Jobs Turns iPhone 4 Flaw into Industry Challenge

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

5. Will this happen on Verizon's network?

There is rampant speculation that Apple will be bringing the iPhone 4 to Verizon's network. At the press conference last week, Jobs made no mention of Verizon or the possibility of his smartphone ever coming to that carrier's network. But during the question-and-answer session, Jobs was quick to point out that San Francisco-based users might be having trouble connecting to AT&T's network because of the difficulties the carrier has bringing service to a big city like that. It was a quick jab at the carrier, but it caused some to wonder if it's just another example of Jobs setting the market up for a Verizon iPhone. It seems highly likely that the iPhone 4, antenna problems and all, will be coming to Verizon's network soon.

6. Is this going to be the norm going forward?

Will every future version of the iPhone have antenna problems? At this point, it certainly seems that way. At the press conference, Jobs made it clear that due to the design quirks of smartphones nowadays, devices have antenna problems when they're being held in a certain way. He even showed signals dropping on competitors' devices to drive the point home. But he made no mention of the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 6, and whether those products will suffer from antenna woes. Given his comments, it seems that Jobs is setting up the market to accept antenna issues going forward, which might only mean that future iPhones will have the same problems.

7. What about those who don't like using a case?

Steve Jobs said that if users are dropping calls while using the iPhone 4, there is a quick and easy solution: a case. That's why Apple plans to give all iPhone 4 owners a free case. But what about those folks who don't like using a case, and would rather have a device that works the way they expect it to? At this point, those people are just about out of luck. The iPhone 4 is one of the most beautifully designed smartphones ever released. Some folks just don't want to cover up its design, simply because Apple hasn't come up with a better solution yet. Apple is all about image and design. It should appreciate that putting a good-looking product into an ugly case doesn't appeal to its customers.

8. How will Apple address industry-wide antenna issues?

Jobs attempted to show at his press conference that it's not just the iPhone 4 that's experiencing antenna issues. But by doing so, he also showed that Apple, like the competition, now must find a way to improve reception and antenna without sacrificing the quality of a smartphone. Jobs said that he would like nothing more than to see Apple lead the way in improving antenna design, but didn't say how his company will achieve that. Maybe it's time he starts thinking about it. The iPhone 4 has brought an industry-wide issue to the masses and as the leader in that space, it's up to Apple to fix it.

9. How will Apple respond to the competition?

Jobs also managed to irk competing smartphone makers after he showed a few of their models that experience signal-strength losses after being held with the now-infamous "death grip." Research In Motion especially didn't like being dragged through the mud for the sake of Apple proving a point. Now, it seems that Apple has caused a stir in the market that will see the company get pelted by even more marketing efforts on the part of companies such as RIM that want to make it clear that their products don't suffer from the same issues as the iPhone 4. Upon doing so, Apple will need to figure out how it will respond. It can either ignore the competition's marketing efforts or fire back. But rest assured that it will need to do something.

10. Is this all Apple will say?

Apple said little about the iPhone 4's antenna problems at its recent press conference. Yes, the company decided to offer free cases and it admitted that there was a problem, but with more questions now than there were before, some might be wondering if Apple will say anything else on the matter. Depending on how the next couple months go, Apple might be forced to address the problem again. But if things quiet down and the focus on the iPhone 4's antenna problems go away, it might be able to pretend like this never happened. At this point, there's no telling if Apple will say anything else about the iPhone 4. But it would be nice if it did.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, 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

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