Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

Summary: After being dogged by problems with the iPhone 4, Apple today held a press conference announcing what it hopes will solve the problem for good.As the NYTimes predicted, Apple didn't issue a sweeping recall.

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After being dogged by problems with the iPhone 4, Apple today held a press conference announcing what it hopes will solve the problem for good.

As the NYTimes predicted, Apple didn't issue a sweeping recall. Instead I can summarize Apple's response in five words "free case until September 30."

Apple noted that you can get a free bumper case (or a refund if you've already purchased one) and that since they can't make bumpers fast enough, you'll be able to select from a choice of cases on the Apple website starting late next week.

iPhone 4 customers still have the option of returning the phone for a full refund, with no restocking fee within 30 days.

Apple also announced that the White iPhone is going to start shipping at the end of July and that its bringing the iPhone to 17 more countries on July 30, including:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

After the presentation portion of press conference Apple's Tim Cook and Bob Mansfield joined Steve Jobs to answer questions (courtesy of Engadget)...

Q1: Are you doing anything else to address the issue? Perhaps changing hardware?

Steve: You know, the 3GS has the same problem. We're getting reports from customers that this is better than the 3GS. So I don't know changing the antenna design would help -- I don't know what our next antenna design will look like.

Q2: I can't get my Bold to drop right now, maybe you can show me how to do it?

Steve: You may not see it in certain areas.

Q3: 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: 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 it with your whole hand, you can attenuate it even more. We don't build phones with an antenna on top...

Q4: Were you told about the design before the phone was released?

Steve: Are you talking about the Bloomberg article? That's total bullshit," and we've challenged them to show proof that that. If anyone had said this thing has problems, we would have dispatched people to deal with that issue.

Whoa strong words!

Q5: Are you willing to make an apology to investors?

Steve: You know we hear from customers who love this phone and have a great experience with it, and we're doing a lot to help them with any issues they're seeing. To investors, you know, you invest in the company we are, so if the stock goes down $5... I don't think I owe them an apology.

Wow, just wow. I think that Steve could have handled that better.

Q6: Do you think you're making users choose between form and function?

Steve: No, we strive to do both. For instance, we make the phone smaller, so it fits well in your pocket... the Retina Display... it's like a fine printed book, it blows away other displays. It costs a little more, but we made it work. The iPhone 4 is an exterior antenna, so it doesn't live inside the case, we have a larger battery for better battery life. We try to have our cake and eat it too, we try to have great design and great performance.

Q7: Will there be refunds for AT&T contracts?

A: I believe so, yes.

Q8: On the September 30th date, is that to let people know that you'll have to buy a case?

Steve: Not really, we'll reevaluate then. Maybe we'll have a better idea. Maybe Eminem will come out with a band-aid that goes over the corner and everyone will want that.

Ok, that's just hilarious. Clearly Steve takes Antennagate very personally.

Q9: Will the refund include third party cases?

A: There's a very small number of third party cases out there. So no.

Q10: Well it's interesting, there aren't any cases out there, and it's hard to get cases now. If the third-party case buyers can produce a receipt, why not give them one?

Steve: It's really simple, if we tell people what our next product is, they stop buying our current products. Sometimes websites buy stolen property and they get out there... and case makers have a history of showing off their new cases for our new products. The case vendors haven't had a history of helping to keep our work under wraps.

Q11: Do any of you use the cases? I don't.

Steve: Well I don't. And I get better reception, I hold it like this [death grip] and never see problems.

Another snappy answer! Clearly Steve still holds a major grudge against Gizmodo -- as evidenced by Giz not receiving an invitation to today's event.

Q12: Would you have done anything differently knowing what you know now?

