iPhone 4 Antenna Issues: 10 Questions Steve Jobs Needs to Answer

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-07-19 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage in Cupertino July 16 to address iPhone 4 problems. But after he was done, he left more questions for consumers and enterprise customers to ask.

On July 16, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at an iPhone press conference and told those in attendance that as hard as they might try to only blame Apple for the iPhone 4's problems, they need to take a long, hard look at the rest of the industry and realize that Apple isn't alone.

Jobs also attempted to show that the iPhone 4 compares quite nicely to the iPhone 3GS and the device's competition in terms of dropped calls and overall quality. All the while, he clearly made his intentions known: he is ready and willing to fight to preserve his company's brand and the iPhone 4's market appeal. And he won't allow anyone or any company to stand in his way.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that Apple is now safe from criticism. Jobs might have convinced a few folks that his company's smartphone really is an ideal offering, but as people continue to suffer with antenna problems, Apple has answered few questions. For more than an hour, Jobs spoke, and over that span, he revealed little. It's unfortunate and it's causing consumers and even some enterprise customers to ask more even more questions.

Let's take a look at some of the questions that Apple and Jobs still haven't adequately addressed.

1. What's the real problem?

At his press conference, Jobs continued to drive the point home that, at the time, it had only been 22 days since the company started working on the iPhone 4's antenna problems. He was indicating that there simply wasn't enough time in that span to adequately determine exactly why the iPhone 4 is dropping more calls than its predecessor. The conclusion that Apple provided was that it's simply the nature of smartphones in today's marketplace. Unfortunately, that answer wasn't satisfactory. The market still has no idea what the real problem is with the iPhone 4. And until it's confirmed that it's either a hardware-design problem or a software bug, the guesses will keep coming.

2. What happens after Sept. 30?

Steve Jobs said that those who want a free case will be able to get one through the end of September. But the Apple CEO didn't provide any details on what will happen after September. He said during a question-and-answer session that he plans to re-evaluate the situation at that time to determine Apple's next move, but gave no indication of what kind of future decisions he might make. Apple might decide to continue giving consumers free cases through the end of the year. It might suspend the offer and come up with a real fix. Or it just might ignore the issue altogether. At this point, no one knows.

3. What about future versions of the iPhone 4?

Apple obviously knows that there is a problem with the iPhone 4 that needs to be addressed. And yet, Jobs made no indication that the company will change the design of future iPhone 4 units to save consumers from experiencing the problem. That ostensibly means that the iPhone 4 will remain unchanged in all future production cycles. On one hand, that might be a good thing, since the device is so aesthetically pleasing. But on the other hand, it could prove troublesome, since it's possible that a hardware-design flaw is causing all this trouble. Hopefully Apple will make a decision one way or the other as it continues to sell more smartphones.

4. Will the white iPhone 4 have the same problem?

An educated guess would say that the white version of the iPhone 4 will have the same antenna problems as the black version, but Apple made no indication that it would. It makes some sense. The consumer space is now fully aware of the iPhone 4's antenna issue. If Jobs came out and said that the white version would have the same problems, he might lose sales as consumers looked elsewhere for their next smartphone. By saying nothing, Jobs can keep the mystery alive and coax consumers that want to get their hands on the new iPhone to actually do so. If one had to guess, it probably would be safe to say that the white iPhone 4 will have antenna problems, but since Apple hasn't confirmed that, there is no way to know for sure until it launches.



 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...

 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel