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Apple Offers Free Cases To Solve iPhone 4 Antenna Problems 917

Apple just finished their press conference about the iPhone 4 antenna issues that have been widely reported and discussed in the past few weeks. Steve Jobs started by showing that the problem wasn't limited to iPhones, using videos of the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the HTC Droid Eris, and the Samsung Omnia 2 as examples, all of which dropped bars while being gripped in certain ways. He said, "This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren't perfect. It's a challenge for the whole industry. Every phone has weak spots." He went on to say that only 0.55% of all iPhone 4 users have called in to complain about reception problems, and that the return rate on the iPhone 4 so far is less than a third of the return rate for the 3GS. Jobs then said that according to their data, the iPhone 4 drops an average of less than one additional call per hundred than the 3GS. He continued by pointing out that because the 3GS was based on the 3G, there was already a large supply of Bumpers, which most customers left the store with. When the iPhone 4 came out, the old Bumpers didn't fit, so stock was lower and fewer customers used them (80% vs. 20%). Therefore, Apple's solution to the antenna problems is to give a free case to every iPhone 4 purchaser before September 30. Refunds will be offered for those who already purchased one. Since they can't make the Bumpers fast enough, they'll be supplying other cases from third parties. Jobs also acknowledged recently reported problems with the proximity sensor, promising a future software update to fix it. Engadget's liveblog of the conference has a ton of pictures and more direct quotes from Jobs. It's worth looking at if only for pictures of Apple's anechoic testing chambers.
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Apple Offers Free Cases To Solve iPhone 4 Antenna Problems

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  • 'Bout time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by misophist ( 465263 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:44PM (#32928708)

    They should have just owned up to the problem and offered this fix from the beginning of this mess!

  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:45PM (#32928744) Journal

    But ram it into a condom to make it usable.

  • by NixieBunny ( 859050 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:46PM (#32928746) Homepage
    Steve goes out of his way to claim that it's really just a trifling little problem. That's not how to win customers.
    The way to win customers is to say, "We admit that screwed up, and bad. We'll make it right. Here's how."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:48PM (#32928800)

    I don't think I've ever been more sickened by computing company. Ever.

    Let's just sum up Job's disgusting spiel:

    * Smear other well designed phones that no one has ever had problems with

    * Deny the well documented antenna design defect

    * Offer silly bumpers for a problem he just claimed doesn't exist

    Everyone knew this damage control press conference was going to be bad. But this was beyond anyone's most outlandish predictions about the lengths Jobs would go avoid taking responsibility for the PIECE OF SHIT iPhone 4.

    Smear other company's cellphones Jobs? Really? My god...

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by agent_blue ( 413772 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:48PM (#32928804)

    This thing's only been out for a month!! at least give them some time to do their own testing, which they did!

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SquarePixel ( 1851068 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:50PM (#32928822)

    Well, Steve Jobs conclusion was this:

    So we've worked the last 22 days on this trying to solve the problem. And we think we've gotten to the heart of the problem.

    So the heart of the problem is, smartphones have issues


  • The others (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes ( 835608 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:51PM (#32928840) Journal
    It kind of bugs me when people admit they have done something wrong but because other people also have problems then it is not that bad. Wonder what Jobs would say if there was a coding error in OS X? Doesn't matter 'cos MS do it all the time? It's the normalisation of mediocrity.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Haffner ( 1349071 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:51PM (#32928850)
    They did NOT own up to the problem. There was no apology. It was more like, "We haven't done anything wrong, but because we are such a great company, we are going to do you a favor and give you a case" NOT "Sorry, we screwed up, this free case should make it better. Our bad."
  • by ashridah ( 72567 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:52PM (#32928880)

    It seems like they're trying to cloud the issue, since there are two problems. One that all smartphones face: Your hand can capacitively interact with the antenna in the phone, and cause signal loss.
    The other, that the Apple iphone 4 supposedly faces (And didn't in previous generations): bridging the gap between two different antennas causing noise to be effectively introduced to both, drastically reducing signal.

    The thing is, you can trigger the latter problem without your hand being near it by using something metal to bridge the two antennas, I've seen that in action.

    A Rubber bumper around the edge is enough to prevent problem two, and problem one just isn't as significant a loss, so it's acceptable.

  • by timster ( 32400 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:54PM (#32928902)

    Well, I have one, and I don't use a case. I'm not sure if I can tell you how bad the problem really is, since I don't make many phone calls, and even though I do use my left hand when I do, my natural grip doesn't touch the weak spot.

    Using data, it seems like it's slower when I touch the weak spot, so I don't do that. It's not my natural grip when using it for Web browsing either. And usually I'm using wi-fi anyway, in which case it doesn't seem to matter at all.

    Not sure if that answers your question. I think it depends a lot on the user.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:54PM (#32928906)

    Red Alert! Red Alert!

    All Hipster Douchebags fire up your accounts with mod points and bury the unbelievers!

  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:54PM (#32928908)
    ... translates to "don't hold it that way" all over again.
  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gudeldar ( 705128 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:56PM (#32928936)
    Did Slashdot really just post some news within an hour of it actually happening? I think I may have clicked the wrong bookmark.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taelron ( 1046946 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:56PM (#32928942)
    What about the months of testing they did on the unit before they um, I dont know, RELEASED it?
  • by getNewNickName ( 980625 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:58PM (#32928956)
    No, how to win customers is give them a free case with every purchase before September. I think Steve understands customers quite well.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:58PM (#32928974)

    To be fair, they had to test to verify the problem. Reports of problems are not necessarily indicative of actual problems (or at least problems as major as suggested by reports). Ask Toyota and the NTSB.

    To think that a company should immediately cough up a mea culpa and restitution at the first sign of trouble is simply unfair.

  • by flitty ( 981864 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:59PM (#32928980)
    Agreed. After reading through basically a transcript by Engadget, it was weird how defensive Apple is about the whole thing. You don't come out and hold a highly anticipated and hyped press conference, claim that this isn't a problem, then give away free cases to everybody (which you previously were charging $30+ for). If it's not a problem, why even bother giving out cases? Why bother showing your test facilities and talk about how many engineers worked on the phone? This is like Microsoft coming out and saying "Well, we had 300 Computer Science Engineers working on Vista, and 50 testers constantly testing Vista, so there isn't a problem."

