updated 02:55 pm EDT, Fri July 16, 2010
Says drops only marginally worse than iPhone 3GS
In revealing the company's planned case and refund strategy to deal with iPhone 4 reception problems, Apple CEO Steve Jobs today defended the device's flaws as common in the industry. "Well we first learned that this doesn't just happen to the iPhone, Nokia, Motorola... other phones have this issue," said Jobs, referring to signal cutting off when covering part of the edge. The executive noted that RIM's BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC's Droid Eris and Samsung's Omnia II are all affected by grip, potentially losing signal completely.
Jobs also suggested that part of the reason people notice the flaw more on the iPhone 4 is the antenna band's seams, which may make for an obvious target. Statistics are nevertheless said to show that only 0.55 percent of iPhone 4 owners have called Apple to complain about antenna or reception problems, and that AT&T return rates are only 1.7 percent for the iPhone 4 versus 6 percent for the iPhone 3GS.
In terms of the actual number of dropped calls, AT&T is said to be refusing to give out exact figures to avoid helping the competition. The iPhone 4, though, is claimed to have "less than one additional call per 100" dropped when compared against the 3GS. "Now when we look at this data, it's hard to escape the conclusion that there is a problem, but that problem is affecting a very small number of users," according to Jobs. "I get e-mails saying the phone works perfectly, and they can't understand what this is all about. So we think it's affecting a small batch, but it has to do with inherent problems in smartphones. But we want all of our users to be happy."
In a post-event Q&A session the executive maintained his position. "We showed you three phones today, all good phones. So right now the state of the art of the entire industry is that no one has solved this problem. Would I like Apple to be first? Yes. Can we make it better right now? Maybe, we'll see," he said.