Apple has rightly taken some lumps for what now appears to have been an innovative but flawed iPhone 4 design, but the significance of the issue has been blown out of proportion.
The big news to emerge from Apple's "emergency" press conference in Cupertino, Calif., Friday (July 16), is that Steve Jobs, speaking about his company, actually uttered the phrase, "We're not perfect."
This surely has been taken as blasphemy by the throngs of people who stand and cheer Jobs's every word at Apple events and developers' conferences.
But seriously, while the Apple fanaticism that runs through a significant slice of the general public borders on ridiculous—and even a little bit creepy—this whole "antennagate" thing is getting a little silly, too.
Apple has rightly taken some lumps for what now appears to have been an innovative but flawed iPhone 4 design, causing some reception issues and some dropped calls. Several fixes have been suggested, including holding the phone a certain way and even covering the trouble spot on the phone's frame with a piece of duct tape. On Friday Jobs offered users a free protective case which reportedly remedies the issue and also said customers who are unhappy with the phone can return it for a full refund.
Admittedly, any product fix that involves duct tape is a black eye for any company, particularly one with Apple's reputation for quality. But this is also not the crime of the century. And it goes without saying that Apple engineers are working to solve the issue for future versions of the smartphone.
Like its predecessors, the iPhone 4 is a sleek, beautiful device which works as expected nearly all of the time. Sometimes it does not, and that can be annoying. But the dropped call, like the rush hour traffic jam, is a facet of modern life.
While there is healthy skepticism of Jobs's claim Friday that basically all smartphones suffer similar issues, the fact is that dropped calls happen all the time. Usually we don't know exactly why—network overload, phone design flaw, entering an area of spotty cell tower coverage. It's inconvenient, but the simplest fix is the one we usually employ—call whoever we were talking to back and resume our conversation. Usually, they understand and we move on.
With all of the antennas
build into our modern gadgets, streaming signals left and right and down
the middle, we have a tendency to take this technology for granted. We
only notice it, really, when it's not working properly. And that is a
very small percentage of the time. That is really the amazing part,
considering all that is involved in connected cell phone calls or
synching to our wireless routers.
Having the dropped call as a common and well accepted phenomenon is not all bad. Say you are talking with your boss or spouse and are caught off guard by a difficult question. Simply hang up, gather your thoughts, then call them back with the perfect answer. You can tell them that your new iPhone 4 has some reception issues. They'll understand.