Jobs: "There is no Antennagate"

Jobs: "There is no Antennagate"

Summary: So, after days of rumor and speculation, there was no recall, no offer to paint on lacquer onto the antenna, and no hand out of gift certificates to iPhone 4 owners.

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So, after days of rumor and speculation, there was no recall, no offer to paint on lacquer onto the antenna, and no hand out of gift certificates to iPhone 4 owners.

According to Steve Jobs: "There is no Antennagate."

That's right. Bottom line, according to Apple, the whole issue with the iPhone 4 antenna has been "blown so far out of proportion."

Watch the press conference here.

So, what's the upshot?

  • Apple suggests all users install the new iOS 4.0.1 update, that is supposed to fix the signal strength bars.
  • Free bumpers and cases. Apple can't make enough bumpers, so will give iPhone 4 owners the chance to pick a third-party case.
  • Refunds to all who bought bumpers.
  • A reminder that users have 30 days to return the iPhone if they are unhappy with it.

Note: Refunds and cases will be available on the Apple website early next week.

And that's it.

Well, Steve Jobs did go on (and on, and on) pressing how this issue is not an iPhone issue, but one that affects all smartphones:

"We did our own testing. Let me show you an example of some other smartphones. First, Blackberry Bold 9700, perhaps the most popular business smartphone ... [video shows it being held a certain way] ... Pretty much identical to the videos on the web about the iPhone 4."

There was more demos, but the upshot was simple:

"This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren’t perfect."

Jobs also threw around a lot of data:

  • Complaint rate on Applecare for antenna or reception issues: 0.55%
  • iPhone 4 has 1/3rd of the return rate of the iPhone 3GS
  • The revelation that while the iPhone 4 drops more calls the 3GS, this is less than 1 in 100 more.

He also went to great lengths to say how much he loved customers:

"We love our users. We try very hard to surprise and delight them. We work our asses off, and it’s great, and we have a blast doing it, and we make some pretty interesting products for them. Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPods, the Apple TV ... we make some pretty great products."

The love just keeps on coming:

"We love our users so much we’ve built 300 Apple retail stores for them, the best buying experience in the world,"

Jobs was also keen to dispel the "style over function" argument, with more love:

"We’re an engineering company. We think like engineers, and we think it’s the right way to solve real, hard problems. I don’t think the fact that we love our customers is going to change at all. I don’t think we could run any faster. We’ve had cots in the labs, cars in the parking lots all night. We’ve been living here."

But it's clear that this episode has left Apple feeling unloved. Jobs again:

"I guess it’s just human nature, when you see someone get successful you just want to tear it down. I see it happening with Google. Google is a great company. Look at everything they’ve created. Would you prefer if we were Korean companies? Do you not like the fact that we’re an American company leading the world right here? Of course we’re human, of course we’ll make mistakes. But sometimes I feel that in search of eyeballs for these web sites, people don’t care about what they leave in their wake."

It also seems that, more than anything, it was the coverage in Consumer Reports that had the most effect:

"One thing is how much we love our customers and how we are going to take care of them. We were stunned and upset and embarrassed by the Consumer Reports stuff, and the reason we didn’t say more is because we didn’t know enough. If we’d have done this event a week and a half ago, we wouldn’t have had half the data we have today."

So is this enough to put out the fire? I'm not sure. Bottom line though, there are two issues here:

  • Will consumers be happy with what's on the table (free case, refund)?
  • How badly has this damaged Apple reputation?

I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens ...

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones, IT Employment

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85 comments
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  • So, iPhone 4 users are generally happy ...

    ... and people without an iPhone 4 are up in arms. Apple acknowledged the issue, explained the technical problem, offered a free fix for people who want a case and full returns for people who don't.

    If this really were a recall-worthy event, don't you think returns would be incredibly high? Wouldn't complaints to AppleCare be incredibly high? What other facts do you need to acknowledge that this "issue" was an effect of the Internet Echo Chamber?

    What the hell else do you want?
    RationalGuy
    • RE: So, iPhone 4 users are generally happy ...

      @RationalGuy Cutting the restocking fee is okay, if you ask me. People can give their faulty phones back.

      Of course, most people won't. They'll blame the network, since they're used to AT&T dropping calls.

