Apple: Antenna Problem is Real, Offers Free Cases

Time to stop the speculation. Over the course of the last 22 days, we've heard from every angle of the Internet that the iPhone 4 is plagued with reception issues. And, throughout those days, we've heard all sorts of reasons: it's the antenna, it's the software, it's the way you're holding it. Maybe it's even your face. Or, it's a combination of all of those things, jumbled into one big issue that no one could figure out why the new iPhone was suffering from. Well, we can finally say that we've got an answer, and it's straight from Steve Jobs himself. The antenna is the best antenna they've ever created, but it does have a flaw — just like every other smartphone on the planet.

As Steve Jobs points out right from the beginning, Apple isn't perfect. And, as he makes perfectly clear throughout the press event, neither are smartphones. Or phones in general. Unfortunately, he's right. It wasn't too long ago in the past when, each and every time you bought a new phone, there was a sticker on your new gadget telling you where not to hold your device, less you would lose service. Well, it's no different with the iPhone 4. And, despite the fact that the handset features a great antenna in of itself, it's still plagued with the same issues that have marred handsets through the years. But, it's Apple, and it's the media, which creates what we've seen over the last 22 days.

And Jobs did everything he could to get his points across. He even admitted that Apple has done their own testing, not being satisfied with the plethora of YouTube videos out there showing their own "antenna tests." They showcased three devices, all offering three different mobile Operating Systems. A BlackBerry, the Droid Eris, and a Samsung Omnia II. Basically, the videos showed the same thing happening: hold the device in a certain way, and you'll lose service. The only difference is, that all these devices have a different algorithm to showcase those bars, and how much service you have. So, some devices lose signal faster, will gain it back even quicker, and some will show fewer or more bars, all depending on the mathematics used to define those bars and the signal it represents. Jobs admits that they "screwed up," with their algorithm, but clarified that the most recent update to iOS4 helped that situation, and there's already reports that the update did indeed alleviate the situation. At least, in some cases.

So, compared to the iPhone 3GS, how many calls is the iPhone 4 actually dropping? Well, according to Jobs, that would be "less than one additional call per 100 than the 3GS." Yes, that means the iPhone 4 is actually dropping more calls than the iPhone 3GS, but of course he hyped up the fact that less people are returning their iPhone 4s, than who return their 3GS'. Numbers wise, that's 6% return rate for the early life of the iPhone 3GS, and the return rate of the iPhone 4 is significantly lower.

So, what's the fix? Right now, Apple's still trying to figure that out. They're still working on it. And, in the mean time, they're going to give all iPhone 4 purchasers, all the way through September 30th, the chance to get a free case. And, if you bought a Bumper, they'll give you a refund for that, too. So, now's the time to act. The question is, though, does Apple intend to have it figured out by September 30th? Time will tell. But, at least we know Apple has the problem in their sights, and they're going to fix it. At least, they're tyring. And, keep in mind that you can apply for your new free case, and refund for your bumper starting late next week on Apple's site. So stay on guard.

In the video below, Steve Jobs comments on what he's learned from this whole fiasco, apparently better known as "antennagate." It takes him a few moments to actually reply to the question (which is asked before the video begins), and when he starts into it, you realize immediately that this is something he's thought about quite a bit. Sure, every company out there "cares about their customers," but let's face it — when's the last time you heard the executive, or any executive, actually say it? Especially on a stage such as the one Jobs found himself on today. He's honest in his approach, as well. Why didn't Apple come out two hours after the problem was found out? Or even a week? "Because we didn't know enough. We were in the labs working our butts off." It may not be an answer everyone wants to hear, but it's honest — and that's all we can really ask for from anyone.

He tells the crowd that his engineers, which Apple is a company of, have been working non-stop on the situation. In fact, he goes out of his way to detail that he believes the Cupertino-based employees couldn't possibly be working any harder on the situation. "We've got cars in the parking lot 24 hours a day, cots set up in the engineering areas..." Obviously, Apple is dedicated to the problem, and as we've detailed above thoroughly, it isn't just about sending out free cases and fixing the problem right now. No, Apple wants to fix the issue. And permanently.

The crux of the conversation comes at about the half-way point. Steve Jobs makes a very good point. He explains that there are always going to be people out there who want to tear you down, and the same certainly goes for companies. Companies as big as Apple, or Google for that matter, are not immune to the attention. And, to Jobs, it doesn't make any sense. Google has created these things that people love to use (and by default, so has Apple), and here are these folks trying to make it so people don't use those features. What's the point? Perhaps it isn't as poignant as this comment from Jobs: "I'm not sure what you're after here. Would you rather that we were Korean companies, instead of American companies? Do you not like the fact that we're innovating right here in America, and leading the world in what we do?"

That's about as good a point as any individual can make. The video below is only about five minutes, so you don't even need to get comfortable to watch it. And we definitely think you should watch it.

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