apple offers iphone remedy
‘We’re not perfect,’ CEO says in apologizing for antenna trouble
CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple Inc. will give free protective cases to buyers of its latest iPhone to alleviate the so-called “death grip” problem in which holding the phone with a bare hand can muffle the wireless signal.
Calling the situation “Antennagate,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the giveaway Friday during a news conference at the company’s headquarters, even as the company denied that the iPhone 4 has a problem that needs fixing. The more than 3 million people who have already bought the iPhone 4 and new buyers through Sept. 30 will all be eligible.
People who already purchased the $29 “Bumper” cases will be refunded.
Apple will provide cases made by third-party providers because Jobs said the company can’t make enough. Users will be able to order them online starting next week. “Pick a case — zoom, we’ll send it off to you,” Jobs said.
Jobs began the event by saying, “We’re not
Continued from B perfect” but was quick to say that no cell phone is. He played a video showing competing smart phones, including a BlackBerry from Research in Motion Ltd., losing signal strength when held in certain ways.
Phones usually have an antenna inside the body. In designing the iPhone 4, Apple took a gamble on a new design, using parts of the phone’s outer casing as the antenna. That saved space inside the tightly packed body of the phone but means that grasping a spot on the lower left edge of the case blocks wireless signals.
Consumer Reports magazine said covering the spot with a case or even a piece of duct tape alleviates the problem. It refused to give the iPhone 4 its “recommended” stamp of approval for this reason, and it had called on Apple on Monday to compensate buyers.
On Friday, in the company’s first remarks after the magazine’s report, Jobs said Apple was “stunned and upset and embarrassed.”
Jobs said the iPhone 4’s antenna issue isn’t widespread. He said about five users out of every 1,000 have complained to Apple’s warranty service and that less than 2 percent have returned the device.
“We’re not feeling right now that we have a giant problem Apple was ‘stunned and upset and embarrassed’ after Consumer Reports declined to endorse the iPhone 4, CEO Steve Jobs said. we need to fix,” Jobs said. “This has been blown so out of proportion that it’s incredible. I know it’s fun to have a story, but it’s less fun when you’re on the other end of it.”
Analysts have criticized Apple’s first responses to reports of reception problems as dismissive. Earlier, Apple said the problem with the phone was primarily a software issue, with iPhones displaying more cell phone signal “bars” than they should have. Apple issued a software update Thursday that it said would make the number of bars shown on the phone’s face more accurate.
But Consumer Reports painted the problem as much broader. On Friday, the magazine said the free cases were “a good first step toward Apple identifying and finding a solution for the signal-loss problem of the iPhone 4.”
Jobs apologized to buyers who had less-than-perfect experiences with the new device: “We’re going to do whatever it takes to make them happy, and if we can’t make them happy, we’re going to give them a full refund and say … we’re going to do better next time.”