Apple recognizes antenna issue with iPhone 4

Apple’s Antenna gate

Apple introduced the iPhone 4 with much fanfare, only to later sheepishly admit their gaffe with the antenna. Does the offer of a free case make up for their blunder?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs displayed his usual enthusiasm at the unveiling of the iPhone 4. It was sleek and sophisticated and technology journalists everywhere were impressed with Apple’s latest update on the touchscreen phone and multimedia device. 3 million people snatched up the gadget. Unfortunately, a few short weeks after the June 24, 2010 release, Jobs addressed the press with apologies for the signal issues arising from the integrated antenna. Call quality is sometimes poor, calls are dropped, and low data rates are vexing users everywhere.

Death Grip

The problems are reportedly related to the antennae not working properly when the phone is held a certain way. The two antennae are embedded in the steel strips that run along the outer edges of the phone. Touching these strips appears to affect the length of the antennae and alter the way it sends and receives signals. Left-handed grips cause considerably more disruption than right, but both cause problems. Earlier versions of the iPhone had the antennae placed on the inside of the case and were less affected by hand placement.

Apple Meets the Press

In response to the rampant cries of dissatisfaction from users, at a press conference on July 16, 2010, Apple declared that the antenna issue could plague any wireless phone and that it was not unique to the iPhone 4. Users were advised to avoid the lower left corner when holding the phone as a way to avoid blocking the antenna. An update has been issued to correct the signal strength algorithm so that the bars indicating signal are more accurate. Apple continues to praise the device as the best they have ever made and to note that very few users have reported being affected by the antenna issue. At the end of the conference, Jobs suggested using a case or bumper to prevent the antenna disruption issue.

Free Cases for All

Jobs then announced that Apple was offering a free case to every iPhone 4 customer as well as a refund to those who had already purchased a Bumper case from Apple. Because Apple cannot produce the required number of cases in a short time, they are offering some 3rd party cases as well. Those who are still unhappy and want to return their iPhone 4s can receive a full refund within 30 days of purchase.

This free case offer is time limited. Users who purchased iPhone 4s before July 23, 2010 must apply for the free case by August 22. Others must submit requests within 30 days of purchase. The offer ends on September 30.