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.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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