Apple iPhone 4 press conference post-game - TiPb and SPE sound-off

Apple iPhone 4 press conference

The sun has set and risen again following Apple's unprecedented iPhone 4 press conference, and the folks behind TiPb and the SPE network have had time to listen, absorb, cry fair and foul, and figure out our thoughts. Here's the post-mortem from your favorite editors and writers at TiPb, Android Central, CrackBerry, Nokia Experts, WMExperts, as well as the Cell Phone Junkie.

Hit the jump to hear what we think, then hit the comments to tell us what you think.

Dieter Bohn, Editor in Chief, Smartphone Experts

Apple has addressed my biggest concern, which is the not-so-vague feeling of distrust, uncertainty, and genuine malaise I was starting to feel towards the reception of my iPhone 4. Until the press conference and Apple's admission that "we're not perfect," I would constantly worry that I was not holding different. I've dropped more than a few calls and with previous iPhones and other phones, it never gave me much feeling for concern because I always figured it was just AT&T. However a trip to New York, iPhone 4 in tow, had me at my wit's end. I was unable to connect calls, keep calls, or get data in anything approaching an reliable manner.

Normally, as I said, I would have chalked it up to AT&T. With this iPhone antenna issue, however, I was constantly wondering if I was just holding the phone wrong. I'd keep trying with increasingly awkward hand positions when normally I would have given up and let AT&T defeat me. When you introduce an intermittent variable that a human may or may not have intermittent control over to a technical problem, what you're really introducing is a troubling mistrust.

Although Steve Jobs made the kinds of "we love our users" points that you'd expect him to make, I was actually gratified to hear them - because they were combined with an honest admission that the iPhone 4 drops marginally more calls than it ought and that there is a "weak spot." Now if I drop a call or lose data I have the same sorts of questions that arise with intermittent, human-intervention technical problems, but I have less of a feeling of doubt about the whole thing.

All that said, when signal is medium to strong, I have great reception. Also, when I use an iPhone case, I have no problems whatsoever. So a case it is. That, or per Steve Jobs, I'll preempt Eminem and see if I can't get stylin' with a well-placed band-aid.

Chad Garrett, Writer, TiPb

I think Steve did a great job laying down the facts around the iPhone 4 antenna issue. Frankly I have been tired hearing about this since most users like myself, don't encounter any issues unless they play show-and-tell with their friends.

Apple made a clear design decision to create a radical antenna design to allow for better reception and internal storage to make the thinnest and arguably sexiest smartphone to date. However, this radical change had unforeseen consequences; every media outlet thinks that the iPhone is somehow broken or flawed if you touch the case a certain way. I can tell you that my iPhone 4 works just fine regardless of how I hold it. I am sure there are people that have issues with their iPhone 4, I am not denying that. But I am betting that everyday people outside of the tech sector are returning their iPhone 4's for the same reason someone returns a BlackBerry, Android or Palm phone; they just got a lemon. For example, a co-worker of mine is on their 4th Palm Pre due to constant hardware failures (screen, keyboard you name it).

No the iPhone 4 is not perfect, but it is darn close compared to it's competition. Sure you can touch the "magic spot" and make some bars go down. At the end of the day, no one is forcing you to buy an iPhone 4. Though, with 3 million sold in 3 weeks, one has to wonder if there is not some kind of mind control going on.

Leanna Lofte, Writer, TiPb

First of all, I loved that the press conference opened up with "The iPhone Antenna Song" video. Pure win. As for the content of the conference, it went pretty much exactly as I was expecting. I was never convinced that the antenna issues were a software problem, especially when talk of it being a problem on other devices started to surface. I believed it was hardware related from the very beginning. The problem with the iPhone 4, is that there is a visible line on the device that initiates the reception failure. This makes it psychologically seem like a bigger deal when compared to other phones. In reality, maybe we should be grateful that we know exactly where we shouldn't touch? Ok, maybe that's going a little far, but the fact remains that this issue isn't isolated to the iPhone 4. I was never convinced that Apple would recall millions of phones unless they had a guaranteed hardware fix for the problem, which seemed highly unlikely to me. Apple had to do something to make customers happy and calm down a bit, so free bumpers it is! In reality, this "fix" will cost Apple pennies and it was a smart move on their part.

I was surprised to learn that the iPhone 4 is only 1% worse in terms of dropped calls compared with the 3GS. I wonder if this statistic is skewed in some way, but it's more likely that I got buried too deep in the hype. My personal experience actually matches Jobs' claim; dropped calls and reception between the iPhone 4 and 3GS is the same - no noticeable difference.

Jerry Hildenbrand, Writer, Android Central

I can appreciate the candid, old style Steve Jobs way he handled the event. Poking fun at yourself and others, and flashing a big grin is the "work all night in the garage" Steve everyone loves. However, to me the real situation is that signal attenuation was not the issue. A design that places a trouble spot in an area very likely to be touched is the problem, and this was brushed to the side. This is why a rubber bumper can fix the issue on the iPhone4, but isn't needed on previous iPhones or the competitors products.

For those in areas where "bridging the gap" causes dropped calls or slow data, the bumper will alleviate it, and offering them to those who need one was the right call. There really is no other plausible solution. But ignoring the questions about the antenna design, or deflecting them by showing "bars" from other manufacturers isn't the response I had hoped for from someone who holds the trust of millions.

Craig Johnston, Podcaster, CrackBerry.com

My experimenting with Smartphone signal issues revealed that all Smartphones (and likely all phones) with internal antennas experience a signal drop when held. If I hold my iPhone 4 in my right hand, nothing happens. If I hold it in my left hand however, I see a 3 bar signal strength drop. My Nexus One has an issue no matter which side you hold it on, and my BlackBerry Curve 8900 suffers a drop too. My BlackBerry Bold 9700 however, sees a signal drop, but not as big. This could be due to the faux leather battery cover, I'm not sure.

My conclusion is that the badly calibrated iPhone 4 signal meter shows an artificially large signal drop which has alarmed people who have not seen such a drop on other phones, even though the drop in signal is likely the same in reality

Ally Kazmucha, Writer, TiPb

I would have liked more of an answer as to why touching one specific spot causes such an issue, and why Apple didn't just make the break in a place users are less likely to come in contact with while on a call or browsing the web. Free bumpers will not appease everyone, but as El Jobso stated, if you aren't happy with your purchase, bring them back for a full refund. I live in an area where service isn't the greatest, and I think sometimes the service issues are confused with hardware issues. I think it really comes down to what you need to do with the phone and how unwilling you are to part with it. Technology is always changing, if you're going to be an early adopter, you have to roll with the punches. The iPhone 4 is no different.

Malatesta, Writer, WMExperts

Windows Mobile and Windows Phone may suffer from such occasional hardware inconsistencies (CDMA Palm Treo Pro is just awful for reception, see this doozy of a fix), but having multiple devices for consumers to choose from, instead of just one-flagship phone, gives consumers options. If you're going to put all of your eggs into one basket, you better make sure that basket is 100% perfect or nearly so. Kudos to Apple for giving away those free cases, but we think that this problem should have never had happened in the first place.

Kevin Michaluk, Founder, CrackBerry.com

I used to really like Steve Jobs. After today's BB 9700 slander and antenna propaganda, not so much anymore. So much he said she said mamby pamby I know you are but what am I bull$#!t.

Matt Miller, Editor, Nokia Experts

Steve Jobs said that everyone in the smartphone industry has a problem with reception and the iPhone 4 is a marvel of engineering. I don’t recall him specifically mentioning Nokia, which makes sense since my personal experiences with over 25 Nokia smartphones shows them to clearly have superior RF reception. Even though Nokia clearly shows where the antennas are in their manuals, I find I get excellent reception pretty much no matter how I hold my device.

Phil Nickinson, Editor, Android Central

Steve Jobs and by extension Apple (or vice-versa) remains the P.T. Barnum of our era. You're going to get a hell of a show, and some of it might even be true. Apple's in PR damage control mode, that's largely a new position for them. Showing a Windows Mobile phone (Samsung Omnia II), an Android phone (HTC Droid Eris) and a BlackBerry (Bold 9700) almost seemed like blatant deflection. "Yeah, we may have a problem, but check out these guys!" There is a larger problem, and that is that everybody -- all of us -- are trying to become amateur RF engineers. We're not. We're not going to be.

I would have paid money to have been at the presser, if things really got as heated during the Q&A as it sounds. Apple's relationship with the media -- mainstream and otherwise -- has always been interesting. But Jobs is sorely mistaken if he thinks every media outlet should want to be Apple's friend. That's not our job. True, it's far too easy for false or otherwise trivial information to be blown out of proportion or reported incorrectly. But that's also the world that Apple's products have helped perpetuate.

One last thing: Glad Apple spent $100 million or so on testing facilities. But I'd love to hear from somebody at the FCC.

