Apple: iPhone 4 Issues Blown out of Proportion

72 thoughts on “Apple: iPhone 4 Issues Blown out of Proportion”

  1. So after releasing a piece of junk defective by design cellphone, Apple holds a press conference to smear other well designed cellphones?

    What an absolute embarrassment by Steve Jobs and Apple.

    1. Maybe its not a piece of junk? I haven’t had any dropped calls, and my friends with the phone arent having problems either. So maybe this is overblown media hype?

      1. Media is always hyping things, no doubt, but when was the last time you heard of a massive conspiracy of phones LYING about their signal quality on a carrier known to have dropped calls and issues?

        I’m here in Youngstown, Ohio and most of the iPhone4 users I know are unhappy because of the issues and none of the iPhone3GS users are unhappy (other than with AT&T or some that had botched iPhone OS4 updates).

      2. @Tim

        Maybe you need to watch a few episodes of “Mad Men.” You know, so you can understand the concept of “advertising.”

        Or maybe you believe Verizon is totally saying its customers can become Airbenders because “Rule the Air” is apparently all right with you.

        Hey, Verizon also says Droid X “turns your eyes into captivated apertures of ecstasy. Your arms into blistering, churning pistons.”

        So really, what is your point about Apple and marketing? Or are you just trying very hard to be hypocritical?

      3. @Lava

        When an ad campaign doesn’t take itself too seriously, it turns out to be quite fun. As in: “semi-functional, giggling-brat-vanity for a bare knuckle bucket of does.” or “Its not a princess, its a robot. A phone that trades hair-do for can-do.”

        Compared to some Lysol-disinfected bubble wrap world where even the actors hold it the wrong way

        “Mad Men?” Doesn’t TV kill brain cells? Mad Men, though, is a good way to describe Apple fanbois whipped up into lemmning frenzy when God Jobs opens his mouth.

        hypocritical? huh? Apple marketing- it’s beyond ridicule

      4. Exactly!! I bought a captivate because of all the bad things I’ve been hearing about it, as it turns out the captivate was worse the gps was defective and forget about software updates who knows when that’ll come. So I returned it and got the iPhone 4 as soon as it was restocked and no issues at all. It is what it is -overhyped issues that quite frankly won’t affect how you use your phone in normal situations; and I’m a lefty but I don’t grip my phone like there’s no tomorrow I have yet to replicate the signal loss issue

    2. Always refreshing to read such insightful comments. Kathy, whether you like Steve Jobs or not, have you considered that millions of people are actually happy with their new iPhone, and that other phones might also have manufacturing defects and other problems?

      1. Robert, The iPhone4 antenna is very unlike the Toyota problem. Am glad that no one is making this comparison. But nevertheless, the brand image, which takes decades to create, can be sullied in no time.

        That the iphone4 has an antenna problem is not the issue. That Apple allowed it to be blown out of proportion is. That the brand image of Apple has not exactly come out all shining (after this much much delayed press conference) is the bigger issue.

        Doesn’t matter if all other phones in the market have this problem. They are not the iPhone4s. (Actually am a bit surprised by SJs claim – that all smartphones in the market have this problem. Doesn’t that include iPhone1, 2, 3 as well?)

        Apple’s claims at perfection and consumer care are both dented. Will take years to overcome.

        Another point: Steve’s reference to being an American company and not a Korean company says something. Wonder why nobody latched on to this (yet).

      1. Never believe statistics from companies. 0.55% have called – this excludes everyone who simply returned their phone without calling, or who went to an Apple store for support, or went to the forums for support (the forums, where, btw, Apple routinely deletes anything anti-apple) 1.7% returns – returned to whom? To Apple stores? To AT&T stores? To both? he doesn’t quantify. That could be the number of returns to a single Apple store.

        I’d like to see some real numbers – not statistics.

    3. Haven’t had any problems with the “piece of junk defective by design cellphone.” In fact, using it is delightful. About 3 million other people share my opinion and many millions more will learn what a pleasure to use this phone is. Aside from some early issues that are bothering a relatively small number of vocal people, the reviews have been outstanding. With Apple providing a free fix to the antenna issue, Consumer Reports will likely recommend the phone and they did find it rated best of all smartphones. If you want to talk about embarassment, give your parents a call and ask them what they think of you.

