Steve Jobs held a press conference today concerning the issues surrounding Apple’s iPhone 4 and conceded that the antenna reception issue was a problem with engineering, but added that it was an issue inherent in all current smartphones.
Jobs said Apple would provide free cases, which reportedly alleviate the reception blockage, and would refund those who had already purchased cases.
He also made clear that Apple could not make enough bumpers for the 3 million iPhone 4’s currently in use, so other cases will be sourced for users to choose from. The free case offer lasts until September 30.
During the PowerPoint presentation regarding the issue, Jobs showed data points that demonstrated the signal drop-off occurring with the Blackberry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and the Samsung Omnia II. The data was intended to show that all smartphones, when gripped in certain ways, lose signal strength.
During the press conference, a media person from the audience holding his Blackberry Bold told Jobs that he couldn’t get the signal on his phone to drop like Jobs had demonstrated in his PowerPoint. He asked that Jobs show him how to do it, to which Jobs replied, “You may not see it in certain areas.”
Jobs said the drop-offs only occur in areas of weak signal strength.
“So we could have gone on and on,” Jobs said, indicating the pervasive issue. “Most smartphones take a hit exactly the same way. These were all tested in areas of relatively weak signal strength. This is life in the smartphone world.”
Jobs stood by his iPhone 4, which he has called the best product Apple has made thus far, stating that only one half of one percent of all customers who’ve purchased the iPhone 4 have complained. He also compared the return rates to those of the 3G; iPhone 3GS had a 6.0 percent return rate, while iPhone 4 has only had a 1.7 percent return rate.
Jobs displayed the dropped call data from AT&T, which showed that the iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 than does the 3GS. Ironically, however, Jobs stated in the same conference that the iPhone 4 antenna is an improvement from that of the 3GS.
Jobs delared that neither Apple nor the iPhone 4 were perfect, but said the attention focused on the issue, especially from the media, has been overblown.
“ Maybe it’s human nature—when you’re doing well, people want to tear you down. I see it happening with Google, people trying to tear them down. And I don’t understand it… what would you prefer?” Jobs said, adding: “We’ve been here for 34 years…haven’t we earned the credibility and the trust of the press?”
Still, many people scratch their heads. If it’s happening with all smartphones, why have consumers solely clamored about the iPhone 4 this whole time?