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Fallout from Apple's iPhone 4 "Bar Situation" Continues


Staff member
May 27, 2010
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I've been watching the recent saga of Apple's iPhone 4 receptions issues quite closely and here are my thoughts.

  • The iPhone 4 has serious and real issues when you bridge the gap between the external antenna portions on the bottom left.
  • The iPhone 4 (and previous iPhones) have been lying to you about the amount of bars of reception they have.
  • The iPhone 4 under normal conditions actually is a better phone/antenna design.

The problem is that people really see this as such an easy problem to produce that it should have been caught from the get go. For one, Apple's secrecy might be to blame for the issue, as they don't really do mass testing or even real world simulations like other cell phone manufacturers. That's the reason why Apple leaks are so rare... but that can bite you in the behind.

Apple is trying to get people to forget about this antenna issue by saying it's really a software issue and that the bars are being misrepresented. While this is true, it really reveals two problems. The bad antenna design and more importantly the fact that they've been lying to you since the iPhone 3G days.

I've got to agree with Business Insider when I say that someone at Apple should be fired for writing up the most recent PR release. First of all, the press release isn't really coherent and doesn't even sound like Apple. I'm more likely to chalk it up to a fakey but, it really did come from Apple. Secondly, they've tried to solve the problem without really addressing the real problem all the while admitting to trying to deceive you. The whole entire release is just full of fail.

I'm not the only one that's noticed this obviously... the entire internet world has. Take a look at the number of articles written about it:

These are just a handful. Do they give you the impression that Apple's press release worked or that it actually just made the problem worse? I'm guessing you feel the same as me and that the problem for Apple has now become worse.

Apple has built such a dedicated fan base by making good products and standing behind them. Apple truly has done a great job in that regard... their profit margin allows them the ability to do this. It befuddles me to see Apple so against providing a very cheap and easy fix for the iPhone in the form of a free bumper to anyone who complains.

Let's assume for a second that these bumpers cost $1 to produce (they don't, they are much cheaper) and that you can get the bumper to your customer for another $1 in shipping and administrative costs. For roughly 2 million iPhone customers out there you are looking at roughly $4 million dollars to make the problem go away.

In addition you've made everyone happy, you've stood behind your product and the world starts turning again. Let's not forget that on those 2 million iPhone's you just sold there is likely well over $100 in profit per device and that you'll be getting future revenue kickbacks from AT&T.

The real problem with doing this is Apple would have to admit that they made a mistake. Not just in the design process, but also in the testing process -- and further they tried to cover it up.

Steve Jobs will have to admit he made a mistake and he let one slip through the cracks. I doubt you'll find many sane people who will fault Steve Jobs much for this problem except one man. Steve Jobs.

As time goes on he seems to become more and more terse with his belief system and letting things "slide". Admitting a mistake on his part is like admitting failure on his part and I don't think he's about to do that. It has become the principle of the issue and he just can't let it go.
Let us also not forget the Millions and Millions of users in total that Apple has amassed with their iDevices, because one would assume that this affects the iPad 3G/WiFi version as well as all iPhones in circulation that will once the software goes live will have crappy or NO service in the area in which they live. What is Apple and AT&T's response to that? Will those users be able to cancel without penalty? Will they be able to return and get a different phone without penalty?

Apple really stepped in it big time with their apparent sense of non commitment to the issue that is trully plaquing iPhone users. The funny thing is, with my iP4 I was having no problem with signal, until I put the bumper on and now it drops bars and fluxuates evertime I look at it.
@Stabicus - you're saying that, until you put the bumper case on, you weren't having any reception problems? That your receptions started when you put the bumper case on? The case that Apple says will help alleviate the problem? I'm really confused now ...

I can easily duplicate the problem both by holding the phone "normally" in my left hand and by simply covering the black lines on both sides of the iPhone 4 with my thumb and index finger.