Mobile

We made the iPhone and we’re sorry: 5 classic Apple apologies

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Shocked by Apple CEO Tim Cook’s admission that the Apple Maps application falls short of expectations? Don’t be.

Apple may not be a company accustomed to making public apologies for lacking products or services, but it does own up to its missteps on occasion, especially when its prized creation, the iPhone, is at the center of controversy.

The Cupertino company has, by our estimates, made at least five iPhone-related apologies, including the Maps confession, and one admission of guilt by product giveaway.

It all started with a public letter from Steve Jobs, addressed to iPhone customers, in September 2007, a few months after the first iPhone went on sale. The technology icon felt compelled to apologize for royally upsetting the first wave of iPhone buyers who waited in long lines and paid $599 for a device that Apple and AT&T soon reduced to $399.

In 2010, Apple apologized multiple times for issues related to the iPhone 4. First, the company admitted guilt for bungling the pre-order process for the smartphone. Then, Steve Jobs said he was sorry for not being able to meet consumer demand for the device. If you recall, the iPhone 4 “sold out” in a matter of three days.

Later, the company finally addressed a seemingly disastrous “antennagate” scale. Apple (not Jobs) posted a letter to iPhone 4 users, apologized “for any anxiety we may have caused,” and attempted to explain why customers were losing bars. That apology proved insufficient, and Apple was forced to address the matter once again by convening an uncharacteristic press conference where Jobs announced that Apple would be providing iPhone 4 owners with free bumpers.

If history and Apple’s stock price tell us anything, it’s that Apple can recover from a smartphone scandal like no other.

Here’s a visual look at each of Apple’s iPhone-related apologetic gestures.

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Photo credit: Heather Kelly/VentureBeat