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Apple Tracking: Good Day To Bury Bad News?

Hundreds of people have been photographed today in Tokyo standing in line for the iPad 2 and holding up the fabled tablets to the waiting media. The launch was pushed back there due to Japan’s devastating earthquake last month, but Apple’s decision to announce its launch there and in a series of other countries this week was timely for perhaps another reason.


On Friday, we will see even more images of hundreds more happy consumers in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Israel, Singapore, and other jurisdictions when the iPad 2 is launched in those countries too. The iPad 2 will also be available in China on May 6th, Apple said Wednesday. And today the long-delayed white iPhone 4 is released globally.

Is it a coincidence that Apple made these much-anticipated announcements on the same day it finally broke its week-long silence on tracking and storing iPhone customers’ location data? Or did the marketing people at Apple decide to front-load the good news with the bad? (A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment.)

First, the bad news.

As reported yesterday: there’s a “bug” in the iPhone that allows it to store location data for up to a year. Apple says it plans to fix this shortly, adding, “We don’t think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data.” Lawmakers have requested that Apple answer questions in Washington, and the Cupertino, California-based company has agreed.

Next, more good news.

The white iPhone 4 arrived on Thursday, as if on the wings of a dove, after a 10-month delay. “The white iPhone 4 has finally arrived and it’s beautiful,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We appreciate everyone who has waited patiently while we’ve worked to get every detail right.”

Engadget.com was among those following photographs of the white iPhone being shipped into stores over the last week as Apple steadfastly refused to comment. It noted that the white iPhone 4 was seen “skulking through the trees in the magical United Kingdom, cavorting across the mysterious lands of Vietnam, and most recently standing in formation in Belgium.”

Attention all conspiracy theorists and geeks: consumers and lawmakers waited a week for Apple to respond to the iPhone tracking reports. The company said that it wasn’t possible to do so in a sound bite, but Google was quick to respond to questions about its own alleged Android tracking. Did Apple decide that Wednesday was a good day to bury bad news?


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About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.