    This whole press conference was weird, including the errors in the slides he was showing...
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:02PM (#32929036)
    You make it sounds like they created a product capable of killing people when the accelerometer sticks. It's just a toy for gadget whores.

    Most critics of apple decry the pedestal that the fanbois and Apple put the products on. To me, Apple's sincere apology could only come off as more self agrandizing. Steve Jobs saying, "I'm deeply sorry for our oversight.", comes across as "We know that nobody deserves to be without an iphone and everyone's lives practically depend on them."

    I'm not sure what you want from apple. either return the phone because you don't like it, or rejoice in getting a free Bumpa'

    (i don't want to hear the argument "what if someone needs to call 911 and only have their left hand available to hold the phone")
  • Re:The others (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:03PM (#32929044)

    Maybe if Apple wouldn't have used media sensationalism to hype their product in the first place, there wouldn't be such a backlash against unrealistic expectations. Apple's PR can be a double-edged sword....

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by die444die ( 766464 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:05PM (#32929072)
    No, they said some people might have the problem that everyone's been blowing out of proportion. But only .5% (not 5 percent, half a percent) of users have even reported the problem. Most of the people foaming at the mouth about this don't even have iPhones, they just want to see Apple fail. Because these people have been so loud, the perception is that most people are having reception problems, which is simply not true. For most people the reception is better. Because the media has created this perception, Apple is giving everyone free Bumpers.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SquarePixel ( 1851068 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:07PM (#32929108)

    Actually, what I've now read on Apple users forums even they are furious. They expected a real fix and they get what, a rubber band you put around the phone? That looks so slick and awesome.

  • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Americano ( 920576 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:08PM (#32929120)

    Really, and is AT&T not logging your friends' dropped calls too, like they do with every dropped call on their network? Or are they just not making or receiving calls at all because the problem is so horrible for them that they just can't get a connection, and "waiting patiently" for someone to come fix their phone?

    Signal attenuation due to grip is a more pronounced problem with this antenna design than with other phones. But the question is - does it matter at all, and is it impacting the day-to-day usage of most people? And the answer to that question is that it is not actually dramatically impacting most users.

  • I checked this myself by holding my AT&T Bold in one- and two-handed death grips (and in other creative ways) and never from five bars. I do have signal issues due to AT&T at work (my signal will drop from 5 to 1 bar when the phone is untouched on my desk, then back up to five); but holding it exactly the way shown by Jobs made no difference in my reception level. When doing so at home, the signal did not change from five bars no matter what I did.

    Make me wonder how they rigged that one up.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:09PM (#32929140)

    Did Slashdot really just post some news within an hour of it actually happening?

    I think I may have clicked the wrong bookmark.

    It's about The Steve TM. What did you expect?

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RoFLKOPTr ( 1294290 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:10PM (#32929150)

    Do you own an iPhone or is this just Apple-hate?

    Doesn't matter. What if Microsoft had pulled a stunt like this? The entirety of this website would be flooded in a fit of rage, trolling, and Apple fanboys saying "That's why I have an iPhone!!!"

  • Re:The others (Score:3, Insightful)

    by urbanriot ( 924981 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:11PM (#32929170)
    My BlackBerry Bold 9700 does not have alleged signal issues and has been extremely reliable. I do not accept his deflection of blame, especially after 1 out of 1 friends I'd asked could reproduce the iPhone 4 issue. So far, 100% of the people I know with an iPhone 4 are experiencing the issue.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by david_thornley ( 598059 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:12PM (#32929188)

    This isn't a problem that will obviously show up under any circumstances.

    If you're in an area of strong signal strength, like the Apple campus, you aren't going to notice it. If you use it in disguise, like the leaked one was, you aren't going to encounter it, since insulating the antenna from the hand solves the problem. If you don't hold it in a certain way, the problem won't happen. Moreover, this sort of thing happens to all phones, to a greater or lesser extent. Hold it in a certain way, and it'll lose signal.

    It's a problem that shows up on the final physical model for certain ways of holding the phone in areas without a strong signal. Assuming Apple did tests under those conditions, a few testers would report a problem. They expected a few testers to report a loss in signal strength, because that always happens. In other words, it was the sort of problem that even a good testing program might miss.

    Then, of course, the final physical model was released to millions of people who lived and worked in areas with considerably different signal strengths and who held the phone in various ways, and the problem became evident.

    Speaking as somebody who has written software with bugs that shipped with intact bugs, I sympathize. Some problems are hard to find by the QA department, and the only way to become aware of them is to ship and let users doing different things in different environments pound on the software.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:15PM (#32929238)

    Furious? I can't believe people still aren't getting this. Their return rate has been ~1%, they've received apple care calls on 0.55% of the phones they've sold.
    This is a non-story blown out of proportion by the press who obsessively over-cover Apple products. Apple users are not furious.

  • Re:The others (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:15PM (#32929248)

    Yeah, well... live by the sword, die by the sword. Maybe if they'd quit trying to talk about how "magical" and "revolutionary" their products are like some sort of techo-Goebbles then they wouldn't get their hype bubble busted.

  • by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:16PM (#32929258) Journal

    Translation: Wait until September, we're redesigning the phone casing to put some clear shiny coating on the antenna, but we need to sell through the current stock first.

    Of course, if this is true, who knows if the iPhone 4.1 will do better than the 4? As it stands, the 4 seems to have good signal unless you attenuate it by grounding a couple of antennae together.

    So if you can put up with a protective case and you want your Shiny, then at least The Steve is ponying up the cases for free.

    The fun part was that, since they couldn't source enough cases from Apple, they'd be using third party cases. Meritline should expect a bulk order for the "$1 Apple iPhone 4 Slipcase" very, very soon.

  • quick poll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frag-A-Muffin ( 5490 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:16PM (#32929270) Homepage

    How many of you people complaining actually HAVE an iPhone 4 and are actually experiencing the problem?! I for one cannot chime in on this debate yet because I'm up in Canada and we're not getting the iPhone 4 until July 30. (And you bet I'll be getting one).

