Apple's Jobs - iPhone 4 drops more calls, others lose reception too
Well, that was a little different. Apple CEO Steve Jobs took to the stage this afternoon to explain the End of Days seemingly bought about by the iPhone 4's reception issues, and threw in a rare Q&A for the hell of it.
It became fairly clear it was a damage limitation exercise, to prevent any tumble in Apple's share price or harm to credibility. 'Bullish' might be one word to describe it. No fans moist at every slide, no nauseating whooping and hollering. This was a man not enjoying his slice of humble pie.
"You know, we're not perfect. We know that, you know that. And phones aren't perfect either. But we want to make all of our users happy. If you don't know that about Apple, you don't know Apple. We love making our users happy."
Job began by claiming Apple hax spent the three weeks trying to solve the engineering problem posed by the handset's behavior. But first they tested other handsets - the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the HTC Droid Eris and the Samsung Omnia II - and all seemingly suffered a loss of signal when held.
"These were all tested in areas of relatively weak signal strength. This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren't perfect. It's a challenge for the whole industry."
The key factor, which was reiterated in the Q&A session after the presentation, is that the handset tends to suffer most in areas of weak signal. Jobs went on to point out that just half of one percent of iPhone 4 customers had contacted Apple to complain about the issue, and many had claimed reception had improved. In another set of figures, Jobs revealed that 6% of iPhone 3GS handsets were returned by dissatisfied owners; less than 2% of iPhone 4s have been returned over a similar period.
What Jobs did admit, however, is that the iPhone 4 is dropping more calls - but it's an increase of less than one per 100 calls. Maybe the blogs have overstated the problem, but it's hardly an improvement, is it?
Job eventually backed off and made everyone feel shiny and special, by offering a full refund to all customers who return their iPhone 4 undamaged within 30 days. And for everyone else:
"Here's what we're going to do to make our users happy. The first part is the software update, that fixes the way the bars report and other bugs, that's out now. Second, people said the bumper fixes everything... 'why don't you give everybody a case'? Okay, we'll give you a free case."
Meanwhile, Jobs took the opportunity to shamelessly plug more product - the white iPhone 4 will be available from the end of July.