At the Apple iPhone 4 press conference this morning, CEO Steve Jobs took the stage in the midst of antenna criticism in which he referred to as “antennagate” which has been ongoing since the launch of the phone late last month. Jobs said that he and Apple were stunned that the problem has been talked about so much, and brought out data to backup their claims.
Jobs started the conference by saying: “We’re not perfect. Phones aren’t perfect. We know that, you know that. But we want to make all our users happy. If you don’t know that, you don’t know Apple. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do that.” Right off the bat, we knew there was going to be a solution of some kind by the end of the conference.
After that, Jobs went into detail about other smartphones and detailed that they also have issues: “We did our own testing — let me show you an example of some other smartphones. First, Blackberry Bold 9700, perhaps the most popular business smartphone.” Video showing the bars dropping rapidly. “Pretty much identical to the videos on the web about the iPhone 4.” Other phones such as the HTC Droid Eris and Samsung Omnia II were also shown as having the same problem.
Jobs once again claimed that every smartphone likely has this issue, and that it’s a problem the entire industry faces. “X marks the spot. You know exactly where to [not] hold it! … we screwed up on our algorithm. Again, all smartphones seem to do this — we haven’t figured out our way around the laws of physics. Yet.”
Next, we were shown some data concerning the iPhone 4′s call drop rates as compared to the iPhone 3GS. Jobs claimed that the iPhone 4 did technically drop more calls according to AT&T, but only around 1 extra call per 100 calls. That’s not a significant difference, but Jobs related the difference to cases.
“I have my own pet theory about this,” Jobs said. “When the 3GS came out, there was already a healthy market for cases that fit it. But in our store 80% of iPhone 4′s walk out without a case. Having said this, we care about EVERY user. And we’re not going to stop until every one is happy. But it’s important to understand the scope of the issue — the data says the issue has been blown so far out of proportion, it’s incredible.”
Jobs then discussed what they are going to do in order to rectify the issue. First, he discussed iOS 4.0.1 which was released yesterday that “fixes some of these bugs with our algorithm. We recommend every iPhone owner update to it.”
Second, Jobs said that they have received feedback from users that having a bumper case on the iPhone 4 tends to fix the issue. Jobs remarked: “Okay. Great. Let’s give everyone a case. Everyone is going to get a free case.” Jobs wasn’t joking there, Apple really is going to give every iPhone 4 purchaser a case. Starting next week through September 30th, you’ll be able to sign up on Apple’s website to receive a case. Not just bumpers will be available, but rather a whole line of cases. You’ll be able to pick one, and Apple will send you one for free. If you’ve already purchased a bumper, Apple will refund you that cost. If that still doesn’t satisfy you, you may return the phone for a full refund.
Lastly, Apple drove home the point that they love their users: “So we do all this because we love our users. And when we fall short — which we do sometimes — we try harder. We pick ourselves up, we figure out what’s wrong, and we try harder. And when we succeed, they reward us by staying our users, and that makes it all worth it.”
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