    I don't understand all this over-hyped apple-bashing. I know there are a lot of haters, but seriously, what more can you ask for from a company. Here's a direct quote from Steve from the Q&A session:

    "For those customers we'll get them a case, and if that doesn't work, we'll get them a full refund. And we'll continue to work on antennas that don't have this problem."

    Ummm .. they have a solution for you, free of charge. If you that doesn't solve your problem, or if you don't like their solution, they're offering a full refund! I'm not sure how much more they can do. They're not forcing you to buy any of their products.

    Did you read that last sentence?! That's right, you actually have a choice!! Yay!

    I guess people just like the attention on hating on others?! I don't know. You kids these days, can't be happy, can you?

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:16PM (#32929276) Journal

    yeah, "we'll provide cases for 2 months" is a bit of a cop-out unless they release a new version by then.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:18PM (#32929290)

    Ask yourself where those numbers came from.
    How does AT&T track dropped calls?
    How many people will call support when they are told a fix is on the way? How many people call Apple Care? (thats the .5%)
    When the calls get into support, how many are redirected to AT&T for "dropped" calls and then classified as a "non-issue"?

    If you don't ask where the numbers came from, you can't tell when you are being lied to. If you've worked at any company at all you'd know how bastardized statistics can be -- you can get them to mean anything you want by hand-waving, reclassificaiton, etc.

    Of course, for people that don't question, it becomes entirely what Jobs wanted by presenting this data...a "small" issue.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by voidptr ( 609 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:21PM (#32929344) Homepage Journal

    So in other words, the iPhone 4 sucks, but every other phone you'd consider sucks more.

  • by mycroft16 ( 848585 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:24PM (#32929380)
    They still haven't owned up to the problem though. And when asked about it directly by gdgt, they changed the subject. gdgt: "You showed people almost covering the entire phone in their hand, but on the iPhone 4 it can happen with just a touch. Can you explain that difference? Bob (Apple): "When you touch the phone, you put yourself between the signal and your phone, so when you touch that spot you can attenuate the signal, and if you grip ti with your whole hand, you can attenuate it even more." That was a total non-answer. In fact, he answered it in reverse. In my office here we have 2 droids, an LG Voyager and some little trac-phone. We all tried holding them in a variety of ways, including how they showed phones behind held. None of our phones dropped bars. Yet the iPhone drops bars with the mere touch of a single finger tip. Not to mention the severe spin he put on his data at the start of the thing. It doesn't matter how many people are calling in with the problem, or what percentage change there is in dropped calls. The problem is the REASON for the dropped calls. Barely a touch to a spot that is guaranteed to be touched when on a call, is enough to drop signal strength to a point where calls are dropped. So how often it happens isn't the point. The point is there is a serious hardware/design flaw. One that definitely should have been noticed in testing. He even said on multiple occasions throughout the conference that he doesn't think there is a problem at all and that this whole thing is just blown way out of proportion. I'm sorry, but when Consumer Reports does their testing and can't recommend your product, that's not blown out of proportion.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) * on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:26PM (#32929410)

    This thing's only been out for a month!! at least give them some time to do their own testing, which they did!

    But they spent that month testing everyone else's phones. Namely "BlackBerry Bold 9700, the HTC Droid Eris, and the Samsung Omnia 2".

    Apple has handled this poorly every step of the way. And at the end of the saga, they still try to weasel out of trouble with the old line "it wasn't just me, they are doing it too". I used to try that one on my mother when I got in trouble as a young boy. It didn't work for me then, so I don't see that it should work for Apple now.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:26PM (#32929412)

    Because the media has created this perception, Apple is giving everyone free Bumpers.

    To be fair, Apple uses the media to create the perception of perfection, shininess, trendiness, and bug-freeness in their products. So I'd take it all as indicating that media whoring cuts both ways.

  • Re:The others (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 16K Ram Pack ( 690082 ) <[tim.almond] [at] []> on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:28PM (#32929436) Homepage

    Exactly. People have studied how to do this stuff properly based on years of doing it. You don't do the sort of things that Jobs has just done.

    Firstly, apologise. Secondly, what action are you going to take. Three, re-assure people you'll be checking the status personally. Four - take questions and be humble about it.

    What Jobs has done is to leave the wound festering. He's just accused his audience of sensationalism, which is only going to piss them off. Maybe they were, but you don't do that. He's tried to deflect attention from Apple's problems by pointing elsewhere. You can only do that if you're small and have a hardcore fan base. When you're the 3rd biggest phone OS, you can't. You've got a lot of mainstream customers and you look like a jerk to them.

  • by Coward Anonymous ( 110649 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:29PM (#32929446)

    "The dropped call data from ATT shows that the iPhone 4 has performed less than 1 *more* dropped call per 100 calls than the 3GS - an increase, and a sign of a problem, but certainly not in the "IF YOU HAZ IPOHNE 4 U WILL DIEZ" class of problems."

    Ah, the beauty of statistical slight of hand. This number is incredibly misleading and you, as many others surely have, fell for it.
    The important and telling ratio is [iPhone 4 dropped calls] / [iPhone 3GS dropped calls]. i.e. how many times worse is an iPhone 4 than and iPhone 3GS.
    We don't get that number but we do get this other number that lets us draw a graph of how much worse the iPhone 4 is than the 3GS as a function of iPhone 3GS' dropped calls.

    The resulting graph is damning no matter where you look. Let's assume that the "less than 1 more" is ~1 more (if it were less than 0.5, Apple would have been happy to point that out). If the iPhone 3GS drops 1/100, then iPhone 4 drops 2/100, or twice as many calls! The relative performance of iPhone 4 gets better as the iPhone 3GS' dropped calls fraction gets higher (i.e. AT&T's networks is worse). So if i3GS drops 5/100 i4 drops 6/100 which is only 1.2x worse.

    Essentially, the i4 is much worse than i3GS or AT&T's network stinks.

  • by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:29PM (#32929458)

    Put the antenna someplace your hand isn't likely to cover. I'd have to hold my phone sideways to cover the antenna while talking.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:30PM (#32929480)
    I have to give Apple credit for turning the market. They manage to convert the complaints of the type:
    "This Windows computer is CRAP! Fix it!"

    to something along the lines of:
    "I'm doing something wrong".

