Steve Jobs denies Judas Phone antenna problems
But fanbois get free bumpers
There's nothing wrong with the iPhone 4 that isn't wrong with any other phone, says Steve Jobs. However, because Jobs and company "love our users," Apple will provide a free case to any Judas Phone owner who wants one.
"There is no Antennagate," Apple's CEO told a select group of reporters gathered Friday morning on the company's Cupertino campus. The Reg, as is customary, was denied access, so we picked up our info from live blogs by Engadget, AllThingsD, Ars Technica, and the Wall Street Journal, and you can join in the fun by viewing a video of the event along with Apple's antenna exegesis on a new area of the company's website: "Smartphone antenna performance".
Just keep in mind that if you think that there's anything wrong with your iPhone 4, it's the media's fault.
In fact, according to Jobs, nothing is Apple's fault. Cell phone reception problems? All phones have them, Jobs said. And to prove his point, Jobs showed videos of the reception bars of a BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and Samsung Omnia II disappearing when held in the infamous Death Grip.
Congestion problems in major cities? That's due to persnickety local regulators. "When AT&T wants to add a cell tower in Texas, it takes about three weeks to get approval," according to Jobs. "[But] when AT&T wants to add one in San Francisco, it takes three years."
That Bloomberg article which said Jobs had been warned about the antenna problems? "A total crock" and "total bullshit," he claimed. The story in Friday's New York Times that cited "a longstanding weakness in the basic communications software inside Apple's phones"? "Patently false," said Apple's iOS honcho, Scott Forstall, who rose to defend his boss.
"One thing I’ve learned is that when there's a successful organization, people want to tear it down," Jobs said. And the Friday event was designed to build Apple back up.
Jobs went to great lengths to prove that if the iPhone 4 has any reception problems, they're simply those that affect all phones. "Most smartphones behave exactly the same way," Jobs said. "This is life in the smartphone world: phones aren't perfect. It is a challenge for the phone industry, and we are all doing the best that we can."
And he said that Apple is spending a ton of money on antenna design: $100m on 17 anechoic chambers and the salaries of "18 PhD scientist and engineers" — although exactly how an anechoic chamber tests radio reception, he didn't say.
Interestingly, of the live blogs we sampled, only the Wall Street Journal's feed mentioned this interesting tidbit from Jobs: "We have both an AT&T and Verizon cell site set up on our campus" — which, of course, gives more fuel to the long-running "Verizon to offer iPhone" rumor saga.
Like Mark Twain's death, reports of the iPhone 4's reception problems have been greatly exaggerated, Jobs insisted. A mere 0.55 per cent of iPhone 4 users have called AppleCare about reception problems, he said. Only 1.7 per cent have returned their phones, under a third of the six per cent returns of its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS.
That 1.7 per cent, by the way, apparently didn't include the unfortunate phone of TV talk-show host Whoopi Goldberg, who instead "murdered" her malfunctioning iPhone 4, according to Cnet.
Jobs did admit that the iPhone 4 does drop more calls than its predecessor, but by only a minuscule amount: fewer than one per cent more.
But Jobs has a theory as to why the Judas Phone holds that edge. "When the 3GS came out," he said, "we didn't change the design from the 3G. So there were already lots of cases out there for the phone. And more than 80 per cent of new buyers left the store with a case. Now the new phone doesn't fit those cases, and we can't make these bumpers fast enough, so only 20 per cent leave the store with a case."
And, as many have pointed out, adding a case to the iPhone 4 improves its signal resilience. So Jobs & Co will provide any iPhone owner with a case, free of charge, until September 30. And since Apple can't make enough of its own Bumper cases in time, it'll also offer third-party cases — just log onto their website next week and take your pick.
And so inside Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field™, there's no problem with the iPhone 4 that any other smartphone doesn't have — but if you think there is, Apple will give you either a free case or a full refund. In addition, when asked if AT&T would also refund its service fees and allow unhappy users to break their contracts, Jobs said "I believe so."