    4. @Kathy, be real. You’re completely ignoring the huge number of phones sold in a short time, the many positive (or even totally satisfied) comments by other posters, and the engineering data presented by Apple at the press conference. And it isn’t likely that a company with as many people watching them as Apple would lie about engineering data.

  2. Truly … truly unbelievable.
    So much ego and vain. You do the right thing and still sound so arrogant and wrong. Sheesh … I will go with the oranges, the apples just taste funny lately.

    1. There really is no pleasing everyone. Any person, company that has success is quickly attacked at the slightest slip up, if you can call this slip up, which it’ clearly not. What is it about the human race that likes to see people fail.

      The bottom line, like it or lump it, no one is asking you to buy Apple. Its a choice. There will be millions of others, more gracious and more human ready to step in your place.

    2. What’s unbelievable is the idea that a whole bunch of Android lovers hate the idea of people loving their iPhones. And they express it by claiming anger and disgust on behalf of the millions of happy iPhone users who don’t know any better.

      1. This comment really isn’t fair at all. The fact of the matter here is that Apple have been shown to be fallible. I’m not an iPhone user, and I’m heading straight for the HTC Desire when I get the chance, but I have no doubt that the iPhone 4 is a very sexy bit of tech.

        I think Steve’s comment that ‘all smartphones have the same problem’ is nonsense, and his sideswipe at HTC was just poor sportsmanship, but yeah, most smartphones have their fair share of issues and it would be naive to think otherwise.

        I’d like to think I’m pretty objective on this, regardless of my decision to go with HTC over Apple, so please don’t tar all Android users with the same brush. I admit I was happy to see some negative press about the iPhone 4, if only to bring the company down to earth and give them a heads up that they aren’t untouchable, but with the exception of the iPad, the only consistent problem I have ever had with Apple is their prices.

        The fact of the matter is that HTC are making products that are easily on par with the iPhone in many ways, better in some, and worse than others (as with any competing products really), and that’s a great thing for one big reason – Now that Apple have had this little shake up, the world has finally noticed that there are alternatives, and both companies are suddenly is very real competition. HTC wants Apple’s crown, and Apple knows that it needs to fight to keep it. The resulting competition ought to result in both companies raising the bar higher and faster than before. That can only be a good thing, right?

        P.S- @empireofno If you don’t mind me asking, what are your reasons for wanting to switch from the Desire to the iPhone 4? If it was just a statement to bait Android fans (hence the choice of both HTC and Android’s flagship handset) then that kinda sucks but it’s understandable in context, but if it’s genuine then I am sincerely interested in why, as from what I’ve seen there’s not much in it spec-wise. Do you just prefer the iPhone interface or is it something more than that?

  3. So basically, what we have here is:

    Responsible Adult Users: “STOP DOING THAT, IT’S NOT RIGHT!” smacks hands

    Two Year Old Steve Jobs: “BUT THEY’RE DOING IT TOO!!!” cry

  4. Regarding the signal attenuation comparisons with other phones:

    So for one thing, I don’t believe they indicated the service provider. I’m guessing they were all performed on AT&T.

    Either way, human bodies as big ‘ole meat bags will, by nature, attenuate radio signal. So in areas of weak signal, you’d probably be able to visually demonstrate signal attenuation on most phones by tightly gripping and covering up as much of the phone as possible.

    That said, the iPhone 4 issues appear to stem from the aforementioned “human meat bag” attenuation in addition to the exterior antenna design that allows one to unintentionally alter the resonance frequency of the antenna(by joining the other antennas).

    In other words, while some signal dropping is standard, the iPhone 4 is certainly unique. Whether this unique deficiency is enough to cause noticeable problems for most people in areas of decent coverage is another question altogether.

    1. Hardly anyone in my neck of the prairie uses AT&T except iPhone users. Android, Samsung and Nokia [barely] smartphones all exhibit the same problems.

      I’ve worked with 2-way radio communications, here, going back about14 years – mostly Motorola back then – and the problems persist. Unless you still owned a Brick.

    2. Hardly anyone in my neck of the prairie uses AT&T except iPhone users. Android, Samsung and Nokia [barely] smartphones all exhibit the same problems.

