As media gathered for the Apple Press Conference today, many speculated about what was going to happen. Would Steve Jobs apologize for the iPhone 4 antennae flaw? Would they offer free bumper cases to reduce the problem? Have they developed an in-store fix to coat the antennae? Would we get details on the white iPhone 4? Maybe they would just announce some random new product to distract everyone from the antennae debacle entirely.
The conference opened with Apple playing the iPhone Antenna Song, which was pretty odd. Jobs took the stage, chuckling about the video. He went on to say, “We’re not perfect. Phones aren’t perfect. We know that. You know that. But we want to make all our users happy. If you don’t know that, you don’t know Apple. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do that.”
Jobs began to explain the technical details behind the antenna problem and how the iPhone 4 is not the only device effected. They showed videos of other phones experiencing the exact same problems. Jobs says they were aware of the issue, but took it as a matter of course.
“We have an extremely sophisticated antenna lab. This is a state of the art antenna test facility. We have 17 anechoic chambers. We’ve invested over $100m in our antenna testing facilities over the last 5 years, and we have 18 PhD scientists and engineers doing some very advanced antenna design.”
To put things in perspective, Jobs pointed out the call drop rates of the iPhone 4 as compared with the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 4 drops less than 1 additional call per 100. According to Jobs, that’s even too much for Apple. Jobs believes that the major difference between the 3GS and the 4 is that the 3GS didn’t change the design of the phone. There were a number of cases available, on day one. The iPhone 4 has a radically new design and doesn’t fit any of the cases. Jobs believes this problem only became so noticeable because users who wanted a case weren’t able to get one, which would have shielded the antennae from interference.
“Having said this, we care about EVERY user. And we’re not going to stop until every one is happy. But it’s important to understand the scope of the issue — the data says the issue has been blown so far out of proportion, it’s incredible.”
There are two primary solutions to this problem that have been touched on before. In order to make sure your phone is reporting the proper signal strength, you will need to update to iOS 4.0.1. That solves part of the problem in that the change in signal when holding the phone in the iPhone 4 Death Grip won’t be as drastic.
The second and more interesting solution is that Apple will issue everyone who bought an iPhone 4 a free case. You will be able to sign up for your case on the Apple website. Even if you already bought a case, Apple will give you a refund. Because they can’t make the bumper cases fast enough, you will have a choice of which case you want from the website. All this goes on until September 30th. In the event that this is just not a good solution for you or you are just not satisfied, you can get a full refund (it seems they will waive the restocking fee).
I think they make a good point and have offered a decent solution. At this point, only 1.7% of iPhone 4 users have actually returned their phones over this issue, compared to 6% who returned the iPhone 3GS. Is this the solution that everyone has waited for? A free case? Will this soothe the angry mob or is this simply a case of Apple relying on ego and confidence to get out of facing the problem directly?Category: News | Tags: antennagate, apple, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iphone 4, Steve Jobs