Steve Jobs- “There Is No Antennagate…”


Steve Jobs took the stage this afternoon to address the growing perception that the iPhone 4 has a fundamental flaw that can only be remedied by a recall.

He took a multi-pronged approach and, in the process, turned lemons into some delicious lemonade.

First he showed real examples of other smartphones displaying the same phenomena as the iPhone 4. Wrapping up he said that phones aren’t perfect and this is a flaw in many phones. It is just that the iPhone 4 marked the spot externally thanks to the thin black line separating the antennas.

Then he used something that we don’t see nearly enough of in the world today… he used facts.

Facts like AppleCare only getting complaints from 0.55% of iPhone 4 users. Facts like a return rate on the iPhone 4 that is 1/3 of that seen with the iPhone 3GS. Facts like the iPhone 4 dropping less than one additional call per hundred when compared with the iPhone 3GS. (He even offered his theory on why this might be — far fewer iPhone 4 users leave with their new phone AND a case so there are more cases of the grip issue.)

In short he used FACTS to drive home the point that this entire episode is a media circus that has no grounding in reality. (To his credit this is exactly what Larry has been saying all along.)

Finally Jobs said that while there is a truly small minority of individuals who are having a problem Apple still wants to address the issue for those few individuals who have had the problem. How will they do that?

1. A free case for everyone who buys the iPhone 4 or a refund for those who have already bought a bumper. And since they can’t make bumpers fast enough, they will have an assortment of cases available on their site later today. Choose the one you want and they’ll send it to you.

2. Anyone who is unhappy with the phone can return it within 30 for a FULL refund.

In other words, Apple saw this issue taking on a life of its own, wanted to set the record straight and then took the extra, and unnecessary, step of giving a case to everyone who buys an iPhone 4 before September is out. In the process he showed that this is a manufactured issue and proved that if enough noise is made people can end up with something for nothing… even when there is no real justification for it.

Jobs summed it all up best when he answered the question “How are you doing?” with “I was better earlier in the week when I was on vacation with my wife in Hawaii.”

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

11 Comments on "Steve Jobs- “There Is No Antennagate…”"

  1. Joel McLaughlin | July 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm |

    Dan he used statistics that Apple collected. How can you trust the numbers that he gave? Did you know that my friend was not one of these ones who ended up at the Genius Bar? He returned it to AT&T. Apple can only give you what it knows. Now the return rate does sound good, but how many people waited until now to return it?? What will the return rate do NEXT month. Your guess is as good as mine.

    I’ll agree that a lot of things were over blown in this. A disgruntled minority can be very loud especially from Apple fans. However, the biggest issue, to me, is the fact that AT&T’s network still isn’t up to snuff. My friend was not able to make calls on his 3G or 4 from his desk in downtown Columbus. It’s not like I work in the sticks. That isn’t Apple’s fault. AT&T should ALSO have some sort of press conference to explain what Jobs touched on…..that building a cell network is difficult.

    He would have probably stayed on his iPhone if it could have worked where he needed it to work. It didn’t and he got his refund. Now that he has his Evo, he likes it even better than his iPhone and it works very well at his desk here and will work at his home as well as soon as he receives the Airave.

    Apple isn’t perfect and contrary to what some of my friends believe, they aren’t evil either. They are just a company trying to make money.

  2. I think that is the whole thing:
    – Even if the numbers are approximates or overly optimistic, the bottom line is that for the buying public this is a non-issue. Folks are still lining up and sales are increasing all the time.
    – Things like this heighten my distaste for the tabloid & hit-scraping sites that make up way to much of the tech-blogging world. It is really sad and sorry … and Jobs said it best when he question what appears to be teh desire of some sites to take Apple and Google and others down for the sake of a few hits.

  3. Dan Cohen | July 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm |

    Here’s what I want to know… now that we know that the Blackberry Bold 9700 does this is RIM giving out cases? Is Samsung? Is HTC?

  4. Dan Cohen | July 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm |

    Just finished watching the video of the press conference. The moment when Jobs mentions giving out Bumper Cases (around 25 minutes in) is precious. He quotes Consumer Reports. lol And the way he says it, and the little bounce in his voice… you can almost see him thinking… “If this is going to make people shut up about this… here… enjoy… happy now?”