George Ponder, Editor, WMExperts

From the get-go, I think the problem was handled poorly by Apple. I agree that other phones have similar issues but Job's handled the iPhone's problem poorly. Job's initial solution, don't hold the phone with your left hand, should never have left the confines of his office. I've loosely followed the iPhone 4 saga and have only read recaps of Job's conference. While there are issues with the iPHone 4, Apple customers should be grateful they have a new phone to complain about. I can only hope us Windows Phone owners will be so lucky come October. With a new phone that is. Apple can keep all the performance issues....

Anyways, here's my two cents.

Apple should have caught this design flaw and while the bumper case will solve the problems, customers won't be happy. The look of the iPhone 4 (without the case) is part of the phone's appeal. It's like using a bumper sticker to cover up a ding on a Porshe's bumper.

It sounds as if Job's spent a lot of time pointing the finger elsewhere instead of at Apple for not catching this from the start. As if Apple can do no wrong.

Oh... and what happens after September 30th? Will the next batch of iPhone 4's have a design fix? Or will those customers get stuck with dropped calls or the cost of a case?

Bla1ze, Editor, CrackBerry.com

I've watched the conference video. I simply cannot replicate the issue with my BlackBerry Bold 9700 as Steve Jobs demonstrated. To be fair, I am on Rogers and not AT&T although not exactly sure how much difference that makes.

I'm still not convinced the issue with the iPhone 4 is as big of an issue as some media outlets are portraying it to be. But, to say that the issue does not exist entirely is a farce.

Mickey Papillon, the Cell Phone Junkie

Going into the Press Conference, I figured we would see Apple announce a couple things. First, I did not expect a full on recall, so no surprise there. Thinking about the cost of the bumper and how much of a profit center Apple has with this, i did not expect them to be given out. What I did think was that they would be letting those that had issues return the iPhone for a newer model that would have some sort of Stevie dust on it that would make it work. Actually, i expected them to say they would be insulating the antenna moving forward so that the attenuation didn't happen moving forward. The fact that they didn't mention anything about what they plan to do with new devices moving forward was troubling. I assumed they would at least try to make changes (even slight ones) for future ones to calm everyone down.

Regarding the demo of the different devices, showing that they could have the same issue was a cop out. Of course this happens on any phone. It's a RF transmitter and receiver. What they didn't cover (which should have been the main thing they talked about) was that your body is conductive, and it de-tunes the antenna when you simply press your finger on the black strip, bridging the 2 antennas. You don't need a "death grip" on the phone to make it have problems.

Also, I think the proximity sensor issue was downplayed. I (and my wife) have had lots of problems with this. Many disconnected calls, calls put on mute, and DTMF tone transmissions from this flaw. It should be corrected immediately.

Finally, the AT&T HSUPA issue is a big one for certain markets. In tests I ran this week, my 1st Generation iPhone has faster consistent upload speeds than the iPhone 4. Realizing this is only in certain markets, and fixable by Alcatel Lucent, maybe they didn't think to mention this. However, its one of the biggest reasons for the time being that I am not using the iPhone. AT&T should be giving all customers in these markets credits each month that the issue exists. Sending email is a chore when your upload speeds are only 50kbps, not to mention the 2MB photos that the camera takes. Upload a photo to Facebook while on the go? Forget it...it'll take you 10 minutes a pic...

Overall, I think they said what they needed to, and this will eventually blow over. However, I still am not thrilled by the continuous denial of issues even existing.

Rene Ritchie, editor, TiPb

This was a no win situation for Apple. Ever since the problem surfaced and Apple and Steve Jobs issued "hold different, buy a case" emails, the win-ship set sale and they weren't on it. All they could do was damage control, all they could do was try to move the mass media frenzy on to the next story.

Their strategy to do this was humility (showing the video, claiming to be human, apologizing), deflection (showing other smartphones suffer from the same problem), and bribery (free bumpers and cases for everyone).

The humility part worked. They got off to a good start. The deflection stuff didn't. They spent too much time on what should have been a bullet point. Sure every smartphone has this problem but no other smartphone has an external antenna with such a visible and inconvenient single point of problem. Luckily for Apple, RIM and Nokia have chosen to respond, ensuring they're now part of the problem. We'll see if HTC and Samsung are smart enough to sit this out. As to the free bumpers, at first the bribery seems to conflict with the deflection. If there's no problem, why give bumpers? Simple. People like free stuff.

Apple made a technological trade-off. In order to get bigger battery size and better reception overall, the consequence is that single point of attenuation (sure, design factored into it -- but it really is better for battery life and for reception as well). Not stating that was what causes the apparent conflict. However, since the real problem for Apple is one of public perception now, giving away free bumpers becomes a precedent-setting public solution. (One Nokia, RIM, and Apple themselves for the 3GS might later regret).

Overall it was ugly and ham-fisted in parts, and the deflection section weighted far too heavily, but hey -- free bumpers. Apple wants to make every customer happy. They're battered and a little bloody but more than likely they're past this now.

Phil Nickinson is right, though -- heaven help whomever releases the next big phone. YouTube is going to light up instantly with antenna tests, and message boards with free case requests, now and for a long while to come.

Jeremy Sikora, Writer, TiPb

Deep down I was hoping Apple was going to be able to pull a rabbit out of their hat and say software update would fix it and those of you with the issue could rest easy. That clearly wasn't the case and it's free cases for everyone, which I'll gladly accept even though I don't suffer from the "death grip" syndrome.

And your take?

You're part of team TiPb and the Smartphone Experts community as well, and we want to hear your thoughts. Sound off in the comments!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 125 comments. Add yours.

Nick says:

Leanna you put 4gs and not 3GS ...sorry just to let u know

Leanna Lofte says:

I know :-/ It's just a typo and it'll get fixed.

Chris says:

Look, folks - no matter what the brand, model or carrier - a cellular signal is still a cellular signal.
Until and unless we get 100% coverage for all carriers in all areas, some carriers and some phones will have problems in some spots.
I had a BB 8310 on AT&T before I bought my iPhone 4, and I'm having signal problems in the same areas with the iP4 as I did with the BB.
I have my phone in a case only because I take care of my equipment (and I'm not insinuating that others don't, so put away the flamethrower).
I had a case for my BB as well.
My personal opinion is that while some iP4 users do have problems, it's not the end of the world.
Cell phones will never have the signal and call quality of wired phones no matter how good they are designed - at least not in my lifetime.
Let's just get over this and move on, please.

Elisha Bjorne says:

I loved the conference. I believe Apple new about the issue because they (I believe for the first time) offered an Apple-designed 'bumper' for it (maybe for left-handed folks like me).
The 2nd thing to consider is that cell phones used to have external antenna's sticking out the top of the phones. Years later, some OEM made them internal which became the standard. This helped because people weren't breaking them off or having 'touch' issues. Apple, always thinking on the edge of technology took a chance to go external again but in a cool way.
How this will play out in the future is still unknown but, considering most people have cases on their iPhones, and the majority of folks with the iPhone aren't experiencing the issue; I believe this is now a non-issue.
I do think giving away the 'bumper' should be free, period! Not just through September. The black bumper should be included in the box as a standard accessory.

phrint says:

It's overblown and every blowhard is trying to become an expert. Everyone is looking for an excuse to bash Appl and it's just dumb. The blogs are proving themselves as spewing nothing but trash and each has it's own agenda. I am more embarrassed for the media than I am for Apple. Half the outlets have no clue what they are talking about to begin with. They spin false information and run with it. I was laughing my ass off when CNN, MSNBC and Fox News all had live coverage of the event as it proved they had no clue. They just wanted to bash and assume.

Corey says:

Perfectly happy with my iPhone 4. Never been able to experience the death grip effect and have yet to drop a call or have slow upload speeds or proximity sensor issues. All of this with the phone completely naked. Just bought a bumper the other day because I like the style and im looking forward to the refund. I beleive this whole thing is blown way out of proportion.

Elisha Bjorne says:

..and typos are embarrassing! I see at least two from my original post. Argh!! :-)

Chris says:

@Phrint - don't forget that Steve-bashing and Apple-bashing seem to be the latest popular sport for pundits, media and bloggers.
Especially those that are fanbois of other products.
Product competition is cut-throat these days. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a lawsuit against Steve and/or Apple after Steve's speech, which would be useless and a waste of money but they'll think it's necessary to "protect their brand's integrity".

Martin says:

I do not suffer from the "Death Grip" issue. My issue is upload speeds are horrendous, less than 100 is a complete joke. As far as AT&T giving credit for poor upload speeds until it is fixed is even more of a joke. I actually thought the presser was fine, I just wish the lame reporters would have asked tougher questions, like the upload speed, and the proximity sensor. In my opinion if the media pressed hard with these questions and showed a bit of anger, just maybe Jobs would have given an answer.

fastlane says:

@Rene:

"...at first the bribery seems to conflict with the deflection. If there’s no problem, why give bumpers? Simple. People like free stuff."

