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Apple Defends iPhone Antenna, Offers Free Cases

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Jul 16, 2010, 12:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jul 16, 2010, 12:55 PM

Apple held a press conference on Friday to bring some clarity to the issue surrounding the iPhone 4's antenna issue. First, Apple presented a lot of data defending the iPhone 4's performance. In general, says Apple, users aren't calling AppleCare to complain, users aren't returning it in large numbers, and the data suggests that it doesn't lose any more signal strength than a number of competing products from other manufacturers (such as BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II). Despite the evidence that suggests the iPhone 4's performance is on par with other devices, Apple wants to make all of its customers happy. First, Apple recommends that all iPhone owners update to iOS 4.0.1 to update the formula used to calculate signal strength. iOS 4.0.1 became available on July 15. Second, Apple is offering one free case for each iPhone 4 through September 30. Apple said that since it can't make its own branded bumper cases fast enough, it will offer a free case (from a pre-approved selection) to iPhone 4 customers at the time of purchase. Those who've already bought a case can register online for a refund of the case purchase price. Third, Apple says that any customer who is still unhappy with the iPhone 4's performance after testing it with a case can return it with no penalties. Apple has waived the standard re-stocking fee it charges for returned items within 30 days from the time of purchase. Apple said that it is tracking some problems with the iPhone 4's proximity sensor in some units. It says the problem will be solved with "the next update." Apple CEO Steve Jobs didn't clarify exactly what that meant. Jobs stressed that the company has been working hard to determine the cause of the problem, and believes that the antenna performance of the iPhone 4 is good. Jobs said that the company cares about its customers and wants to make them happy. During the Q&A session, Jobs apologized by saying, "To our customers who are affected by the issue, we are deeply sorry, and we are going to give you a free case or a full refund." Apple also made several other announcements. Apple said that the white iPhone 4 will start shipping in limited quantities at the end of July. At the same time, the iPhone 4 will launch in 17 additional countries starting on July 30.

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Jul 16, 2010, 10:03 PM

Eric Zeman: Samsung Captivate suffers from "Death Grip" too...

"Samsung held a huge launch event for its Galaxy S line of Android handsets in New York City a few weeks ago. During the event, Samsung's media relations staff was sure to take some pot shots at the iPhone 4, and told me, "You can hold the Galaxy S any way you want."

Um, not true."

Full Story at: http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/ handheld/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=22590004 2&cid=RSSfeed_IWK_News
bluecoyote said:
"Samsung held a huge launch event for its Galaxy S line of Android handsets in New York City a few weeks ago. During the event, Samsung's media relations staff was sure to take some pot shots at the iPhone 4, and t
I don't understand who you're quoting or what you're trying to say. Who said "not true"? Also, that URL doesn't work.
The Samsung Galaxy S "Vibrant" on T-Mobile really BLOWS with this issue.

Here's my vid on the Vibrant death grip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vefQ4I2wOXs »
The thing that amazes me is that no one has mentioned how Apple and iPhone apologists such as yourself are now reduced to using the exact same arguments to defend Apple which you recently poo poohed when made by Windows users to defend Windows against...

Jul 16, 2010, 3:21 PM

How arrogant can you get? On a side note this article is pretty funny

not to mention magical hahahahaah i loved the comment about the wife and the barking ring tone;
steve's right, this does change everything all over again lol.

Jul 16, 2010, 2:36 PM

I'll offer you guys a deal.

I will hand my iPhone 4 to a very well known Android fan on this forum TONIGHT to see if he can personally re-create the antenna issue with it.

I'll let him have a go at it and he will post his thoughts here on Phonescoop for you all.

Sound fair?

(And trust me, I think you all will agree that he is NOT me once you know who it is! lol)
I'm a huge fan of my iPhone 4, but it's a real issue in my home. It's just that the problem has been heavily overstated, implying if you live in an area with marginal AT&T coverage you'll need a case just to place a call.
Bars were fine. Ironically the bars dropped when I let go of it. They did when he let go as well. We'll chalk that up to the naturally electric personalities of sales people.

In fact, it only lost bars when I dropped it in my beer.

That was a...

Jul 18, 2010, 8:39 PM

Do you remember when HTC/ Google gave free cases? Neither do I.

So for everyone claiming the iPhone 4's design is defective and that Apple is handling this situation poorly..