      What's not okay is lying about the issue. They're pretending that it's not worse than other phones, which is an outright lie.

      The difference is, when you hold other phone, you only shield the antenna, causing a slight drop in reception. When holding the iPhone 4, you actually bridge the antennas, which is an entire different thing and of course causes a much bigger drop in reception (twice as bad as e.g. the Nexus One, as Anandtech found out - meaning it's VERY unlikely that you drop a call with the Nexus One by holding it wrong, while with the iPhone 4, it's pretty easy, even in areas with relatively good coverage).
      drphysx
      • They're not lying ...

        @drphysx

        They're saying there is a problem, they are describing what the problem is, and telling you that if you have the problem, you can get a free case or get a full refund on the phone.
        RationalGuy
      • Can we say 'imploding'?

        Betcha Ballmer and Schmidt are laughing at every ridiculous denial Apple throws out at the public. Jobs is firing bazooka after bazooka at his own foot while MSFT and GOOG are cheerleading for him.
        LBiege
    • They're lying about the nature of the problem.

      @RationalGuy

      I'm okay with them giving out free cases and cutting the restocking fee.

      But they're definitely lying about the nature of the problem.

      It's very different from other phones. They claim that you lose signal strength by shielding the antenna, but actually the issue is that you're bridging the antennas, which is not possible with other phones and of course causes a much bigger drop than just shielding it.

      Their description of the problem is wrong and they know it. They're lying.
      drphysx
    • In other words, sounds like Windows!

      @RationalGuy
      [i]and people without an iPhone 4 are up in arms.[/i]

      If I could have a dollar every time someone on ZDNet wrote:
      [i]Wow, Windows sucks because of this latest huge deal of an issue... sure glad I never use Windows!!![/i]

      I'd be a rich man!

      Jobs nailed it when he said: [i]I guess it?s just human nature, when you see someone get successful you just want to tear it down[/i]

      The irony is that when MS was #1, you were right up there trying to tear down a successful company. You, Steve Jobs, are as pathetic as you are now accusing all those horrible anti-Apple establishments like Gizmodo and CR of being.
      NonZealot
      • RE: Jobs:

        @NonZealot

        You have a very valid point. People shouldn't comment on software they don't use.
        msalzberg
    • Apple to fail, just like you want MS to fail

      @RationalGuy
      [i]What the hell else do you want?[/i]

      People want Apple to fail just like you want MS to fail. It doesn't matter to you what MS does to fix any of the minor issues that crop up Windows, you will [b]always[/b] hate Windows, Microsoft, and anyone who dares be happy with an MS product.

      All you are experiencing now is your own venom being spit back in your face. There is nothing you can do to stop it. Nothing. Enjoy your karma! :)
      NonZealot
      • NonZealot?

        @NonZealot

        Why would you take a nic that is the opposite of your own spew? It really removes any credibillity you might have had iin my own mind.
        tomaaaaaa1
    • RE: Jobs:

      @RationalGuy lol, people without an iPhone now are the one that have purchasing potential, right? the guys who already have it, do you really think anybody cares about those people now? Obviously apple doesn't.

      Its stupid to claim everybody will call applecare when they have a problem, who give you that data?

      Just because Steve Jobs selectively showed you some data, people supposed to stop using their own brain and thinking?

      What facts do people need? how about a fair test carried out by consumer reports? are you standing here blatantly accuse everybody lying?

      So, in defending your beloved apple, you wouldn't mind accuse the whole world? What a twisted mind, rational, LMAO.
      crislevin
    • RE: Jobs:

      @RationalGuy I think you are using the .55 percent figure a little disingenuously. First of all, most recalls only involve a small percentage of the actual product that is in the market. I am a parts manager at a Nissan and Hyundai dealership, so I have experience with this subject. The iPhone4 sold 1.5 million units on the very first day, so I think it would be safe to assume that we are close to 3 million sold. Let us take Jobs' own figures and do the math; that comes out to 165,000 phones that are experiencing this problem. Now that number looks rather significant and insignificant at the same time. When you first look at the number, you think wow that is a lot of phones. Then when you look at in context, you think this is just another recall. The main problem was Apple's initial reaction to this problem. Telling it's customers to to hold the phone differently or "buy" a bumper was a bush league move and rather amateurish. That would be akin to a Corvette with a harsh shifting problem in 4th gear. Chevrolet tells it's customers to "buy" a shifter cushion that is sells or just shift directly from 3rd to 5th gear and skip 4th. With all that being said, none of this will stop me from buying an iPhone4 the day it comes out with a 64G model (similar to iPod Touch). I am a huge Mac enthusiast, but what really annoys and embarrasses me is the attitude of my fellow MacHeads. They tend to overall be arrogant and apologists for anything that Apple does. It seems like they base their entire self worth on their OS. Their failure to acknowledge that companies other than Apple makes good products is just pitiful. Do I wish that my work had an all Mac network; of course. But I am perfectly content and happy to be working in a Windows 7 environment.
      MichaelWells
      • RE: Jobs:

        @MichaelWells Michael you may want to check your math. 0.55% of 3 million is 16,500, NOT 165,000. An order of magnitude LESS than what you are stating.
        ssaha
    • RE: Jobs:

      @ssaha You are absolutely correct. Sorry about adding the extra zero. My point still stays the same, but my poor key punching needs corrected; thanks for the correction.
      MichaelWells
    • What the hell do I want?

      @RationalGuy I have an iMac and a MacBook Pro in addition to my two Windows-based laptops and I'm pleased with the quality of all four items.

      What do I want from Apple? Admit the "F" up, make it right, and move on.
      GeoffMichael
  • Adrian, were you able to see the demos?

    Did they affect the signal strength too?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Antennagate is very real, actually.

    The increase in dropped calls, that they reported at the press conference, is HUGE.

    Why? Here's the maths:

    1 more dropped call per 100. That means, if the drop rate was 2% before, it's now 3%. This is an increase of 50%. Yes, 50.

    (btw. the 2% is an estimation I made based on claims from AT&T, who claim 1.44-1.7% and other tests that claim up to 4.5% - in any case, 1% more is HUGE)

    Don't let their numbers fool you. If you think about it, it looks like 'Antennagate' is very real and might be even bigger than everyone thought.

    It's definitely not overblown, that's for sure. Their numbers, if you think about them, tell a clear story.
    drphysx
    • RE: Jobs:

      @drphysx

      As Mark Twain once stated, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

      Please refrain from any more "math" to make a point.

      If you really wish to impress someone, than figure out the probability of an iPhone 4 owner (currently estimated at 3 million persons worldwide) experiencing a dropped call using an iPhone 4 versus an iPhone 3GS.

      Lets see. What are the variables? Are all iPhone 4 users on the AT&T network? Are all iPhone 4 users equally affected by the dropped call rate or does the local area where the phone call is made from affect the dropped call percentage?

      And, I'm sure you can come up with ten or more factors that might influence whether iPhone 4 owner (a) has an equal probability of having the same or different rate of dropped calls over iPhone 4 owner (b).

      All I know from the facts presented at this press conference is that 99.45 percent of all current iPhone 4 owners have not logged a formal reception complaint.

      And from that, I can surmise that 99.45 percent of current owners of iPhone 4 handsets experience performance acceptable to their own personal expectations.
      kenosha77a
      • I'm only using maths, they're using the statistics.

        @kenosha7777

        It's that simple: AT&T claims their dropped calls rate is 1.44%. Apple says the iPhone 4 drops one more call per 100, that means 2.44% dropped calls.

        That's a huge increase and probably makes the iPhone 4 by far the worst phone on the market in terms of reception and dropped calls.

        Statistics lie, that's why their claims about this not being an issue are wrong. I don't make the statistics, I'm justthinking about them and not letting them fool me.
        drphysx
      • RE: Jobs:

        @kenosha7777 you just don't get it. You're right, it's not a HUGE issue to drop a few calls, which is why there haven't been more returns. The real issue is that Jobs LIED about it. That's all. Stick to that fact, and now try to justify him.
        johnaaaaaaaaa6
      • RE: Jobs:

        @drphysx

        That is 1 in 100 more than 3GS phones which would make a significant difference of AT&T 1.44% of all customers vs. iPhone3 which is what the comparison was to. So basically double the number of iPhones and maintain the same or similar dropped call rate is what it looks like to me.

        Seems the issue was blown out of proportion. Definately a step backwards no matter how small, but this is to be expected of innovation.
        ryanstrassburg