iPhone 4 Antenna Problem, Senator Wades In

By now it should be perfectly clear to Apple that customers are not too happy with the way Apple has handled the iPhone 4 “Death grip” issue, their simple answers of “hold it differently” and “Buy a Bumper case” just aren’t good enough.

Today at roughly 3pm UK time, Apple is holding a press conference presumably to give customers some insight into what Apple intends to do to resolve this issue. Now according to an article over on Engadget by Laura June and by way of CNN, a US Senator has penned an open letter to Apple chief Steve Jobs on the matter.

Senator Charles Schumer is of the opinion that Apple hasn’t handled the situation well, and says Steve Jobs needs to write a “clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem” along with a “public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge.”

Here is a copy of the Senator’s open letter…

July 15, 2010

Dear Mr. Jobs,

I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4. While I commend Apple’s innovative approach to mobile technology and appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner. According to Consumer Reports’ review, released Monday on its website, the iPhone 4’s signal-strength problem is a hardwire glitch triggered by gripping the device in a particular manner. This finding, according to Consumer Reports, “call[s] into question” Apple’s recent claim that the problem is “largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software.” Consumer Reports declined to recommend the iPhone 4 because of this hardware design flaw.

Given the discrepancy between Consumer Reports’ explanation of the reception problem and the explanation provided by Apple in its July 2 letter to customers, I am concerned that the nearly two million purchasers of the iPhone 4 may not have complete information about the quality of the product they have purchased. 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. The solutions offered to date by Apple for dealing with the so-called “death grip” malfunction-such as holding the device differently, or buying a cover for it-seem to be insufficient. These proposed solutions would unfairly place the burden on consumers for resolving a problem they were not aware of when they purchased their phones.

I also encourage Apple to keep its promise to provide free software updates so that bars displayed accurately reflect signal strength; I further urge Apple to issue a written explanation of the formula it uses to calculate bar strength, so that consumers can once again trust the product that they have invested in.

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.


Charles E. Schumer.

Now as we know, Apple has indeed released the iOS 4.1 software update which fixes the bars issue, so perhaps iPhone 4 users will gain that full explanation as to what Apple intends to do about the antenna problem at that press meeting today, one thing is for sure, in a few hours we should know.

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