Did Jobs Know of iPhone 4 Antenna Issues in 2009?

Some have criticized Apple CEO Steve Jobs as having a "God complex." Could that have led to the purported antenna "death grip" design flaw? According to an unnamed source speaking to Bloomberg, Jobs was warned about a possible issue during the early stages of the iPhone 4's design. 

In fact, according to an anonymous source speaking to Bloomberg, Apple's senior antenna expert, Ruben Caballero, voiced concern to Jobs during the early design phase of the iPhone 4 last year that the external antenna design could lead to dropped calls.

Additionally, another anonymous source told Bloomberg that a carrier partner reportedly voiced concerns to Apple as well. It's unclear which carrier; while AT&T is Apple's most prominent carrier partner, it's obviously not the only one.

The iPhone 4's antenna issues have been labeled the "death grip." If the gap between antennas on the lower left-hand side of the device is bridged with skin, many have seen signal strength, or even calls, drop.

Because the iPhone 4 has multiple antennas, the metal bezel could not be constructed in one piece. It would have to be separated into sections, and therein was the issue that Caballero raised, and which is being seen. Caballero said that if a user covered one of the seams between the sections, their finger would act as a conductive material, interfering with the signal.

While it is true that other smartphones exhibit the same behavior when gripped, their signals do not attenuate to the point of a call drop, because the iPhone 4 is unique in its antenna design. While a nice industrial design, it may be a poor technical design.

In response, however, Apple contacted the Wall Street Journal and said, "We challenge Bloomberg BusinessWeek to produce anything beyond rumors to back this up. It's simply not true."  Of course, rumors are not the same as an anonymous source, Apple PR forgets. Bloomberg stands by its story.

Apple has scheduled a press conference for Friday morning to discuss the iPhone 4. While not specific in its invitation, the conference will undoubtedly cover the issues with the iPhone 4 antenna design.
Via:  Bloomberg
Tags:  Apple, iPhone, Steve Jobs, ATT
AKwyn 4 years ago

While I feel that most Apple products are good. I just feel like Steve Jobs overlooks flaws that could be potential to the product just so he can make the product the way he envisioned it to be; sleek, beautiful and one that everybody would lay down money to buy. If only he focused more on fixing the minor flaws instead of making the product look as godly as he wanted it to.

Der Meister 4 years ago

Jobs is nothing more than a marketing tool for Apple... Sure he might be CEO, but last I checked all the CEO cares about is profit.... 

acarzt 4 years ago

lol... if Jobs knew about this and still let it go through... he really dropped the ball. Way to damage the company image. Any other employee would have been fired for letting something like this happen....

Time for jobs to retire???

Der Meister 4 years ago

even if he did retire, the masses would still think he worked there... look at bill gates he has not been head of MS since 2006 yet ask any of the masses and they will say he still works there

animatortom 4 years ago

Look @ that smug smile....Of course he knew!

You always know there are going to be problems when you try and save money on production by sending it overseas! Problem now, is the solution will cost more than production profits!

Now they know just to use damage control as much as possible to make people forget the bad. Then shift the focus on the new IPhone 5!! I am sure Hot Hardware will be reviewing the announcements before the end of the year!

ClemSnide 4 years ago

2009? Heck, he knew about it in 1959. Using my Eyefinity time machine, I went back and told him. He was, however, more interested in his Lego set, being 4 years old at the time.

Inspector 4 years ago

Wasn't there an article that said a antenna professional or something like that told apple about the design before the release?

But Apple just doesn't care i guess. :(

acarzt 4 years ago

Supposedly many antenna professionals including apple's own, informed him about this problem... and he ignored it.


acarzt 4 years ago

Business wise... it was probably a good decision to go ahead with it even knowing about this issue.

The probably would have had to make some drastic changes and they would have set the launch day back significantly.

Apple needed to get something out since Android is picking up massive amounts of market share, and Apple needs to slow that one way or an other.

This was the cheaper solution for apple. Hand out a bunch of free rubber bands that costs 1 cent to make 20. The alternative was to wait, spend more money on R&D to fix it... and then release it after they've lost all those potential customers.

As much of a joke as Apple is right now... their fans still love them, and once the latest and greatest next Apple product comes out... everyone will forget about it.

So... business wise... smart move, really.

From the consumer point of view... eff you apple! lol

AKwyn 4 years ago

[quote user="acarzt"]

So... business wise... smart move, really.

From the consumer point of view... eff you apple! lol


So true. At least Apple is jealous of the Droid X enough to kill it using it's hand :P.

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