I guess we should not be surprised that Apple dismiss their iPhone 4 antenna problem as being a software glitch. Afterall, they describe products such as the iPad as ‘magical’ so the laws of physics can’t possibly apply to their even more popular iPhone! It turns out that Apple have, for years, made a mistake when visually displaying the strength of signal and over-stated it by showing too many bars. This means one of two things:
a/ Apple are incompetent and have had a rather basic error in their software for a very long time
b/ Apple have been deliberately exaggerating the signal strength for years to try to reduce complaints regarding their partner AT&T’s network coverage
Personally, I suspect the latter. Where I am confused, however, is how Apple think that reducing the appearance of network coverage will in any way fix the problem iPhone users (particularly the left-handed ones) appear to be having with reception. Signal strength will still decrease significantly, regardless of how Apple decide to dress it up with a software update.
The way Apple are handling this relatively minor problem is turning into a PR disaster. First they said that customers should not hold their phone ‘that way’, now their frankly patronising public statement. In the meantime, angry customers have already launched a class-action suit and the media is enjoying watching Apple squirm. Apple need to take a leaf out of Toyota’s book here and show some humility rather than pretend that their customers are wrong. With in excess of $40billion in cash they could easily afford to give any unhappy customers a free ‘bumper’ or case, yet they instead continue to throw fuel on the fire.
I imagine in the coming days there will be a proper scientific study that shows without any doubt the potential negative effect on an iPhone’s unique antenna design from holding it ‘wrong’. I hope Apple decide to stop digging themselves deeper before they end up bursting the ‘magical’ image the company has. Considering the large range of equally capable Android phones being released, stumbling now could be extremely damaging.