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Secretive Apple shuffles out a fix to end customers' 3G woes

Apple’s iPhone  was recently barraged by reports that the device’s 3G was far below specifications and experiencing a broad array of difficulties.  The reports did relatively little to put a damper on sales, but a troubled Apple did begin working on a fix according to inside sources.

Now that fix for the 3G issues has finally arrived.  While it’s obvious what the update plans to fix, Apple has refused to comment on which bugs it remedied with the release.  Apple also has failed to return calls on the topic.  Josh Pigford, of the Apple Blog stated, "The information Apple gives is vague.  We're guessing it will sort problems like 3G glitches and lost calls."

Some say the silence from Apple is business as usual.  When Apple makes a mistake, it often fixes the problems with little fanfare and refuses comments (the notable exception being the latest MobileMe debacle).  Chris Neher, of stated, "This is the way Apple handles these issues."

While unconfirmed, blog sites have quoted Apple chief executive Steve Jobs as saying approximately 2 percent of 3G iPhone users, about 60,000 people at this time, are affected by the glitch.  Mr. Neher believes that its all much ado about nothing, and that the numbers are relatively small.  He added, "This is a big to-do at the moment but in a few weeks people will have forgotten what the issue was all about. It's because users expect more from Apple. There are many more users saying their iPhones work than not."

While his comments seem probably in a practical sense, they likely serve little comfort for the sizable group of users whose phones are not working.  Also, they serve an unsettling mark for Apple, as companies try to meet defect rates of around 0.0003 percent (six sigma) as opposed to 2 percent.

Reception to the update was mixed, with many users uncertain its effects.  Some bloggers wrote that text-messaging was quicker and call quality improved.  Bloggers at Engadget joked, "We've got the new firmware up and running, and it's true - those bugs have been fixed. Which bugs? Well, it's hard to say, but our voice suddenly sounds deeper, and we've noticed improved grammar during calls."

If reports that first leaked details of the problems are to be believed, the fix likely targets faulty software running on the Infineon chipset found in the phone.  Internal sources said Apple privately blamed Infineon for the problems.

This is the second fix for the phone.  It is packaged in iTunes as firmware update 2.0.2 and takes about 6 minutes to install.

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Apple is quite about the patch
By pauldovi on 8/21/2008 9:34:38 AM , Rating: 5
Their wouldn't want to affect some people's status in this world by letting them know they could of possibly been using a sub-par service.

Much keep the iSmug at 100%.

RE: Apple is quite about the patch
By Chaser on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Apple is quite about the patch
By acer905 on 8/21/2008 12:23:16 PM , Rating: 5
Call me old fashion and crazy... but when shopping for a phone, i look for something that is cheap and makes phone calls...

RE: Apple is quite about the patch
By Hare on 8/21/2008 12:27:51 PM , Rating: 1
That's just you, and what you want doesn't really matter...

People who buy an iPhone or some other smartphone look for a lot more. They want an internet tablet, mp3 player, mobile email and much more. Why on earth would anyone buy an iphone if all they are going to do is make phone calls...

RE: Apple is quite about the patch
By Iger on 8/22/2008 8:39:10 AM , Rating: 2
Give him a 6...
/signed :)

RE: Apple is quite about the patch
By invidious on 8/21/2008 9:55:59 AM , Rating: 4
The real problem is that 3G service is just not mature yet. I barely get 3G signal at all, anywhere. I leave 3G dissabled because I have never seen it get higher than 3 bars. It is mostly a problem with 3G availability but there are also claims that the iPhone is has worse 3G connectivity than other 3G phones.

2.0.2 does nothing to fix this, and this is a problem at affects far more than 2% of iPhone users. This article implies that 2.0.2 fixed the 3G problems on the iPhone when in reality it was only a fixes a problem that affects a few people.

I realize that Apple does not own or operate the 3G network, but they should be working with 3G to expand service to at least the point where it can be used reliably to make calls.

But with a bit of a reality check the Edge connnection is perfectly fine and I'm entirely happy with it and with the iPhone in general. I just think that if im paying for 3g I should be able to use it.

RE: Apple is quite about the patch
By Chaser on 8/21/2008 10:36:44 AM , Rating: 3
Without question 3G (or any cell coverage) is subjective to where you are trying to use it. I travel extensively and work in cities from coast to coast of varying sizes. I have no problems in smaller cities, larger cities, their airports, suburbs whatever so turning off 3G in lieu of Edge in unnecessary nor acceptable for me.

RE: Apple is quite about the patch
By HrilL on 8/21/2008 11:08:59 AM , Rating: 2
The iPhone does have worse 3G reception than other phones. My LG CU500 one of the first 3G phones will get 5 bars while my iPhone next to it will be getting 3. Also the speeds are slower in the same location on the iPhone than on my other phone. I tethered my other phone in order to test its speeds as the browser it has is too limited.

