Apple's iPhone 4 – What Should Apple do?

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

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Friday, July 16, 2010
Jobs Takes the Stage to Take on ‘Antennagate’


By Kathryn Glass


Apple Inc. (AAPL: 249.9, -1.55, -0.62%) chief executive Steve Jobs took the stage in Cupertino, Calif., and promised free cases to all iPhone 4 users, in an attempt to quell media reports about the recently released smartphone’s presumed hardware flaw — dubbed the “death grip” glitch or “antennagate” by some in the media and tech community.

The phone, which has sold more than three million units since its release just three weeks ago, has been criticized by users and tech reviewers for losing bars or having its signal disrupted when the bottom left-hand corner of the phone is covered.

Jobs opened the press conference touting the phone’s popularity and sales success, calling it “perhaps the best product we’ve ever made at Apple,” and referencing the fact that it “already has the highest customer satisfaction rating of any iPhone ever and of any smartphone out there.”

The chief executive tried to put the problem into perspective, explaining that the number of users who have called to report reception problems was less than one percent of users, at just 0.55%.  The number of users that have returned the iPhone 4 is also just 1.7%, far lower than the return rate on the iPhone 3GS, which had a return rate of 6%, in the early days of its release.

Jobs went onto explain that other popular smartphones on the market experience a similar drop in signal when held a certain way, showing videos of Research in Motion’s (RIMM: 52.51, -3.13, -5.63%) Blackberry Bold, Google’s (GOOG: 459.605, -34.415, -6.97%) HTC Droid Eris and the Samsung Omnia II losing bars.

“This is life in the smartphone world,” Jobs said. “Phones aren’t perfect.”

Jobs said the media attention the phone received had been blown out of proportion, but then admitted the phone drops more calls than the iPhone 3GS.

“The iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per hundred more than the iPhone 3GS. Less than one additional call per hundred,” Jobs said.  “Even less than one is too much for us. We’re trying to find out why.”

Jobs said the company had released a new version of iOS on Thursday, to be downloaded by users, which fixes the bug. The company has also promised to give out free bumper cases, which appear to correct the problem to all iPhone 4 users and all who purchase an iPhone 4 before Sept. 30.  Users can apply for the case online and can select from multiple styles.

Shares of Apple were trading at around $250.49 during the press conference.  Following the presentation, the stock moved to $252.11, up 66 cents on the day.

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