Apple Contradicts Itself and Puts Me in a Rough Spot With iPhone 4 Antenna Conundrum, Has Me Looking for a New Handset

Updated on 31 July 2015 by

You’ve likely heard of the iPhone 4 antenna debacle and saw coverage of the recent press conference that Apple held on the issue. Well, as an iPhone 4 owner, I’m quite bothered by what’s going on and the way that Apple has acted toward this issue.

First of all, Apple has contradicted itself over the antenna dilemma. Prior to Apple’s July 16th press conference, Bloomberg ran an article titled “Apple Engineer Told Jobs iPhone Antenna Might Cut Calls inch which purported that a senior engineer at Apple had warned Jobs about the possibility of the antenna design could lead to dropped calls.

When someone brought up that Bloomberg article during the Q&A part of Apple’s July 16th press conference, this is what was said, according to Engadget’s live blog of the event:

Q: Were you told about the design before the phone was released?

Steve: Are you talking about the Bloomberg article? That’s a crock, and we’ve challenged them to show proof of that. If anyone had said this thing has problems, we would have dispatched people to deal with that issue. [my emphasis]

So Apple says that reports that they were warned about the antenna design beforehand were false. With that in mind, see this quote from Steve Jobs at an earlier point in the same press conference (the time is marked if you’d like to watch it for yourself):

“We knew that if you gripped it in a certain way, the bars are going to go down a little bit […] we didn’t think it’d be a big problem. inch – (13:17)

This statements seem to be rather conflicting. And it isn’t just that. At the opening of the press conference, Jobs explained what the press was reporting about the issue, and said that it had been dubbed “antennagate inch. Just at the end of the conference, jobs had this to say:

“There is no ‘antennagate’ inch — (33:20)

However, earlier in the conference he very clearly stated the following:

“When our engineers and scientists look at this data, it’s very hard to escape the conclusion that there is a problem, but that that problem is affecting a very small percentage of users. inch – (23:28) [my emphasis]

So, to paraphrase the above, Apple says “No one within Apple warned us about any antenna problem as Bloomberg reported inch then goes on to say “We knew about this issue, but didn’t think it’d be a problem. inch And furthermore, “There is no issue (antennagate), but looking at the data, its hard to escape the conclusion that there is one inch.

Anyone else have a problem with what’s been said here? And mind you, these aren’t out of context quotes from various statements that were weeks apart. No, this is all from a single, orchestrated, Apple press conference.

Moving on…. Apple says this issue is affecting only a small number of users. Well I happen to be one of those users and I was expecting a working phone when I bought it. I upgraded from Apple’s iPhone 3GS and quickly began noticing that my iPhone 4 dropped calls more frequently and more easily than my iPhone 3GS. Steve said his pet theory was that many people had cases when they went from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS, so the antenna issue was already fixed. Well I never owned a case for my iPhone 3G or my iPhone 3GS, and yet, there is a noticeable and frustrating increase in dropped calls since

I’ve started using the iPhone 4. I was even noticing more dropped calls early on when I thought people were just jumping to conclusions over the antenna issue.

I’m an affected user, but Apple wants to make every user happy, according to Jobs. So I take my phone to the genius bar at the Apple store; I have three issues:

  1. Proximity sensor – hangs up calls while I’m on the phone with people
  2. Dropped calls – iPhone 4 drops noticeably more calls than my iPhone 3GS or 3G
  3. 3G Speeds – My upload speeds never surpass 100 kbps (I’m lucky if I even get that many) even when I get 1+ Mbps download [this is when I’m not even touching my phone]

So what does Apple do to make me ‘happy’?

  1. Proximity sensor – blames the software “fix coming soon inch ok fine, I’ll take that and hope that a software update really does fix it
  2. Dropped calls — “We’ll give you a case, that will fix the problem inch. This is a frustrating response. They don’t acknowledge that the iPhone 3GS doesn’t have the same call dropping issues as the iPhone 4, but they tell me that a case will fix the problem. Well guess what? I don’t want to use a freaking case on my phone. I’ve never had a case for my iPhones because I use a holster instead. If they would simply say “Ok, look, the iPhone 4’s design causes calls to be dropped more frequently than the iPhone 3GS inch then I’d be somewhat happier because I know that there’d actually be a confirmed issue for which a case would be the remedy. But not saying that they is a problem unique to the iPhone 4, then offering a free case to fix this “non-problem inch is just ridiculous. At the press conference, Jobs said that he doesn’t use a bumper and he holds his phone in the death grip and has never seen problems. Well I certainly do see problems, but because Jobs has stated that the issue is not unique to the iPhone 4, the Apple store won’t replace my phone. What if my phone is one of a small percent that actually has some flaw? Because, I’m certainly having a different experience than that of Mr. Jobs. They just play it off now like all iPhone 4’s can’t possibly have a real issue, even though they clearly do when compared to phones like the 3GS (as confirmed by Steve Jobs citing drop call data from iPhone 3GS vs. iPhone 4)
  3. 3G Speeds — So how about my upload speed never passing 100 kbps? Could that possibly be an indicator that there is something wrong with my phone? Certainly not, they just blame AT&T.

