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.
Steve's response was very poor. Maybe his lower
fashion standard is moving into quality, too.
With 3.25 B qtrly profit, why not stimulate the
economy, hire more people to TEST his iPhone 4
instead of what-not plausible deniability?
C'mon Steve. How many Mercedes can you drive?
I agree with CamilleK that it is a matter of relative accountability.
Yes, as consumers we should expect the best and not let greedy companies (or typically top management) push products out before they are ready. But, it is a matter of risk/cost management. The problem is not as bad a some.
Still, a dropped call at the wrong time could have dire consequences. Apple should not have rushed this one.
When firms begin to miss serving the perception of customers, they miss being innovative. Apple must not defend that Apple 3 worked while Apple 4 problem must be explained away. That killed Toyota. All they must do now is to begin a fix or quickly plan a new generation. And market should punish them because market rewards their success as well if the market is fair. If Palm had had this problem, many will not care but the market will still say ' they missed it' and punish them. Apple needs the same to get back to making things that work well.
I agree that something must've been terribly wrong with the reception on the iphone4, for it to be highlighted in such manner. Nobody complains about regular call drops. That Apple has tried to justify it, is sad, especially for a company which builds on its excellence image. I am sure they are shipping new sets with the problem rectified, unless it is a major design flaw, in which case the future of iphone 4 is bleak. Refunds or free cases are not positive solutions. They imply a degradation of the brand and will kill the consumer loyalty.
Entire design community knows, how difficult the task of antennae design is. Which begs the question, how is it possible for Apple to get it wrong? Did Apple ignore this in a design trade-off hoping to get by customers who swear by the brand?
We understand when it is a virus threat to a software. Simply because, software is targeted by malicious software which could be developed by an equal intellect. There is nothing to prevent virus attacks until the web is free and brilliant people are not on the correct payrolls. (Or are they??) But, a hardware failure in standard operation conditions demands more than a generalizing statement. It demands circuit analysis, hardware troubleshooting and probably a re-design!
There is a clear line between a professional resolution and an excuse, in my opinion, trying to justify the iPhone 4 problem is just an excuse.
as a person working in QA position for many years, I believe we engineers should be constantly raising the quality of our products and do not sacrifice that to meet faster market delivery, etc.etc.
Hope this antennagate will remind Apple to regain its quality level.
There is a tendency to pile on a misstep by a leading company with sometimes uncalled for over-reaction. An oil spill is one thing (calling for accountability applies here), a dropped call is another. Toyota was a bit slow in reacting but they had corrective actions and they ended up being unfairly mis-characterized.
Apple and Toyota have a lot of goodwill and built-in loyalty through years of excellent service and engineering. This too shall pass. I am a loyal customer of both and Apple can drop my calls anytime considering the joy and satisfaction they have provided me so far with their dazzling products and user friendliness.
When there is a call drop, user wouldn't know the exact reason because a mobile system is so complicated. It requires many parties diligence to ensure the quality of service. Parties include mobile device suppliers, mobile network infrastructure suppliers and mobile network service providers. Years back when Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson were the 3 primary mobile phone suppliers in the market, they first competed in size. When the size of a mobile phone gets shrank, the antenna size is inevitable gets smaller. Sensitivity becomes an issue. Then, they competed in reception. Antenna technology gets evolved.
For a long time, 3G got nowhere. Video call wasn't popular at all. The demand of hi-speed data on the move wasn't high. The primary use of 3G network in Europe and Asia were MMS and stock checker. Apple create a door for 3G. I admire Apple creativity on iPhone which is truly the most popular mobile device. It's more than a phone and smaller than a computer. It's a breakthrough to the stumbling 3G market. I appreciate the idea of embedding an antenna into the case. It's innovative and extremely brave. What I have question about Jobs is he is putting the other mobile devices on the same boat as iPhone 4. I didn't check every smart phone in the market. I can't verify Jobs' claim. Nonetheless, I couldn't believe Apple would create a product which has the same flaw as the others. After all, Apple didn't create OSX with a blue screen.
It would be great if a dropped call (not attributed to any button being pushed by mistake or to loss of power) triggers a micro-refund by carrier/device mfgr. You will gets this fixed in no time.
What I think is deplorable is our acceptance of software/hardware that constantly requires the purchase of virus checkers and reboots after updates. Products
(including PCs) should have a 'no-reboot, no-virus' guarantee . I am with you Junko. Time for a consumer bill of rights.
Since when the dropped call is OK? I mean, I understand that it has unfortunately become the fact of life these days; but really, should we consumers really lower our expectations to that level? Or more importantly, is that what the antenna designers and cell phone design engineers expect?
Yeah, I am fed up with this "rebooting" culture.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.