Print 79 comment(s) - last by sweetspot.. on Jul 21 at 1:32 PM

Note the complete lack of insulation on the stainless steel antenna/frame. An engineer warned top executives at Apple a year ago, that the design was doomed to make the phone a lemon.  (Source: iFixIt)

IOS 4.0.1 is now available; it now "correctly" displays signal bars on supported iPhones
Also, U.S. Senator voices outrage about Apple's handling of the iPhone antenna problems

Life is tough as an engineer.  Last year Ruben Caballero, a senior engineer and antenna expert at Apple, reportedly warned the company's top management, including CEO Steven P. Jobs, that the current production plan was badly flawed.  Lacking any insulation, he recognized from experience that the antenna would likely be in for some serious issues.

Bloomberg received the information from a source close to Caballero.  Caballero, who still works at Apple has declined comment.  Apple also declined comment.

It appears that Apple blatantly disregarded the call for insulating its antenna over fear that it would impact the phone's size or weight.  The new antenna design, which wraps around the phone's frame was designed to minimize weight and size.

Apple also reportedly received a warning from a carrier partner sources say (likely AT&T) about problems they were having during early testing.  Again Apple appears to have blatantly disregarded yet another warning placed in front of it.

Despite selling a record 1.7 million iPhones at launch, Apple has since been overrun with angry customers complaining their new Apple phones are actually lemons.  Apple has remained unsympathetic, for the most part, which many say has damaged its brand image.  The company did announce that it will hold a special press conference on Friday to address the issues.  Some are predicting that Apple may launch a recall, which could cost the company $1B USD or more.

In related news U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D- NY) wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Jobs blasting his company's handling of the signal issues.  The topic is a particular sore spot in New York; New York City has, according to Apple employees suffered from 30 percent iPhone dropped call rates.

In the letter Sen. Schumer calls Apple's upcoming cosmetic patch to how many bars are drawn to be "insufficient".  He also suggests that Apple's demand that customers buy cases to fix the issue is inappropriate.  He writes, "The burden for consumers caused by this glitch, combined with the confusion over its cause and how it will be fixed, has the potential to undermine the many benefits of this innovative device.  To address this concern, I ask that Apple provide iPhone 4 customers with a clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem and make a public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge."

In his letter he cites the Consumer Reports' decision to drop its endorsement of the iPhone.  Clearly a jilted Apple fan, Sen. Schumer concludes, "I look forward to Apple's swift action on this matter, and once again laud Apple for its innovative efforts and service to millions of Americans."

Updated 7/15/2010 @ 2:21 pm

Apple has just rolled out iOS 4.0.1 which is supposed to correct the way signals bars are displayed on the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4.

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RE: Engineer
By adiposity on 7/15/2010 2:33:02 PM , Rating: 0
Why is this modded up? iPhone 4 is not crap, it has some of the best hardware out there (esp. the screen). I have a Droid and would never buy an iPhone due to the locked down nature of it. But it is definitely one of the top phones, spec and speedwise.


RE: Engineer
By amanojaku on 7/15/2010 3:09:51 PM , Rating: 5
You say it has "some of the best hardware out there". I think it's funny, then, that all you need to do to cripple the phone is hold it normally. I have a Motorola RAZR that I grudgingly respect. It's too quirky, too "everybody had one", too out of date... In order to replicate the iPhone signal drop I have to cover ALL parts of my phone with two hands. The handlebar-grip is impractical in general, and makes it impossible to use the phone. In other words, the RAZR, and pretty much every other phone, works for ALL practical grips. I'm not sure how the iPhone 4 is better if it can't be trusted to keep a signal for one of its basic functions.

RE: Engineer
By adiposity on 7/15/2010 4:05:36 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, the antenna issue is lame. Bad QA, there. But I have used iPhone 4, it's a perfectly good phone, and better than most. I still prefer my Droid but how do you call one of the fastest phones, with the the best screen out right now, crap? It's not perfect but it's pretty darn good. I'd like to get that screen on an android phone, although I don't think they are going for higher res for a while due to standardizing resolutions a bit.

RE: Engineer
By LRonaldHubbs on 7/15/2010 5:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
A design flaw which cripples the phone's ability to serve its primary purpose (you know, being a phone) automatically makes it a pile of crap, no matter how good any of the other features are. This is true for any class of product. A stereo amp with one dead channel is crap no matter how fancy the remote is or how many Watts it can drive. A bicycle which has a tendency for the right pedal to fall off is crap no matter how good the suspension is or how many gears it has. A refrigerator that doesn't keep items on the top shelf cold is crap no matter if it has a water tap on the front or how many power saving modes it has. See where I'm going with this?

To the above examples some might say "try not to use that channel", "try not to pedal with your right foot", or "try not to put stuff on the top shelf", but the bottom line is that any product which requires non-standard usage practices or generally fails at its primary purpose is a steaming pile of crap.

If/when the antenna problem is solved the iPhone4 will cease to be a pile of crap.

RE: Engineer
By adiposity on 7/15/2010 7:13:04 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are exaggerating the issue. Sure, it's a problem, but it's easy to fix or avoid. Most people are not having a problem with it. I definitely think a (free) solution should be offered, but the phone is completely useable. On Ars, for example, they were able to get a signal drop, but could not actually get the thing to drop a call. That is hardly "crippled."

I don't know why I'm defending the iPhone. I always thought they were a bad purchase decision. I guess I heard hyperbole and had to respond. You just end up sounding like an anti-fanboy when you dismiss a pretty nice piece of hardware as a "crap."

RE: Engineer
By LRonaldHubbs on 7/16/2010 10:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
I admit that I am very harsh in my opinion on this, and I admit that it is because I am biased. I am biased because I am an engineer, and in that capacity the things I hate most are 1) bad design and 2) management making political decisions that result in bad design.

At least Apple is providing cases now free of charge, but it took an awful lot of fuss and embarrassment to get to that point.

RE: Engineer
By pukemon on 7/15/2010 4:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
It took Motorola 3 or 4 revisions to work out the RAZR's quirks and annoyances, but the later versions (I still use a V3xx) were actually pretty decent barebones, utilitarian, and not to mention cheap, phones that work for the basic function it was intended to be used as: a phone. And the RAZR being a flip phone, there are only so many ways you can practically hold it.

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