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Apple made their case on July 16th (like it or not) during their press conference about the iPhone 4's reception problems that some users are having. They offered their explanation and theories backed by their research data, FREE iPhone 4 cases (order your FREE iPhone 4 Case using Apple's FREE App here from Apple)and a no restocking fee return policy. In my opinion that should be the end of it. Either you want an iPhone 4 or you don't. If you got one and it's not working for you, take it back. What more could you ask for? Yet they (Apple) insist upon continuing to fuel this (in their own words "blown out of proportion story") by posting NEW videos regularly to on how other manufacturer's phones lose signal when you hold them too.


In my opinion this is a MISTAKE. Apple just LET IT GO!

Your motto/stance should not be "look, see the other guys lose signal too. Their phones are just as bad as ours."


The real problem – It's not about the bars!

My take on the whole signal loss/bars display thing is that the only time someone even bothers to look at the number of bars they have is either when they drop a call or can't make one. The "death grip" as it has been called means that someone holds a phone in a fairly natural way (not as tightly Apple demonstrates in some of their videos) up to their face and they talk. If the call drops they then pull the phone down and look to see why. That's the "real problem" and not the number of bars. Saying that other companies lose bars too is not really telling the whole story (and it's one that no one is arguing). I know that Apple says with numbers to back it up that the iPhone 4 doesn't drop that many calls. However, it does drop more calls (by their own admission) than the previous iPhone 3GS. Even if it's by a small percentage, it does drop more.

Prior to the iPhone 4, when was the last time you looked at or cared about the number of bars on the display of your phone? It comes down to you can either make calls reliably or you can't!

Apple if you want to impress me about how the iPhone 4 holds up against the competition then make videos of someone holding all the various phones the same way while on calls in real world environments (outside, inside, on a train, etc.) and not just in your testing labs where the conditions are optimal.

As far as your customers are concerned it doesn't matter what the other phones do or don't do when you hold them. It matters what YOUR iPhone 4 does and whether or not the call will drop? According to AT&T out of their recent 3.2 million iPhone activations only 27% (yes, a very nice number) were NEW accounts. This means to me that a large number of iPhone 4 owners are upgrading from previous iPhone models and that's what they are comparing the iPhone 4 to. Not your competitors.  iPhone 4 users are using their iPhones the same way that they did with their iPhone 3G/3GS case or no case and expect to have the same if not better call quality. Speaking of AT&T, it appears that 73% of iPhone users are VERY SATISFIED with AT&T. Wow! So apparently we can't blame them for everything.

I would also dare to say that a large number of perceived dropped calls that some people are experiencing is due to proximity sensor issues "FaceDialing" if you will. If you were to fix that issue as fast as you fixed the cosmetic signal display issue, you might have less people complaining. 

As an iPhone 4 user overall, I'm happy. I don't need for you to continue to show me how every other phone loses bars when you hold it. I do care about not dropping calls. Spend that time and energy improving your own products.


Here are 3 hot issues affecting some of your iPhone 4 users:

Proximity Sensor

Camera White Balance

Bluetooth Sound Quality/Disconnects

I'm sure they would appreciate these issues being addressed much more over another video of another phone dropping signal.


UPDATE 8/1/2010: It's redeeming to see that Apple pulled down the videos from their Antenna Page. I guess I wasn't too wrong after all 🙂


On a lighter note…


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4 Responses to Apple: You made your case, now let it go!

  1. winc06 says:

    Terry, I disagree. Apple needs to address every false accusation that gets traction, over and over, not by Jobs necessarily. Failure to do that resulted in half the country thinking we have a Kenyan communist nazi for a president. Touting the positives did not help there. The echo chamber matters even when it is idiotically untrue. There is an anti-Apple press and they seem to be aimed at really hurting Apple. That needs to be addressed.

  2. Janey says:

    I think that one problem they’re trying to address is the blogosphere misinformation spread around by the rabid pro-Android/anti-Apple crowd. It also helps to stave off the “See?! This would never happen with my ANDROID phone on VERIZON! Apple sux0rs! lols” types of comments. What’s been happening is this:
    * People report issue, bloggers go nuts with it. Majority of customers not affected.
    * Apple says something about it, people realize it’s happening to other phones too.
    * Bloggers can’t let it go, refuse to believe that it happens with their precious Android phones.
    * Apple shows “Yes, it IS happening.”
    * Bloggers cry foul and say it’s all fake and they can’t reproduce the issue – just like a few million iPhone 4 owners have been saying all along.

    This is a good way to show that yes, it is happening. The Android bloggers are just drooling over whatever chances they can get to make digs at the iPhone 4. (and gah, I am so sick of the Verizon iPhone rumors…)

  3. Alan says:

    I would agree with you except for the fact that the other major smartphone manufacturers all issued statements to the effect that their smartphones did not have the same problems as Apple’s iPhone 4, in spite of the Apple videos to the contrary.

    Apple showing the same problem with the iPhone 3GS, that has been around for over a year with no similar complaints, shows the iPhone 4 attack was pure BS.

    Apple releasing video showing one smartphone, from each and every manufacturer who supported the iPhone 4 attack, with the same problem is priceless.

    Apple is fighting fire with fire. The other manufacturers pilled on and Apple is blowing the whistle. It is quite appropriate.

  4. AdamC says:

    Talking about letting go,you shouldn’t have taken the bait of writing this article.

    Now who is calling the kettle black