Remember the Nexus One attenuation issues?
Here's a video:
http://bit.ly/9g6zPs »

Now, I'm a Nexus One owner. I'm able to reproduce this, and unlike the iPhone 4, this is actually somewhat of an issue as I tend to rest my fingers on the back and bottom of the phone when browsing (which doesn't cause an issue on the iPhone 4.)

Though a ~30db drop is not quite what I'm seeing, the one in the video is more severe than the iPhone 4, which is about a ~20db drop in attenuation.

Do you know what Google gave me? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Not even a phone number to call.
bluecoyote said:
So for everyone claiming the iPhone 4's design is defective and that Apple is handling this situation poorly..

Remember the Nexus One attenuation issues?
Here's a video:
http://bit.ly/9g6zPs »

Now, I'm a Ne

Jul 16, 2010, 6:38 PM

now free cases?

just bout the other weeks they were charging 30.00 bucks for them? ha htc evo has noo problem!
You mean with battery life?

Or lousy 4G Reception?

Or poor network performance? 🙄

The bumper cases aren't free, Apple's just giving them to customers (or a case of their choice) if they're having issues.

Jul 16, 2010, 1:30 PM

free case? ugly!! haha

if you buy a lingerie for your woman, you want her to wear it as lingerie!, not put something to cover it!
if you bought a new car, would you buy those ugly front mask to cover the front of your new car? haha
Netboy, i think we're the minority on this one, but im glad to see im not alone. I would return the device, and be forever burned by apple. Why would you pay $200+ for a device that you cant properly use unless you cover it up, have all kinds of pa...

Jul 17, 2010, 12:41 PM

Signal drop with iPhone 3

I've had an iPhone3 for 2 years. I've never tried the "Death Grip" on it till this morning and darned if within 30 seconds I lost between 2-3 bars. Relax my grip and the bars came back.

I'm talking two hands gripping around the sides and back. There is no way I'd be using a phone in my hands that way for a call. So I guess the problem has been there for at least two years and unnoticed (at least by me). I think some of the hype over the death grip has been overblown although I'm sure some is true.
The one thing that I'm suspecting is that the iPhone 4 is more sensitive to attenuation, or that it's involked differently.

Apple sort of griped about this during the press conference, but it basically comes down to the fact that there's a visible...

Jul 16, 2010, 2:29 PM

So what's the problem?

1) For a lot of people, the attenuation doesn't appear to be an issue. For me it's only an issue in a few places (I'm able to reproduce it, but it does not affect my real world usage of the phone). So if the numbers are even remotely true, this only affects a few people in a few locations depending on their AT&T signal.

2) For the people who the attenuation *IS* an issue, Apple is providing a free case to help out so they can hold it however they want. (FYI, Google told you

3) If you're morally opposed to owning a case, you can just not hold the phone that way.

4) If you're not happy with owning a case, you can always just not hold it from the bottom.

5) If you are having issues with the phone, *and* you're morally opposed to cha...
If you are making a hit at the X which has the app installed your right you should get it. So apple has to "change the game again" and the way you hold your phone. Wow, you are apples B&^%H
Wow, BIG SURPRISE: bluecoyote taking a shot at an Android phone that threatens the iPhone's image.

Jul 16, 2010, 7:36 PM

well first time to post but let me drop this on some apple people

1 the Iphone 4 has problems.
2 they tell you it needs a case
3 they tell you how to hold it
4 they told you the new software would fix it
5 Steve Jobs blames AT&T for the problem
6 Steve Jobs gets booed at on stage (WONDER WHY)
7 what a lot of people are not talking about.... is the fact that the new software was set up to crash their Iphone 2 g an the 3g.

if a company that set out to crash their phones to sell new ones. that don't ever work.if STEVE JOBS has to tell you how to work your phone you really don't need it.

and if you keep it well your a bigger idiot than him.

i loved my 3g but on monday i will have a brand new Samsung Captivate (Galaxy S). it will blow your iphone 4g out of the water and almost evey app is free...
1. No it doesn't.
2. No they didn't.
3. No they didn't.
4. No they didn't.
5. No they didn't.
6. No he didn't.
7. No it doesn't, though iOS4 on a 3G isn't worth it. It also doesn't run on a 2G.

😎 no it won't.

