Apple is hosting a press event today to address the issues that are being discussed daily in the media: iPhone 4 dropped calls by holding the phone a particular way. Since we can’t all make it to Cupertino, Macworld is doing an excellent job covering the event with a Macworld Live Blog. Be sure to check that out for the full scoop. Apple has a video and I’ve included some quotes to highlight below.
Apple is providing a video of the conference and shows their testing of antenna problems on other smartphones. You can also take a tour of Apple’s $100 million building for testing antenna design and learn about it and watch a video showcasing it.
Steve Jobs says the issue is making bigger press news than it warrants.
.55% of all iPhone 4 users have called about antenna or reception
Based on the data we have, this has been so overblown… so to digest this is going to take a few weeks, maybe.
After explaining away the issue and stating that this problem with antennae is common to all smartphones. “You can find reports of this problem for all sorts of phones on the Internet.” Steve Jobs says:
I have a theory: When the iPhone 3GS came out, it was the same shape as the iPhone 3G, so people could use their old cases.
And people could use old cases already in stores, so people could buy cases when they bought the phone.
So iPhone 4, radical new design, not many cases, limited supply of bumpers.
(Jobs says that’s his theory, but doesn’t know if it’s related, and they’re looking into it)
I’ve gotten thousands of emails from users who say there’s no problem for them.
But, having said this, we care about every user, and we’re not going to stop until every one of those is happy.
As the rumors predicted, Apple is giving a free case to iPhones purchased until Sept 30 and a refund if you’ve purchased one already.
Everybody gets a free case or a refund if you’ve already bought a bumper for every iPhone purchased through Sept 30
But. We can’t make enough bumpers. So what we’re going to do, is source some other cases and give users a choice of cases. And they’ll be able to pick one.
Apply on Apple website starting late next week. Pick a case, zoom, we’ll send it off to you. That simple.
And if you’re still not happy, before or after you get a free case, you can bring your iPhone 4 back undamaged within 30 days for a full refund.
No restocking fee or anything. We want to take care of everyone. We want every user to be happy.
Q: AT&T plans will be refunded too? A: Yes. AT&T is giving full refunds, yes. And through Apple as well.
Q: And people can get out of their contracts? A: I believe so, yes.
Good luck with that…
Steve Jobs also mentioned that they are investigating a problem with the proximity sensor but they hope to have it addressed with a upcoming software update.
Will there be an antenna redesign?
Q: Are you considering any changes in the antenna design of future iPhones? A: We’ve been kind of preoccupied with this. We’re pretty happy with the antenna design than the iPhone 4. It’s a better antenna than the 3GS in almost every way. We waved a red flag in front of a bull by putting the “grip me here” design and made it very obvious.
Bloomberg says that Jobs knew about the antenna issue before now. Jobs disagrees.
Q: Were you told earlier? A: You’re referencing the Bloomberg article, and it’s a total crock. We talked to everyone about it. We have a great community of scientists. They debate everything. And it’s healthy. The best ideas win. I’m sure in some corners of the antenna world that was debated hotly, but if anyone had said, look, this antenna has questions, we’re concerned, we would have dispatched the right people and looked at it.
Jobs: Certainly what was portrayed in that total article never passed my consciousness. And I talked to Ruben and Ruben says it’s total bullshit too.
There’s also a nice little jab at Gizmodo for their iPhone 4 shenanigans.
McKean: It’s very hard to get cases right now. If Apple had given the dimensions of the phone earlier, then there’d be a bigger supply of cases. A: As a consumer electronics manufacturer, if we tell the world what our future products are going to be, they tend to stop buying our current products. And if they [do that], then we have a crisis and have to focus on that and stop focusing on new products… so in general, we don’t tell people about new products until they’re just about ready to go.
You know, sometimes web sites buy stolen prototypes and put them on the web. And we don’t like that. But if we give things to case vendors, they have a history of putting them on the web too. So that’s what we run up against.
The rumors before this press event were torn between free cases or recalls. Here’s their answer.
Q: Did you consider a recall? A: When you love your customers as much as we do, nothing’s off the table. But the way we work is to be data driven. We want to go find out what the problems are. We’ve sent people all over this country to visit customers. I get e-mails, “My phone isn’t working right, I don’t have reception,” I dispatch them to my engineers, they’ve sent teams all over the country, visiting these people in their homes. These people literally get a knock at their door from Apple engineers with a bunch of equipment and want to plug it in and test reception. We’re really serious about this. Mansfield: For the record, we told them we were coming. Jobs: And we didn’t bash down any doors.
All in all, nothing very surprising. It’ll be interesting to see if any other phone manufacturers come forward and agree or deny the common antenna problem.