Umm, no. Because there was no deflection. The problem was openly explained in front of the world, and is available on video at Apple.com at the 00:04:30 timeline.
Jobs explained that the antenna weakens single when covered by the hand or fingers. Jobs then mentioned that Consumer Reports claims "the bumpers solves the signal strength problem... why don't you just give everyone a case?"
Jobs' reply: "Okay, great. Let's give everybody a case."
Don't know what else to say.
@Kevin Michaluk:

"I used to really like Steve Jobs. After today’s BB 9700 slander and antenna propaganda, not so much anymore."

That's okay, he probably doesn't like you either. Oh, wait... he doesn't even know who you are. :(

jason says:

Apple's iPhone and including iPhone4 continues to be the superior smartphone on the market hands down. I don't know a single phone on the market like it. I'll always stick with Apple and the most important thing that Job's said was basically that if you don't like it you can return it. So why are folks continuing to chat about it. That's the basic principle of any product, If you don't like it get a refund and go elsewhere.

Gregor.iPhone says:

I don't understand how every iPhone 4 does not experience signal loss when you touch the little black line on the left side of the phone. People are saying they don't but why?

Lequang242 says:

This is what I got out of the conference. Their newest model i4 drops almost twice as many as their older 3GS model. They can't fix it. Making excuses, and basically said we just like any other phone. As an i4 user I fell much better now that know my new i4 is under perform compare to my older model 3GS. I feel much better now that I know my i4 is just like any other phone. I wonder now if my Macs are like all other computers? If so why did I paid so much more for it? Thank you for over charging me when all your products are just like everyones else.  we stand hours in line just so we can get a free bumper. Thx

excaliburca says:

Don't have an iPhone 4 yet (in Canada), but will in a couple of weeks. In some ways I'm glad Canada wasn't one of the first countries to get the device. Now I know there is a kinda-sort-of design issue that is correctable with an external covering (one I was planning to get anyway). I also know now there is a proximity sensor issue that will be fixed via software soon. With this in mind I now feel more educated in making a purchase decision.
Yea, I'm still going to get the phone. The antenna issue won't be one for me as I planned to get a case anyway (rather not repeat my previous repair bill for my 3G last time I accidentally dropped it) and that case is going be on Apple's dime (woot). And I know the sensor will be corrected.
I really hope Apple learns from all of this. There have been some questionable design decisions that have come to bite them in the a**. Apple's PR department also needs to tell Steve that discretion is sometimes the better part of valor when deciding what e-mail to answer. Plus they themselves need to realize not everyone are iSheep and won't believe everything that's told to them; The deflection at the press conference by using competitor's phones was not smart.
Here's hope iPhone 4s (or 5, or whatever they eventually call it) will have a smoother ride than iPhone 4 did.

ddot196 says:

I've got a question. Was the comment Steve made in regards to the antenna issue with left handed people even legit? "Don't hold it with that hand" or "Hold it differently." I mean those sound totally bogus coming from the head honcho of a huge business. It was an email which could have easily been faked just like the ones afterwards were proven.I don't know, just sounds like something a 12 year old would say.

Webvex says:

OK, so now everyone thinks bumpers/cases are an acceptable solution. Aside from the "I like mine naked" folks, this creates another problem: docks, which Apple also sells for $29 and lots of aftermarket vendors provide. The better solution would be to bring it in for a free transparent coating.

NetMage says:

Simple, every iPhone 4 does have signal loss, but a decrease in signal only loosely correlates to a decrease in bars, which even more loosely correlates to call issues. In other words, if AT&T had a good network, no one would notice. Or if the new design didn't make borderline areas usable when the antenna isn't blocked. Or if the bar algorithm on the iPhone hadn't been flawed.

(Copy of) Dev says:

Somebody (Inkhato?) wrote similarly to Rene, and added that Apple should have just used that hyphenation "trade-off." Jobs emphasized the performance and "cool engineering" of the antenna in the keynote, doubled down by denying any problem, and rankled even fanboys with "hold different.". Had Jobs just said at the outset:
"This design performs better for many use cases and allows us to cram in a bigger battery, but has problems in situations X and Y. We made this trade-off confident it would delight the vast majority of customers."
This would have blown over in two days. Yes, the problem would still exist, and Apple would still be the butt of engineering jokes, but such transparency and honesty would have been a lot better for Apple's rep than what we have seen.

fastlane says:

@Lequang242:

"...and basically said we just like any other phone."

Sorry. You must've been watching the wrong press conference. Jobs repeatedly said the iPhone 4 was superior to other smartphones.
Try to follow along.

jmanso says:

Hi there, got an iPhone 4 since almost the beginning and never dropped a call, sure I can lose bars when I hold the phone, but never missed and almost always on 3G. I live in Portugal, and my network is TMN. Still the best phone ever.

NetMage says:

@Lequang242
Really not good at the reading/listening comprehension, are you?
Steve said the iPhone 4 drops less than 1% more calls than the 3GS.

Woody says:

Apple dropped the ball on this one. One thing to mention that signal problems happen regardless of phone or carrier, another to purposely call out your competition, some of whom never participated in the anti-Apple craziness in recent weeks.
Not everyone will agree and many will buy an iPhone, but some people will look at the lack of ownership of the problem that exist for many and not for others and took a new look at Apple. I for one will look at the Capitivate tomorrow and if it come close to meeting my needs and proves to be relatively easy to use, then I will return my iPhone 4 and purchase the Samsung.

desjones4ever says:

Coming out with one phone a year can be the gift and the curse. This turns out to be the curse. This is both Apple and ATT fault. All them geniuses all those tests. Showing off the testing facilities for Apple just proves that they really don't want to admit this. Even cellphone makers that have been in the game double or triple the time make design flaws. It happens. The difference is that they make several others to lessen the blow at times. This puts people on the fence. I know I might just wait until next year. Try something else and just keep using my 3GS.

Calculus II says:

Where happened to Chad's comments?

cardfan says:

I thought Apple's response was ok. This issue did need a press conference for them because it is important to explain your side.
That Sep 30th date though doesn't bring this to an end IMO. It's like Apple swing the door shut but just not enough and there's a crack left open.

Mystic says:

Ha ha! You've got to laugh at Crackberry Kevin. Describing Jobs's presentation as "slander" shows just how much he has lost his reason.
I will never forget how Crackberry Kevin described typing on the original Blackberry Storm as "awesome!", as dishonest and misleading a comment as has ever been made on Smartphone Experts.
Credibility: zero.

Amber says:

Antenna issues blah, blah, blah. Free bumpers for early adopters. Can we move on to all the awesome things this phone can do? I want to get back to apps and features now. I'm loving the phone and would never return it.

sfwrtr says:

A little bit of clear nail polish painted across the gap should solve the problem without a bumper.

cycling56#CB says:

To all the editors except Kevin, well put!

Asbar says:

Coming out with one phone a year can be the gift and the curse. This turns out to be the curse. This is both Apple and ATT fault. All them geniuses all those tests. Showing off the testing facilities for Apple just proves that they really don’t want to admit this. Even cellphone makers that have been in the game double or triple the time make design flaws. It happens. The difference is that they make several others to lessen the blow at times. This puts people on the fence. I know I might just wait until next year. Try something else and just keep using my 3GS.

spanishcop says:

First of all, I enjoyed this article, and I enjoyed seeing perspectives from many people.
My thoughts..... is that thanks to apple and a big thanks to the media whether Steve likes this or not, we can expect better phones from apple and other companies as people will be focusing a lot of attention on the antenna in future releases and these companies know we will.
Apple did not expect this to happen or Steve would not had released the phone. This has been a wake up call for apple and many other companies. I expect to see a lot more testing in the future out in the field. More lost phones in the bars too LOL. I hate that a beautiful phone as the iPhone 4 has to be covered up, it is what it is. Due to having glass on both sides, it might not be a bad idea, though there is better protection found in other cases in the market.
Finally I will say that apple in a way has shown guilt by giving free bumpers, and my feeling is that there will be a modification to the production of iPhone 4. I strongly believe it is already in affect and that is why the bumper is only being given free through September. As apple has mentioned... They hold their products in secret to sell older products to the last minute before a new version is released. They cannot release that information, or people would be returning iPhones in higher volumes and then re-purchasing them after the modified batch is released. Free bumpers was a smart way to keep many of the customers happy, but there will be a modified iphone4 soon that will not require a bumper and some may not like that.

Johnny Duke says:

I have the iPhone 4, I always use a case, I decided to test this problem for the first time during my watching of the press conference.
I tried a finger (bridging the gap), I had no visible change.
I tried the deathgrip, no visible change.
I even invented the double hand deathgrip, with pinkie gap-bridger, with no change in reception.
I actually believe the complaint numbers that steve gave.
My biggest problem is the proximity sensor, cheak dialing. I'm glad that they mentioned it!
I'll take a bumper, but I'm selling that gay thing on ebay.

spanishcop says:

I also meant to say... I'm interested in seeing what cases will be included on apples website in the give away aside from the bumper. And I agree with the above comment.... Bumpers will appear everywhere for sale and it will be a very large number.

