What will Apple have to say about iPhone4 Antenna fix?


Apple has scheduled a press conference today to discuss its latest iPhone 4 and we just might be looking at that expected software fix for the now infamous reception issues plaguing the device.

Apple has already acknowledged that holding the iPhone 4 in a certain way — covering the lower left end of the device — can impede its reception, but was quick to point the real blame on an incorrect formula it was using to calculate how many reception bars appear on the device. Earlier this week, Consumer Reports said after testing it could not recommend the iPhone 4 due to what it called a hardware flaw with the antenna.

Traditionally Apple is a company that likes to arrogantly bury its head in the sand when it comes to any problems with its products, and isn’t shy about trying to bury everyone else’s head in the sand right next to it. And thus far, the firm has done an exemplary job of this head burying when it comes to the iPhone 4 antenna problem.

There is also evidence out there that Apple senior engineer and antenna expert Ruben Caballero last year informed CEO Steve Jobs that the device’s design may cause reception issues — concerns also reportedly raised by an unidentified carrier partner.

Some observers have cast doubt on the idea that Apple would outright recall the iPhone 4; more seem to think the company may opt to offer free bumper cases (normally $29) that address the reception issue.

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As a former network engineer, based on the limited information I have learned about this issue, the only fix that will really work is a hardware fix. Software fixes no matter what type of device cannot correct hardware failure, hardware location, etc. Apple needs to say they will come out with a 4S and give a FREE upgrade to all the people that currently have the 4S. No, I’m not just saying that to get a free phone because right now I still have the 3GS but I say it because I think Apple should look at how they can keep their current & future customers happy.

Anyway, It’s a shame to see so many issues with the iPhone 4 after so many people waited for it’s release. What’s more of a shame is that Apple knew about some of these issues already, such as the problem with reception.

If a brand new company brought out a product and then told you needed to pay a further $29 to make it work properly, you wouldn’t bother. But Apple have created such a loyal following that people may just put up with what issues there are for the sake of owning the latest Apple product. Personally, I’d be happier with an older iPhone – at least then the issues are all ironed out.

However, it’s also interesting to see how much excitement new technologies can bring. New technology and innovation is important for new business, illustrated by entrepreneurship grants and new business competitions .

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and telezoo.com that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @ awesomize.me

5 Responses to What will Apple have to say about iPhone4 Antenna fix?

  1. Isaac Chang says:

    Well, you heard the man, he fixed both! An update and a bumper!

    This surfaced a lot of underlined problems in phones, meaning phones from other manufacturers; and also the carrier. Software code that defines those signal bar, hardware on phone and network that define the strength or through optimization to define or catch a stronger signal reception and transmission.

    The challenge in States is that, typically 850MHz on GSM, they used a lot, really a lot. This resulting of setting more base station for the coverage. Now, most of us know that the carrier is working hard on this coverage issue. Why would them use 850MHz and not others? They probably should have used 1900Mhz instead with more based station setups in the early stage. Well, if we do the math and reason, we all probably know why this happened.

    A lot of times, carriers, I mean, some, they reluctant to optimize their network for some … handsets. I came across this experience. This, rejected a lot of interesting handsets for user and their benefits. I even spoke to the carrier engineer about optimizing their network. Sad to hear, we just saw the dictator instead of a king.

    Through this, Apple brought phone manufacturer and even the carrier to attention(though they were not named in the presentation), that software, hardware and network are related, problems can always be solved. The challenge is do ‘We love our users’ a lot to do that?

    just my opinion, correct me if i’m wrong

  2. Mike Ross says:

    I think Apple will continue to say that it can be fixed with software upgrades, but the last time I checked antennas are hardware and that’s why the scotch tape over the problem area seems to fix the problem. I don’t imagine that they want a recall on a few million phones, so it will be interesting how they will solve this one. I wish them and the users well.

  3. Elias Shams says:

    Apple needs a lot on luck on this one

  4. Roger Harmon says:

    This is much too do about nothing. Apple put the antenna on the outside of the case to improve performance. You know, the lack of performance that was getting so many complaints. Remember when all cell phone had external antennas? And if you held the rubber ducky antenna while transmitting it didn’t work so well? So the answer is simple: Don’t put you hand on the antenna! Get a case. At our company, before employees are issued a cell phone, they must buy an approved case. So a case not only protects the phone when it is dropped, it insulates the antennas so you can’t short them out with your hand.
    So get your free case or bumper from Apple and get on with your life.

  5. It is definitely a bug they shud have identified pre-release. But in typical Steve style, Apple is trying to convert this issue into an opportunity by taking on competition and having an aggressive refund and free bumper offer.

    Watch the Steve Jobs media meet below –
    http://mashable.com/2010/07/16/apple-antenna-press-event/

    I think competition has been very slow in taking this up to get back some lost market share.

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