He didn't mention whether service providers outside the US would follow suit, but inferred that should not be a problem. After all, Jobs noted: "Antennagate has been predominantly a US thing." ®
In addition to his "We love our users" statement — accompanied by a huge presentation slide with that text, by the way — Jobs went out of his way to express his personal involvement and emotional attachment to dealing with the Judas Phone debacle. "We take this really personally," he said. "Maybe we should have a wall of PR people keeping us away from this stuff, but we don't, we take it really personally."
Your Reg reporter has covered Apple — with Jobs, then without Jobs, then with Jobs — for over 20 years, and finds the pure, unadulterated bullpucky of that "PR people" statement to be breathtaking.
The Next Lesson is taken from the Book of Job
And it came to pass that Californian Job did return from the wilderness, with it's summits, slopes and valleys, speckled with glistening spires and shiny domes and called upon His faithful, and their trusted scribes, to gather at the Church of Apple and they did as they were bid.
Job came before the gathered faithful and they were quieted. They were in awe of being in His presence.
Oh faithful, He cried, I have wronged. I have held you in contempt, I have used you, I have led you to believe that which is not, is; and to doubt that what is, is not. I claimed I was stunned, when I was not. My heart was troubled, slightly.
Ye faithful, Job spake, we are surrounded by the unbelievers, the smug, the ignorant, the indifferent and who are hostile to our cultural values. We were mocked by they of Richmond and of the Silicon Valley who stirred a mass who rose up and cried out aloud.
You, brethren, and I, must be as one and as a token of your faith I give you a ring, a ring of many colours, a ring of rubber which you shall affix around your symbol of our faith. Go forth into the world and show your rings to the unbelievers and they shall be quieted.
And, being simple naive folk, the faithful did so, their symbols of faith with the coloured rings displayed against their ears and they were at peace in their hearts and their alarm quieted, saying out loud, for all to hear, Hello?, Hello?, Hello?.
And Californian Job was well pleased, too, knowing that His followers would return to buy the next symbol of their faith.
Here endeth the lesson.
I've now lost a lot of respect for Jobs.
if he claims there is nothing wrong with the IPhone then why:
1) is he spending so much money on recruiting post-graduate engineers with expertise in antenna design and building the infrastructure need to test antennas
(they've been producing mobile phones for years)
2) are they releasing a case to all IPhone users?
Is Jobs really such an arrogant tw*t that he thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of literally millions of people?
Unfortunately, I've seen a national news programme on television this evening where they've fallen for Job's bullshit.
The reason why they don't want The Register in Job's media briefings is because the Register is staffed by technically intelligent people that know what they're talking about who would ask difficult questions when confronted with Jobs' bullshit.
Read the response closer
Despite the actions Apple will take to ensure end-users are happy, Steve Jobs still can't admit that the phone design is flawed as demonstrated by objective testing from multiple, respected, technical publications.
I'm not generally a fan of Apple and I do ultimately think they are doing the right thing. But it's also unbelieveably self-absorbed and pompous to say that you'll rectify the situation and then, in the same breath, denounce that any situation exists at all. And there's no way to justify that, whether you're a hater or a fanboi.
Let's get this straight...
All phones suffer from this problem, it's inherent in mobiles and no-one has solved it yet. There isn't a design flaw in the device, the external antenna performs brilliantly and doesn't have any worse problem than any other phone.
Yet at the same time, fitting a bumper case corrects the problem.
Therefore, doesn't that make it a problem with the design? If the phone's chassis had the antenna inside an integral bumper then there'd be no problem.
I'll bet you £5 that iPhone 5 is a minor upgrade, while iPhone 6 is a new design that doesn't have an external antenna.
> why is he spending so much money on recruiting post-graduate engineers with expertise in antenna design.....they've been producing mobile phones for years....
But iPhone 4 is the first phone with an Apple designed antenna hence the schoolboy error - the reason they need help is obvious. Up until this phone they have used Nokia inspired compact designs. As a result Apple is being sued by Nokia and no-one, not even them, is expecting to win. The fine and damages would have been massively more if they continued to flout Nokia's Patents.
>Is Jobs really such an arrogant tw*t that he thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of literally millions of people?
Yes. Just watch it happen. Apple has always been about form, not function. Its kind of like women and shoes I've never understood that either.
Just watched the video and I'm almost tempted to ask, What's the IT angle?