AppleCare Says SW Will Not Fix iPhone 4

Apple's CS reps have their talking points, but those talking points apparently don't cover what to say if someone asks if the upcoming software fix will resolve the iPhone 4's reception issues. The answer that AppleCare gives if you call, is no: the update will not fix the issues.

As most people know, at issue is the iPhone 4's external antenna system. Particularly if you hold the device in your left hand and bridge the gap between antennas (shown), and you lose signal strength, data transfer speed, and sometimes even drop calls.

The software update that Apple noted was coming in the next few weeks will only correct the way signal bars are displayed on the phone. This way, apparently, you will accurately know just how much signal strength is lost when you hold the phone.

Gizmodo called AppleCare three times on Tuesday, and got the same answers:
  • When you hold the iPhone 4 in a "certain way," as we noted above, your human body creates an antenna interference problem
  • Possible solutions include holding the phone differently, or some sort of case (including Apple's $30 bumpers) which will prevent your skin from bridging the gap.
  • AppleCare also confirmed that the software update will not fix the antenna problem
We've suggested that Apple start shipping free bumpers inside iPhone 4 boxes. After all, the darn things cost $30.

It's unclear if Apple will say anything in response to this information, or simply tell AppleCare reps to stop answering as above. It is, of course, possible the AppleCare reps are simply "working from bad data."

The assumption, or rather, hope, was that software could somehow fix the issue. After all, anyone who remembers the iPhone 3G signal issues also remember how iPhone OS 2.1 "fixed" (to some extent) the issues on that phone.

Assuming this information is correct, it looks like Apple may have released a seriously flawed product. Now if they would just admit it, and fix it the right way ... it's bad enough that AT&T's network cannot satisfactorily handle much of the traffic generated by the iPhone and other devices, but having to deal with something like this could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.