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Jobs defends iPhone 4 reception as industry-wide problem

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I was able to duplicate it on a BlackBerry that I have for work. Antennas don't like to be touched.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. DeezNutts

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It just keeps getting better, first there was no problem beyond the way customers were holding the device and now we have moved fully into the realm of claiming every phone on the face of the planet is effected.

    Nice spin Stevester! I await your updated model with $300 and baiting breath!

  1. macnnoel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Let's hope not (you owning any Apple product)...

  1. gitcypher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Immature and uncalled for i know,

    ...but you know you guys just argued with deez nutts, right?

    Haaaa. It never gets old.

  1. gitcypher

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "DeezNutts, this is Steve Jobs on the phone"

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So it is an industry wide problem, but only became a mass public issue on the iPhone with the iPhone 4. Why wasn't this such an issue with the 3gs, 3g, or original iPhone?

  1. lysolman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Could have been...

    Somebody was bitter against Apple

    The "weakness" is more apparent on the iPhone 4 (read: seam)

    The algorithm could have actually been wrong, and it was catalyzed by the death grip/seam issue

    The internet didn't exist when the first iPhone came out

    Do you want more reasons, or is that enough

  1. bdmarsh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone 3G does it as well

    now that I know where the antenna is on the iPhone 3G, I can reproduce it... I hadn't notice before, because I don't hold my phone in a way that covers the antenna, or if I do, it is only while shifting my grip.

    doesn't result in a dropped call, but I do lose one bar.

    the 4.0.1 update on my iPhone 3G does make the bar behaviour more consistant... 4.0 had seemed odd, I was always seeing 5 bars, or 1 bar pretty much.
    with 4.0.1 I'm seeing 4 bars at work, and 3 at home, with some drops of a single bar depending on location, and other materials between me and the tower.

  1. igroucho

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    I don't know what Apple could do to satisfy some people. Like SJ said, this "problem" unfolded just 22 days ago - just over 3 (three) weeks (!!!) and what do people want from Apple apart from what it did more or less right away stating: go - no run! - back to us with your new undamaged iPhone 4 and we'll give you a FULL refund!! No Qs asked.
    But people with no business insights and no technical knowledge or anti-apple sentiments (like Testudo) seem to call for official company statements made BEFORE any real scientific investigation has been made clearing out what might had been missed before by 18 scientists using testing equipment worth 100s of millions for months (to name part of the effort by Apple). Anyone with a sound mind should be able to grasp that those take more than 3 weeks, I'd say they SHOULD take time. Or - like SJ suggested - send out the PR guys day 1 and circle the wagons?
    Why now with iPhone 4?? With this crazy success and all of the competitors in the field, the anti-apple mob, pc-entrenched IT-dept people, a large portion of the press etc etc of COURSE they will run to take a bite now that the iP 4 is another crazy home run for Apple on the cost of everybody else in the market. (3 million sold!!!) It's should be a no brainer to answer that Q.
    You get a full refund, you get a free case (sent home!), software fixes, a statement saying there is a problem - blown out of proportion, but still - and an Apple working hard to fix whatever it is - WHAT DO PEOPLE WANT??? A recall? They cannot be in their right mind!

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I still agree with Steve Jobs

    I think iPhone users are using their phones wrong.

    Mark my words, Steve Jobs will be right AGAIN.

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