    People with Apple products have somewhat a humble attitude towards their products and believe those can fail, but it's a user problem. That wasn't the case of Windows PCs where people always thought (even knowing they've done stupid stuff) that was a problem of the computer.
    Thus, no wonder that despite your number 2) where I already had tons of problems with the iPhone 3G, people will not complain as presented in 4).
  • by dreadlord76 ( 562584 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:30PM (#32929490)
    The problem is, they couldn't share the absolute numbers. So according to Steve, it increased by 1 call per 100. If the original dropped call number was 1, then the increase is 100%. That is not insignificant. If the base number was 0.1 call dropped per 100, then we're talking about a 10X increase in dropped calls. The only way this can be insignificant, is if AT&T drops, let say, 50 calls per 100.
    When following the live blogging, one thought that just keeps coming to my mind, about how Steve J told Steve W about how much they made. Do people really believe in Steve J?
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WiiVault ( 1039946 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:31PM (#32929492)
    Well they "lost" one to Gizmondo months ago, thats field testing in my book.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KahabutDieDrake ( 1515139 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:31PM (#32929498)
    Considering the amount of free press and hype that /. gives apple, it's only fair they portray the other side as well. Don't you think? Oh crap, I forgot, fanbois don't like to be called out on the facts.

    I don't have an iphone, I won't be buying one, and it has nothing to do with media perceptions. However, when you build yourself up to be the top, you make yourself a target. This kind of reception problem might in fact be common in some phones, but apples is the perceived "top", and therefore the primary target, making a mistake like this is worse for apple than it is for HTC, or Nokia.

    Lastly, just put a fucking antenna on the phone like every phone for 20 years has had, and these problems disappear entirely. (because no one holds the antenna to talk on the phone) I know I know, function before form, how ridiculous.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rjiy ( 1739274 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:33PM (#32929532)

    Maybe the return rate was low because people wanted to check out the software fix they announced early on?

  • by spisska ( 796395 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:33PM (#32929546)

    Wow, way to buy into all the marketing speak.

    1) Every phone exhibits signal attenuation to some degree when the hand is placed on/near the antenna assembly, and many can be made to exhibit this same behavior;

    Every phone can be manipulated into signal degradation, but this phone allows the user to short the antenna while holding the device in a natural manner. Hardly the same thing.

    2) The dropped call data from ATT shows that the iPhone 4 has performed less than 1 *more* dropped call per 100 calls than the 3GS - an increase, and a sign of a problem, but certainly not in the "IF YOU HAZ IPOHNE 4 U WILL DIEZ" class of problems.

    Self-serving comments from ATT notwithstanding, the iphone has always been known to have relatively poor reception. It's a fantastic little device that does everything extremely well except make phone calls. And ATT's comment only cements that this model has the worst reception of all. This is a problem.

    3) 1.7% have been returned so far (about 1/3 the rate for the iPhone 3GS)

    No way to verify the figure, but considering the short amount of time this has been out, and the publicity around the antenna problems, it's same to assume that a) not all phones that have been 'sold' have even been unboxed yet, and b) many who would be returning the phones were awaiting word from Apple on a recall or other remedy. In other words, this statistic is meaningless.

    4) ~0.5% of the sales have prompted a call to AppleCare about this problem.

    Another misleading number. Only a small fraction of people would ever call Apple support about this -- they'd be more likely to blame ATT, or to accept that the iphone just has poor reception.

    You could easily turn same number around and completely change the meaning -- 'Within just weeks of the iphone's release, tens of thousands of user calls flooded AppleCare with complaints of antenna problems'.

    5) 3 Million units have been sold so far.

    Ford sold over 11 million Pintos. That doesn't excuse them from releasing a shoddy product that could have easily been fixed before its release.

    What percentage of Pinto buyers do you think called Ford to complain about exploding gas tanks? How many of the cars were returned within a month of sale? Do you think other cars could be manipulated into having their tanks explode?

    The iphone is a very cool device, but that doesn't give Apple a free pass when they screw something up.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:34PM (#32929552)

    So you don't like Apple because they're Apple, and think everybody who spent several hundred dollars on a shiny new phone would keep it even if it didn't work because it's an Apple product.

    Clearly your logic is astounding. lol

  • by c++0xFF ( 1758032 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:35PM (#32929582)

    The true problem is that they have a product with a flaw that was touted as the coolest thing in phone design since caller ID.

    It was a marketing department screw up -- any antenna designer will tell you that exposing the antenna like that is a stupid idea. But, the coolness factor won out and the engineers had to do what they were told.

    I for one am glad that they're getting raked over the coals. Too many times we engineers are forced to go along with stupid ideas: its rare that the full consequences hit back at those making the decisions.

    The only thing left for Apple to do to make me happy is to admit that they put a higher priority on making the phone "cool" than on making it functional. Jobs didn't do that today and probably never will.

    I've had to go along with way too many of these types of decisions.... Maybe this will be a lesson to others in the future.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by qortra ( 591818 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:36PM (#32929608)

    You make it sounds like they created a product capable of killing people when the accelerometer sticks.

    Funny that you reference something that turned out to be a non-problem to defend the creators of an actual problem.

    It's just a toy for gadget whores.

    But they don't market it that way. They claim that the iPhone changes everything. So, their customers believed them and care whether it works properly.

    (i don't want to hear the argument "what if someone needs to call 911 and only have their left hand available to hold the phone")

    I'm sure you don't. I wouldn't want to lose a debate either. The fact is, the hand with which you hold your phone is probably not the first thing on your mind when you're making a 911 call. Sometimes when there is an emergency, you need to be doing something with your dominant hand (right hand for most people) while you talk.

    In reality, there are all kinds of reasons that an unreliable phone is a bad thing, not just edge cases like 911 calls. But hey, at least Apple cared enough to hold a press conference and point their finger at other companies.

  • by imunfair ( 877689 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:36PM (#32929630) Homepage

    As someone who deals with end users for PC products I'd say the report/return rate is irrelevant - in my experience many people won't complain about something until it effects them in a huge way, even though it bothers them. Many times even when they do report it the problem has been happening for months before they mention it.