All I really want is to swap out my iPhone 4 for another iPhone 4 and see if I still have the same problems. Apple says they’d be happy to do that for me, but they can’t take a phone from the Genius Bar stock, instead they have to take it from sale stock, which is empty, and there likely won’t have any before my 30 day return window is long gone (it ends on the 23rd of July – 3 days from now).

Ok so Apple says if I’m still not happy, I can return the phone for a refund. They promise me a free case, but they can’t get it to me until after my 30 day return period is closed. What if I wait for the case and I’m still having issues? Will Apple claim that that’s just how all smartphones are and not do anything to fix the problem?

All of this has me seriously considering the Samsung Captivate which I played with very briefly in an AT&T store today, it felt snappy, and if I can return the iPhone and get my upgrade eligibility back, I’ll be able to pick up the Captivate for $100 less than I paid for the iPhone 4. Tempting.

8 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve says:

    You are quite right about this. Clearly they sold a phone which was knowingly faulty and therefore not of merchandisable quality.
    I also notice that throughout all this no one ever mentioned the reception problem with the iPad
    Do we have a theme here?

  2. bkos says:

    I think Steve gave the answer to every question, “If you don’t like it, take it back”. It’s not the only smartphone. As long as Apple gets away with crap like this they won’t change anything. Maybe if they have to take back a million phones they would consider bringing a working phone to the market next time. Now, I know this is not going to happen, but instead of whining customers should ake actions companies really do care about.

  3. Yu says:

    “[…] and if I can return the iPhone and get my upgrade eligibility back […]”

    I’ll be waiting to see if AT&T will do that; Bless Europe when it comes to mobile phone carriers.

  4. opcow says:

    If you aren’t happy you can return it. What’s the problem? I’ll bet a good deal of the people who are complaining the loudest will end up keeping the phone anyway.

    With regard to the supposedly conflicting antenna problem statements: I don’t see a contradiction. They knew that, like all (at least in my experience) phones they signal could be affected by the way it’s held, but they didn’t think it would be any more of a problem than it for wireless phones in general. Of course, they were wrong, it appears and the attenuation may be greater than on other contemporary smart phones.

    There’s a lot to like about the iPhone 4 and I can understand the disappointment if yours sucks at being a phone, but I can’t understand anger and threats of lawsuits by people who have the option to return their sucky phone for a refund or another kind of phone (there are lots of good Android phones to choose from).

  5. chippy says:

    Marketing BS isn’t exclusive to Apple so don’t worry about the contradiction. You’ll find it again soon on another product.

    As for the phone, just return it now and try the Captivate. Don’t you get 30 days with that too?

  6. Guy says:

    I was a long term Windows Mobile user, 8 years in fact and I switched to Android. I can’t ever see myself turning back.

    I sure hope you get your upgrade rights back and land a Capacitive, reports are good on that and you also get to join the Android party.

  7. PrincessNybor says:

    Sure, Steve Jobs is a pompous ass, but what other company besides Apple would have done as much? They’re offering free cases and refunds for those unhappy with their purchase. What else do you want them to do? Give you a blanket, unending window to exchange a device which, by the way, is so popular that they HAVE NO STOCK.

    My husband and I both have the iPhone 4, and ours came in a later batch on July 9th. Neither of us is able to reproduce the antenna issue at all. In fact, we know several other people with the phone, none of whom can reproduce it.

    Sorry for the bad luck, but as others have said, Apple is willing to give you a refund. Take it. Try another handset. If you like it, great. If not, then return it when Apple gets more iPhone 4 stock. I’m really not seeing the reason for all your angst, dude.

  8. tj says:

    I say send it back in. Apple seems to have a reoccurring issues with many first-batch gadgets, especially after a major redesign like this. By the time the white iphone comes out everything should be fixed.

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