s touchscreen becomes unresponsive.

According to the lawsuit, the cause of this problem is the lack of a metal shield that protects the chips responsible for reading touchscreen inputs. Without the shield, it is easier for the chips to detach from the phone’s logic board and this lack of protection makes the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as stated by the lawsuit, “Substantially less durable to foreseeable and reasonable use by consumers and ultimately causes the touchscreen defect.”

To add insult to the injury, customers whose phones were afflicted with the touch disease have not received assistance from Apple. The company has reportedly refused to fix phones with this problem. Customers who have contacted Apple Care or entered an Apple store for repairs related to touch disease were told that their phones could not be fixed and they would need to purchase a replacement iPhone, which can cost over $300.

There are specialists who can repair the touchscreen chips for a cheaper price, but Apple has not mentioned this option as an alternative to customers with the touch disease. With iPhones dropping in global market share this year and the recent public reveal of the iPhone 7, it is likely that Apple does not want to garner any negative press that could hurt sales, which explains why the company is ignoring its customers’ complaints.

The last thing the company wants is for potential consumers to perceive the iPhone as an unreliable, shoddy product. By choosing to ignore the problem, Apple got hit with a lawsuit, which is probably worse publicity than defective smartphones. Apple must do something substantial to remedy the touch disease problem, like repairing, recalling or replacing afflicted phones. If it had responded quickly to the situation instead of ignoring it, both current and potential customers would hold Apple in higher regard. An iPhone is a premium product, so it should come with premium service.