So there it went.
The big iPhone 4 press conference.
If you were expecting for Steve Jobs to issue a recall, tough luck.
What did happen was an intricate defense of the iPhone 4′s antenna design, even spiced up with tests on other (obviously carefully selected) phones, to show that the reception issues everyone’s been talking about actually happen to all phones.
That was the idea. Whether or not it was convincing probably depends on whether or not you’re an Apple fanboy.
What’s clear for me is that, first, no, not all phones have these issues. Some phones are better designed than others (with regard to signal reception). And some do, indeed, have problems, as Apple pointed out. The iPhone 4 is not helped at all in this matter by its antenna band design, and how Steve Jobs boasted about it when he announced the new iPhone.
So yes, you can cause other phones to have reception problems if you hold them in a certain way, but in my view, it’s still easiest to do so with an iPhone 4. That’s because while other phones may have the antenna in a similar location, it’s actually in most cases under a bit of plastic casing – which is what you’re touching.
In the iPhone’s case, you’re actually touching the antenna itself.
Which is a design choice that Apple stands by even today.
That said, everyone who buys an iPhone 4 from now on will get a free case. Which may or may not be the famous bumper, since it appears Apple can’t manufacture enough of those to meet demand. So they’ll source some cases to other producers.
Those who’ve already paid for a bumper will get a full refund.
As indicated by the Consumer Reports article, this sort of fixes the problem. Now you’re no longer touching the antenna.
However, you’ve just hidden a good portion of the iPhone 4′s unique design as well. I guess that in areas with poor reception to begin with, that tradeoff may make sense.
No recall, but Apple is waiving the restocking fee if you return your iPhone. So if you’re not happy with it, you can now return it within 30 days and you’ll get a full refund.
Apparently, only 0.55% of the people who bought a new iPhone contacted Apple complaining about the death grip. AT&T has seen return rates for the iPhone 4 of only a third of those for the iPhone 3GS.
AT&T statistics also indicate that the iPhone 4 drops, on average, less than one call more than the 3GS per hundred calls. This sounds very good for Apple, but, in practice, not all signal degradation leads to dropped calls. The signal must be weak to begin with and only then, with the added degradation introduced by touching the antenna, will the result be a dropped call.
iOS 4.01 is now out (not to be confused with iOS 4.1, which is still at beta SDK level) and it features the ‘enhanced’ formula for calculating how many bars of signal the phone displays.
Also, the white version of the iPhone 4 is due out by the end of this month. Demand will surely be high, so it remains to be seen if Apple will be able to deal with that, or how soon they’ll run out of white iPhones.
Starting July 30th, 17 more countries or territories will get the iPhone 4. These are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
It’s official now that 3 million iPhone 4s have been sold so far. Impressive achievement for just a couple of weeks of sales, without a doubt. But the true test is if sales will continue growing, peak at this level, or even go down in the following months.
You can view the entire press conference here.
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