    That issue aside, calling a press conference with Jobs basically acknowledges that it is a PR disaster - regardless of the real-world status. It just makes them look petty when they try to point to other phone manufacturers, rather than just fixing their own problem.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:36PM (#32929632)

    Two months is plenty of time for people to decide to:

    - Take the free case and keep their iPhone 4
    - Return their iPhone 4 for a full refund, no restocking fees etc.
    - Hear about this problem and decide not to buy an iPhone 4 (if they don't have one already)

    People who are upset about this product can simply get a different phone. People who are upset about this product and don't own the iPhone 4, and have intention of getting one, can simply get a life. Within 2 months we'll be on to the next flamewar.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:37PM (#32929642)

    Cell phone quality has been so low for so long and people have become accustom to dropped calls "Are you there"s, etc that there is no need to apologize or say you did something wrong. Cell phone quality and its acceptance have become such a norm that my company is thinking of going to VOIP for its telephone including 911.

    This is weird. I don't think I've ever had a dropped call that wasn't because the train went into a tunnel or something. Even many tunnels (or roads in valleys etc) are OK now, there'll be a tiny directional antenna at the end (picture []).

    I've never had a dropped call while standing still.

    Even landlines have their issues with heavy use. Special holidays and whatnot give those "We're sorry all circuits are busy, please try again later".

    The only time I've heard anything of like that is after the 7/7/2005 attacks in London. Priority was given to pre-registered numbers (police, doctors etc. register their numbers). However, I only read that that was what happened, I didn't have any problem making calls myself.

  • Re:No surprise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:37PM (#32929648) Journal

    That's key, and I don't see any way that they could have honestly believed that only 0.5% of their users were having trouble.

    Let's be blunt here. The Steve knows the problem is bigger than 0.5%. The Steve is not stupid. He's a pretty smart guy.

    But since only 0.5% of customers have gone to the trouble of saying they had a problem, he can freely use the accurate statistic that 0.5% of users reported problems and be absolutely, 100% correct. He is not misrepresenting the problem, he's quoting actual numbers of people who bothered to call in the problem.

    My wife and I have both had problems, but neither contacted Apple Care.

    And your inaction, even though you knew AppleCare wouldn't help you, provided The Steve with the number he was looking for. It justified delay on his part, marginalized the problem, and makes their issuance of cases look magnanimous rather than conciliatory.

    Don't fail to vote then complain when a member of the party you don't like gets voted in.

    If you have a problem, you should call AppleCare and log a complaint. If you and everyone else who could Death Grip their phones into submission had done so, The Steve couldn't brush it aside as an insignificant subset of his customer base, he'd know he had a really serious problem on his hands.

    Suffering in silence is very nice and courteous and all that, but you are the customer here and if you have a problem it's your job to let the manufacturer know that you do, so they can make it right (even in cases when you know they won't).

  • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:38PM (#32929660) Journal

    Unless you know hundreds of thousands of people, I'm going to trust AT&T and Apple's numbers, which cover _MILLIONS_ of users more than your anecdotal evidence covering, what, a half dozen?

    The whole point of GP's post is that Apple's numbers are users who complained to their support or tried a return. The numbers themselves are not suspect, but the relevance of this measurement definitely is.

  • Re:The others (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Straif ( 172656 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:39PM (#32929676) Homepage

    It's also a bit odd that Jobs actually has to stress "our new product is only worse than our old product by a factor of x" as a defense.

    Since most other reviews I've seen say just how much better the reception is on the iPhone 4 compared to the 3gs (when not holding the phone in the 'wrong' way) if it loses more calls than it's predecessor than that would just go to stress how poorly the antenna design was. The external antenna screw up is essentially negating all other reception improvements and then some.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:45PM (#32929784)

    No, I understand quite well that they provided the statistics that paint the problem in the most favorable light. Even if it's a "100% increase", from 1 drop / 100 calls to 2 drops / 100 calls, you're still talking about a very small *impact*.

    Let's look at it in regular usage, say I use an iPhone to make or receive 20 calls per day. In 5 days, I'll have to hit "redial" two times if I have an iPhone 4. With an iPhone 3GS, I would have had to hit "redial" once in that same time.

    Yes, that's a "100% INCREASE!" No, it's not a "major problem." You might say it's a minor problem, or an inconvenience.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hercubus ( 755805 ) <hercubus AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:47PM (#32929808) Homepage

    This thing's only been out for a month!! at least give them some time to do their own testing, which they did!

    They don't need a month for testing. I'm sure engineers replicated the issue fifteen minutes after they first heard about it, then figured out why it didn't show up in pre-launch testing about 15 seconds after that.

    What took a month was meetings, consultations, coordination, marketing spin, legal input and legal review...

    Anyone here not seen that drunken dance of the pointy-haired, parasitic elite at their own place of work?

    Anyone work someplace where engineers are allowed to decide how to rectify high-profile issues? No?

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:47PM (#32929816)

    What was your point?

    These guys are supposedly providing the greatest consumer experience - I didn't think this was so great!

    Yet you were able to walk into an Apple store and ask for help. You didn't have to wait on hold on some toll free tech support number and ask for an RMA number...

    You need to make an appointment to speak to us, the next appointment is in 2 hours

    They are able to give their full undivided attention to you in within 2 hours. You just need to make an appointment first.

    This indicates that other people have went through the trouble of making an appointment and will expect to not have to wait when they arrive. You could have easily made an appointment while in the store, online prior to going to the store, or even call them to make an appointment. I have had my MacBook Pro serviced by them, and I made an appointment. They promptly looked at my laptop when I arrived for my appointment. They identified the bad part and was able to replace it within the time alloted to each appointment which meant I was able to leave the store with a fully repaired laptop within 45 minutes of my arrival. I had AppleCare so price was not an issue.

    A coworker had to have the motherboard replaced. He went to the store, and they verified that it wasn't something that could be easily fixed and would need to stay at least overnight. He was pleasantly surprised by a phone call around 5pm that said that if he made it to the store before they closed later that night, he would be able to pick up his repaired laptop.