Jul 16, 2010, 3:42 PM

Proximity sensor

I don't personally have the problem as I seem to be in the vast majority of iPhone 4 users who have not experienced either the antenna issue or the proximity sensor issue. I just wanted to make a quick note that I have NEVER experienced a better proximity sensor than the one I have on the iPhone 4.

I don't want to be called a hater, so I won't mention what kind of other phones I have used with the sensor, but absolutely none of them work all of the time.

I think this issue is a little bit more noticed on the iPhone because of the proximity sensors flawless performance in the past.
Same here. Glad to see someone enjoying their iphone, instead of dumping on apple.

Long live the iphone 🙂

Jul 16, 2010, 2:00 PM

Yeah, Sorry Our Phones Suck and Drop Calls

But we're gonna give you a free case! 😛
LOL This man plays the masses like a fine tuned fiddle.

Jul 16, 2010, 1:18 PM

Media complains more than Consumers...

Now, I'm not trying to defend Apple at all. I think they should have offered free bumpers from the start.

But the thing is, media and tech nerds like us made a bigger deal of this than actual consumers. Even with this problem coming up days after the iPhone released, people were still ordering it if Apple indeed sold 3 million of them.

The thing is, normal consumers don't seem to mind that the problem is fixed with just a case...most folks were planning on buying one anyway. And lets face it, the phone is an awesome phone despite those problems. I mean even Consumer Reports ranked the iPhone 4 as the best on the market even with the antenna problems.

I know its a cool thing to hate Apple nowadays, but it's getting old that people a...
I like your idea on this. Good point, lets wait for blue to come over and mess it up.
Media also hype the idiotPhone more than any other phones!
this guy at CNBC said "you can use the iphone more than just making calls!, internet, emails, etc" something like that!
all other smartphones does more then just making c...
In my honest opinion, nothing was really solved here. Apple made an appearance to counter-act claims of issues. This was to be expected. Other than that, it was a simple defend of what is already known. Steve once again, left it up to their customers ...

Jul 16, 2010, 2:31 PM

Who can create the most creative H9ter and Fan Boy Mad Lib.

Let's see how far we can take this?

Steve Jobs go [verb-something violent] yourself. I can't believe anyone could be so [adjective-negative] to buy such a [noun-negative]. All you [noun] need to get a life. ATT [verb] you and your [adjective-expletive] [adjective-expletive2] network too.

Fan Boy
iPhone is the [adjective]. It has over [adjective-number] apps and I can do all sorts of [adjective] things with it. Android lovers can go [verb-something violent] themselves. HTCs are a piece of [noun-preferably excrement related].

Now to say something contradictory. I own neither an iPhone or an Android phone and I could care less about this issue. That is all I have to say.
I'm a fan boy blah-blah-blah. The end.

Jul 16, 2010, 1:16 PM

bluecoyote ... justfinethanku ...

i might see your names here ...
Most likely they're at work or something.

Neither one of them had a huge issue with the antenna's (they both said it didn't cause them to drop calls, justfinethanku said he didn't notice any changes at all)

Honestly, I think apple handled it rat...
We own the phones. Justfinethanku hasn't been able to produce the issue, I have.

So yes, you will.
flip mode

Jul 16, 2010, 2:21 PM


Well I gotta admit, apple has made a SMART move for a change

Jul 16, 2010, 2:17 PM

roll eyes


Jul 16, 2010, 1:39 PM

Good job Apple!

I'm kinda shocked they are going to give free cases. 😲 That was my suggestion when this story first broke, plus the fact that they are going refund those that already purchased bumpers.

Not sure if it is was the whole Consumer Reports story that made them change their tune but non the less this is a least a fix. I though we might see them mention something about a new coating that will be used in manufacturing for those that want to leave the phone "stock" instead of using the bumper but maybe that is being done behind the scenes.

Much better solution than "Your holding it wrong" and "Every phones does that". Just swallow your pride and make the customer happy which is what they did!

Jul 16, 2010, 1:28 PM


haha he said avaikalble

Jul 16, 2010, 1:05 PM

"we didn't know we were putting a bull's eye on the phone"

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!? It had a bullseye on it before it was a gleam in your friggin eye!!! You set the bar...not anyone else...so if you can't even meet the expectations of us common folk, leave the bar alone!

Jul 16, 2010, 12:58 PM

how to get the free case?

retail? shipment?
They said you go through the Apple website.
"Apply on Apple website starting late next week"
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