      I’ve worked with 2-way radio communications, here, going back about 14 years – mostly Motorola back then – and the problems persist. Unless you still owned a Brick.

  5. I just have to tell you that I hate you all. “piece of junk.” What a bunch of idiots. Everyone I know has an iPhone. Their presentation perfectly corresponds with my experience. I don’t know what is going on but suspect that you all should join a Tea Party so that you can make stupid wisecracks about Obama, too.

  6. “Free case for every iPhone 4 and giving it away through September”

    Translation: milk the cash cows and feed the sheep for a few more weeks – a new redesigned model is slated for Q4 release.

    The problem with Steve Jobs is that he still expects everybody to kiss his ass. But because his ego is so big, he of course denies any problem with the phone at all.

    If I were him, I would have learned the lesson from Toyota – admit there is a problem, address it, and make a concerted effort to regain customers and retain loyalty.

    It just works? Apparently not!

    1. Another lesson to learn from Toyota was revealed on the news just a couple of nights ago stating that investigations revealed that most of the accelerator issues turned out to be people stomping on the gas instead of the brake. Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions.

      Apple’s response once again is over and above the call of duty. And that has always been my experience with them.

      1. @Ray

        Thank you. Apple responds with cold hard facts.

        The haters respond with, “You’re lying!” and whipping themselves into even greater throes of hate.

        If anything, this whole episode says more about the irrational behavior of the anti-Apple crowd. They just seem to go bats**t crazy at the idea that millions of people are completely happy with their iPhone 4s and agree with Jobs that the antenna is not an issue.

  7. I liked how they completely ignored the question about how you can kill the iPhone reception with one finger, but other phones need hands wrapped totally around the device to achieve the same thing.

    The Apple whitewash continues.

  8. The attacks on Apple have always been what attracted me to their products and I have NEVER been disappointed “for long”. They have always been cutting edge and as such you have to expect the odd issue to come up. The difference is that they care enough to deal with them.

    I’ve had other smart phones, computers and countless gadgets, and without a doubt, the Apple products I’ve owned have vastly out-classed and out-performed their competition.

    If Apple products were mediocre, they wouldn’t come under attack. Apple does however pose a threat to the mediocre technologies they compete with.

    I’m going to upgrade my iPhone 3G to an iPhone4 without hesitation. Experience has shown me repeatedly that any flaws in Apple products get dealt with better than any other consumer products I’ve ever owned. That’s what makes me a “FanBoy” and I’m proud of it.

    Thanks for caring about your customers Steve Jobs and good health to you. Can’t wait to get my hands on an iPhone4.

  9. How pompous is it that they played a song with these lyrics:
    “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If you bought it and don’t like it, bring it back. But you know you won’t.”

    Does this count as an official offer to return the phone if you don’t like it? I would say yes, and am seriously considering returning the phone.

    1. Yes they did make an official offer. So, if you really do have an iPhone 4, and you don’t like it, then why don’t you return it for your money back?

  10. The couple of trolls responsible for many of the comments know nothing of engineering, design, testing, what it takes to succeed in business over time – or apparently even agitprop higher than the level of sophomores jeering at a rival team at a high school football game.

    There were a couple of interesting points at the press conference – aside from the problems affecting other smartphones – already well documented and familiar to RF engineers.

    The most interesting to me was that Jobs and his peers decided about 8 years ago that commoditized hardware was going in the mobile direction – and software for such devices would be key.

    Though he didn’t go further into the point, I presume that’s the basis for making battery life a key issue. Which is why – if you paid attention – the antennas were moved outboard. Room for a bigger battery.

    And the software had to be compact and easily portable – device to device. Requiring more than a few long range presumptions about protocols.

    1. I miss the point.

      Firstly, Apple is not alone in figuring out eons ago that hardware would be commodity. Let’s not forget that several others toyed with smartphone products way before Apple. So I wouldn’t credit Apple with making the bold decision to reserve more space for batteries.

      Secondly, making more room for batteries cannot happen at the cost of other essential functions. So, there can be no justification in deciding to move the antenna outboard so that the tonnes of software requiring additional sqmm of battery can be accommodated.

      However, in Apple’s defense, I agree that when other phones have the same or worse antenna issues, people might accept it as their karma, but with the iPhone rage as it stands now, even unbiased people are tempted to rethink if Apple sold them a loser phone.