Kenneth says:

Honestly I just can't wait for all this hype to over. I sometimes feel I can't take my phone out without my friends questioning me about the antenna. So the phone is a bit flawed? Big deal all phones are in some way or another. This has really become the only (big) disadvantage of Apple once-a-year deal
I agree with George Ponder's point completely, the only thing they fail to realize is that, sure a bumper will solve the issue, but I'm sure a lot of people (including me) bought the phone for it's design (well at least that was a big selling point for me) and to put a bumper on it, simply takes away (in my opinion) for the class and elegance of the phone itself.
and to @Mystic
Actually I too was a fan of the Storm keyboard. On Kevin's other point about the Bold, I'll agree I haven't actually seen that replicated in normal conditions on that phone and it was a propaganda. But what do you expect Apple to do? It seems Apple was being attacked on all sides and it was only natural they play a little offense (even if it wasn't completely true).

striatic says:

"Really not good at the reading/listening comprehension, are you?
Steve said the iPhone 4 drops less than 1% more calls than the 3GS."
apple never said that, and i think it is you who needs to work on comprehension : ]
apple said that the iPhone 4 dropped an additional 1 call per hundred, which is not the same as dropping 1% more than 3GS.
1] let's say the 3GS drops 2 calls per hundred, and the iPhone 4 drops 3 calls per hundred. the iPhone 4 would then be dropping 50% more calls than the 3GS, not 1%.
2] we can't assume that all these dropped calls were distributed evenly across the iPhone 4 customer-base. they were probably concentrated among people who make calls in cars and drive through low signal zones, live in low signal zones or live in buildings with signal transmission problems.
3] this would mean that most of the time the iPhone 4 antenna wouldn't be a problem for most people, but that in certain areas and for certain people the phone would get absolutely clobbered in terms of performance compared to previous iPhones.
4] personally, i can see this problem in my own building, which was built in the 1950s and uses a ton of concrete. i live on the top floor and in the livingroom [which faces into an open area] i have absolutely no reception problems no matter how i hold the phone. in the bedroom, which faces into the side of a hill, i get problems now and then, and grip on the phone makes a slight difference.
if i go down to the second floor, which is embedded in the hill and merely faces out to the street level instead of a vista, my phone's reception dies compared to my old 3G. where the 3G remained connected [though at low signal strength], the iPhone 4 is totally unusable. if i lived down there, my phone would be useless in half the rooms in my apartment and i'd probably be screaming bloody murder at apple for making the antenna worse.
so it isn't a simple problem, and saying only 1 extra call out of every 100 is dropped is a very superficial statistical analysis on apple's part. it could mean that the phone is being rendered almost completely unusable for one out of every 100 customers. or it could mean that the phone doesn't work even half as well when used in a car, but the stat is offset by most calls being made from stable, high signal strength locations. the stat is, in itself, not hugely useful without knowing the distribution.

Lequang242 says:

Here is all the folks that bought into the 1% more than the 3GS.
From AP news
"Doesn’t sound like much?
“As it turns out, the iPhone 4 drops more calls than the older iPhone 3GS – “less than one additional dropped call per 100,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during a news conference Friday.
Although that doesn’t sound like a big difference, a typical U.S. phone only drops one to 1.5 calls per 100, said Dan Hays, who focuses on telecommunications at management consulting firm PRTM. So another one per 100 could mean that the iPhone 4 drops nearly twice as many calls as the older model, Hays said.” AP news

Webvex says:

I'll bet the 4s on the production line now are getting a nice clear coating on the antennas. That would explain the September 30 date for free bumpers. Depending on how that works out, we may or may not see a fully insulated antenna on the next model.
In fairness, putting the antenna around the perimeter of the device might have been a good idea. Forgetting to insulate it was stupid, though.

theogt says:

My biggest problem was that they tried to say this is a problem with all devices. It's not. The problem is specific to the iphone 4 because briding the gap detunes the antenna.
What's funny is that later in the Q&A session, they suggested that in the future they will just place the gap in a different area, where it's less likely to be touched. DUHHHH!!!! That should have been discovered and remedied before the thing was released.

striatic says:

"In fairness, putting the antenna around the perimeter of the device might have been a good idea. Forgetting to insulate it was stupid, though."
or just leaving a wider, though "less beautiful" gap between the antenna segments, to reduce the possibility of bridging.

F-Bomb says:

@Fastlane- why are you cutting down people's opinion? I'm an apple fanboy too, but I think the way they handled the "blame-game" was a poor choice. Get over yourself bro.

theogt says:

Also, the new antenna is supposed to be much better than the 3GS. So, without the antenna bridging issue, you would expect fewer dropped calls. Thus, the antenna issue is responsible for taking the iPhone 4 from fewer dropped calls to more dropped calls. If the numbers are as the above quoted article states (post 37), then you could have a situation where the antenna bridging issues causes 2-300% more dropped calls than an iPhone 4 without the antenna bridging issue.

fastlane says:

@F-Bomb:
Care to explain? :shock:

J harr says:

Dieter,
Bloggers really need classes on proper use of the English language.
Your phrase "approaching an reliable manner" needs work. You only use "an" if the next word starts with a vowel.

Webvex says:

@Striatic, the gap would have to really big, as many people hold the phone with that corner pushed into the fat base of the thumb and some people have big fingers. I'd prefer moving the gap as well as an insulating coating.

Lequang242 says:

@fastlane
"...Jobs repeatedly said the iPhone 4 was superior to other smartphones."
But when our antenna Suck! Well, we just like everyone else. We just like any other phones.

isaac says:

glad they fessed up. Almost flattered for palm that Jobs mentioned them, and didn't showcase any new webOS device as having the issues iOS phones are having.

Jimbo says:

Sorry, Apple. This is a fail. The bottom line is that Apple made an engineering decision that resulted in a phone that was WORSE than the model it replaces where reception goes. An increase in dropped calls of less than one per 100 is still an increase, especially considering how Jobs trumpeted the design.
I judge performance by dropped calls and bot the 3GS and 4 are AWFUL. Blame AT&T's network if you wish but I never had near the number of dropped calls with my BB 9700. My solution? Go to Verizon, which hurts.

Fraydog says:

CrackBerry Fail. Even if RIM can hold off Apple, they really are going to get slapped around by Android.

El Sapo says:

Steve Jobs says: "Don't grab your phone this way, grab it that way!" and everyone does that because it's not an issue of your way of grabbing the phone, it's an issue of Steve telling you how you really do it!(oh and charge for it).
Steve Jobs also says "Use the bumper, stop complaining, we are great", so because is free, everyone is happy.
Next Steve Jobs will say: "Don't drink Coca Cola, 'cause it'l make our signal weak, we'll give you river water instead, because we want to make you happy!" And everyone will start drinking river water, because Steve is such a nice guy, and wants all to be happy.

Butch Hauke says:

I still have never experienced a dropped call on any iPhone (owned the 3G and now the 4.) I'm surprised to hear that iPhone has better reception but drops more calls than the 3GS. What's the deal with that?
Anyway, I already have a case that I like (Incipio Feather) and don't care for the Bumper because it prevents the use of many 3rd party headphones. If they offer something else I like, I'll grab a free one as a backup. Otherwise I'll just pass on the freebie.

planoman says:

I returned my iphone 4 to ATT this morning. After thinking on the issue, I decided that Apple will come up with a fix of some type and put some type of transparent coating on the antenna to prevent detuning when touched. Apple is working on a fix because the free/bumper case offer goes through Sept 30. I just did not want to have "that" model once the new ones come out. I am back to my Bold 9700 and will be back to the iphone 4 once there is a design fix.

d3fpo3t says:

My opinion aside
Malatesta's photo is kick ass

Cdeeron says:

As I have stated before I can replicate this "death grip" on any device. Why/how well the FCC requires that personal Electronics accept interferance not emit it. Would you want your pacemaker to malfunction when your on the phone? No sure you wouldn't. Think about what it would take to signal 100% all the time.....one, no cell company is going to put towers every 30ft. Two, is interference everything can degrade your signal.....if Apple didn't point out where the antenna is or make the separation so easy to see there would be no story.... These are my opinions take it how you will...I have used many mobile devices over the years in IT and managing mobile phones for a fortune 500 company with all carriers.

Joe McG says:

I love how Crackbery Kevin is all butt hurt about Jobs showing the death grip on the Bold. It's like Jobs insulted his wife or something. Freakin nerd...

Gixah says:

"Antennagate" may be the most asinine level of sensationalism in the longest time. I am going to enjoy my iPhone 4 as I have since the 23rd. Hate on.

