According to Steve Jobs, it is affecting a very small percentage of users and believes that the issue has been overblown by the media.
But he announced that Apple will take few steps to address the situation to ensure that its customers are happy.
At the press conference, Steve Jobs showed videos of other competing smartphones such as BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris and Samsung’s Omnia 2 to show that the signal bar drops are seen in other smartphones as well.
Steve Jobs explained that the reason for the issue is due to weak spots that are there in every phone. He points out that the issue is a challenge for the entire mobile industry including Apple and that it is trying its level best to fix the problem.
Apple also collected data from AT&T to find out the extent of the problem. Based on the data, Steve Jobs reported that iPhone 4 drops less than one call per hundred calls than the iPhone 3GS.
However, Jobs admitted that based on the data the problem is affecting a small number of customers so they have decided to take the following steps to address the situation to ensure that their iPhone 4 customers are happy:
Apple is giving away a free case to iPhone 4 customers as they have received reports that it solves the reception problem. Here are the details of the free iPhone case:
Users who have purchased their phones by September 30th will get the free iPhone case.
Users will be able to apply for a free case on Apple’s website starting late next week.
Since Apple cannot make enough bumper cases, Apple will be sourcing some other cases. You can select the one you like and Apple will ship it to you.
The free iPhone case is not limited to just US customers, so iPhone 4 customers in other countries will also be able to apply for their free case.
If you’ve already bought a bumper case for your iPhone 4 then Apple will give you a refund.
If you’ve bought a third-party case for your iPhone 4 then Apple will not give you a refund. Apple might handle such issues on a case to case basis.
If customers are still not happy with the free case solution can refund the iPhone 4, provided it is undamaged, within 30 days of purchase with no restocking fee charged.
Apple is offering free iPhone cases only until September 30th as they want to review the situation again in September. This has already started speculations that Apple is working on a design fix to address the problem with iPhone 4's antenna and has given itself a deadline of September 30th.
In the Q&A session, Steve Jobs clarified that they don’t think that iPhone 4's new antenna system is a problem but they’re still trying to figure out how to fix the problem due to the weak spot.
Steve Jobs and Apple has handled the situation very well, I was a little concerned when they did not come out and talk about the problem earlier in the week. Steve Jobs was very honest about the issue and backed it up with data. Based on feedback from our readers, it didn't seem to affect many iPhone 4 users.
So I think most of the users are going to be happy to get a free case as it definitely resolves the problem according to folks at AnandTech who had done an excellent analysis of the problem. There will still be questions raised but I think we need to give Apple the benefit of the doubt.
Let us know your views on Apple’s explanation of the iPhone reception problem. Are you happy that Apple is giving away a free case for your iPhone 4?