Apple addresses iPhone signal “issues”

As many of you know, Apple held a press conference today to talk about the signal issues many people have been reporting, and I definitely have my thoughts about the whole situation. Apple did announce they will be giving free cases to anyone who has bought/buys an iPhone 4 through September 30.

I do want to start saying that I don’t think the issue is nearly as big as the media has been trying to make it. I can make a bar or two drop in certain places by placing my finger on the infamous spot (if you don’t know about the issue I’m sure a quick google search will solve your problem), but the bottom line is that it hasn’t caused a single problem as far as dropped calls or data rates. It’s purely a “lab” result and not a real-world result for me. Maybe others are having actual issues; I can’t speak for them, but for me, it’s not a problem. Honestly, I’ve had way more problems with the proximity sensor, accidentally activating the speakerphone mid-call and such. Jobs did mention that a software fix should be coming for that as well, though, so that’s good.

Anyway, my reaction to the actual event. I think the actual actions they are taking are about as good as they could do. Even if they do have some sort of internal way of insulating it. I think a recall would be pretty overwhelming for them to handle, considering the supply shortages to begin with. Then it turns into a big fight over who gets the new units first, and I just don’t think it would have ended well. Free cases are a good choice, all things considered.

That said, I don’t think Jobs handled the event the best way he could have. He tried a little too hard to assert the whole “Hey, it’s everybody’s problem, not just us!” thing. I agree with him, but he took it just a little too far. The thing that really gets me though is that he avoided the tough question when he opened the session up for Q&A.

I was hoping someone would ask about the fact that you can cause the drop with a single finger on the gap between the two antennas, and Ryan Block did just that, but the panel (Tim Cook, Steve Jobs, and Bob Mannsfield) basically avoided the question. That’s the whole discrepancy between the iPhone 4 and other smartphones. Everybody knows you can cup a phone and attenuate the signal, but has it ever happened with a single finger? It’s not a case of absorbing the signal with body parts, it’s a case of bridging two antennas. Apple said they wanted to solve the issue rather than put a band-aid on it, but I think somebody missed the actual culprit. It has to be a case where they know it but don’t want to try and explain it to the public, but I can’t say for sure.

Here’s the thing. I have a pretty good idea of how to actually fix it. Just move the spot where the two antennae come together to a spot where people aren’t normally going to be touching. Seems pretty simple to me. I’m still not suggesting they replace everyone’s phone, it really isn’t that big of an issue, but they could easily do it in future batches.

It’s definitely a case where I feel like Apple has been unfairly treated by the media, but I also feel like their reaction hasn’t been the best either. Many people are itching to find a hole in Apple’s armor, so when they found this somewhat easy to replicate “issue,” they jumped on it. It’s unfortunate that Apple had to take the hit from the extremely vocal minority, but I think that if they are going to face the issue at all they need to face the right one instead of try and put a bandaid on what most people think the problem is.

Will I apply for the free case? Probably, just to have it, but I seriously doubt I’ll keep it on most of the time. Now I’m just interested to see how the media responds.


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