And you say edge works fine. I can't seem to get more than 5-6KB/s on edge with full bars and even with 2 bars of 3g it is by far faster and gets about 20-30KB/s. You must not be using email and browsing much like I do. But I hardly make calls since I like email by far more. So I never really felt the pain of dropped calls. Testing was done at

By koenshaku on 8/21/2008 12:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
by mature yet you mean that you're lucky to have 2 3g towers in your state by AT&T? Yes that is the case there are only two towers in IL and a lot of areas don't get 3G period as a result such as Rockfort IL they're SOL.

By grenableu on 8/21/2008 12:44:41 PM , Rating: 2
My iPhone 3G works flawlessly in 3 of the 4 cities I reguarly visit. In the fourth, its very spotty.

RE: Apple is quite about the patch
By MrPerez on 8/21/2008 1:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
"Hello i am iPhone, And i am a BlackBerry"

BB: Hey iPhone whats up?

iPhone: 100101101001101100

BB: Hey iPhone are you ok?

iPhone: Oh Hey! Blackberry, sorry i was ummm...

BB: Um What, OMG You where silently updating yourself wasn't you?

iPhone: I am sorry Blackberry it was something i had to deal by myself and no one could have known about it! :-(

BB: You dont see me sneaking around and silently updating myself!

BB: You!... You!... iSMUG!

Apple 3G
By wwwebsurfer on 8/21/2008 10:35:27 AM , Rating: 2
#1) Why buy a 3G phone when the vast majority of users can't use AT&T 3g due to availability issues.

#2) My 3G works in every even small sized city. Sprint just decided to go 3G while AT&T wanted to hold out for the next gen. Your loss.

RE: Apple 3G
By Hare on 8/21/2008 10:52:12 AM , Rating: 3
Newsflash. The rest of the modern world has 3G networks and the iPhone is also sold outside the states where 3G devices have been the standard for years...

RE: Apple 3G
By niaaa on 8/22/2008 9:04:02 AM , Rating: 3
even France is almost fully covered with 3G, We use our white flags as relay.

RE: Apple 3G
By AlexWade on 8/21/2008 10:55:12 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, to get Sprint 3G you have to use Sprint. Ugh. Who wants customer service that is rude to you, dropped calls, and being nickel and dimed to death? Not I. Why should Sprint go to 3G when they can't even do 1G right?

Note: I know AT&T is terrible. That isn't the point. The point is a tin can and a piece of string is better than Sprint.

RE: Apple 3G
By Chaser on 8/21/2008 10:55:30 AM , Rating: 3
Your conclusion reminds me of my philosophy class.

You state 3G doesn't work well for AT&T. How can you make such a broad assertion?

You then assert since Sprint works then everyone on AT&T is doomed?

And what exactly is "next gen 3G" that AT&T held out for?

Sprint? Here's some truth. NEXTEL Sprint is in serious financial trouble right now. Several of my friends that are in the middle of their contracts are wondering if Sprint can stay alive long enough to honor them. I had to use Sprint for several years, as my company provided Sprint phones because of cheaper pricing. It was one of the worst mistakes my company ever made. Sprint coverage and service outside of cities in rural areas was the worst. Consistently.

Even my mom can see whats wrong with this.
By MrPerez on 8/21/2008 1:06:43 PM , Rating: 2
Its funny how my mom was watching the news on TV and she saw a story into the iPhone problems and she asked me if what i had was an iPhone i told her "Hell No" My phone is a blackberry and it works just fine thanks.

Then she continued to watch the rest of the news and then said to me why would people buy a product thats giving people so much restrictions on the consumer, then she went along and gave me an example and asked me if i remembered when she would tell me to go to bed at 10pm or be home at 9pm on school days i said yeah, then she said this is what this company is doing to the consumers, Acting out the Big Brother.

Being able to turn off Apps remotely without consumer concent is a breach of privacy, that being said what else can they do remotely that they are not telling the consumer, heck she went on to say they arent even tell the consumers what problems they fixed on this so called update and yet people will defend such company? No thanks, the product can be "Cool" but thats about it.

When my mom said that to me i went along to explain to her that you cant even go to a Computer Parts store and build a clone MAC because you get sued and you cant use other music players with iTunes because they restrict that also.

She was out of words and just walked away.

If a parent can see such restrictions and find something wrong with them why are people spending money on a company that restricts the consumer?

like pauldovi so cleverly put it "iSmug" it is.

RE: Even my mom can see whats wrong with this.
By Hare on 8/21/2008 1:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
Your blackberry just works... as long as the blackberry servers are online. Right, and we have never seen any problems with them. And the UI is just spectacular in intuitive... Er, not. Btw, how many third party applications does your blackberry support and where can you download them? Did you buy just the blackberry or also an operator contract? Now that's freedom...

