UPDATED: Fake or not?! Steve Jobs converses about iPhone 4 reception problems?

UPDATE 2: BGR has posted again, saying they've accessed the guys email accounts and believe the emails to be genuinely from Apple and Steve Jobs'

UPDATE: According to Fortunte Apple PR is calling this email exchange fake and Apple Insider is saying a similar exchange was previously offered to them -- for a price. BGR meanwhile has posted screenshots and headers of the emails in question, perhaps to shore up their authenticity. Real, fake, or really fake?

ORIGINAL: BGR brings a purported conversation between "Tom" and Apple CEO Steve Jobs about the ongoing iPhone 4 antenna band reception problem. You can check out the full convo via the link below; here are some highlights:

TOM: You are going to kill your brand over one product. Apple is coming off arrogant and rude. If there is no fix just tell people so they can return their phones. We have work to do. I have bought just about every apple product made in the last 20 years and this is the 1st time I am ashamed to be a MAC fan. This is just sickening,

JOBS: No, you are getting all worked up over a few days of rumors. Calm down.

TOM: I just had dinner with 3 people who had iPhone 4s we all cant make calls without dropping. There is no rumors it is reality.

JOBS: You are most likely in an area with very low signal strength.

TOM: I hope this this is not really you. Are we on a different MHz? I have yet to see an iPhone [4] work in Richmond when you hold it in your hand. It is not “isolated”. I was a big fan. But I am done.

JOBS: You may be working from bad data. Not your fault. Stay tuned. We are working on it. Sent from my iPhone

TOM: Retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it.

As always, we have no way of knowing if the email exchange is genuine. Jobs has confirmed some conversations in the past, and discussed that he does respond to emails on occasion but it's impossible to tell if any individual email or conversation is genuine.

Thats said, as phenomenal as Apple is at product marketing they've historically been exactly the opposite in dealing with product problems (MobileMe being the classic example). Obviously their legal department is going to be all over them to be as non-commital and non-communicative as possible, but in absence of solid, real information rumor always runs rampant.

It could very well be a software issue, Apple might be working on an iOS 4.0.1 update to fix it for those users experiencing it. Time will tell. But hopefully Apple decides to get out ahead of this one and soon.


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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UPDATED: Fake or not?! Steve Jobs converses about iPhone 4 reception problems?


I guess if your company is selling millions of iPhones per quarter and has an out-of-this-world stock price, and you personally are the largest shareholder in Disney then you can pretty much say what you want to a smartphone spaz. What an awesome position to be in. Jobs doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to do.

Totally fake. I do agree thT there is an issue but I have adjusted how I hold the phone(now I don't even think a out it) and put a case on (had already planned on the case) and the issue has not really been an "issue" for me

Doubt this is real. No way he comes off this rude and arrogant. I was all set to buy the iPhone 4. I have my doubts now. I am holding into my 3GS for awhile longer to see how this plays out.
I think there is no way to fix this issue via software. It is a design issue not software. If they can fix it via software steve jobs must have went to the degaboh system and got some high level Jedi training from yoda to pull it off to convince the 1.7 million plus that this antenna design is not a total fubar by apple.
Very suprising that a company who is as high on quality can miss this issue in testing.

I have had ZERO issue with my reception on my iPhone4 i think there are a few bad devices out there that need to be exchanged... i am on Steve's side on this one(if it is real i dont think it is)

I don't believe this to be real, is it really that much of a problem anyway, it is a sporadic problem in the UK but it does not make the phone unusable, I think the guy was a little over the top

I have yet to drop a call on my iPhone 4. With my 3GS it was guaranteed that every call from my house would drop at least once. Of course I'm using a basic silicone case.
Without the case I'm able to replicate the dropped bars. I think Apple is at least responsible for supplying bumper cases to help smooth over this issue.

I have not had any issues with my IP4, this is the best phone I have ever had from Apple. I agree that there might be some bad phones or most of these people live where the signal is not strong. I am in lower TN and I have 5 bars all the time and have not dropped a single call. I have no complaints.

Whether it's real or fake, it's obviously written by someone who hates "fans" and wants us to believe that "fans" should stop buying Apple products.
Sorry Tom, I'm buying my iPhone 4 in a few weeks.

What a load of crap. Totally fake. The "Steve jobs" types like he is 12. Who would buy this as being legit?

I had a bit of a problem with my iPhone 4 last night. Mysteriously dropped to no service for about 15 minutes. BUT I have not had any other problems except the obvious never wanting to put it down. As far as I'm concerned my iPhone is pretty perfect. Maybe it was a bad batch, maybe I'm just too stupid to be able to replicate the problem, blah blah blah. It really is just a phone in the end though. If someone is going to complain this much about than they should just get a different phone and stop complaining or stick with this amazing phone that works well and stop blowing things out of proportion. Or, in other words, stop bitching.

I feel like nobody has read that anandtech article explaining the antenna system. If they did they would realize that even 1 bar on iphone 4, which is typically a dropped call with a 3gs, is equivalent to 2 or 3 bars on a 3gs. Apple just needs to update the signal display to be linear instead of the way it is now.
I used to get 2 or 3 bars and decent 3g in my house with my 3gs, but now with my iphone 4 I get 1 bar and pretty good 3g. When I go outside the house my signal is substantially improved. People just need to chill out and realize that Apple is not going to ship something with as many bugs as people think there are with the iphone 4.
And on topic... yeah I sincerely doubt this is real. Jobs would never have this much of a conversation with somebody.

Likely fake.
However, the issue is real. I can reproduce it on my phone at will. I purchased a case just to stop it from happening. Still considering returning it, but don't want to pay a restocking fee.
But, on a note to the real Steve Jobs (wherever he is): "To use your own philosophy, when the lawyers from Boston that are setting up the class action lawsuit about the signal issue serve your lawyers with the papers for the lawsuit, make sure you 'hold them differently', and then maybe it won't be such an issue"
Maybe being a smarta$$ to your core customers and treating them like we're idiots who don't know how to hold a phone, wasn't such a smart idea...

It is absolutely an issue. When I'm not holding the phone, I have 5 bars. When I hold the phone "normally" (not smothering it or intentionally holding it tightly) it eventually drops to No service. If I'm on a phone call, it's not as big a deal since I can intentionally hold it with just my fingertips, but if I'm using an app, the phone drops service, I won't receive calls, and I won't even realize it if the app hides the status bar.

Fake convo, have used the iPhone in some low coverage areas that even the best Verizon phone will drop on. That said, apple is not helping by not saying that we are aware and trying to get a solution out to all. We will make an announcement shortly.

Any1 can fake these emails... U can fake them in 5 minutes... This couldn't get much any more faker... I can't belive yew even posting this tbh

In Steve We Trust! We all know Steve is working hard for us the Consumer to fix all iPhone4 issues. I am sure he has this very quote on his white board right now.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

First of all this email looks really fake. Second ive had mh iphone for the last couple of dAys an i have not had problems with it. Ive taken it out of my case an notice a bit one line of reception fall but nothing too major to start complaining about antena issues. Me an my wife simpli love this phone.

Returning phine today unless ne1 wants to buy it . Keep in mind it would have to be enough for me to make back the money i paid and to pay off the 325-350 cancel fee and some

There will never be a fix that solves this problem. It can help mitigate it, but not fix it completely. This is slowly becoming Vista for Apple.

I seriously doubt that Steve Jobs would give an answer like this knowing that some disgruntled iPhone buyer is going to run right to Engadget, Gizmodo, BGR, TipbB, etc. Come ON! Are we that gullible? He didn't get to be a successful CEO by being stupid.

Well maybe they are trying to find a solution beside saying buy a case, maybe it's really taking some thought since there are around 2 million new iPhones out there. I'm sure it's hard to duplicate everyone's problem because I don't have problems, it works perfect. I know there is a lot of phones that have problems but some people say a case fixes it, some say it doesn't. Some say it's the sim, some say tape over the split in the antenna will work, some say it won't. So obviously there is a lot of issues going on and they all might not be the same. I know giving a little time suc*s but some of us have great phones so there is obviously mixed problems going on.

@ Kevin
YES!!! Thank you so much for your post. Well said my friend! If Jobs wasn't so concentrated on becoming the world's largest turtleneck wearing dush, maybe he could come down from his high horse long enough to fix the problem!
Thank you once again Kevin for your post.

Reception is fine, but I am still not getting any data transfer over 3G. I have full reception but nothing loads.

@sting: I have the same issue as you? I hope Apple can come up with a fix soon. I guess we just have to use WiFi :-( However we are iPhone4 owners. There are a lot of people out there that still want this phone and we have it. We are the lucky ones.

3G data works just fine on the iPhone 4. Instead of posting on tipb every 5 minutes, just exchange your phone for a new one.
What happened to all the EVO 4G love and iPhone hate?

@Dorito, I've called Apple and AT&T. Neither have any clue what is going on. Apple wants me to drive 1 hour to a store to have them do the exact same things I have done. I'm ready to go back to my trusty 3G...

@Irish Charlie
Thanks for that. My position is that if he would have just said something simple like, "We haven't noticed anything, but we'll look into it. Thanks", I would have much more sympathy and would be more patient. But not, "Don't hold it that way". It just sounds arrogant. I'm sure I'll know how to "hold my pen properly" when I sign up for the class action lawsuit.
@Sting & @Dorito
I was having terrible issues with 3G data at work. Calls and txts would go through ok (except for above mentioned signal issue). Talked to AT&T and found out it was an issue with two towers in the area (Dearborn, MI) and they are working on it. Went home that night, and everything was fine at home. Are you having the symptoms all the time (no matter where you are), or only in certain places? I'm completely sympathetic to your plight, as I was ready to return the thing, until I realized it was AT&T's tower. Maybe you already have checked with them, but just figured I would mention it. Good luck!