Gixah says:

Also, CrackBerry Kevin, get over yourself. Jobs did not pour sugar in your gas tank. He went out of his way to say the Bold among the other examples was a great phone.

John says:

What I find particularily damning is that none of these tech media people commented on Job's accusations that the media has blown this way out of proportion. As an average tech consumer, I care far less about bars and bumpers than I do yellow journalism. (but not you tipb - kisses)
No doubt most of the iPhone 4 owners out there have made up their minds on whether they can live with the iPhone's reception, and so I think Jobs' message was primarily to the next three million users: don't worry, buy one.

Glenn#IM says:

After all said, and done, it is a design flaw. Question. If they change the design to fix this, will they let you exchange your current phone for the fixed one? With so many out there, i wonder. If they do change design, bet it will be way after any exchange can be done, or Apple just needs to do this, and recall them. If something is broke due to a design flaw, do not point at all devices, but say "ours is flawed we will fix it properly" you will have happy customers, and sell more devices. It will be a win win fir all.

Julie L. says:

To George Ponder, Editor, WMExperts
You don't know that the contraction for "Steve Jobs is" or the possessive for "Jobs" is not JOB'S, but JOBS'??
And you call yourself an editor? You should be FIRED for not knowing the above!

icebike says:

On what other issue, for what other phone has there been an All Hands On Deck posting on any SPE site? Did TiPb just make it a bigger issue than it really was?
The bumper is as close to doing the right thing that you could expect. No company can afford to EAT 3 million phones. Especially when the "Fix" costs less than a buck.
I disagree this was a No Win situation for Apple.
Fess up. Own it. Give out the bumpers.
Appologize, promise to do better, and GET THE HELL OFF THE STAGE.
But for God sake, don't stand there and pretend its the same as cupping other phones. A single finger can bring down this phone. Its NOT the same thing, and NO, you can't get forgiveness by saying "All the other kids are doing it". Grow the hell up Apple!
Its not over. This isn't going away.
But it doesn't have to occupy all of TiBp's time for eternity. We don't have to dwell on it on every page. Just put this story (as well as the "Best smartphone in the world" hype) to bed and get on with other reports.

Lequang242 says:

@Glenn
Yup! This is Job should have says.
"everything is Kool. I got this mofo. Everyone chill the #u€Kout. I'm gonna call(using 3GS) up a couple of pipe-hittin' krakkas who'll go to work on homes(i4) here with a pair of pliers and blow torch. Here me talkin' hillbilly i4 boy?! I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna git medieval on your @$$." " so everyone chill the #u€Kout! When I'm done workin' on i4 @$$, y'all can bring the hillbilly 4 back to the store and get it exchange." - Steve Job Marsellus
Niggro! That's all you have to say.

Mark says:

I was not overly impressed with the way Apple have tried to deflect this issue by slinging a little mud. If this issue was like normal attenuation which can be caused by covering phones completely then a case would do nothing too solve the problem

garynky says:

Kevin,
Really? Hahahahahahahahaaaaa!
GT

iPheuria says:

I personally wasn't worried about the issue when it started. I seriously don't see why everyone acts like reception problems are new to cellphones honestly?? I can see how you would be frustrated having the problem but I think Apple is doing a good thing by giving bumpers away if it will fix the problem. Everyone says it's a bandaid but really if the phone works what do you care? I also hate that manufacturers act as if their products are perfect they all have problems. When I'm asked by a friend I tell the good and bad of my iPhone and others I've used because it's not perfect just perfect enough for me to keep using it. I've used Nokia phones for years until my N90 and I guess then Nokia wasn't so concerned with reception then because I was lucky when I did have reception rather than when there was none. As for BBs my brother has been using them for as long as I remember him using smartphones. Well now after smashing his fourth out of frustration he has been asking me about my iPhone which I've owned since about his 2nd BB and it works perfectly for me. So from my rant I'm saying your phones aren't perfect so don't say our phones don't have reception issues just because 1 doesn't doesn't mean they all don't.

Charlie @ Cell Phone Cases Blog says:

Steve is acting unlike himself lately, and what on Earth is up with the jeans and black shirt? I mean, c'mon really???
Is this all he wears, all the time every time. I only see him wearing a black mock neck top and blue jeans. No way!
Forget the iPhone 4, I'm concerned about his fashion sense, enough to comment on it. lol.

prodigy326 says:

Do not believe the hype! I went to return my iphone 4 today and not only did At&t charge me my monthly service charge, they charged me an activation fee. To top it off they charged a restocking fee which Steve jobs stated would not happen. Their explanation was they are not apple and for them its business as usual. I have been a long time apple fan but after this fiasco I'm done. Although At&t service was poor I have been pleased with their customer service until this point. We as consumers need to step up and say to these companies their policies and lack of compensation is unacceptable. Steve has alot of nerve to say he gets offended when people complain about the iphone 4. He is is the one offensive with his lack of empathy! One word "RETURN" "RETURN" "RETURN"!!!!

Visi says:

@Rene
“…at first the bribery seems to conflict with the deflection. If there’s no problem, why give bumpers? Simple. People like free stuff.”
Really? Following your logic, why they don't give the power adapter for free?

JNGold says:

@Ivan,
Give me a break. Stop your whining and move along. Don't worry, the iPhone as a product is good enough to survive and flourish without you.

free iphone 4 cases says:

I think the one thing people are failing to understand and steve clearly says it is that they told people where the antennae was.. which of course means - well people would hold the spot and go bananas.
Honestly - after playing avatar on the Iphone4 i really dont care about the bars - plus all i really use the iphone for is email on the go and a couple of video and audio cds. Which to me is the most important thing.
Nick

Peanut says:

Better recall like tylenol. You will lose big time in the long run. Come off your charming salesman horse and regain loyalty with trusting ACTIONS like recalling.
one less dropped call per hundred? I thought it was a better designed antenna... Wake up. Toyota did.

Jago says:

Yeah so all I got from this was, Hey, our iPhone 4 is just like all the other smartphones. Our antenna is nothing special, we get dropped bars but hey, look at everyone else, they too drop bars!

Josh j says:

Josh reponds to antennagate: get over it, even with this issue the phone still kicks add

Steve Doherty says:

The press conference was pretty much what I expected. I'm in Australia, and I'll be interested to see if I get offered a free bumper case when I upgrade my 3G to an iPhone 4 via Vodafone when I'm given the option.
I'll be even more interested to see if these reception problems are anywhere near as prevalent on a network that isn't AT&T. Very curious.
The bottom line is I could care less about the occasional dropped call. I'm much more focused on having an mp3 player / decent camera / HD video camera in my pocket at all times. It also happens to be a phone. :)
Bring it on.

Steve Doherty says:

@ Crackberry Kevin:
Get over it, dude. Jesus! It's not like Jobs poked your puppy with a pointed stick. It's just a cell-phone.

CWagz says:

I took my iPhone 4 back. Where I live and work I was unable to use the data connection with the phone in my left hand even with the two slim cases I tried. I did try the bumper, and it helped, but it seemed to not fit so well and made getting the phone in and out of my pocket difficult. I ordered a refurb 3GS since I had already sold my 3G.
BTW - I got my phone on the 23rd and was going WTF sitting at my desk trying to setup my GMail push account with the phone saying "Searching"... Put the phone down five bars... Must have had it running for 5 minutes before I figured out exactly what was going on. Hold phone in right hand no problem. Hold in left hand no signal. Pinky touch black gap during a call and it would instantly drop. I am right handed so typing with my left is a no go.
Overall I am very disappointed in Apple. I really loved the retina display, every other phone looks terrible now, but I was not going to let them keep my $$$ when in my opinion they royally screwed up. I like the phone in my pocket and the bumper just made it uncomfortable. The slim cases help a little but not enough to make the phone usable in the left hand while surfing the net or emailing (in my signal areas)...
The iPhone was the first Apple product I ever purchased and it really impressed me. The arrogance with which Apple has handled the PR on this issue is upsetting. If I did not have so much money already invested in Apps I would be off to Verizon and an Android device.
CWagz

Fred M says:

Funny thing. The bumper case was one of the first accessories announced, correct? I recall a fair number on the web noting that it was odd that Apple was announcing something like that. Now the reason is obvious. This was a known issue. But Steve knows he can throw a shiny object out there on the floor, flawed, on a crappy network, and you clowns will blindly rationalize that it's the best thing in the world. How sad. It is a phone. It is supposed to make calls and stay connected. Without a free bumper. Feeling a bit foolish because you can't brag about your phone because your friends keep asking you about the antenna? So much for your shiny new toy, huh? Kinda takes that lustre away, eh?

Wow says:

Just like Jonathan mann said. If you don't want an iphone4 don't buy it. If you bought one and you don't like it bring it back.... back to the apple store. ;-) Can't wait to get mine. And if it doesn't work for me, I'll return it. Simple as that!