Steve: Well, of course the Consumer Reports stuff was bad, and of course we would have liked to get on this sooner. We just got this data. We just learned what was going on. We're an engineering company. We think like engineers. We love it, we think it's the right way to solve real problems. I don't think that's going to change, and the way we love our customers isn't going to change. Maybe it's human nature -- when you're doing well, people want to tear you down. I see it happening with Google, people trying to tear them down. And I don't understand it... what would you prefer? That we were a korean company, that we were here in America leading the world with these products... maybe it's just that people want to get eyeballs on their sites. We've been around for 34 years... haven't we earned the credibility and the trust of the press? I think we have that from our users. I didn't see it exhibited by some of the press as this was blown so far out of proportion. I'm not saying we didn't make a mistake -- we didn't know that it would have these issues, we didn't know we were putting a bull's eye on the phone... but this has been so overblown. But to see how we could do better is going to take some time.

Q13: Is there a hardware redesign in this generation that could fix this problem?

A: You can go on the web and look at pictures of Nokia phones that ship with stickers on the back that say "don't touch here" -- you can go on YouTube and see these. We should 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.

Steve: But not everyone is seeing this -- a small number encounter it. 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. But I think we're where the rest of industry is right now.

Q14: Was a recall ever up for discussion?

Steve: We get email from people all over the world about issues. We're really serious about this. We try to figure this out. We come out to their places with test equipment, we want to see logs. We try to get the info and figure it out... Bob: For the record, we told them we were coming first. Steve: And we didn't break down any doors.

Where to start? Poor form. Making jokes about the raid on Jason Chen's house? Tacky and arrogant.

Q15:What kind of impact do you think this will have on sales?

Tim: We’ll hold financial stuff for our Q2 results call next week.

Q16: Engadget asked if there was possibility of a software fix (based on the NYT article stating an inside source claimed there could be a fix of that type coming.)

Steve had a long answer largely dismissing the question. Then Scott Forstall asked for a mic, and he said that the statement in the Times was "patently false."

Q17: I'd like to know if the handset has any role in congestion management... the congestion problem, it didn't get better with the iPhone 4. Does the stack play no role at all in the management of congestion?

Steve: I'd let Scott take this in a second, but first, when AT&T wants to add a cell tower in Texas, it takes about three weeks... when they want to add one in SF, it takes three years. That's the single biggest problem they're having. They're spending a lot expanding their networks, and our data rates are way better on the iPhone 4, but AT&T has to expand its network, and that's a long process. I know because we're constantly asking about it. They're trying really hard, and sometimes I think they should enlist the support of the users in the community.

More soon...

Photo: Engadget

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Wi-Fi

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241 comments
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  • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

    what about all the other ios4 bugs?
    greybert-
    • Such as?

      @greybert-@... <br>This is an excerpt. Read the entire transcript, they are working on the proximity sensor and Jason himself said that the bluetooth issue he had needed a replacement phone, but that the replacement fixed it. What other issues are you experiencing? Maybe they mentioned them, too.
      use_what_works_4_U
    • ssssshhhhh.... don't mention it or they will sue you!

      @greybert- But besides those other issues, Steve and company are going to have problems from this statement too:

      "I see it happening with Google, people trying to tear them down. And I don?t understand it? what would you prefer? That we were a korean company, that we were here in America leading the world with these products? maybe it?s just that people want to get eyeballs on their sites."

      Notice that they are referring to Samsung who makes over 50% of the cost in parts of iPhone4. So actually.... is it a Korean or Chinese phone more than it's an American Product?

      What about the insult to Samsung? They've already insulted them on their Super Amoled Display that is absolutely no doubt better than iPhone4 Retina. We're not talking about reading books here. Both Samsung Galaxy and iPhone4's are Multimedia devices. Which means they display via OpenGL ES and OpenVG graphics "Resolution Free". That means as you zoom in or out you can't discern pixels!

      On top of that, 100,000:1 stomps the boogies out of iPhone4's 800:1 contrast ratio. Furthermore, the response time for action gaming and films is an abysmal 25ms, when a PC monitor is in the 2 to 8ms range. Samsung's Super AMOLED is a very SUPER 0.01ms. Which is near as you can get to instantaneous! :D
      i2fun
      • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

        @i2fun@... you are a troll, my friend. You seems to be very happy about it. Good for you.
        atari_z
      • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

        @i2fun@...