      In my view, Apple should have dealt with the PR problem with more seriousness. The technical problems, I’m sure, can be dealt with more easily. And even by the Koreans (to borrow a reference).

  11. Companies will occasionally have problems with new products and Apple seems to be trying to do the right thing here. I this their solution for customers is just fine. (Better if the phone didn’t have the problem, but that’s not something they can fix instantly).

    My two issues really center around their “explanation” and attitude about the whole thing:
    1. Jobs whining about all the negative hype. I notice he doesn’t whine when he gets all POSITIVE hype. “Oh, those guys are just making things up when they say the iPad is the Jesus devive.” “I can’t believe all these magazines putting me on the cover and saying I’m the smartest CEO alive. That’s bullshit.” What goes around, comes around, Jobsy. You LOVE to use the media to hype your products. I have NO DOUBT Apple measures the “earned media” it gets with every product launch. Well, I guess you get to measure it on the negative side with this little event.

    1. The clear obfuscation on real data about the phone. For instance, the iPhone 4 drops 1 more call per hundred than the iPhone 3G. Number one… a year newer product is worse? That’s terrible. Number two… I understand you can’t reveal the absolute number on AT&T’s network… but how about comparing to an industry average or, instead, giving us a percentage worse. If the iPhone 3G drops, on average 1 call per 100 then this phone is 100% worse. If the iPhone 3G drops 20 calls per 100 then this phone is only 5% worse but they both SUCK. If you can’t release relevant data then don’t release irrelevant data and pretend it is telling us something.

    that is all.

  12. It’s interesting that amid all this hubbub, I haven’t heard any very convincing estimates of how prevalent the problem actually is. Even the figures given at the press conference tell us less than they initially appear to. Here’s what Jobs told us:

    “0.55% of users have called Applecare to complain.” But we don’t know the content of those calls. Some portion of these complaints represents true instances of the problem; some portion probably represents mistaken instances by people who have been alerted by media attention to the problem but may have reception issues for other reasons (poor coverage, etc.), and some portion may represent people who are able to reproduce the problem but are not practically affected by it. And so forth. On the other hand, there is certainly some number of people who have experienced the problem and have been annoyed by it, but who haven’t called Applecare.

    “The return rate is 1.7%, 1/3 of the return rate for the 3GS.” Surely the antenna problem is not the only reason people have returned there phones. And surely some sufferers of the antenna problem have been waiting to see what Apple will do before returning the phone. And surely some people who have the antenna problem will not return the phone.

    “iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 when compared to the 3GS.” Is the antenna problem the only variable that could be producing the additional dropped calls? The iPhone 4 is apparently selling well: how many users has it added to AT&T’s often-complained about network? And even if the iPhone 4 is dropping nearly twice as many calls as the 3GS, how does it compare to other phones and other networks? Do we have any dropped call figures for international networks?

    If these are all the data Apple has to refer to, in order to judge the severity of the problem, and they indicate that the iPhone 4 compares well against the 3GS, then I think it’s not unreasonable to suspect that media hype and Apple’s unique level of coverage is overrepresenting the prevalence of the problem. That might not be true — I, for one, have no idea how prevalent the problem is, and I don’t think anyone else does, either — but it’s not surprising that Apple might think so, and thus the outcome of the press conference today.

    As for the tone of the conference, I don’t know Steve Jobs and I never will, so I’m not going to let my perceptions of whatever personality problems he may have affect my decisions of what phone to buy; everybody else can do what they want. But I do think it’s important for tech journalists not to anthropomorphize Apple, Inc., in the shape of Steve Jobs. There’s a story about the phone and the company, and there’s a story about the personalities involved. But they’re not the same story.

  13. Not sure if there are any others in the same boat as me, but i am considering getting the iphone 4 but i like to keep my phones in a pouch not a rubber surround or gel surround that you have to keep on all the time, i like to use a phone in its naked state, bumpers etc just make the phone look ugly to me or make the iphone 4 look like the 3gs.Its a shame if you have to cover a lot of its beauty…

  14. HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! You cant have your cake and eat it too. Jobs and Apple use the media whenever and however they want. Yet if its used/overused in a negative light, they say its blown out of proportion???

