Apple is, without question, one of the most sophisticated and successful consumer electronics companies in the world. Since Apple entered the retail smartphone market and introduced the iPhone in 2007, it has seen ever-increasing financial success. People really want iPhones.
We think that the iPhone 4 is a remarkable device. But it is inherently flawed.
When the iPhone 4 was officially announced on June 7, 2010, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the public that the new design for the iPhone 4's antenna would provide better reception than previous versions of the iPhone. The new iPhone features a metal antenna that encircles the entire outside edge of the phone, but it turns out that this antenna often does not provide better reception. Touching the antenna with your hand will limit its effectiveness, making it difficult for the phone to send and receive data and phone calls.
The evidence of the reception issue appears to be very clear (click to read).
There also appears to be evidence that this issue was known to Apple before the iPhone 4 was released, and was the subject of internal debate between engineers and industrial designers at the company.
Most disturbing, however, has been Apple's reaction: tell customers that it is a "non-issue", that customers should hold the phone differently, or they should pay $29 for a rubber case (or "bumper") that Apple is selling (which is the first time Apple has ever sold its own case for the iPhone, as opposed to a case produced by a third-party). This is the party line from Steve Jobs down to Apple customer support.
Steve Jobs Describes Signal Strength as Non-Issue
Apple's Internal Leak about Antenna Troubleshooting
So consumers appear to be left with a phone that has a significant design flaw, which the company was aware of prior to launch and never disclosed to the 1.7 million people who purchased the phone -- namely, a phone that does not work very well when you hold it in your hand. At present, consumers' only remedies are to pay for a case that may fix this problem and make their phones usable, on top of the premium they are already paying for the phone, or to return their phones and pay a 10% restocking fee (or more). We are looking to see what other remedies may be available.
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