WSJ: Apple knew of antenna risk Apple: No we didn't, [and no recall?]

Steve Jobs interview D8

The Wall Street Journal, and specifically reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane, which have both provided information in the past suspected to have come from Apple, have an article up in which they site sources saying Apple new of the risks with their new antenna design -- something Apple denies -- and that there won't be a recall.

Apple Inc. released its newest iPhone despite internal concerns about its antenna reception, and gave wireless carriers far less time to test the phone than is typical, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to them, Steve Jobs liked it so much, and Apple kept it so secret, it went ahead anyway and didn't get the testing it needed. Sources also said some previous designs had been killed because of issues like antenna reception. Apple denies Bloomberg's earlier report that the head of antenna design had previously expressed concerns to Jobs about the design:

"We challenge Bloomberg BusinessWeek to produce anything beyond rumors to back this up. It's simply not true."

As to a potential recall, the paper simply states:

Apple doesn't plan to recall the phone, a person familiar with the matter said.

We'll find out tomorrow. Feel free to drop your predictions in the comments.

[Wall Street Journal]

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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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Reader comments

WSJ: Apple knew of antenna risk Apple: No we didn't, [and no recall?]


Personality #1: Honestly... why should Apple recall the phone? People who have them aren't returning them and new customers are still buying DESPITE everything being said.
Personality #2: Apple needs to fix this. It is unconscionable that my favorite company is telling people which way to hold the phone and to buy a case and I certainly don't buy that they didn't know...there is no way they didn't know.

Apple response is ridiculous. Obviously the antenna tech lead wormed SJ who ignored it. Any semi litterate technician will know that touching one antenna changes it's properties whole capacitively connecting 3 antennas whith skin properties which differ from person to person is going to have wide range of interference with the tunrs and obviously at least some percentage will be fatal (kill the call).
If the lead antenna designer did not worn about that he should be fired on the spot. The fact that SJ is keeping him proves that Apple is muzzling him otherwise he will spill the beens. For a nice compensation he will take one for the team. It's obvious it's not he to be responsible thus his reputation is safe.

If apple doesn't fix this damn antenna problem, I'm gonna be switching to the Dell streak or samsung captivate and will no longer be an apple customer.

If they didn't knew, I wonder why they were so happy to have bumpers for sale when the iPhone 4 first came out.

Is anyone actually dropping calls? From everything I've read it seems like people are experiencing fewer bars if held a certain way, but no one is dropping calls. If so, this is a non-issues. The whole concept of bars in a digital connection is silly.

Signal bar reflects signal strength. When signal strength is weak, you have a good chance of dropping call. As simple as that.

The iPhone isn't a constitutional right, if you're not satisfied, return it and demand a refund. If you decide to keep the phone knowing that it has a problem that affects you, then YOU are the one to blame, not Apple.

"The iPhone isn’t a constitutional right, if you’re not satisfied, return it and demand a refund. If you decide to keep the phone knowing that it has a problem that affects you, then YOU are the one to blame, not Apple."
o mans.
you know it is possible to want the best of both worlds and to expect greatness from a company that constantly promises it, and hold them to account when they fail to meet their own expectation.
the iPhone 4 is a good device. a great device, except its connection dies unnecessarily. it is tough to return a device under those conditions. it isn't a black and white decision.
ideally i don't want to return my iphone 4, even though i've experienced the problems.
if there's some sort of magic software based fix then i'm willing to wait for that. if they're going to ship out free bumpers or drop the price to something rational, that'd be better than returning it too.
apple promises and delivers great products so people don't HAVE to make decisions to return based on such awkward problems. it is the sort of thing that encourages people to say "just get a mac" when asked by their friends for technology advice. it is frustrating to be put in the position to choose between a great PDA and a horrible phone, when the iPhone really should be both.
the fact that people are reluctant to return the device is evidence that it is an otherwise a truly great device, but that doesn't dismiss the very real reception issues and it doesn't mean that people shouldn't complain about apple way, way over-promising and then proceeding to seriously under-deliver in a specific area.

I like apple and their products but all the just return talk has to stop. The phone should have been working correctly from the jump. If I buy a car and the window won't roll down I'm not going to trade in the car. I expect for them to fix the damn window.

Apples not to blame? I think I laughed harder reading that than I did watching the iPhone 4 VS HTC Evo toon. lol. Yes, we the consumers made the iPhone 4, we suck at the antenna design.

What you say is that Apple is become Microaoft. I agree. Corporate greed and customer stupidity are boundless. Money descides and whoever gets screwed is actually their fault. Suckers are born every day. Millions of them got iP4 the first couple of days. Skrew them who cares, they just do not have a better choice. Microsoft, Toyota, BP, Intel, Nvidia, Apple, all the same. F&ck anyone who does not like it … they will eventually get over it. You don't like BP, hell, why don't you stop driving your car and zip it, right?
Huge damage for Apple's brand. Just pretending you are better then the rest makes you even worse.
Saying is that "a drop of tar spoils a barrel of honey"". Apples immage is gone … I'm afraid forever. Apple's brand differentiation is no more. Woe you fanboys … and your stock hopes. This is the biggest PR fiasco in latest years.

Biggest PR fiasco? Hardly, it's not like people are returning these phones in droves, hell I wish they were so I could get my hands on one.
You can expect whatever you please from any given company, that doesn't mean that the product will be perfect and everything you've dreamed of, if you have a phone exhibiting these symptoms, and you CHOOSE to keep the phone, get a phone case and your problem is solved, but don't pretend that anyone twisted your arm into keeping the phone.
If I buy a Toyota corrolla and everything works fine except the air conditioner, assuming it's a design flaw that affects every corolla, I'm not gonna leave it in my driveway and wait for a fix, I'll return it and get something else, because I'm not entitled to have a corrolla, I can most certainly take my money elsewhere.