  15. I woke up the other morning to a beeping noise I hadn’t heard before.
    ‘What’s that?’ I thought to myself. (I often think to myself).
    It didn’t take long to realise that it was my Nokia E90 telling me that the battery was almost flat. I then remembered that I hadn’t charged it for days.
    I climbed out of bed, switched the phone off, took off the back cover and removed the battery. I then took the battery out of my Nokia N810, which I don’t use but keep charged, and put it in my E90 and went about my day. I was happy that, despite the interference of humans, the world would continue spinning.
    I knew that after over two and a half years of constant use there was a chance that something untoward would happen with my phone.

  16. i wonder if those who keep insisting that there is no problem are paid by apple? i own an iphone 4 and ALL of the people i know that own one have the very same issues with reception that this very press conference was about. ALL OF THEM.
    when Mr. jobs says that only .55% have called in to complain about the issue, CALL IN are the key words. what about everyone else who sent an email, or walked into an apple store, or some other means? how about the fact that apple was deleting threads about the issue to make it seem like there was no issue? how about people that did call in and apple pretended there was no such issue and marked the reason for the call as “miscellaneous”?
    i had an iphone 3 and NO, i repeat, NO issues with the reception like with the iphone 4.
    so pretty much mr jobs said there was not much of a problem, he downplayed it (it is hard to imagine him doing anything else), then blames other cellphones to try to make apple look better in comparison.

    no to mention the fact that apple was trying to say it was a software problem at first. deny everything and pretend it is in the users head. nice

    i was a staunch apple supporter, but after the way this issue was treated, i will be very wary of apple.

  17. If it is such an awesome phone and Steve wants all of his customers to be happy, why does he repeatedly, phone after phone after phone, saddle us with AT&T??

    I live near Fort Rucker, Alabama and find the reception in most cases (8 out of 10) is poor to non-existant. I bought the 3G model a couple years ago from a store in Dothan, Alabama and have yet to see a 3G signal at all. It has not appeared on my iPhone4 either.

  18. I’m so tired of the term fanboy, it’s the equivalent in these forums of calling someone a racist. When you do that, you stifle debate by attacking the person instead of the validity of their post. It’s not only insulting, it’s intellectually lazy.

    I think Steve Jobs handles this very poorly when he just dismissed the problem by saying “hold it different” and later also continued to blow it off when he made that intro video, the antenna song, which aired before the conference. Where he also pretty much said, “It’s every phone that has this problem, not just ours.”

  19. Howdy all, sorry to be commenting so late into this topic but i have been doing a lot of thinking about this issue since Friday and this is what I’ve come up with, since the antenna on the iPhone 4 is exposed on the outside of the phones housing (it really is part of the housing) and the problem of decreasing the signal when holding/touching the lower left of the phone is eliminated by using a case, does this not show that in fact the iPhone 4 is then a better phone than many others out there that experience similar signal degradation when held certain ways (big difference here is these other phones BB, Nokia, HTC exhibit this behavior with or without a case) what I’m getting at here is the using of a case on the iPhone 4 corrects the signal loss problem that cant be corrected on the BB, Nokia, HTC phones even by using a case. If Apple is looking for a fix for iPhone 4 perhaps the application of some type of clear silicone over the antenna would do the trick.

    Great weekend to all, Steve.

    1. Sorry, no Steve. But nice try.

      I have experimented with some of the phones mentioned by Jobs, and they don’t get anywhere near the reception loss that the iPhone 4 does. And the iPhone 3 does not have the same issue as the iPhone 4.

      But you can believe that it is still a superior phone if you wish. But I would in fact question what Apple tells you, not accept it all, after they first denied a problem then, then blamed it on software, deleted threads to cover it up, blamed other companies, etc. Doesn’t quite sound like they were being 100% honest, does it?

    1. iPhone only what?

      Did you mean to say, “Among the smart phones, the only popular one is the iPhone?”

      Sorry, but uncorrected that just sounded too much like another inane statement, “All your bases R Belong to us.”

      1. Lol, it’s also complete nonsense. HTC have been nipping at Apple’s heels for a while now, and many tech sites are rating the Desire the number 1 smartphone on the market (yep, including the iPhone 4). Competition is good for the consumer, so we should all be happy about that, rather than the handful of people ignorantly denying it.

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