Friday, July 16, 2010

iPhone 4 Antenna Problem: The Fix

After starting the press conference with the iPhone 4 song, which basically slams the media for blowing the problem out of proportion, Steve Jobs admitted that Apple is "not perfect," but demonstrated several examples of other phones that have similar problems with the "death grip" including devices from RIM (BlackBerry), HTC (Droid), Samsung, and others.  In essence, all "phones are not perfect" either.

During the press conference, Jobs also admitted that Apple knew about the problem during testing of the iPhone 4, but didn't think it would be a big deal because all smartphones have this problem. 

Here's what Apple "learned" in the last few weeks:

  1. Smartphones have weak spots, not unique to the iPhone 4.  If the weak spots are touched, the signal drops.
  2. Some interesting data from AppleCare..  Less than half a percent of the 3 million people who bought an iPhone 4 have called AppleCare about this problem.
  3. Return rates for the iPhone 4 so far are about 1.7%.  For the iPhone 3GS, the return rates were about 6%.
  4. According to AT&T's dropped call logs, the iPhone 4 drops less than 1 call per hundred more than the iPhone 3GS (not very significant).
  5. Only 20% of iPhone 4 users bought cases at the Apple Store, whereas 80% of 3GS users did (therefore, the 3GS users experience fewer antenna issues)
Even though Apple doesn't understand what the fuss is all about, they care about "every user," according to Jobs.  So here's the fix:

  1. Fixed the bar mis-reporting issue by releasing iOS 4.01 yesterday
  2. Every customer who bought an iPhone 4 gets a free bumper through September 30 (if you already bought one, you get a refund).  Customers can apply to receive the bumper through a website that will be available late next week.
  3. Customers who are still unhappy with their iPhone 4 can return it for a full refund within 30 days.
Will the above satisfy iPhone 4 customers (the few who are disgruntled) and the media?  It's to be seen, but I think the fact that Apple is making an effort will got a long way in the media.  The unhappy customers, at least according to Jobs, are very few and should be fairly satisfied with the above options.

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