  5. Jason Reese | July 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm |

    You know…this wasn’t even a ‘nightmare’ for Apple. Some ‘bad’ press and a lot of site hits. Regardless, Jobs and co. handled it with class. There are a lot of handsets that drop calls. Sure, the iPhone has gotten it’s share of hits on that problem. Some of it’s network, some of it is hardware design. But her’s the thing: How many people have been so outraged that they RETURNED their iPhone? No one I know has. Out of about 1,500 enterprise users (and honestly only about 400 or so currently have iPhone 4s) not one. I can look in our logs and I only see the numbers of iPhones on our network growing, not decreasing. Having problems with iOS4 syncing to Exchange? No user is going to give up their iPhone. Dropping calls? Hey, those iPhone users will stay with their apps and that device. Name another company that is, literally, bulletproof like Apple. People get a free bumper case, refunds and can still look cool with their phone. That’s all most people want. Apple makes products that look great, typically work great, and — quite honstly — no one is gonna give up. I love competition, and love all of the great smartphones coming out daily….but with Apple, if we all found out tomorrow that an iPhone gave you an Apple-logo shaped tumor from extended use…you still wouldn’t see anyone giving up their iPhones. You’d just see a lot of hipsters showing that off as well. That’s the impact Apple has on the market right now. It’s good to be Jobs.

  6. For me, offshore with heavy lenses, I think the purported retort from Jobs’ “Don’t hold the phone that way” email along with subsequent “Oops, there’s a software bug for reception reporting” coupled with the admittance that “yes, there’s a hardware problem” is what might be the brouhaha for some. CU’s report is icing on the cake in that regard. Yes, other phones show the issue, others don’t, but the iPhone 4 was the worst of the bunch according to them.

    What I find interesting is the allegation that Jobs and contingent being told by his engineers and “carrier partner” that there was a problem with the antenna reception but chose to ignore it. That might not be a big deal for youngsters lined up to get the new hot toy, but it could be for Apple shareholders who lost $5 a share the other day that could potentially lose more money if the aforementioned allegation is true.

    I do agree that this might be something of a tempest in a teacup given other phones can show signal reception problems, but Apple is the big player, and non-Koolaide drinkers like to pick on the big guy on the block and no doubt derive a certain schadenfreude from Jobs’ PR headache. However, Apple is held to a higher standard and as Apple makes no bones about emphasizing their superiority, it’s understandable how the anti-Apple crowd jumps on them.

    • Dan Cohen | July 16, 2010 at 4:46 pm |

      All points well taken. Beyond today I suspect that one of the best things Jobs can do for Apple is stay off email… Or at least have his responses to customers vetted by someone.

      Today was a momentum play… Apple has momentum, was in danger of losing momentum and took action today to make sure they keep momentum.

  7. Steve Jobs- ?There Is No Antennagate?? #gadgets

  8. RT @geardiary: Steve Jobs- "There Is No Antennagate…" #Apple #Apple iPhone

  9. Haesslich | July 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm |

    You know, if he’d said this TWO WEEKS AGO when the issue began, Consumer Reports and everyone else wouldn’t have had three weeks to run with it and make news.

    There is an Antenna Issue. Yes, it has to do with how you hold it. And coincidentally, not everyone grips their phone by the front and back. Setting up the antenna the way they did begged for the issue, especially since it didn’t ship with a case, which would’ve resolved the problem right there – “You’re using it wrong. That’s why we gave you a case in the box to cover the antenna.”

    Instead of something simple, they spent two weeks blaming everything under the sun – it’s first your imagination, then the user’s fault, then the fault of the signal formula for showing you more signal than actually existed (never mind that other iPhones don’t have this issue despite figuring out the number of bars to display using this same formula).

    Doing it the way they’ve been doing it the past three weeks is very much in line with Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft approach to handling PR: blame everyone else if you’re caught and say nothing, then quietly fix the issue while denying it ever existed.

  10. Steve Jobs- “There Is No Antennagate…”

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