Will shoddy products tarnish the cult of Steve Jobs?

Summary:When Consumer Reports says you need to put a strip of duct tape on the product to make it work, that's shoddy.

Oh, man! When Consumer Reports, the most-trusted name in consumer product evaluations, pans your flagship product, you know you're in trouble.

When a federal court judge drops the gavel on a class action lawsuit that could collapse your predatory (and universally hated) business model, you know you're in trouble.

Or do you?

Consumer Reports actually recommended against buying the new iPhone 4 because, well, it doesn't really work as a phone (unless you stick some duct tape on the side).

A federal court is now seriously looking at the question of whether the AT&T lock-in (and a bunch of ancillary aspects of the cellular phone business model) is kosher.

Does anyone think Steve Jobs will learn any lessons from this? Does anyone think he cares at all?

Of course not. Apple has billions in the bank and Steve himself is worth billions more.

To Steve and his Apple Dumpling Gang, the complainers are just mere bumblers trying to edge in on Apple's good fortune, hard work, and its employees' good looks.

Will these attacks break Apple?

Of course not. To millions of customers, Steve is Jesus. The iPhone, as imperfect as it is, is Excalibur and the Holy Grail all rolled up in bonded black and silver. It seems almost, that to the Apple faithful, merely touching the iPhone lets them touch an aspect of the deity and is truly a religious experience.

But it's not a religious experience.

Apple is a giant, multi-national company trading off its reputation and the love of its strangely brainwashed masses. It's a company that shipped a product that fails (we can forgive that) and refuses to admit it (this is the unforgivable sin). Apple is a company that is not putting its customers first.

It's a shame, really. The iPhone 4, like most of Apple's new products, is breakthrough engineering. Unfortunately, the company doesn't label these breakthrough products as "beta".

As a result, millions of gullible, trusting consumers are being duped into buying products that don't perform their primary function and then, when they're told they're simply too stupid to hold it right, they turn towards Cupertino, bow their heads, and repeat in a monotone: "Thank you Steve for all thou hath given us."

Don't be goin' off about the word "shoddy" in this article's title. When Consumer Reports says you need to put a strip of duct tape on the product to make it work, that's shoddy. Oh, what the heck. Let it rip.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, CXO, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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