Post-Antennagate: Apples Long-Term Prognosis

Can Apple do no wrong? The obvious answer is no,” after last weeks Antennagate” crisis involving the iPhone and Steve Jobs this-is-blown-out-of-proportion” response. But several analysts says the incident will be just a tiny blip on Apples long-term radar screen.

Crisis management specialist Jonathon Bernstein tells PC World that Apple actually did well at its Friday press conference. After Jobs first came across as arrogant and uncaring,” Bernstein said, Apples CEO actually did a good job of explaining the problem and offering a solution  a free case to go around the phone that will prevent dropped calls that were caused simply by placing your finger over the antenna.

This is despite the fact that Apple ignored, or at best, pooh-poohed the whole issue for about two weeks leading up to the event. But as Bernstein pointed out, it certainly helps to have a huge number of consumers who are in love with your product.

“The best defense against it is to have a strong cushion of good will already established. Apple has that,” Bernstein said. Although he admits Apples event wasnt perfect. Pointing out flaws in your competitors products, as Jobs did, isnt the best move, he said.

Another crisis communications expert, Jim Lukaszewski, told PC World that he just looked to his own family as a reason to support Jobs claims about the issue being overblown. He said his own kids have the new iPhone and have had no problems.

Other analysts arent quite as ready to say Apple has moved past the problem. On Bloomberg TV, Francisco Jeronimo of IDC U.K. admits Apples earnings report for the second quarter is likely to be excellent due to outstanding sales of the new iPhone and Apples tablet PC, the iPad. But hes noncommital when it comes to the rest of the year, saying well have to wait and see how the controversy plays out.

A recent IDC survey says one-quarter of potential new iPhone buyers have delayed their purchase, and two-thirds of consumers with older iPhones are waiting a while before they upgrade.

As of 2:21 p.m. ET, Apple’s stock price was up more than $5, or 2 percent, at $250. It’s up about 16 percent for the year, but it’s dropped $20 in the last few weeks.

Update: Hours after this story posted, Apple announced record sales in its second-quarter earnings report, based on iPhone and iPad sales.

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