Appropriately referred to as ‘Antennagate’, Steve Jobs, Apple visionary and CEO, held a conference this morning to address the growing concern about the iPhone 4′s reception issues and the companies response to the issue.
The conference started with a simple admission by Jobs that “We’re not perfect. We know that. You know that. And phones aren’t perfect either,” this also refutes the popular idea that Steve Jobs is in fact a deity.
It was explained to the press in attendance that the problem stems directly from physics, and that Apple ” [hasn't] figured out a way around the laws of physics yet.” Referring to the way in which some users hold their phone causing a loss in signal strength, it is simply an “inherent problem of all smartphones”; pointing to examples such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and Samsung Omnia II.
As far as the actual reach of the problem, Jobs claimed that with over 3 million iPhone 4s sold in three weeks, they have only received notice from 0.55% of users calling AppleCare about their antenna problem, and overall the iPhone 4 has just 1.7% RMA rate compared to the 6% for the 3GS. The iPhone 4 has been out since June 24th 2010.
And finally, Jobs announced the solution, which will not be a recall of the product, instead Apple will provide free Bumper Cases for every iPhone purchased. The plastic bumper removes the users hand interference and allows the antenna to operate properly. Those who already purchased a bumper can apply for a refund and customers may also return the entire phone within 30 days for a full refund.
The sleek, stylish square glass design that Apple toted spending millions on, can now be covered up with a rubber cover of your choice.
The offer will last until Sept 30 2010, which begs the question why just until then? Should Apple not be providing bumpers with the phone permanently, maybe including them as a part of the packaged accessories or will the issue magically solve itself at the end of September?
Jointly, Apple will be releasing the 4.1 OS upgrade to rectify the signal strength bar display which should resolve part of the issue for many users.
You can watch the entire press conference online here: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/july-2010/