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Jobs outlines Apple’s course of action on the iPhone 4 antenna hoopla


At today’s special press event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to say that the Apple gang has been “working our butts” off in trying to find out the (reported) antenna/reception problems with the iPhone 4.

“You know, we’re not perfect,” he said. “And phones aren’t perfect either. But we want to make all of our users happy. And if you don’t know that about Apple, you don’t know Apple”

The CEO says Apple has sold well over three million iPhone 4 units since it launched three weeks ago. And he admitted that Apple has heard reports of “some people” having issues with the antenna system, “which is very advanced.”

But, going on the defensive, Jobs said though it “doesn’t sound like a good idea to grip your phone and lose the signal,” but it’s not unique to the iPhone 4. It happens with the Blackberry Bold 9700, the HTC Droid Eris, the Samsung Omnia and others, he says.

“These phones were all tested in areas of relatively weak signal strength and they all dropped bars … this is life in the smartphone industry. … smartphones aren’t perfect and we’re not perfect,” Jobs said. “But we put a beautiful line in the stainless steel of the iPhone 4 that says, ‘here’s where you touch it, everybody!’ ”

The CEO said that, despite the media hoopla, the percentage of iPhone 4 users who have experienced problems is only 0.55%. Return rates at AT&T for the latest Apple smartphones have been 1.7% compared to 6% for the iPhone 3GS (and that’s below the industry average), Jobs said. What’s more, Jobs said the iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per hundred than the iPhone 3GS.

He thinks that when the iPhone 3GS came out, it was the same shape as the iPhone 3G, and folks used their old cases. However, the iPhone 4 has a “radical new design,” and needs cases/bumpers especially developed for it.

Jobs said that though only a small percentage of users are affected, Apple cares about every one and “isn’t going to stop until every one of them is happy.”

He urges every iPhone 4 owner to upgrade to iOS 4.0.1, which was released yesterday. Apple is going to give everyone who bought the latest smartphone a free case. And you get a refund if you’ve already bought one.

Actually, Apple can’t make enough bumpers, so they’ll outsource some work to other manufacturers and give users a choice of cases.

“If you’re still not happy, before or after you get a free case, you can bring your iPhone 4 back undamaged within 30 days for a full refund,” Jobs said. Also he said “…we love our users. When we fall short, we try harder. We pick ourselves up, figure out what’s wrong, and we try harder. And when we succeed, they reward us by staying our users, and that makes it all worth it.”

In other matters, Jobs said:

° Apple has 18 scientists and engineers working on antenna design. And the company has invested US$100 million in its antenna lab.

° The white iPhone will ship at the end of July, though quantities will be limited at first.

° On July 30, the iPhone 4 will begin shipping in an addition 17 countries.

° Job says his health “is fine.”

° Jobs believes AT&T is giving full refunds to unhappy iPhone 4 users and allowing them to break their contracts.

By the way, if you want a laugh, check out this YouTube video of the “iPhone Antenna Song” (

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