Apple can remotely turn off an application, so what? Do you think Apple is the only one with backdoors and silent updates. Do you even have a clue how many Windows apps call home all the time, including windows itself?

The iTunes music store sells songs with Apples DRM. There are many other examples from other vendors as well. Basically this is a problem in the record industry and not just Apple. Did you know that Apple also sells high quality music without DRM? Since they are pretty much the largest music distributer in the world, record companies insist on tight DRM.

Mac OS X is only supported on Apple machines. So basically no one is going to sue you if you install it on PC hardware as long as you don't distribute it and don't need any support. Apple doesn't support generic PC hardware because they don't want the trouble that comes with n+1 different hardware configurations. Of course they also make plenty of money with their own hardware sales.

Why do people buy Apple products? Because they get a product that they believe is worth the money. Seriously, how many iPhone users aren't happy with their device... Exactly, extremely few. Macs are the same thing, some people buy premium cars because they think the experience is better.

"iSmug" your entire message was childish and labeling huge groups of people simply because they bought a certain brand is stupid.

By lifeblood on 8/21/2008 1:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think his post was too off base. I like the iphone, especially the button-less interface, and I really want one. However, I also want it unlocked from AT&T, I want to be able to install apps from vendors other than apple, and I want to use something other than iTunes for music. That probably will never happen with an iPhone. That's ok though, I need only wait for a competitor to come out with a similar product to an iPhone but which gives me what I want. Somebody eventually will and then they will get my business.

RE: Even my mom can see whats wrong with this.
By MrPerez on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
By Hare on 8/21/2008 2:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, if your previous message was childish I don't even want to rate this one...

Don't you get it that what you want doesn't matter. Some other people WANT third party apps, mp3-player, a good internet browser and generally a phone that can do a lot more than just email. Could it be that you shouldn't judge people just because you have other needs? Same thing with OS.

You don't even know what a monopoly is so maybe you should stop using a big word like that. I won't go to your OS rant at all...

Btw. I'm a happy Vista user and I have a Nokia E71 phone without an operator contract and I'm able to install anything I want on that thing. Definately not a walled garden. I personally find the Nokia superior even though it doesn't have a touch screen. I love the physical qwerty and enterprise features that eclipse every other phone.

By jimbojimbo on 8/21/2008 2:33:29 PM , Rating: 1
I wouldn't say iphones are for geeks. They're really for the fashion sheeps. I will admit though that if you jailbreak it and get Cydia and Installer going you can do a hell of a lot with it. I just wish it had more buttons that that crap ass home button and all the empty space nearby. Oh well, form over function. The Apple way.

By Ricardo Dawkins on 8/21/2008 9:49:17 AM , Rating: 5
what fix ?
this thing is breaking the device, too.

RE: Seriously
By bnutz on 8/21/2008 11:22:36 AM , Rating: 1
I have a fix, find a wall a throw. Apple probably did not test these phones and used cheaper parts. When to much air goes to your head, it will eventually pop. They figured people will buy anything with an apple logo and accept the price and performance, but they were wrong.

By mpjesse on 8/21/2008 3:11:05 PM , Rating: 2
They're basing this "2% of all users" crap on the number of complaints they've received. The fact is the glitch affects every single 3G iPhone to include mine. I installed the update and immediately had better reception in areas I never had reception before. I love my iPhone, but Apple is the ultimate spinster.

RE: Bullcrap
By DOCDAT1 on 8/27/2008 4:18:34 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the "fix" is just to increase power through the 3G chipset, with the side effect of lowering battery life...

Now to the iCourt !
By crystal clear on 8/21/2008 11:55:09 AM , Rating: 2
Apple faces lawsuit over wobbly 3G claims

An Alabama woman is suing Apple for claiming its latest iPhone offers 3G connectivity when she can't get connected most of the time, despite AT&T having decent coverage where she lives.

The complaint is aiming to become a class action suit, as just about everyone with the latest iPhone has been complaining about levels of coverage; and the complainant is claiming sustained monetary and economic injuries from being unable to get a 3G signal.

By Soldier38 on 8/21/2008 5:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
perfectly happy with my 1G Iphone since I've had it. I get WIFI at work and at home so speed for internet isnt an issue for me. Its the same software as the 3G phone. Only issue I have is no Flash support for websites and MMS picture message support, come on Apple or third party somebody fix these 2 issues already!

2 days late
By cheetah2k on 8/21/2008 10:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone like reading articles 2 days late?

Engadgetmobile jumped you once again on the 2.0.2 news.

Also FYI, the 2.0.2 patch doesnt resolve much in the way of 3G reception, infact it has made some handsets worse...

The title should read "Apple fails to fix the iphone with 2.0.2"

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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