ThisBrian says:

Well it seems like everyone will take it how they want to take it. Steve gave you a choice and that's take it or leave.
Hey, can we finally get some good articles about what iPhone 4 can do?

Fred M says:

@CWagz... I think you hit the nail on the head. It's immensely frustrating. The iOS is great, IMO. Well designed, consistent, asthetically pleasing and responsive. The prior iPhones and iPad shaped and built Apple's brand strength. Sadly, now Apple's arrogance and lack of candor and transparency regarding this issue has and will continue to diminish the brand and its name equity. Keep rationalizing, apologists. Such is the face of blind loyalty.

Fred M says:

Funny. If this was happening to the Droid X, I'm sure we wouldn't be suggesting changing the subject or claiming that the media was blowing it out of proportion. Oh - or worse yet - what if Motorola or RIM disingenuously called out the iPhone for some issue. There'd be such gnashing of teeth and wailing from the rooftops. But when Apple does it, when Steve does it, they get a pass. Emperor's New Clothes much?

Fred M says:

One last poke... You clowns actually buy into the "we're not perfect" mea culpa? Seriously? They got caught. They thought they wouldn't, but they did. They were going to sell you these bumpers. They were going to make money on their solution to their own design flaw. Now you are happy because they are going to give them to you for free? Maybe iPhone 5 will only make calls from Cupertino, but Apple will include as an option the opportunity for you to buy a plane ticket to Cupertino to use it there. I don't know about you, but I'll be buying, simply because I am not perfect, either.

JNGold says:

@FredM,
Did the same exact problem and poor 3G reception (which btw still has no solution) on the Nexus One for T-mo tarnish HTC? Nope. Sorry. Like I said before, the iPhone 4 will continue to sell with or without you. Blind faith? Nope. My iPhone 4 continues to be the best smartphone I have ever owned bar none - with or without a bumper.
Have fun with your Droid.

Ghop says:

I think Apple has a long term fix in the works for the iPhone, hence no more free cases after September 30. This is when, I suspect, the improved phones will be in stock, that is when I'll be taking my phone back for a brand new replacement.
I, like some, believe Apple new about this problem. This is why they introduced the bumper. I'll admit I'm a fan boy but I'll call a spade a spade when I see it. Apple screwed up.
I love my phone, I wouldn't have any other phone but it is what it is, a screw up.

CWagz says:

No doubt the iPhone 4 is going to do great without us...
and no doubt my refurb 3GS which comes Monday will work in my left hand, and do everything faster and better than my 3G for 1/3 the cost of the iPhone 4 I just returned which wouldn't work in my left hand in my service area. The only thing I will miss is the retina display.
I bet Apple will have the antenna fixed quietly in a few months with some sort of internal isolation from the metal band. If Jobs would have offered free replacements once the hardware problem was solved I would have kept the thing. The quality of Apple's refurbs is second to none. I would have been fine with a swap once the problem was fixed.
The infuriating thing about how this was handled is how Apple has been patronizing, and condescending to us poor souls living in "weak signal areas". I mean heck, a weak signal sure becomes a lot weaker when holding your phone the "wrong" way drops your signal by more than other phone including the 3G/3GS. Anandtech article on this is great.

leonardo says:

Fastlane your a real douche!

iMatt says:

I'm in the UK and must be some kind of superhero with "super coductive skin" because I drop from 4 bars to no signal when I hold normally. Every call from my house will become such poor quality or drop the call if I don't hold it differently. No this hasn't happened with any other phone. Will I take my phone back ? No ! Does that make me a loser ? - probably. Does that mean jobs stats are screwed that they've only had a few returns ? Yes.
I've always gone iPhone naked, don't want a case (but will get a free one which I can use for when I go out drinking - which turns me from superhero to mr clumsy)
Do I feel let down by jobsy and apple - certainly ! And it makes me cry a little inside.
I am now teaching myself to hold the phone like a swanky cocktail so's not to "subliminally touch the spot"
Matt

iMatt says:

Oh and yes I have already installed 4.01

Tom Stephens says:

"The deflection stuff didn’t. They spent too much time on what should have been a bullet point."
That's naive Rene. If Apple had not provided the depth that they did, bloggers like yourself would have dismissed the comparative information as 'unsubstantiated claims by Apple.' As it was, some goof in the audience, while sitting on top of one of the most concentrated cell areas imaginable, asked why he couldn't recreate their findings despite presumably knowing that poor signal strength was a primary factor in replicating the issue. Actually the 'deflection stuff' has accomplished what Apple likely intended with several companies taking the bait and feeling obliged to argue the findings -- thereby ensuring the media will change slant and start looking at other products' reception.
Any chance you can now move on. This is the only internet tech site where the entire first page is taken up with repetitive ramblings about this issue. Most of the 'news' here seems like little more than bait to fill the click throughs with endless readers comments. How about getting back to reporting current news?

Fraydog says:

FredM,
You sure it was a good idea to open this can of worms when Death Grip videos of the Samsung Captivate Galaxy S and the Droid X are now tearing up the Internet? They're both good phones on solid networks (AT&T and Verizon) but now they're being subject to the same scrutiny as the iPhone 4. Perhaps this is a good thing in that RF design will improve. At least Apple tried something innovative. With innovation comes the risk of failure. Apple didn't get the job done in that regard and Jobs said as much. However, with the research that Apple has done, there's no reason Apple can't overcome this problem in the future. I am confident in great things still from Apple - even with the crappy PR job.

Alexander says:

That press conference was a sad day for Apple. It couldve been over in two minutes with - hello - we made a mistake - we’re sorry - oh and one last thing... free cases for all!
Steve being defensive and trudging through the muck to compare to RIM et al was a sad day for Apple. It was downright embarrassing and, of course, these others manufacturers are going to lash out. I would too - it's bad press for them only to prove Steve's about an "industry-wide" problem.
I do like the fact that that they were trying to come across as transparent but all these other tactics ruined it for me.
I am keeping my iPhone 4.

Fred M says:

@Fraydog... Hardly innovative. Definitely flawed. Fully deceptive. And yet the sheep apologize for them and give them a pass.
@JerryG... I'm fine with my 3GS, thanks. Just not a fanboi/drinker of ye old Kool Aide.

Sean Peters says:

In our continuing series of annoying comments by fanbois:

Give me a break. Stop your whining and move along.

Because, SHUT UP that's why! I guess the original poster forgot that criticism of Apple is Not Allowed. Hilariously, the person who made the original comment was trying to take the oft-cited advice of "if you don't like the phone, just return it already", and had problems doing that. But apparently commenting about a poor return experience is out of bounds too.

Darrkman says:

The fanboys in here are amazing. Don't fall for the deflection that Apple is giving you. While many phones may have issues when you hold them only one phone has such a huge problem it because the design made the issue bigger than it should of been. The iPhone 4 and the external antenna is a design flaw. That, coupled with the weak AT&T network should be a concern for everyone. No other phone has jokes about it talking about how the phone aspect of the phone is its weak point. Unfortunately Evo, Incredible and Droid X users will have a good time laughing at their iPhone friends slow connections and dropped calls as they enjoy their better and faster connections. Its a sad day when TMobile people can laugh at iPhone users.

drphysx says:

@Leanna Lofte and othe TiPb staff,
you've overlooked one VERY important thing.
The increase in dropped calls (one more per 100 calls) isn't a small increase. It's HUGE.
Why? Here's the maths:
AT/T claims an overall dropped call rate of 1.5-1.7%, some other tests have shown up to 4.5%.
This means the iPhone 4 drops about 2.5-5.5% of all calls. This is an increase of 22-67% over previous generation iPhones and other smartphones. Yes, up to 67%. That's huge.
22-67% more dropped calls than other AT&T phones mean that the iPhone 4 is most certainly the WORST phone on the market in terms of dropped calls. Think about that.
Don't let their numbers fool you. Think about them, don't blindly repeat what they say.
The whole issue is definitely not overblown, that's for sure. Their numbers, if you think about them, tell a clear story.

ThisBrian says:

@darrkman come on Droid boy, why so many comments from people that don't even have a iPhone 4. There is a issue but jeez how big is it really with all the comments from non-iPhone owners.
@drphysx and you forget to mention the million upon millions of time people that really do have the problem try to make it drop. And like I believe you have all of the correct numbers. My
IPhone 4 has dropped one call and it wasn't a holding issue. Come on some people have major problems but it's small compared to the people that don't.
Believe what you want but some of you are missing out on a great phone because of a small percentage of users with a major drop call problem. If your on the fence between Android and iPhone that's a different story, research what features you need and get what does the job the best.

smooter says:

All I can say is this:
Why is it that Apple fans have accepted the fact that the "Most Awesome SmartPHONE" on the market....has not been able to be relied upon to.....make PHONE CALLS for years now?
I get it, buy an iPOD touch if all you want it to do is the "SMART" side of the coin, but if you are paying dearly for a "smartPHONE", in my mind it better freakin' be able to make phone calls! No matter how I hold it!
If I buy a drill, and try to use it as a hammer, then that is my bad, but if I buy a drill that supposedly is not only a drill, but the best freakin' drill in the world...and it is a hammer as well...then it better work as both....or it shouldn't be sold as such!!
Plain and simple fact is: Jobs picked the wrong horse with AT&T, then tried to make up for the fact that their cell service sucks by keeping everything that he could out of the way of their crappy signal getting to his iPhone antenna, hopefully making things better...but it blew up in his face. He deserves it!! Shoulda' been a lot more willing to share in his success and he coulda' had Verizon...no, wanted to be stingy and make ALL the profit himself (and he has, thanks to Apple sheep) and now he has to wear the egg around. Goes with the territory. Amazing how someone so smart can look so stupid. The rest of you Apple sheep can join him and share the egg!
If my Android "SmartPHONE" couldn't make calls....I would go back to my Blackberry! In my opinion, RIM signal is amazing...dunno how they do it! But my freakin' smartPHONE better dang well make phone calls!
just my 2c

Oscar says:

The antenna issue really does not matter. The following video sums it up very well.

krask says:

I'm a little older than most, here...maybe all. ;) Anyway, I remember a lot of Apple history highlights. Pointing out everyone else's possible issues & trying to explain away your own technical shortcomings is new. And it makes Steve Jobs a very small person & Apple a very "small" company. If I had my way, every iPhone user would send back their iPhone in protest. But I suspect most are already jammed too far into Apple's one size fits all mold. As much as I think the iPhone is good (previous to 4), the Mac is awesome for graphics, & the iPod is a great music player, I'll only buy Apple products if I absolutely have to. I certainly wouldn't feel better about sailing on a ship if it had issues with sinking. And learning that other ship builders sometimes had similar issues would do nothing to make me feel better about your engineering incompetence. So much for trust.

Blaque says:

I think Steve Jobs is brilliant. Well it was already beginning to happen before he had the conference but he put the icing on the cake. Steve has basically redefined the problem.
Phil from Android Central pointed out that we're all going to be RF engineers now and apparently as I've seen in a couple of comments its already happening. There are supposedly death grip videos out for the Droid X and Galaxy S phones. Well theres a little problem with the death grip videos coming out. THEY DON'T CAUSE DEATH. The original issue was that physically touching the antenna caused such a problem with reception that CALLS DROPPED. It was never simply that the bars went down. But now its all about seeing if you can make bars drop rather than killing calls and slowing down data rates.
On top of that there is a difference between shielding an antenna and touching it. This has been common sense until this past Friday. Now people seem shocked to find that if you shield an antenna you loose signal strength. And now even worse people believe touching an antenna or bridging two together are the same thing. And yet the iPhone still needs a case to solve a problem that the rest of the phones displayed do not need. Its going to be interesting if everybody starts pulling up their dropped call and return statistics. HTC has already done so and put the iPhone statistics in perspective....they are huge.
And I find it mighty ridiculous to call a problem with the phones basic functions overblown when you had folk sitting phones on styrofoam blocks (something you'll never do) to prove there was a touch screen grounding problem. Fanboyism can be fun and all but to accept having your money taken for a product that doesn't perform and then defending it is crazy.

Mystic says:

Ha ha! Look at all the haters and the fandroids screaming in a vacuum. Jobs and Co. just sucked the oxygen out of this story, and they can't stand it. :):):)

Scott says:

Granted there are extremists on both sides of this issue, but there were a few glaring omisions at the press conference I consider to be inexcusable. But first, the good:
1) The humility (as noted by some) was a good way to go.
2) The free bumpers were a good way to go. They are cutting a bit of a cash cow to provide a solution to people in poor reception areas where the radio antenna flaw really hurts.
3) The 30 day no questions asked return period with no restocking fee (barring damage). This will really help customers make up their own minds without the feeling that Apple is pulling something over on them.
Now...what didn't work:
1) The deflection to other companies. Especially because it missed the entire point. Yes, if you place as much of your hand around a cell phone the signal gets attenuated. That's not the point, the point is that several independent groups, including CR and the excellent people at Anandtech have shown conclusively that even when held normally (but while bridging the two antennas) the amount of attenuation is greater on the iPhone4 than deathgripping other phones. The fact that they have videos showing bars going all the way down feels very staged; there were absolutely now data on the test conditions given (were they all made under controlled conditions? In the same place? Was the amount of radio frequency held constant during the tests?) The total absence of ANY form of data on the conditions should raise the hackles on anyone with any science or engineering background at all.
2)Bait and switching the design flaw itself. Yes, we get it, covering parts of any phone causes attenuation. The point is the larger drop could easily have been solved here if an insulating coating had been put on one antenna. In that case, the benefits of the external antenna (more space inside, better job of finding low-power signals) would have remained without the call-and-data-ending attenuation that occurs if people bridge the gap in the same lower radio signal areas it was supposed to help in.
Let me say this very clearly: they can brag about their testing facilities and care all they want but there is no excuse for not having realized that one of the antennas needed to be insulated (even by a fine, clear coat of something non-conductive). Either they didn't test well enough, or their testing procedures need to be reviewed. One minor change could have eliminated this problem and shown all the benefits of their design without the problems that effect users in low-signal environments.
3) Finally, the end date in September. I realize that they can't give bumpers our for free for forever, but the thing is, this is going to bite them on the rear later. My guess as to how they picked that date is it's when they will be able to start producing iPhones with insulated antennas. But they didn't say this. So when September rolls around and they announce that they have discovered a way to fix it so you don't need a bumper...how do you think all those customers who can no longer return their phones but need to use a bumper will fell?.
I have to say, they should have copped to the fact that there is an obvious engineering fix, that the main challenge is integrating it into the product line in a cost-effective manner, and then provided people with free bumpers for the current ones. Sure, there would have still been some grumbling, and it would have made it clear that there was in fact a design flaw (or at least a design oversight) but people would have had the choice to take the bumper, not worry about it, or return the phone now and wait for September. I'm sure in fact that the latter is exactly why they didn't come clean. But it's going to make them look duplicitous come fall when the manufacturing change happens.
Mark my words, this will end up in worse press for Apple in the long run, not better. And they have created greater enmity amongst competitors and sowed the seeds of longer-term customer distrust in the process.

drphysx says:

@AnotherBrian
"Come on some people have major problems but it’s small compared to the people that don’t."
But it's HUGE compared to other phones. 20-70% more dropped calls than all the other phones on AT&T (including the 3GS)? You can't tell me that's not a huge failure on Apple's part.
And of course, most people blame it on the network, since AT&T is known for dropping calls anyway (despite that they claim only 1.4-1.7% drop rate).
That easily explains those "only" 0.55% complaining (which is still 35 times more people complaining about the iPhone's reception than about the Droid Eris).
No matter how you look at it, if you have a closer look at their numbers, there's only one possible conclusion: This issue is huge.

KazM says:

I didn't like the press conference. I wanted Steve to talk about what they were going to do to fix the problem. Not show me that other phones do it. I want to know that when I buy my iPhone 4 later this year, this problem will be fixed.

JNGold says:

@Scott,
Your point to consumer mistrust will only be proven if sales of the iPhone 4 will significantly drop off in the coming months. To date 3 million phones in 3 weeks even with the negative press tends to lean contrary to your points.
I am an informed consumer and only owe allegiance to products and services that work for me. If the iPhone fails to work for what I need it for (including phone calls) I will migrate elsewhere. Mind you I am in NYC whichmhas traditionally been a sore spot for ATT the last couple of years. My iPhone 4 has experienced many of the signal attentuation issues in bad signal areas. However where there is good signal (which is improving in NYC) the performance of the iPhone has been excellent. Overall, that will keep customers coming.. You can yak that to the bank.

JNGold says:

Correction.. Take that to the bank.

Scott says:

"20-70% more dropped calls than all the other phones on AT&T (including the 3GS)? You can’t tell me that’s not a huge failure on Apple’s part."
I forgot to mention that; talk about insulting. Their shenanigans about how yes, the iPhone4 drops more calls than the 3GS, but by "less than one additional call in a hundred" without providing data on the rates of other phones is such tripe; most phones don't even drop 2 calls in a hundred, so 1 extra call is a huge, huge number. They are just playing on the fact that most buyers don't know anything about statistics or analysis.

Mystic says:

Haters and fandroids: wahwahwahwah!