        Have you zoomed in on an iPhone 3 display? - it uses the same technology, so does a Mac - you can zoom the whole screen with or without this.

        Do you have any valid points?
        richardw66
      • Retina sMetina it's all Hogwash!

        @richardw66 I just stated the facts. I suppose you'd be happy with a 25ms response time on your iMac screen (2 to 8ms)? That's just atrocious!<br><br>Let's see you run Quake3 (true full action game) on that cheap Retina IPS LCD screen w/ iPhone4's CHEAP SGX535 GPU? ....then load up Quake3 (PC Port) on a Samsung Galaxy Series phone with it's "Kicks Retina to the Curb" Super AMOLED screen. The GPU on Galaxy Series phones puts out 3x (90million Triangles/p/sec) the performances of your iPhone4's puny SGX535 GPU and Colors come alive w/ contrast better than your HDTV or iMac monitor. True blacks (not washed out pale gray) that even match the black of the black around the screen face. Not even your monitor is that fast either, so just admit it. Mine is 2ms and Super AMOLED puts it to shame with that 0.01ms response time.<br><br>I'll admit Apple did a fine job of duping you fools into believing Retina has so much higher pixel density, when it's really not true. There was a phone out 2yrs ago w/ 300dpi and that's just 24 pixels less per square inch. You couldn't see the difference unless you use a magnifying glass. Which is pointless in the first place. The problem w/ it was that they didn't have newest 300dpi SVG vectorable fonts in the OS and icons were low dpi as well. So the high pixel count was worthless. Apple used a font and icon upgrade in iOS4 to make it seem like their screen was so much better than 265dpi of competing phones. But it's NOT and it's about appropriate viewing distance too! .....the fonts and icons are being vectored resolution free. Later this year Android has the same thing coming and Samsung has already explained that this will make a dramatic difference with their future Android OS update!<br><br>Now back to Desktops; of course Apple is using OpenGL and OpenVG in OS-X, just like Linux is with its Compiz compositing engine. As did BeOS before Apple had a compositing engine in OS-X. from 1995 on BeOS ruled Multimedia and Amiga before them. Where do you think Apple got the idea? haha...<br><br>btw... funny that Sprint is putting in 4G WiMax towers as we speak with no problems. Of course it only takes 1 for every 25mi radius! :P
        i2fun
      • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

        @i2fun@... "And I dont understand it what would you prefer? That we were a korean company, that we were here in America leading the world with these products..."

        Sounds racist to me...meanwhile, in a world of doesn't, my Samsung Moment DOES.
        jabster17
      • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

        @i2fun@... It's all good till the sun comes up. Amoled for people who only use their phone in the dark..What's worse than form over function? Features over usability. You are a very odd person.
        Wayzom
      • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

        @i2fun@... And quake is the only game you will ever see on that screen. (And only in the dark ;))
        Wayzom
      • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

        @Wayzom Take your shades off and learn the truth people! I've seen an honest comparison out in the sun and.... there is no comparison. That's why it's Samsung's Super Amoled screens going into F-1 Racing cars and Jet Fighters. Highest visibility under sunlight! haha... as for Retina? I didn't know white out came on a phone till I saw it! Oh that was the gray, sorry but the blacks are just dark gray even indoors!

        Truth? ....iOS has been updated with 300dpi SVG fonts meaning they vector "Resolution Free" and that's the real reason they look better than present Android with only 120 to 180dpi fonts. Better are coming for Android too!

        icons? iOS raised the icon dpi by 3x and converts them to SVG's. Android also converts them to SVG's (vectored), but is upgrading fonts to 300dpi and will be used on Samsung's 1280 x 720 Super Amoled screens coming on Galaxy S2 and Slates! .....where's Retina going to be then? Way back in the pack again!!!
        i2fun
    • I didnt see it exhibited by some of the press as this was blown so far out

