Sometimes saying “sorry,” really does it make all better. After receiving intense criticism from Chinese media, Apple bit the bullet yesterday and made a public apology, promising to improve its warranty service for iPhone 4 and 4S phones sold in the country.
For several weeks, state-run media had criticized the Cupertino company for only repairing broken parts in Chinese iPhones while it provided new replacement phones in other countries. In the apology letter posted on its website, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that the company regretted the misunderstandings that were created by poor communication with its consumers.
Cook also outlined several changes in China’s warranty policies, stating the company will now provide new parts replacements or a new phone up to a year after purchase. He also extended the warranties on Chinese iPhone 4 and 4S phones that were repaired within the last year. A new page on Apple’s Chinese site explains its warranty policy while the company has promised to implement more training of the Apple service providers that conduct the repairs.
Known for being a rather unapologetic giant, Apple took the step forward to put to a stop to the negative press, especially in its second-largest market. Coming in right behind the U.S., China accounted for $22.5 billion of Apple’s sales in 2012, which is about 15 percent of Apple’s annual revenue.
Already it seems that the public apology has eased the tension, with Chinese state-run publications such as the Global Times reporting that the letter has lifted a weight off the tense relationship, that it was “worth respect” and that it deserved credit from Chinese consumers and media.