While Apple Dithers New Android Phones Hit Market

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-07-18 Print this article Print


Was Jobs making this up? Does he perhaps hold press conferences in one of those multigazillion dollar anechoic chambers? Or did he find out that you can attenuate a radio signal if you stand in just the right place on the stage? Who knows?

The fact is that Apple is the only smartphone company that has designed a device that requires the user to make electrical contact with the antenna for it to be used. The company has now found out that this poses usability problems, as has been previously revealed here by eWEEK. Instead of taking responsibility for overruling its engineers in its never-ending quest for coolness, it blames the users, the carrier, other phone companies, and of course, the press.

And of course, he cast aspersions on Consumer Reports, the magazine that had the nerve to actually run scientifically sound tests that could be repeated, and found the device wanting. And while I have some sympathy for Consumer Reports, I also remember what has happened in the past when companies have challenged their testing ability. History is littered with the carcasses of the cars that flip over, the appliances that burst into flames and the smartphones that don't work when you put your finger, well, here.

So in response to all of this, Apple has been forced to do exactly what Consumer Reports said they must do. That is to fix the problem, and to do it for free. To quiet the masses, Jobs announced that anyone who has bought a case for their iPhone 4 can get reimbursed. He also said that the company would offer free cases to anyone buying an iPhone 4 until Sept. 30. But, of course, if you bought the case from anyone besides Apple, all bets are off. You're stuck with the cost.

So now Apple is probably feeling just swell. His Imperial Highness has once again vanquished the naysayers; the investors have been kept at bay; the accessory makers are once again dumped on; and all is well with the world. Kind of.

While the Cupertino Crowd was scheming and figuring how many bumpers it would have to write off, the Android world was releasing a series of devices that are facing the iPhone 4 with faster operation, bigger screens, actual wireless networks that function and customer-focused policies.

Right now, only Apple's most passionate fans think this is an excellent product. Sure, it really is pretty good, once you get past those little problems. But so are the Droid X and the Evo. And they don't have antenna problems. And they don't have arrogance as a marketing technique.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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