Biggest PR fiasco? Oh please. That's why AT&T stores STILL don't have any in stock (tried 4 today -- no luck) and if I want to order one, it'll ship in 3 weeks.
I think most companies would kill for such a "fiasco"

My 4 smoked my friends evo on wifi and 3G , his 4g didn't even work at his house. Boise Idaho

@Steve. Return the phone jacka$$ and buy the Dell streak or whatever oyger crap android out there. Stop being a whiney baby.
@what? I'll bet you got bullied alot in high school and now you're trying to get back at society. I'll also bet you will be the first one in line to get an iPhone whenever it show up on Verizon.

At the end of the day I don't care about all it can do with the Internet. I don't care if there is an App for that. How simple it makes things doesn't really matter. Apple has an agenda and it's to get you to spend as much money as they can through iTunes. But if the reception is bad it's a fail because first and foremost it's a phone. I remember reading a post here about which phones had the lowest radiation and the iPhone was among the lowest. Hence the reception issues.

David, you brought the word Verizon into the conversation. LOL. Though, to be fair, if a CDMA version comes out, I'm gone from AT&T, it doesn't matter if it's on Verizon or Sprint for that matter.

It is a PR fiasco, when Apple has to hold a press conference to respond to the outcries from IS a fiasco. What a PR fiasco doesn't have to do with is the amount of iPhones they sell.

wow, a little short sighted then are we? i have returned my iphone4 and they are sending a replacement. But if that doesn't work - I should just return it and get my money back right ? what about the $100's i've spent investing on apps ? who will pay for those ? jobs' strategy to stop the 1 app for all platforms works well as long the iphone does. He has invested in customer loyalty from the apps . which are useless if you can't get the data to work. trying to stop thinking 1 dimensionally .. there is a bigger picture.

This iPhone 4 antenna issue is definitely the result of a mistake - you can tell because the antenna design was initially touted as a major feature of the new model by Jobs. But it's just a small mistake, and not deserving of a recall. This is in the press so much because Apple is a $30 billion company known for its quirky CEO, the design of its products, and its relative secrecy. But there are already millions of iPhone 4's in people's hands right now, most of whom are upgrading from a previous iPhone. I'm pretty sure Apple will be just fine. It's not like the phone is exploding in people's hands or has a battery that catches fire.

"We'll sell the phone anyway, and sell the fix along side of it. These fan boy suckers will pay for the fix as an accessory!".
Seriously - when was the last time Apple sold any kind of case for one of their phones? Hmmm.... and one that covers not the phone, but just the metal strip...

People aren't returning the phone because Steve Blo Jobs told them that Apple would release a software update to fix the hardware issue. People are so stupid.

You know in Apples letter regarding the iPhone 4 antenna issues they claim that they were ''shocked'' to find out that it was such a massive issue. I think that they knew all along. In fact i found this article at .
The article is called "Theories At Work; Jobs Knew About Antenna Woes". Its rather interesting.

To all the people saying "return it"-
Listen, returning the device might rid the individual owner of the problem. However, even after Apple restocks it - the device will STILL HAVE THAT PROBLEM!
Everyone knows that they can return it. Some have done it immediately, while others are still mulling it over. But at the end of the day, we are on this website because we like to talk about IPHONES! WE LIKE IPHONES, AGREED? And we will continue to talk about the problems plaguing the 4 whether we own one or not.
So.......with that said, stop telling us to return it! Hell, I don't even have an iPhone 4. I personally decided to wait to see what bugs/issues it would have if any. Obviously, I made a GREAT decision. But there are millions of brave souls who clamored for it (many of you here) and couldn't wait who are now are frustrated - deservedly so! I feel your pain.
Bottom line: We will continue to talk about the iPhone, how much we love it or how much we hate it, whether we want it or want to return it. This is afterall a FORUM...say it again with me (FORRR-UMMMM).
BTW, has anyone else noticed the shift from referring to smartphones as "phones" to "devices"?

@leo A single example is not very useful. I've been reading several other articles where a drop in bars was noticed, but a call couldn't be dropped.
"Signal bar reflects signal strength. When signal strength is weak, you have a good chance of dropping call. As simple as that."
Actually it's no where near as simple as that. In an analog world bars made sense, but in the digital world signal is either there or it's not. As apple has already stated there is an issue with the way the bars display signal strength, but there really shouldn't be bars at all, just a green dot for "there's a signal" and a red dot for "no signal".
I don't have an iPhone 4 and won't be getting one, but I'm still not seeing widespread reports of an increase in dropped calls.

“We challenge Bloomberg BusinessWeek to produce anything beyond rumors to back this up. It’s simply not true.”
UH, Apple, your own antenna "expert" warned the company about the flaw.

Actually Leo laporte said when he discussed this issue with the ATT folks they asked him "yes the signal bars drop but are you dropping calls?" and he replied that he wasn't. I'm not saying people aren't dropping calls, but are people dropping MORE calls than before? I don't have a horse in this race either way I just think the angry mob mentality is running wild here. People need to be concerned with their own real world experience here not Internet reports or claims by the tech media who are focused on the San Fran, LA area where we know ATT coverage sucks.
Most of us in the rest of the country hav no issues with ATT coverage or call dropping.

Aafter lying about it yesterday.
Shocked. Shocked I tell you. Nobody expected this. Film at 11.

Thank you, I have just been looking for info about this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I've found out till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure concerning the supply?

I have been through it all and know what's it about. The main thing is to stick in there. You can't be an addict to food and never exercise if you want to live a healthy life and keep the weight off. I've worked out, done every diet, and all types of classes.