Scott says:

@jngold: Well, those sales were front loaded. They had 2 million sales the first weekend, so I'm not sure that an additional million over the following 20 days is really evidence that people are ignoring the bad press.
My point is not that the iPhone is a bad device; I don't really care for the lock-downed OS and lack of customization, but it does provide a more seemless user experience and almost no learning curve, so it's great for a lot of people.
My point is that the press conference was misleading in several parts, and while I think the occasional humility shown, the free bumpers, and the 30 day return policy will help deflate the issue now, I think it will harm their image come this fall when it becomes clear that they know the solution (anyone who took college physics ought to) but they chose to give away free bumpers rather than cop to the problem and its incoming fix and risk a large number of returns. (also, if anyone with the proper background tries to replicate Apple's claims about other phones...oh wait, some already did: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3821/iphone-4-redux-analyzing-apples-ios-4... ) people will see that Apple wasn't being honest about the issue...those stories will still be echoing around to be reported when the manufacturing fix comes this fall).
I still think the iPhone 4 will sell well, and honestly it should, it's one of the best devices out there (if not one of the best phones at the moment). But the damage isn't whether they can sell a ton now, it's whether they are losing the image they sell with it, and I think they are really risking that. Believe what you want, but people who buy Apple products buy more than just a device, they buy into an image of a company that they believe acts in the customers' interests more than other companies. And both their initial handling and their ongoing handling of what is otherwise a minor problem to most is hurting that image, and with the pace at which competitors are growing (and even at which RIM is overhauling its system, although that won't be obvious for several months) the real question is how will this impact their market standing in years to come. At least, if you're a shareholder that's what the concern ought to be.

drphysx says:

@Scott
"I forgot to mention that; talk about insulting. Their shenanigans about how yes, the iPhone4 drops more calls than the 3GS, but by “less than one additional call in a hundred” without providing data on the rates of other phones is such tripe; most phones don’t even drop 2 calls in a hundred, so 1 extra call is a huge, huge number. They are just playing on the fact that most buyers don’t know anything about statistics or analysis."
EXACTLY. As I've explained, one more dropped call per 100 means an increase of 20-70% over other phones. That's HUGE.

JNGold says:

@Scott,
I see. So RIM's famous data outages, HTC's well known "driver gate" (with class action suit) and poor 3G Nexus one performance (with no solution from either company) don't matter? What's important here is Apple took in in the eye and have a temporary shiner because of it. However like the examples stated above, those companies had a history of providing quality products and services and they recovered. You talk like this will have some catastrophic effect. I will not. People love Apple products whether hey mare perfect or not. Like I said Rim data outages made front page press and yet they are still a market leader. I would not bet against Apple on this.

ddot196 says:

@alexander
How else would you point out an industry problem without giving examples of other phones? Would you believe them if they had just said it was a problem and take their word? Or would you want proof?

drphysx says:

@Ddot
It's not an industry problem anyway. Of course you can shield any phone's antenna with your hands, but no other phone allows you to bridge the antenna with other metal parts with just one finger.
And of course, other companies make sure that shielding the antenna with the hand isn't the natural way of holding the phone.
In the case of the iPhone, the "death grip" causes not only much greater signal drops, since you bridge the metal parts, but it also happens to be the obvious, natural way of holding the phone. And all you need to drop a call is one finger, not the whole hand.
The claim that this is an industry problem is an outright lie.

Scott says:

@Jngold,
No, all of those were serious problems as well. Rather than once again deflecting from the issue, why don't we look at them and how they apply here:
RIM data outage: Several times in the past 18 months or so there have been temporary outages on RIM's push servers. Usually it hasn't impacted email much, but other data certainly has. RIM largely didn't address the issue, or when it did blamed it on specific carrier or software problems.
Fallout: Um...have you seen RIM's general popularity and stock value trends over the last two years??? If that's something you want to see with Apple, then sure, I guess the way Apple is handling this isn't a problem at all...
HTC's Drivergate: HTC's attempt to prove itself in the smartphone business with WinMo smartphones and ATI silicon ended up not being the home-run they'd hoped when there were persistent driver issues that impacted video (and later audio) for customers.
Fallout: Since HTC was really just trying to build their name and corporate image, there wasn't as much to hurt (and Apple can't really replicate that strategy). Notably, they address the fact that the problem existed (they also deflected some, pointing out that the phones had many other benefits than video playback). That said, a lot of their current success really came after they shifted away from WinMo and their older driver-problem-ridden platforms towards the newer Android-based phones that have generally gotten very high marks.
As for the Nexus One, I'd say that in general Google has taken its lumps over that, although making hardware is an almost non-existent part of their business, so it doesn't really matter much overall. Also, the product serves as a good developer phone, its open status has attracted something of a cult following despite the poor launch.
Apple: Like RIM when it had problems, Apple is a large company with an established brancd; it can't attribute the issue to growing pains the way HTC could (or rather, its customers could). Presumably Apple doesn't want to see its stock and market share drop the way RIM has the last couple years, so they should have reacted sooner and more honestly. Instead, while there were highlights to the press release, there were also parts that were blatantly misleading, and some of those parts will become more obvious this fall when the hardware fix goes live (unless they plan on selling the phone the way it is now indefinitely...which doesn't seem like a good idea either).
No one is saying that the problems with the iPhone 4 are unique or unprecedented...in fact they are pretty minor for most users. But Apple markets itself as better than those companies. As more in tune with customers and less beholden to corporate greed. Unfortunately for them, the way they've handled this does not reinforce that view at all, and that may haunt them when the iPhone 5 and 6 are launched...

B.o.B says:

Remember when we didn't have cell phones. God life was better.

B.o.B says:

^^^^ published on my 3GS.

Johnny Duke says:

I have the iPhone 4, I always use a case, I decided to test this problem for the first time during my watching of the press conference.
I tried a finger (bridging the gap), I had no visible change.
I tried the deathgrip, no visible change.
I even invented the double hand deathgrip, with pinkie gap-bridger, with no change in reception.
I actually believe the complaint numbers that steve gave.
My biggest problem is the proximity sensor, cheak dialing. I'm glad that they mentioned it!
I'll take a bumper, but I'm selling that gay thing on ebay.
If you have the problem I would suggest exchanging it because not all of the phones are as described by most these guys.

YourMobileGuru says:

Anyone who thinks that Apple's press conference is going to do anything to alleviate things to any significant degree is naive. There is only two ways to fix this. 1 Change the antenna design so it is no longer on the rim OR 2 change it so that the gap isn't in such a prominent place, for example at the bottom center or top center or even top right or left, where the average person does not. Either way it is back to the drawing board and a redesign. This isn't caused by a software issue, but a software issue made it more noticeable. Even if this second choice is taken, future iPhone 4's should come bundled with optional TRANSPARENT bumpers in case the user happens to hold it in a way that still causes problems. These cost them pennies to produce in those quantities so it is the least they could do.
The fact that Uncle Steve didn't acknowledge this, and instead chose to try to deflect the blame by insinuating that other phones have the same problem (they do but not nearly to the degree, and in normal every day usage it would never even be noticeable, unlike the iPhone 4; has made me respect Apple and Steve Jobs even less than I did before. I own an iPhone 3G S, but now have no intention of upgrading to iPhone 4, 5 or any other future phone from Apple.

JNGold says:

Your loss. Even with this "design flaw", the iPhone 4 is a great smartphone.
Sent from my iPhone in NYC

Irish Charlie says:

@ Tim - I enjoyed your post above. It is good to read an honest opinion of someone on this site that is not completely drunk on the Apple Fanboy Kool Aid. Thank you so much for your opinion and perspective! A wonderful post my friend.
@ Jngold - How can you say that? You really are drinking the Apple Fanboy Kool Aid my friend. drphysx has a valid point. 1 call per 100 is huge! How can you possibily sit there and believe that the iP4 is, to quote you "a great smartphone", "Even with this 'design flaw'"? How can you honestly sit there and believe that? Please inform the world about why it is so great.
Does the fact that it drops calls over and over again make it great? B/c when I spend that much cash on a smartphone it had better have the capability to make a phone call. Otherwise it is just a smaller version of the piece of crap iPad.
Oh, I know why you think it is such a great smartphone! It must be the AMAZING customer service the iSheep have been getting from your imperial leader Steve Jobs. I just don't understand all of the Apple fanboys on this site. You all would do ANYTHING to uphold the image of your precious Apple toys including tell lies to protect your fearless leader SJ. Unbelievable.
Just look @ Johnny Duke's post! "I believe Steve"? Really JD? (If you were wondering, this is what some people like to call sarcasm) I need a drink....
@ Rene - Could you please take the time to go through here and filter out all of the non topical, Pro-Apple biased posts so that we can have a fair and balanced discussion here? Oh wait, if you did that, then there would probably only be about 5 posts per topic on here. I am sorry for your dilema.
@ Scott - I am sorry my post wasn't as long as yours. I tried to make it as long, but I just could not sustain it. Maybe next time my friend.

Rob says:

I use Apple products in part because they are sleek and trendy looking; sort of like a European convertible. So imagine what it would be like if the car maker told you you had to drive with a car cover on because the engine won't run when you rest your arm on the door....

Johnny Duke says:

@irishcharlie I'm sorry you have problems with your phone, I don't ( no sarcasm )

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