Tag Archive for ‘Antenna’

Apple to Discontinue Free Case Program ➝


We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought. A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.

This is no surprise. Shortly after Apple announced the free case program in July, talk of actual problems associated with the attenuation practically disappeared. As expected, the antenna problem wasn’t as big of a deal as it appeared to be.

Mark Papermaster Leaves Apple ➝

Miguel Helft, reporting for the New York Times:.

Mark Papermaster, the Apple executive in charge of hardware for the company’s flagship iPhone, has left the company in the wake of widely reported problems with the antenna of the recently introduced iPhone 4.

It is not clear if Mr. Papermaster was ousted or left on his own accord.

The word on the street is that he was fired. Not surprisingly, senior vice president of Macintosh hardware engineering, Bob Mansfield, will be taking over his responsibilities.

Apple to Offer Free Cases to iPhone 4 Owners

At today’s press conference Steve Jobs took stage and explained their side of the situation. It’s been 22 days since the release of iPhone 4 and Apple has been working diligently to get to the source of the problem.

The first thing Apple realized is that these reception issues are not unique to iPhone 4. Jobs played videos of the Blackberry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and Samsung Omnia II exhibiting the same problem plaguing the iPhone 4. I think the real reason that this is such an issue for Apple compared to other phone manufacturers is that Apple put a black line on the side of their device showing you exactly where you can put your hand to reproduce the problem.

Apple chose to argue their point with hard data. Only 0.55% of iPhone 4 owners have called AppleCare regarding reception issues, AT&T is seeing return rates that are a third of what they saw with the 3GS, and the iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 calls when compared to the 3GS. It’s hard to argue with those numbers. If you paid any attention to the coverage of iPhone 4 you would probably think that nearly half of all iPhone 4 users were experiencing serious problems with their handset, but that simply is not the case.

To me, the only overly interesting bit of data that was presented today was the additional dropped calls when compared to the 3GS, however Steve Jobs shared a fantastic theory that I think is the likely culprit: when the iPhone 3GS was released there was already a large assortment of cases available that fit it, because Apple didn’t change the design of the device. But, the iPhone 4’s design is different and the list of cases available is significantly shorter. Only 20% of iPhone 4 buyers leave the Apple Store with a case, compare that to 80% of those buying the 3GS at this point last year.

So to help fix the problem, Apple has decided to give a free case to every iPhone 4 sold through September 30. They’re even going to offer full refunds to iPhone 4 owners who have already purchased a bumper. But, because Apple can’t manufacture enough bumpers to meet demand they are going to offer iPhone 4 owners a choice of cases. You’ll be able to apply on Apple’s website starting late next week. And if you’re still not satisfied with the iPhone 4, Apple will give you a full refund within 30 days of purchase.

I think Apple did exactly what they needed to with this press conference, they laid it all out on the line and they seem very willing to fix the problem.

Apple has published a video of the press conference on their website along with a page showing the industry-wide issue of smartphone antenna performance.

Apple to Hold iPhone 4 Press Conference ➝

Jim Dalrymple reporting for The Loop:

Apple on Wednesday invited select press to a special press conference to be held this Friday in California.

Apple would only say that the press conference would be regarding the iPhone 4. No other information was available when I spoke with them tonight.

This antenna issue has been gaining an incredible amount of momentum ever since Consumer Reports decided that they couldn’t recommend the handset. Apple needed to respond before things got too out of hand and they’ve made the right decision to hold this press conference before their quarterly conference call on Tuesday.

What exactly will happen at the press conference remains to be seen. And, there is no lack of speculation about it either. The speculation ranges from Apple issuing a full recall of iPhone 4 to simply offering free bumpers to iPhone 4 owners.

Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz has heard reports from readers that Apple has already started building the iPhone 4 slightly differently, increasing the size of the proximity sensor and applying some sort of coating to the metal band around the device. Jesus Diaz is now maintaining a continually updating piece on Gizmodo with reports from readers who have had their iPhone 4’s replaced.

Ananiadis Vasilis writing for iPhoneHellas cites a “reliable” source who told them that Apple will be releasing iOS 4.0.1 today that will include the new signal strength indicator for the iPhone.

I think tomorrow’s press conference will bring a sigh of relief to the majority of iPhone 4 owners. There will still be plenty of complainers, but I think Apple will do what they need to do — admit that their antenna wasn’t up to snuff and give away free bumpers in the form of $29 Apple Store credits to all current iPhone 4 owners. I suspect Apple will announce that they have made changes to iPhone 4 that will alleviate this problem for future buyers. I also expect Apple to point out that they have released a software fix that will not only change the way signal is indicated but will also optimize the radio hardware in hopes of making the antenna issue happen on much rarer occasions.

Apple on iPhone 4 ➝

Apple has published a letter regarding the antenna issues experienced by iPhone 4 owners.

From the letter:

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

It’s pretty amazing to see a company this high profile admitting to this. They realized that they were showing too many bars to begin with and will release an update to address the issue.

The truth is that most users will never see this problem with regular use, but for those who do, Apple will alleviate the problem as best they can with software updates.