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Apple has been holding a highly unusual press conference to clam fears about the iPhone 4 and the 'death grip' problems some users have experienced. Unfortunately, Steve Jobs seems to be in two minds about what message to get across. On the one hand he says there is no problem, on the other he's giving away free cases to solve it...

The iPhone 4 may have sold more than any other iPhone in the shortest period, but it has also brought with it the most bad press and a wave of consumer anger courtesy of the now infamous problem with reception when held in a certain way. Known as the iPhone 4 death grip, unfortunately this method is the most common when holding a touchscreen smartphone device such as the iPhone. Even more unfortunately, Steve Jobs himself angered consumers after reportedly telling one buyer who complained 'not to hold it like that then'. Now Jobs has been forced into backtracking and doing something that Apple is not used to, holding an unscheduled 'on-campus' press conference to try and fire-fight the growing media bad publicity storm and calm the consumer ill feeling and concern. That press conference is just now coming to an end, and DaniWeb can reveal exactly what Apple and Steve Jobs have done to solve the iPhone 4 reception problem.

After playing a spoof 'fanbois' video Steve Jobs took to the stage and, standing in front of a banner announcing 'we're not perfect' stated that he wanted to make everyone happy and Apple engineers had been working on the problem for 22 days straight instead of sticking its head in the sand.

Mind you, in mitigation Jobs also insisted that the Antenna problems were not experienced by the iPhone alone and went as far as demonstrating similar problems on a BlackBerry Bold, insisting that all phones have weak spots.

However, Jobs insisted that the iOS 4 update which went live last night will help ease the issue for most users by implementing a new algorithm to display a more accurate signal bar graphic, so the 'drop' will not look as dramatic if and when experienced.

Jobs admitted that Apple had "screwed up" the signal display algorithm, but also revealed it has spent $100 million on a purpose built signal/antenna test facility.

As for the extent of the problem itself, Jobs claims it has seen a return rate for the iPhone 4 of 1.7% compared to a return rate of 6% for the iPhone 3GS. Indeed, Jobs says that only 0.55% of customers who have bought an iPhone 4 have contacted them to complain. He has admitted, however, that it has a higher rate of dropped calls than the 3GS but only to the extent of 1 more dropped call per 100 made.

And the solution, other than the iOS 4 update? To provide every iPhone 4 owner with a 'bumper' case, or a refund it they have already purchased one.

Jobs even told the press that he thinks the higher rate of dropped calls can be attributed to the lack of suitable cases, meaning more people are holding a 'naked' phone, which is always likely to make reception worse.

What Apple will not be doing, Jobs insisted in response to questioning, is change the iPhone 4 antenna design, claiming "we don't think we have a problem". So why the press conference, why the free bumper cases and why the iOS 4 update huh Steve?

Edited by happygeek: added intro

Attachments iphone4fix.jpg 24.24 KB

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by Johnw2738
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Considering a couple of emails I have had regarding this story already, maybe I should clarify a few points:

Yes, of course I am happy that Apple is doing something to resolve consumer issues with the iPhone 4.

No, I do not think the use of a bumper case is an elegant solution. If you have to physically cover the antenna then surely the fact it comes 'naked' makes it a design fault and the iPhone should be recalled.

Yes, I am hugely confused by the Steve Jobs position which appears to be something along the lines of 'all phones have these signal problems, updating the OS will help, adding a bumper case will help, the iPhone 4 has no signal problem'.

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I disagree with the tone and points you've tried to make here. First, since i have never, and I am being VERY serious, NEVER EVER seen anyone with a iPhone without a case on it, I don't understand how then this is unreasonable? Second We have two iPhone 4's one we got on day two the other a week ago and neither has displayed this issue even when trying. So as far as I m concerned my phone has no issue. Third, CNN today had to even time lapse its reporter trying for 3 minuets to get the phone to drop some bars and even then it never lost all. I agree with Steve, my two iPhone 4's and the two people in my office that also have them and have tried to reproduce this, don't have a problem! If you do, and you don't want to put a case on it, return the phone! BTW: covering the camera lens with your finger will also render the camera unable to function properly. FYI! :-)

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lol awesome reply there 'don't do that then' its sooo true i know its a bit of a pain and i wouldn't consider it a solution but honestly cant the user's just hold the phone by the front and back (theres space by the home key) just for the mean time?

personally id love to see a spoof app released that made use of the 'death grip' star trek style id imagin most people would see the triviality of this teething problem if they could play an app where u run around squeezing your phone trying to ko a hysterical red shirt by performing the 'death grip' lol does anyone know if theres a signal checking call in apple sdk?

oh didnt see u posting there notellinyou but just a few things whil you may be perfectly happy with your i phone and even all (the somewhat limited amount of people you know with iphones) might be happy some people aren't you can't get away from that even apple them selfs admitted there where problems for some customers just because you see no problem doesnt mean they dont exist, i phones dont come with cases for a reason and no its not so that you can have the joy of picking your own to help 'personalize' it personally i feel passionately that when i buy a product it should do what it said it'd do and that it should be mine (since i payed for it) apples attitude of hands off our touch has annoyed me for sometime and i dont like the thought that their going to tell future coustomers that if they want reliable service from their phones their going to have to shell out for this extra thing because of something that is apples fault (however innocently it was made) finally what was it steve jobbs said in the iphone 4 key note speech or whatever 'it doesn't do what the description say it does' (referring to applications denails) if you pay good money and put your trust in a new product just turning around when it dosnt work and say well tough S's isn't good enough and it saddeds me to feel that it is, i actually think this whole thing is rather dumb and am pleased to see apple sorting the problems out but regardless if it needs a case to cover the aerial thats ment to improve signal that that is a design fault by definition as the product doesn't operate under defined acceptable peramiters it should have come with some solution to that not with a note telling you to drop by and buy something else to get acceptable use out of the product.

sorry for the angry reply but apple got my goat way back when the made 1st gen i touches useless as you have to pay for a software update to use their apps and your not allowed to add your own

Edited by popin: add reply

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First, since i have never, and I am being VERY serious, NEVER EVER seen anyone with a iPhone without a case on it, I don't understand how then this is unreasonable?

Well, I was in central London on Monday for a meeting and here's what I noticed without even really trying:

Charing Cross Station - 4 people using an iPhone without a case
London Bridge Station - 6 people using an iPhone without a case
Tottenham Court Road - 2 people using an iPhone without a case
Oxford Street - 3 people using an iPhone without a case
Cleveland Street - 1 person using an iPhone without a case

So, just in the course of one rush hour train journey and walk through a busy bit of London lasting no longer than 40 minutes I spotted a total of 16 naked iPhones in use.

OK, hardly scientific, but then neither is 'I've never, never, ever' to be fair. :)

Thing is, I wouldn't have bothered counting had it not been for your comment popping into my head when my train from my parking spot in South London was stopped at London Bridge and I happened to see a chap on the platform engrossed in his naked iPhone. After that I started looking for them and they are everywhere. maybe it's a British/American cultural difference? But whatever, it certainly might explain why this issue is a very real problem for some folk.

Edited by happygeek: n/a

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I've never ever used a case for my iPhone (or any phone in the past). They're bulky, get in way and rarely protect the phone. None of my friends or colleagues use a case either, maybe you're right and it's a US thing.

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ya ya ...even i got the signal problem sometimes :-( but i dont have anyother problem than that :-)

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The last poster have not reply since last year, dude
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May his soul rest in peace , he was a great asset for the cellular industry, i am talking about steve!

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