Apple addresses iPhone 4 problem


On Friday, Apple CEO, Steve Jobs held a press conference to announce the iPhone maker’s plans to fix the dropped calls problem with their new iPhone 4. There was a lot of talk about whether or not they would issue a recall or just some sort of fix for the issue. They decided to go with a fix…sort of. Their solution to the problem is to give every iPhone 4 owner a free phone case. Apparently, a simple case on the phone will solve the problem.

One would think that they are working on a permanent solution to the problem, which would be to fix the actual design flaw the phone has. This obviously takes some time to accomplish so the current free case policy is in place until September 30th of this year. The trouble is that at the end of this month 17 additional countries will be getting their iPhones, including Canada. This means all those countries will be offered iPhones which they know has a design flaw. That will make some people (my included, probably) think twice before buying it. It also gives a lot of fuel for competitors to make rather funny ads. One idea that keeps popping up in my mind would be a commercial for an Android phone that says: “No condom required for our phone.”

The press conference was conducted in a very similar way that Apple and Jobs usually conducts new product announcements in their annual keynote address. Steve Jobs spent more time discussing the fact that this problem is not only for the iPhone, but all smartphones, including all their major competitors. This may very well be true however, some people will not be pleased that Apple did not simply mention that fact and focus more time on how they will fix the problem. It will be interesting to see how and if the competitors Jobs mentioned as also having the same flaw will react. If it is in fact true, then it is possible that they will not comment on it at all and sweep it under the rug. However, if the competitors’ phones have a smaller problem than the iPhone’s, I would expect them to counter fairly hard.

I will also be looking quite closely to see how Apple fixes the design flaw for the medium term. The antenna that causes the problem is an all new design that wraps around the phone. It will be interesting to see how different the revised version will look. It is possible that Apple will have that new version as soon as the end of September, which is when they will revisit the free phone case policy.

Some people may actually return their iPhones or will not purchase these flawed ones. If someone is of the mind set that they do not feel it is justified to spend the money on a new phone that should be the worlds best, only to have to cover it up at all times, they will likely not buy the current iPhone 4. I am grappling with this decision myself now. These people will have decided against it purely out of principal. I can completely empathize with this view point as I am thinking the same thing on the one hand. For me, it will likely come down to waiting until the end of September to see if Apple has fixed the flaw or if they are close to doing so. If they are, then I will simply wait until the revised version arrives. If not, perhaps I will get this one and put a ‘condom’ on it, or maybe just go with another phone all together. I suspect many people will do the same. We will see in a few months.