I love that antenna issue! I hope that all those in front of me on the waiting list for iP4 over here in Germany will hold back "until this is solved" LOL

I've had my iphone 4 since last Thursday anh honestly only two dropped calls. Both times they were in the same place my 3gs dropped them. Maybe I just got a really good one, but so far...no complaints at all!

Joe McG I changed my mind and bought an iPhone4. It is great on WiFi. 3G data I will have to call AT&T like Kevin did...maybe we have an issue with a tower?

No wonder the worlds going to hell in a handbasket with you crazy Yanks believing the world owes you something.
Guess what, the phones only a week old, take it back if you don't like it.
On what grounds can you sue someone. It's not like Jobs has killed your pet poodle is it?

Of cuorse it is fake.... The "sent from my iPhone" tag is missing from every Jobs reply. :D :D

@ cardfan
Thank you for that link! Maybe all the people crying "FAKE!" at the beginning of this forum will repost their appologies now.

Well mine isn't working well, On my 2G i can sit in the park and browse the web no problem. Can't do that with the iphone4. Have ordered the bumper, if that doesn't help it's going back. Although I shouldn't HAVE to put a bumper on a phone just to browse the internet should I ?

My iP4 has performed flawlessly from 5 bars to 1, handily beating my 3G in every other regard as well. I'm utterly flabbergasted by the whining and ill-informed proclamations of ruin. It could very easily be a software issue and even if not, is it too much to ask to change your beloved phone grip to take advantage of every other fantastically usefull aspect of the phone? Get real. With their "It just works" philosophy, Apple has evidently created a userbase of helpless toddlers.

you'd be singing a different song if every time you tried to do something the phone broke ? try and open your mind up a little

The email conversation is likely fake, but the problem is real. Anandtech has a pretty nice writeup of the antenna issue:
To sum up, iOS's signal bars range from -51 (perfect) to -113dB (no connection), with most of that range (-51 to -91) showing as 5 bars, and the last 4 bars all bunched into narrow ranges between -91 and -113. Cupping the antenna can cut a max of ~24db of your signal strength. If you are in a strong signal area, that 24dB might not even show up as a loss of a bar. If you are not showing 5 bars, you are >= -91 dB, so cutting that signal a fraction of 24dB will drop you several bars at least, and could impact your speeds. Cutting by the max will push you past -113dB in many cases, dropping your call or stopping all data transfer.
They performed essentially the same tests I reported in a tipb thread last week, though in different locations, with different phones, and with lots more mathematical rigor. Lots of good numbers (and a few tables) in the post, so it is a good read if you are curious about the problem. It is real, and it does not appear confined to a few bad phones. That said, they also indicate the iPhone4 antenna appears to perform better than the 3GS in low-signal conditions, so the news is not entirely bad.

Wow the evo's screen is peeling off the phone and the battery lasts 4 hours. And nothings said about that? With the problems that some are having with the iPhone 4. It's on every blog posting. Lol and the phone is sold out completely.

@Mephisto - If you return it, you have to pay a restocking fee. Are you going to pay that for "us crazy Yanks believing the world owes us something?" Nothing I like more than getting a phone, having trouble with it, returning it, still having to pay money for it, and then not having anything at the end of the day. That's completely fair, isn't it? Silly me. How could I have been SO self consumed!?

The EVO screen is covered by warranty and the problem is already solved and the battery gets 16 hours when you let the phone work as it was intended. People using task killers are the ones seeing the problems.
The iphone Antenna problem is not being covered by warranty and they are still in denial mode.
If you live in a strong signal area, you might never be affected. Go anywhere else and you will soon learn to hold the phone by its top.
This is an Iphone site. Why do you guys expect it to cover EVO problems?

re: oil spill vs. iPhone in the news - bingo, this is exactly the issue. Mountains out of molehills people, when there are real problems to be dealt with.
There are several ways to deal with this problem and the least effective way is clogging the Internet up whinging and simpering about it. Direct your nerd rage to some other more effective venue and maybe get out in the sunshine a little to work off the crushing anxiety. Every phone on the market suffers signal loss from our hands but what matters is how the phone handles it (so to speak). So if there's no software fix, grip the phone differently - or is that quirk just too much to take? Heck, Apple might re-work the graphics so it appears that we have -great- signal strength all the time, then everybody could switch whipping boys to AT&T.
Nice to see some quantitative stuff going on.

