Image Source: Engadget I ‘m sure we ‘ll see a wide range of reactions to today ‘s Apple press conference addressing the iPhone 4 antenna issue.  Some will say Apple did a great job, others may think they didn ‘t do enough, and there will still be plenty to talk about.  One take on things […]
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iPhone 4 Antenna Issue Just a Media Circus = Bullshit

iPhone 4 more calls dropped than 3GS

Image Source: Engadget

I ‘m sure we ‘ll see a wide range of reactions to today ‘s Apple press conference addressing the iPhone 4 antenna issue.  Some will say Apple did a great job, others may think they didn ‘t do enough, and there will still be plenty to talk about. 

One take on things that I think is way, way off base is from my friend Dan Cohen at Gear Diary.  Dan seems to think there really is no issue, there never has been one, and that Steve Jobs has put everyone straight on that today

In short he used FACTS to drive home the point that this entire episode is a media circus that has no grounding in reality. (To his credit this is exactly what Larry has been saying all along.)

First off, the facts Steve presented today helped to put the issue in perspective, they did NOT indicate that there is ‘no grounding in reality ‘.  Steve told us that only 0.55% of iPhone users have called into Apple Care with the antenna issue.  Fair enough, that is is still a little more than 15,000 users if my math is right.  How many thousands more reported the issue by going to the Apple Store they bought the phone from?  And how many thousands reported it to AT&T?  And via Apple ‘s own support forums? I ‘d venture a guess that those numbers would easily get the total above 50,000.

Sure, that ‘s a drop in the bucket out of the 3 million who have bought an iPhone 4, but it is still 50,000 users.  That ‘s not fantasy “ that ‘s thousands of people reporting the issue.  And probably thousands more who never bothered reporting it.

Dan talked a fair bit about the facts presented by Steve that are supposed to show this is all about media hype and not about any real problem

Facts like AppleCare only getting complaints from 0.55% of iPhone 4 users. Facts like a return rate on the iPhone 4 that is 1/3 of that seen with the iPhone 3GS. Facts like the iPhone 4 dropping less than one additional call per hundred when compared with the iPhone 3GS. (He even offered his theory on why this might be ” far fewer iPhone 4 users leave with their new phone AND a case so there are more cases of the grip issue.)

OK, so here ‘s a fact I ‘d like to know: why does the latest, greatest, most advanced antenna design ever on any iPhone have more dropped calls than the 3GS at all?  Talk about spinning statistics “ how is it supposed to be a great positive thing when your newest most advanced model drops any more calls than the previous generation?

If Dan had just said the reality is that the issue affects a small percentage of users, I would agree wholeheartedly.  If he had pointed out that even for many users who experience the issue, it is not severe and does not cause dropped calls, I ‘d agree again.  If he ‘d said that overall, the iPhone 4 is stellar and may even have better reception than ever for many who use it (including me by the way) I ‘d also be in agreement.

But to say there has never been an issue here, and that it ‘s all just been way overblown by the media, seems ridiculous to me.

I think Apple did pretty well overall with their approach at today ‘s press conference, and they offered some good data on the issue.  It ‘s worth keeping in mind though that a few weeks back Apple tried to tell us that there was no issue at all, people were just holding the phone wrong.  And that all mobile phones suffered from the exact same issue.  They obviously don ‘t believe that anymore, as there would have been no need for today ‘s event if they did; and certainly no need to giveaway free cases to all iPhone 4 users.

There have been a number of heavyweight publications that have verified the antenna issues first-hand, with varying degrees of severity, including the likes of Engadget and Consumer Reports.  Are these now considered Apple-hating sites that are just in things for the ‘media circus ‘, that thrive on reporting on things that have no grounding in reality?

Oh, and another thing to keep in mind in terms of the whole ‘media circus ‘ argument is that Apple brought most of that on themselves.  If they would have acknowledged the issue soon after the reports of it started flooding in, they would have saved a lot of the firestorm effect that their typical stonewalling generated.  If they wouldn ‘t have started out with ‘you ‘re holding it wrong ‘, then moved on to ‘but everybody ‘s else ‘s phones suck too ‘, then tried to say it was all just a matter of signal strength being displayed incorrectly, before finally owning up today that there IS an issue, then the media (and users) would have had far less to gripe about.

Instead of stonewalling and coming out with their initial reactions (that even they don ‘t try to support anymore), they could have come out early on this, acknowledged the issue properly, said they were looking into it (working their butts off as Steve said today) and trying to find the best solutions.  That would have left far less room for the media and PR debacle that they ended up with.  And it would have made it feel a lot less like all of today ‘s reaction from Apple was forced upon them as well.

Another of Dan ‘s big points is that nobody has to buy the iPhone 4 (fair enough) and that all buyers are free to take it back within 30 days for a full refund.  That ‘s true “ but it ‘s also true that we ‘re on Day 22 of those 30 for anyone who bought the iPhone 4 on launch day.  I didn ‘t hear any mention of the 30-day period being extended “ which you might say would be a good gesture considering that Apple denied the issue existed at first, offered the stupid ‘holding it wrong ‘ argument next, and took 22 days to acknowledge it properly.

One last small thing on the whole media circus angle.  Four days ago, Dan did a post talking about Consumer Reports not being able to recommend the iPhone 4, and in it he seemed to see the way Apple had been helping to create this whole shitstorm for themsleves:

Uhm Apple, maybe you should have been giving out Bumpers all along rather than playing the denial game? Now it may be too late.

So I guess I just can ‘t see what ‘s made Dan suddenly jump on the denial train now. There is a real issue here and there always has been.  I don ‘t buy that this is all just something whipped up by the media. 

How about you all? 

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