Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

Did Apple Lie? Steve Jobs admits iPhone 4 hardware has issues with reception

, posted: 17-Jul-2010 07:43

Apple held a press conference today where Steve Jobs admitted that the iPhone 4 does have reception issues with it's hardware - this is in conflict to a previous press statement that said the issue was a software one. Interestingly Steve Jobs says ALL other smartphones also have the same sort of problem. In the press conference Apple showed video footage of a number of other smartphones experiencing related issues. In some quick testing here I have yet been unable to replicate the issues yet with devices such as the HTC HD2 and the iPhone 3G.

So did Apple's Public Relations team lie about the problem initially? It would seem unlikely that they would put out a statement was deliberately false, however there are some who believe that's exactly what they did. I don't agree.

Steve Job's advised some other interesting stats during the press conference:
- 6% of iPhone 3GS models were returned to AT&T
- So far, less that 2% of iPhone 4 handsets have been returned to AT&T - though customers have 30-days to trial the handset before it needs to be returned - the iPhone 4 has been available less than 1 month
- 0.55% of iPhone 4 owners have so far called Apple Support complaining about reception issues (i.e. 10s of thousands of customers - or 5500 per million customers) - a fairly high number of calls - but not enough to suggest the reception issues are bugging the majority of users.

To work around the reception issue Apple are offering customers a free 'bumper' for their phone to wear. Not exactly something that helps with the stylishness factor of the device, but a suitable workaround nonetheless. Will this impact sales of the device - not if most iPhone buyers are like those parodied in a recent Youtube video.

If you have Quicktime you can watch Steve Jobs video annoucement regarding the problems here.

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Comment by Regs, on 19-Jul-2010 12:02

it could be that a bunch of owners have the problem, know of the publicity, and are just waiting on the outcome of a resolution before going ahead and reporting the problem.

If you know that apple is telling you "its a software bug, wait for the patch", why would you call the support line if thats all you're going to hear?

the statistics probably aren't worth a lot in this case.

Comment by MikeyPI, on 19-Jul-2010 12:22

No of course they didn't lie. They were merely "stunned" to find out the software they coded was distorting the strength display...
Then equally "stunned" that after saying a "software fix" was coming to alleviate problems, people didnt buy their bs, and then were "stunned" to have to acknowledge the truth that everyone already knew.., There was a hardware issue... 

No lies at all...  

Comment by Terrance Maxwell, on 19-Jul-2010 20:58

I think what they're trying to say is that its not a hardware issue that belongs solely to the iphone 4. Its an issue for EVERY phone, not just smart phones.
e.g. the old hold your phone upside down to get better signal strength to send a txt when your in a poor coverage area.
The iPhone 4's problem was this hardware issue, which effects ALL phones, coupled with the formula that they use to show you your signal strength being up the creek, which they happily admit to and have released a software update that hopefully has fixed the problem.


Comment by webup, on 20-Jul-2010 15:48

I use an iphone3G at present but im not really a fan of Apple.
Dont even get me started on the Apple-can-do-no-wrong worshippers they have!

Everyone knows Apple manipulated the signal bars to purposely look better than it was.

Now we have another bucketful of BS from them.

Comment by oxnsox, on 21-Jul-2010 22:03

It's called 'spin'...  If they didn't have the issue with the antennae they would never had had to admit there was an issue with the signal bar indicator (which they can argue is an arbitary thing anyway).

But the hardware issue was real issue so they tried to deflect it by admitting to the software (indicator) fault simply because it was 'repairable' with an OTA update.

But because Apple's a big tree there's a lot of folk out there who want to have a go at it with an axe, and they wouldn't stop hacking at the hardware fault so Jobs had to step up.

Is the hardware issue real?   Sure.  
Is it as big as some make out?    Probably.
Will most users notice?   Probably not. 
Does it really matter?  Not if you're a fan, but it may be different if you're a shareholder.

We'll really only know in about a year when the next model is releasedt...

Comment by Sharon M. Walters, on 5-Oct-2010 14:23

I swear...I'm wondering how many routers + iphones are setup by AT&T. AT&T setup my Netopia 3347-02. If you are able to connect via wifi, it cuts their profits on the data packages. NO? Just a thought!

Comment by kiwibob1, on 15-Oct-2010 09:25

I can confirm that the iPhone 4 has better reception at my house than the 3GS.

Priviously the phone (3GS) had to be on the window ledge to get any service and that was marginal, at best. In the event that it actually rang I had to go outside to the back gate to have a conversation.

The iPhone 4 works thoughout the house and so far (2 days) does not drop out.

Moreover in Tuakau the 4 gets 3G service where the 3GS does not.

Despite several tries I can't get the number of signal blobs to change by covering the 'black lines' even with moist fingers. For me this seems to be a non issue.

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