Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Looks like I was wrong about the iPhone 4 recall

On Friday July 16th, Apple held a press release conference concerning the iPhone 4.   To summarize what Apple had to say during the press conference they said: "No smartphone is perfect, we admit it, we screwed up."

Steve Jobs then proceeds to show videos of other smartphones by holding them the same way as people were for the iPhone 4, showing that these phones also experience signal issues.

The irony here is no other phone has the external antenna directly exposed on the outside of the phone.  For the competing phones Apple was using for their example, the bars on the phones went down but the problem with his example is he didn't have those phones in an active phone call as the bars dropped.

When gripping the lower left side of the iPhone 4, not only do the bars drop, the data connection stops immediately and the call will eventually drop as well.

To remedy the situation, Apple will be providing free cases to everybody whom has purchased an iPhone 4.  To those people whom already bought bumper cases from Apple's store, they will be issued a refund for the cost of the case.

Apple also stated that you do have 30 days to try out the iPhone 4, if you aren't completely satisfied, you may return it back to Apple or AT&T and get a full refund.

In the meantime, it would seem that Apple has its engineers working around the clock (literally, there are tents setup with Apple's campus) to come up with a permanent fix for future batches of the iPhone 4.

When gripping the lower left side of the iPhone 4, not only do the bars drop, the data connection stops immediately and the call will eventually drop as well.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

iPhone 4 recall inevitable

When holding the iPhone 4 with your left hand, placing your thumb over the
black band on the lower left side will cause your signal to drop.

As most people have probably heard by now, the iPhone 4 has a serious issue when it comes to antenna reception.  Apple recently launched a redesigned 4th generation iPhone with some significant upgrades; however the antenna design has a major flaw.

If you look at the lower left side of the iPhone, you'll see a black line.  That line is what separates the antennas.  When you hold your finger over that line, your finger acts as a conductor causing the signal to drop.

Apple put a PR stating the formula they were using to calculate the number of bars was inaccurate and they are going to issue a software fix to alleviate the problem.

The truth is, the issue isn't with the software, the issue is the hardware.  It's a design flaw and no matter what, software will not fix the reception problems with the iPhone 4.

Consumer Reports did their own testing and concluded that they do not recommend buying the iPhone 4 until the reception issues are resolved.

Apple's response to the situation has been handled very poorly.  A "band-aid fix" to the issue would to simply apply a thick rubberband around the sides of the phone. Apple recommended users buy one of their bumper cases - essentially a thin rubberized plastic case that covers the sides of the phone.  The thing is Apple should be offering these bumper cases to users for free rather then expecting them to pay a premium price of $30 for a bad design flaw.

It'll be interesting to see what happens in the upcoming weeks.  This issue will continue to bite Apple in the ass until they fess up their mistake, and offer (at no charge) replacement units with a better antenna design.