      Nor by real people...<br>It is interesting to see that apart from some journalists (like here, J O'G. newly converted to Android religion, and Apple-skeptic reborn), plus the usuals suspects-Apple Bashers like NZ or trickytom2 (the bashers don't own an iPhone 4 of course, only heard-say, but curiously are always the first to comment -bash- on every post related to Apple, as if their life depended on it, or like ....well... professionals in the all meanings of the word, isn't it amazing that the same people are always the first to post within seconds? )apart from these people,us, the rest, humble anonymous never witnessed the Death (shivers)Grip issue or dropped (with a big boom)calls. So basically , this happens, let's say mostly to the press and to people who wouldn't have an iPhone pollute their precious air and use it only as a spit-pot or a toilet (how uncomfortable, no wonder they're so bitter) Reliable sources (no,not cylons)tell me this issue represent hardly hundreds of people worldwide , and is mostly due to restoring settings from an older iPhone model to the iPhone 4, i.e resolved with restoring your phone as a new one and re-syncing it (10-60 min depending the GB occupied and 5 clicks). <br>So has Apple disturbed a part of the media with the iPad and troubles the financial waters?<br>Could the financial market deliberately playing with Apple Stock, making multi-million dollars profits with a rumor planted in a fertile ground (everybody hates you when you're successful, and gods know Apple has and is) when everything was showing that the stock would go much further up, you can earn a lot of money at low cost.We(financial stock company)simply catch a fact (any phone is influenced by grip), throw it to the media and here we are . <br>The all-rotten in every aspect, but never equalled in the art of propaganda and FUD, Goebbels himself sayd:<br>The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.


      P.S: this has already been posted with slight variations, true, but always in the last comments. The paradox is that where it says: most recent talkbacks, it is always exactly the contrary and I think that my humble post deserves the same chance as any other?.
      FrakkinBaltar
      ∞Dilemma
      • No offense...

        @FrakkinBaltar

        But you might be insane. I'd look into that.
        trickytom2
      • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

        @FrakkinBaltar That's the Apple Matrix talking again!
        The_Omega_Man
  • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

    According to the more complete transcript, he did say another update is coming in the next few weeks to address the proximity sensor. I don't think he said anything about the reports of Bluetooth problems or the ringtone stuff. Compared to Antennagate, the reports of Bluetooth and ringtone problems haven't gotten much coverage, so it remains to be seen what, if anything, will be done.
    dbrebel
    • There were no "Bluetooth problems" or "ringtone stuff"

      @dbrebel

      Jason had a defective unit, which he returned and got a replacement that works.
      RationalGuy
      • Pullitzer

        @RationalGuy

        To resume: Jason ordered an iphone from online store. Apple did not have a clue that this phone is going to an Apple-concerned journalist to say the least, Jason receive his iPhone the day it is released and he is one out of 75 buyers who receive this iPhone. Bloody luck, the iPhone does not work. But wait, No, I am a journalist and all the gods have arranged this plan for me to write my big scoop: My iPhone is a Lemon. Well if this concourse of coincidences does not deserve the Pullitzer, what does?
        ∞Dilemma
  • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

    When there is an iphone problem just mask it with the case. The problem still exists.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Not a problem if the phone works

      @Loverock Davidson
      There are attenuation issues with every smartphone antenna. Most mask it by putting the antenna inside the phone to reduce attenuation by avoiding direct contact. maybe that's what Apple should have done. That is, effectively, what the bumper case does. It's good enough for Consumer Reports, but not enough for you?

      Oh wait, Apple makes a product. 0.55% of the 3million purchasers report an issue. A known good fix exists and Apple implements it for 100.00% of all those purchasers. How can we still make it look like Apple <i>didn't</i> fix the problem? Call Loverock Davidson, he'll take care of that!
      use_what_works_4_U
      • But my droid doesn't need a case.

        @macadam NT
        cornpie
      • RE: Apple's 'Antennagate' mea culpa - free case until Sept 30 (Updated)

        @macadam
        Why call apple care. It was a very public issue from day one especially the fact that Apple had not much to say on the matter. Again why bother with apple care or returning it when there was so many uncertainties. I want to know the numbers after today not before.
        CFD220