    It'll cost $755 to repair

    Sounds about right. I replaced my Sony Vaio with the Apple MacBook Pro because after 1.5 years the backlight on the 17" screen went out. Getting the part from Sony was going to set me back $800 and I still had to do all the repairs myself. So instead of repairing the laptop, I took the oportunity to upgrade, and I made sure I purchased AppleCare with the laptop. The laptop is now over 3 years old and, other than that one visit to the Apple store, it has never given me any more problems. I'm using it now.

    We found instructions to replace the screen and the replacement part ($120) online and my son and I replaced it in about an hour.

    Excellent news! I'm glad you were able to save some money. I'm surprised you were able to purchase a new screen for only $120, but as long as the MacBook works!

    You do realize it's like taking your car to the dealer for repairs versus doing it yourself with a third-party part that may or may not work. Apple warrantees their repair. You were able to find an inexpensive replacement part and fix it yourself which in the end meant that you assumed all the risk. Luckily everything worked out for you.

    I know their stuff is nice and shiny but this really pissed me off. I just found the attitude in the store a little extreme. And the price for the repair.

    So you think you are better than everybody else, and don't need an appointment? Was the staff rude or were you just frustrated that they couldn't drop everything and look at your laptop?

    Again I'm glad everything worked out in the end for you.

  • Re:The others (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:48PM (#32929840) Journal
    Wait, they had a video showing that all smartphones can have their antennae shorted out by a sweaty left palm? I must have missed that. Look, regardless of what design flaws others have, the Apple antenna design is flawed. By involving other smartphones, they are trying to draw fire away from themselves with a cheap stunt. What parent hasn't had one kid try to get out of trouble by pointing out how bad their sibling was? Anybody can see through it.
  • Re:The others (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:49PM (#32929850)

    The only "sensationalism" I've seen here was when Jobs said it would be a good idea to put two independent antennas on the outside of the phone, with a sum-millimeter gap between them. Anyone with some basic notions of electromagnetism facepalmed at the same time.

    Now they spin it completely, as if the interference between the two antennas were the same thing as the natural signal obstruction you get when you hold your phone around the antenna. On my old Nokia I can make the signal drop by 15 dBm (measured by PhoNetInfo) if I cup the phone tightly around the antenna area; on the iPhone4, AnandTech measured a drop of 24 dBm [] just by holding the phone. That's unacceptable.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:53PM (#32929944) Journal

    So in other words, the iPhone 4 sucks, but every other phone you'd consider sucks more.

    No. What I think he meant was, "So in other words, the iPhone 4 sucks, but every other phone carried by ATT sucks more."

    ATT's only offers the Aria and Backflip for Android. While the Aria and Backflip are nice phone, they are not the iphone4g. All OS considerations aside, the hardware doesn't even compete. I don't see this changing as ATT doesn't want to piss Apple off by carrying an Android powered phone with better hardware specs than the iphone.

    I'm sure this guy would be quite happy trading in his iphone for an ATT powered EVO, Incredible or DroidX.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mace9984 ( 1406805 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:54PM (#32929952) Journal
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... Not a troll :) Hilarious!
  • by Kristoph ( 242780 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:58PM (#32929996)

    "We admit that screwed up, and bad. We'll make it right. Here's how."

    Steve Jobs: 'We're not perfect. We want to make *all* of our users happy.'

    Steve Jobs: 'We screwed up.'

    Steve Jobs: 'To our customers who are affected by the issue, we are deeply sorry"

    And obviously, they are trying to make it right by giving you a free case and, if your not cool with that, giving you a full refund, no questions asked. What more do you want exactly?

  • by Arkham ( 10779 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @02:58PM (#32930004)

    It's almost like you wanted him to say:

    It's very hard, when we look at this data, not to conclude that there is a problem. But it's a problem affecting a small percentage of users. ... we care about every user, and we're not going to stop until every one of those is happy....Let me tell you what we're going to do. First think, we've released iOS 4.0.1, which fixes the wrong formula for bars and there was a nasty Exchange bug, and that's fixed too.We recommend that every iPhone owner update to it. Second, a lot of people have told us, the bumper solves the signal strength problem. Why don't you just give everyone a case? Okay. Everyone will get a free case.

    He pretty much said exactly that. There's a problem. We want to fix it, here's how.

    I'm not an iPhone user (I use a Nokia N900 and like it), but the response seems pretty much exactly what everyone wanted it to be.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:01PM (#32930054)
    Just because other phones are poorly designed doesn't excuse this one. Seriously, Jobs is saying "Our phone doesn't work well, but the blackberry doesn't work well either, so we don't have to do a good job".
  • by Chardish ( 529780 ) <chardish&gmail,com> on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:13PM (#32930262) Homepage

    To summarize Jobs: "Most people aren't seeing this issue. A small percentage are." They didn't say it wasn't a problem, otherwise they wouldn't have given out the free cases. At the same time, you don't hold a giant mass recall for a product that 99% of your customers are satisfied with.

    I don't see how anyone could have an issue with Jobs's response. Like the iPhone? Great, keep it, and you get a free case. Like the iPhone, but are in the small minority having signal issues? Consumer Reports says cases fix it. Have a free case. Still don't want the iPhone? Return it, get your money back.

    What's the problem for the consumer here?

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BarryJacobsen ( 526926 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:13PM (#32930264) Homepage

    Really? Because if that were even REMOTELY true do you not think that BB users would not have made as big a stink at RIM if an entire user base had the issue as bad as the iPhone seemed to have?

    Yes I do think that is entirely true, not just remotely true. Why do I think this? Because no one gives a flying fuck about RIM. No one cares enough to try to pick them apart. No one cares enough to read story after story about them. There's 1,400 mentions of RIM on slashdot (according to google) and 2,840 of Blackberry. There's 5,200 of iPhone 4 (not iPhone's in general, not Apple, 5,200 mentions of "iPhone 4"). No one cares about RIM.

    And where on earth do you get entire user base from? If you paid attention to the presentation roughly HALF OF A PERCENT of people reported the problem.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IrquiM ( 471313 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:23PM (#32930448) Homepage

    Well - it got know pretty fast, so the .05% that reported it, is the number of people which don't read the news. The rest didn't bother when they saw it was already an issue.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:23PM (#32930450)

    Really - and you consider the model you described to be a "better" customer experience? A model that runs by the principle of: Show up whenever, and either wait until we decide we want to talk to you, or be an obnoxious prick and come to the head of the line?