the 'problem' is real but not as bad as everyone is making it out to be. The signal attenuation on the 4 is -24db vs. -10db on the 3gs. This is not that bad as the range of signal strength (measured as power) can be from -51 db to -113db. Also, this attenuation is only a measure of power that the phone is receiving through the antenna. The REAL measure of signal strength is signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR). This is what ultimately leads to dropped calls. The iphone 4 has much better SNR in the antenna design which is why it'll make better calls at -113db than any other phone on the market (which is why the design is phenomenal). However, this doesn't mean we should dismiss the issue with Apple. An attenuation of -24db is pretty bad when you hold the phone that way and will affect quality of calls because the phone is using power instead of SNR to determine whether or not to drop the call. Apple needs to either give out free cases or coat the antenna with an insulative material. That's all there is to this issue. The speculation and comments are so frustrating to read because no body knows what they are talking about.
source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3794/the-iphone-4-review

you have to be close to the biggest idiot on here ... "i'm all right jack" attitude .. good luck with that.. i hope it comes around to bite you in your life at some point

Me: I love my iPhone
Steve: who is this?
Me: iPhone owner 
Steve: who gave you this email?
Me: I got it from some dude at the AT&T store 
Steve: crap!
Me: is ok Steve, I know you'll fix everything...I believe on you!
Steve: man! Its just a phone...wait no...it's an iPhone...crap I am going nuts with this crap, do you know anything about antennas or lying to the press?
Me: sure...just get a case and move on.
Steve: I like you attitude

I would like to tell the world about the problems I am having with my new iP4, but I am getting no signal. I must be holding my phone the wrong way. This makes me sad.

Here's the thing that I find most interesting about this issue. I have tested the reception problem on 3 different phones. The only one I could get to act up on was the 2nd phone...which it was very easy to duplicate this problem on. The other two phones I couldn't get to act up on at all(including the phone I own). This leaves me to wonder if maybe there is a problem in the manufacturing where some phones are getting a coating put on the metal, and some are not?

Q: Is this email conversation true?
A: No! However, the iphone antenna still sucks. I wonder how we could left out testing the signal-strength without the bumpercase. Oh, wait. I know, we had to keep it secret in the public. Damn! But anyway, just hold different and think different and everything is fine.
Steve Jobs
sent from my iPhone

My iPhone still works perfectly, awesome signal strength in previously bad places. All the people getting so angry about it are kind of amusing. When its getting to the point of having hysterical email converdsations with jobs, it's time to just stop acting butt hurt, and man up. If its that bad take it back. If its that bad but you refuse to take it back, shut up!
or get a case. :-D

My 3G occassionly drops a call - but so did my palm pre when I had it. Still the 3G impressed me enough to purchase the IPad 3G - both are great products. IP4 is my next purchase as soon as my budget allows in a few months. I used to be a palm fan but Apple has won me over. Fake or not, I like the response - it is only a phone and you have 30 days to return it - that's what I did with my Pre

@zero credibility - Close to the biggest idiot? You'll have to point him or her out to me, 'cause I don't think I'm acquainted. First things first. Listen, if you feel personally called-out by my little missive, buck up and take another look at things. A "My toy is BUSTED!" attitude will certainly come back to haunt a person later in life, that's for sure.

I can see HTC's new advertising campaign now...
What does Apple CEO Steve Jobs say about the new iPhone?
"Not worth it."
We agree.
The future, here, today. No fancy grips or dorky cases required!

Just because you have less bars doesn't mean you get bad call quality or bad data quality. I hold it to wear I lose bars but my data is still perfectly fine and I can still make calls with one bar. I think we are over reacting to this. If apple released a software update that gives you full bars when you should only have two, then everyone would be fine. I want too see the call quality between the 3GS and 4 to see which one is better regardless of bars.

@dorito I'm gonna need you to go ahead and read those posts again, m'kay? Yeah, then think about it for a little more than the time it takes to type a message that reeks of poor reading comprehension. You're entirely wrong, but it's more fun to be a curmudgeon than spell it out for you. And that's it, I'm tired of defending a reasonable rant against histrionics.
The fix will come out, the silliness will be mollified. Apparently, nobody's ever owned a car that's the first model year of its generation.

Simply amazing. You know I think that Apple is facing all of these issues because they rushed to make the iPhone 4. Android more than likely caused this. However, Steve needs to give an official statement and soon. Until then we can only speculate.
Any how theres this article at http://getyourgadgetsgoing.com/ called "iPhone 4 Is In But The Problems Are Out: Complete Overview"
Check it out for the complete listing of iPhone 4 issues and one that you may yet have heard of but still might be experiencing.

do a speed test on your IP4 holding your ip4 making sure you touch the antenna band.
then do a test again this time avoiding the antenna band.
you'd notice a very big difference.
Solution: giveaway a rubber band that would protect the antenna. and then shut up.