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?