    I understand it sucks for you to be told "come back later" the first time, but to say "that's terrible customer service" is pretty weak.

    And for the record, the people who actually are looking at your problems at a Mac store aren't "sales clerks" in the sense that they're mindless hourly wage slaves. I've had the occasion to use the Genius Bars before, and as a software engineer, I've been impressed to see one of the girls (at the Salem NH store) drop to a unix command line and start digging around in logs to try and figure out what was wrong with my system when I brought it in for them to look at.

    They actually do have some training and expertise beyond what the typical best buy "sales clerk" has.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:25PM (#32930502)

    Do you hold all phone manufacturers to the same standard?

    Google learned first hand how hard it was to directly support a phone when they introduced the Nexus One. The Nexus One came with a whole list of issues, and Google was deluged with customer complaints. Complaints included service eligibility problems, people not receiving their phones in a timely manner, and technical issues like poor 3G reception. Basically people complained that the 3G signal would drop when they picked up their phone (sound familiar?). Google had to resort to email only support.

    Verizon dropped the Nexus One in favor of the Droid Incredible, Sprint dropped the Nexus One in favor of the Evo, while T-Mobile barely acknowledges its existence, and will pretty much drop it in favor of the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant.

    The mainstream media didn't hype the flaws of the Nexus One, nor did they demand Google to rectify the problems. Instead the technology press produced articles like:

    "Why hasn't the Nexus One Flopped (yet)?" - CNet
    "Google Nexus One: A Successful Flop" PC Mag
    "The Nexus One is a total sales flop" - Gizmodo
    The list continues just Google it...

    I think the real issue is that we expect Apple to have a higher standard, and the media measures Apple with that standard. Maybe that is why Apple is the perceived leader of the smartphone market.

    As for my fanboism: Yes I like Apple computers, but I also have an Android phone that I'm pretty much stuck with. My point is shouldn't we hold all phone manufacturers to the same standard?

    Remember after only 22 days, Apple makes a very public appeal to satisfy its customers. Sure they were pressured to act sooner rather than later, but they have a history of providing good customer support. Because of their popularity they don't have the luxury of quietly letting the model die like the Microsoft Kin or the Google Nexus One...

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SETIGuy ( 33768 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:31PM (#32930614) Homepage
    Other methods of mounting the antenna wouldn't have looked as good. Therefore they went with this one.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pixelate ( 916876 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:37PM (#32930722)
    He said .5% of users CALLED INTO APPLECARE to report the problem. Obviously this leaves out a lot of people who took steps to either exchange or return or complain without actually making a phone call to AppleCare. Remember, Apple is an engineering company. They're great with numbers!
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimbomarq ( 1857698 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:45PM (#32930860)
    Honestly, I had no idea what AppleCare was until Steve Jobs mentioned it. I didn't know I was supposed to call that phone # to complain instead of ATT. I called AppleCare during his press conference to complain because reception IS an issue with my phone.

    Of course, hearing him talk about fixing the proximity sensor made me think that maybe that's my real problem. I don't know if it's AT&T's network that's dropping my calls, or my face. Either way, there are problems.
  • by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:51PM (#32930950)
    Or they could use Ajax properly and not refresh the whole god damn page. Gmail seems to do just fine without refreshing the entire page when a new message comes in.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:07PM (#32931252)

    Wow. He never said "safe-to-assume" and the only "more likely" was regarding why people might not call AppleCare. Most of his points were pretty straightforward logically. Do you disagree with any of them specifically, or are you just content to remain in the reality distortion field?

  • by BlueStraggler ( 765543 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:16PM (#32931382)
    You are also engaging in the art of "damn lies". The actual important and telling ratio is iPhone 4 dropped calls by signal strength / iPhone 3GS dropped calls by signal strength. The iPhone 4's redesigned antenna is supposed to make it more sensitive, which means it could be connecting calls where the 3GS could not. If these are the calls that are most likely to get dropped (and it seems pretty obvious that they would be) the 4 could still be outperforming the 3GS even with this problem.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:18PM (#32931432) Journal

    C'mon guys. As I'm sure you're aware I'm no fan of Apple's short 3-4 year OS turnover, or its locking down of systems, or its overpriced $1000 hardware, or the fact my G4 is now obsolete (can't run anything newer than OS 10.4, or Safari 5, or the latest iTunes).....

    Um, what was my point? Oh yeah.... they are doing the right thing. Did they drag their feet? Yes but so do most corporations. Look at Toyota: They've had engine problems since the 2000 which cost customers $5000 to replace blown-out engines after only 10-30,000 and they didn't finally acknowledge the problem until 2006 (under pressure from the US DOJ).

    Apple solved this problem in just three weeks time, by giving away bumpers to protect the antenna from being shorted by the human hand. Bravo for them.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:30PM (#32931630) Journal

    Who on their right mind would make a phone designed with an antenna that you're going to directly touch in normal use?

    A company driven by it's Marketing Division, not one driven by it's Engineering Division.

    I know. I've worked in both types of companies.

  • by Andtalath ( 1074376 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:39PM (#32931784)

    What they did:
    1: Offer an explanation of their perception of the issues which have come out of this, backed up by statistics.
    2: Concluded that it's blown out of proportion.
    3: Offered to give stuff away for free to appease everyone who's had problems without requiring any sort of proof that they do have problems, and to let people get their money back if they still weren't satisfied.

    If any other company had acted this way (analysing the problem, giving out the information and giving a fix or refund to the ones who aren't happy), most people would be impressed.
    When apple does it, it's suspicious.

    Heck, I'm suspicious as well and I dislike the iPhone, still, this does seem to have been blown out of proportion.
    Let's see what happens over the next months.

  • Re:quick poll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quirkz ( 1206400 ) <ross.quirkz@com> on Friday July 16, 2010 @04:47PM (#32931914) Homepage
    Some people aren't happy unless you apologize exactly the way they want you to apologize. Generally this should involve a lot of groveling, moaning, and hand-wringing. Perhaps ritual suicide. Based on a few dozen sample explicit explanations earlier in the posts, no two people agree on exactly what is the appropriate magic way to apologize to make it all better, and thus no matter what Apple did, everyone would still be unhappy.

