Apple: there is no problem, and we are going to fix it with a free case

by Volker Weber


The much anticipated press event is over, and if you strip away the reality distortion field, it's pretty simple:

  1. Antennas don't want to be touched. The iPhone 4 has two antennas around the phone, so you will touch them. And if you bridge the two antennas by touching them with a conductor (a moist hand), the signal will go down.
  2. Other students have bad grades as well. [This did not work for my father, it does not work for me.]
  3. Lesson 1: Current phones (not the iPhone 4) have their antennas in the lower part. Hold them by the upper part for best reception.
  4. Lesson 2: Avoid touching the metal band. Or use a case to wrap it.
  5. Apple will give you a free case if you ask for it, starting next week on their website. Much better than paying them $29 for a rubber band.
  6. Apple can have millions of phones made, but not millions of rubber bands bumpers. Therefore they will source other cases as well and give you a choice.
  7. Apple embellished their reception. For years. They can no longer figure out, how that happened. In German: Lügen haben kurze Beine (lies have short legs).
  8. 1.7% of 3 million iPhones returned. That's about 50,000 or 2,500 a day, right? Only 0.55% called with reception issues. 16,500 people, that is one every two minutes. Some may have been unable to place a call. ;-)

In any case: there goes the design.

[Recommendation for Belkin VUE Case removed.]


After reading your recommendation for the Belkin Grip Vue TPU case for the iPad, I bought one for my iPad. It is a perfect fit for the iPad. Last Wednesday I received Belkin Grip Vue TPU case for the iPhone 4. Unfortunately the case was unusable with the iPhone 4. With the TPU case attached to the device, I wasn't able to use the on/off switch on the iPhone 4. I can't recommend this case all.

Abdelkader Boui, 2010-07-16 22:36

Thanks, Abdelkader. I removed the reference. Why oh why did I break my rule not to endorse stuff I have not tested. :-(

Volker Weber, 2010-07-16 22:50

You are welcome, Volker. Maybe I just received a TPU shell from a defective batch? As I didn't want to spend another 25 Euro on a Belkin TPU case, I couldn't verify this. Tomorrow I will try to get a Bumper from the Apple Store in Frankfurt. When I was there last Wednesday, they still had a few available.

Abdelkader Boui, 2010-07-16 23:02

I ready that, if you bought a case, Apple will reimburse you. Does that include 3rd party cases?

Ben Rose, 2010-07-16 23:36

That Q was asked in the Q&A. The anser was "no".

Volker Weber, 2010-07-16 23:44

I think SJ's most important point is missing: It's not really affecting a lot of people in real-world situations. Same is true for me and probably 90% of all people who really *have* an iPhone 4.

Peter Weinfeld, 2010-07-16 23:49

Peter, "not really affecting" is Job's reality distortion field. If you have great reception*, you can live with a 20something dB drop. If you find yourself in marginal conditions like on a train or deep inside a building, you are more likely to experience difficulties. You know what to do in that case: see above for lesson 2. Could I live with that? Certainly so.

*) Given enough thrust, even a piano flies. If you see five bars, even if you bridge the antennas, your cell tower isn't far.

Volker Weber, 2010-07-17 00:09

Volker thanks for your statements to this problem. In the last days i thought you are caught in a reality distortion field too, because i do not see a critical statement from you about the PR disaster of Apple. Maybe Apple will learn that the best design is nothing without function.

Ralf Petter, 2010-07-17 10:46

All iPhone 4s I've seen so far did not have this problem. OK, I used them in an urban environment, with no reception issues at all. Might be that in some remote locations reception might drop significantly. But I don't see that reality distortion field you guys are talking about.
What puzzles me more is, that bumpers are free until 30th Sep., "then we might have a better idea". Bad news for everyone buying an iPhone 4 before October.

Moritz Petersen, 2010-07-17 11:08

All this endorses the old rule: You never want Version X.0.
Not even from Apple.
It is OK for early adopters who are able and willing to to circumvent the problems.

I had occasional reception problems with all my mobiles, so there is nothing new under the sun. I see an analogy with the Pentium FDIV bug: While it didn't really bug people the press pumped it up and finally intel had to replace the processors.

Jörg Hermann, 2010-07-17 11:51

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Ceci n'est pas un blog is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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