    And this is for a group of people who, mostly, didn't even appear to own an iPhone or be affected by the problem. They still want blood anyway, for some reason.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:01PM (#32932090) Journal

    Any RF product with an antenna that must come into contact with the user's skin to be used without aftermarket doo-dads is defective by design.

    But Steve liked the design. I remember him carrying on about it at the keynote. I doubt if any other cellphone vendors will be laying a turkey of this sort anytime soon now.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:10PM (#32932232) Journal

    Maybe you are a bit shortsighted, or fail to understand economics, but, NEWSFLASH: the phone is going to be sold for more than two months from now.

    This also could have been a nonstarter if apple had owned up earlier.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LucidBeast ( 601749 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @05:51PM (#32932708)
    I don't know about HTC EVO, but I've never seen a sticker "don't touch here" on a phone and I've gone through 30 or 40 different kinds, because of my work. I remember that old phones that had antennas sticking out had this sort of problems, but I can't remember having this kind of problem in last five or so years. I have to say that these guys stoop pretty low when claiming that this is a general problem. Sounds like spin to me.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by toooskies ( 1810002 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @06:12PM (#32932926)

    Newsflash: If Apple already knew there was a problem on release day like everyone who reads the internet, who exactly is going to call them and tell them what they already know? Especially when it was well-known that Apple wasn't doing anything to accomodate the problem.

    Half a percent means that those people knew

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EastCoastSurfer ( 310758 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @06:15PM (#32932954)

    I found it for you: []

    Page 169. No sticker, but in the manual.

    From my personal anecdotal experience with my i4 all the websites claiming doom and gloom were the ones spinning to me. Ars did a pretty good test showing that the new phone can lose ~20db of signal when held a certain way. That's enough to lose 1-2 bars and if that's all you have then it's definitely a problem. The most I can get to happen is 1 bar and it generally then bounces back up.

    Apple brought the issue to light that has been a problem since phones started moving their antennas internal to the phone. A friend with a BB just IMed me laughing that he can do the same thing on his phone because of the weak signal he has in his office building.

    I think Apple did all they could here. There is no way they have time to engineer, test, and possibly get FCC approval for some new phone in such a short amount of time. If the bumper isn't enough for people then return it. My i4 works fine with my usage and is much better reception wise than my 3GS was. Not that the 3GS was a stellar performer, but in places where I would drop calls on the 3GS (I live near the mountains) the i4 hasn't dropped yet.

  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @07:02PM (#32933446)

    Hi Dan...

    Furthermore, Apple does not admit the antenna is defective and does not intend to fix it.

    Its not defective if you cover it with plastic like everybody else in the handset industry. ;-)

    And thats exactly the "Solution" Apple has adopted with the bumpers. Bandaid over a Bad design.

    But shouldn't phones get better with each release?

    These external segmented antennas cause one ADDITIONAL call drop in every 100 calls vs the 3Gs iphone.

    Apple is saying See: Only One ADDITIONAL drop per Hundred!

    I'm saying: You STILL measure call drops over a Hundred calls?

    Bad enough they admit their newer phone is worse than their old phone, but then to admit they are still seeing multiple call drops in 100 calls.

    My Nexus One has a full call log and not one call drop. It was a replacement for a iPhone 3G which dropped a few calls per month. Same carrier, Same area. Zero drops since I left Apple.

  • A Real Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jmactacular ( 1755734 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @08:22PM (#32934004)
    Exactly. Since most people grip their phone on the sides, why not move this second band gap to the bottom of the phone? What happens when people touch the gap on the top of the phone?
  • by daver00 ( 1336845 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @10:00PM (#32934468)

    I don't see how anyone could have an issue with Jobs's response.

    What? He ducked any explanation whatsoever, claimed outright that it is the same issue that is faced by any smart phone, presented no solution to the problem and offered free cases to shut everyone up. They made every attempt to keep this thing under wraps, and do nothing about it! It is clearly NOT the same problem as other smartphones, no other smartphone has two antennas with exposed conductive surfaces on the outside of the device. No other smartphone loses as much signal as the iPhone 4 when held. No other smartphone will lose that much signal just by touching one exact spot.

    It was more lies! How could you NOT be pissed off about that press conference?

  • by Milo77 ( 534025 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @10:07PM (#32934500)
    When he gave his theory why the iPhone4 drops more calls than the 3GS he says its because people already had bumpers. How does a bumper help reception on the 3GS? The 3GS's antenna isn't external, so you can't touch it. Having a bumper or not wouldn't make any difference at all. Lame theory Steve.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by localman ( 111171 ) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @12:20AM (#32934956) Homepage

    Yes, all phones have areas where hand placement will attenuate the signal.

    The iPhone has that _plus_ a whole new problem, caused by the uninsulated antennas. Great PR today by Jobs, but the people who know can see through it: yes all smart phones have reception issues, but the iPhone 4 introduced a new one. It's a serious gaffe on their part. The fact that the bumper fixes it proves that exposed antennas are a bad hardware design. The reason not everyone gets the same problem probably has to do with variable skin capacitance. My hands sweat a bit, and I've death gripped several iPhones 4 into submission. My own iPhone 3G does not behave that way.

    I'm not trying to play "gotcha" with Apple, and it would unfortunately be business suicide to admit the gaffe clearly because we're such a society of ridiculers... so they've pretty much done the right thing. But there is a real problem with the exposed antenna design and it's too bad they (and many of we) can't admit it.


  • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#32935316)
    Now they should just replace all iPhone 4 ads showing a "naked" phone with a bumper-covered one, so customers will know what their product will actually look like if they want to effectively use it as a phone.
  • Re:'Bout time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @12:25PM (#32937362)

    "I've used the iPhone 4, and when not detuning the antenna due to a bad grip I found the signal strength and call quality to be excellent."

    My god man! Snap out of it! Do you see you're now blaming yourself for gripping the phone wrong?

    Holy Moley...

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears