Apple: "We're Not Perfect"

iPhone 4 owners will get a free case

By Scott Budman and Sajid Farooq
|  Friday, Jul 16, 2010  |  Updated 6:48 PM CDT
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<a title=Steve Jobs addresses problems with his iPhone 4." />

Steve Jobs addresses problems with his iPhone 4.

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Raw Video: What Apple Will Give iPhone 4 Customers

Here's what Apple is going to do to fix the iPhone 4 antenna problem.
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Apple CEO Steve Jobs responded to weeks of criticism over a faulty antenna in Apple's iPhone 4, saying that the phone's flaws are no worse than other smartphones. Still, he said Apple would give a free case to all iPhone 4 owners to fix reported signal problems.

Still not happy, iPhone users? Jobs had another solution: Return the phone.

"This is life in the smartphone world," Jobs said. "Phones aren't perfect.

"We haven't figured out a way around the laws of physics yet."

Jobs admitted that the iPhone 4 has more dropped calls than its predecesser, the 3GS, but said it's just a difference of one call per 100. He also said complaints to AppleCare over reception issues have been few, and the phone has a return rate of 1.7 percent -- lower than the 3GS and industry standards.

He also refuted a report in Bloomberg that said Apple's chief antenna engineer alerted him to the problem during the phone's design phase. In fact, he said he first heard about the antenna issue 22 days ago, when blogs began to report the issue and videos showing signal degradation when users held the phone a certain way began appearing on YouTube.

The signal loss problem came to a head this week when Consumer Reports said it would not recommend the phone. Consumer Reports posted a video on its web site suggesting users place a piece of duct tape on the lower left side of the phone to prevent fingers from coming in contact with the antenna. 

"We were stunned and upset and embarrassed by the Consumer Reports stuff," Jobs said. "The reason we didn’t say more (earlier) is because we didn’t know enough. If we’d have done this event a week and a half ago, we wouldn’t have had half the data we have today."

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Jobs walked reporters through the visuals of the complex tests Apple puts all its devices through.

Then Jobs said the reception problem with the new iPhone exists with several other phones, including the HTC Eris running Android and the Samsung Omnia II, which runs on Windows Mobile.

"X Marks the spot," Jobs said, mocking the irony of a small mark existing right where the problem seems  to occur on the iPhone 4.

Despite admitting there might be an issue, Jobs said some of the problem seems to be media  hype. He said just 0.55 percent of iPhone users have called AppleCare to report antenna problems while there has been a return rate of 1.7 percent.

So what's the solution? Jobs says already released iOS 4.0.1 Thursday, which fixes the issue of how the phone calculates signal strength.

And if you already bought an iPhone 4 or you buy one before Sept. 30, you will get a free bumper to cover the phone, which reports have indicated fixes the problem. If you already bought a bumper, then Jobs says you have a refund coming your way.

Jobs said he thinks Apple has gotten to the core of the iPhone 4 problem and that Apple loves its users.

"When we fall short, we try harder," he said. And what is the rotten core causing all the headaches for iPhone users?

"The heart of the problem is: smartphones have weaknesses," Jobs said.

Ultimately Apple doesn't  feel like the "death grip" problem is as big of an issue as it has been made out to be, according to Jobs. The company feels while the problem exists, it is not something unique to Apple and it is an issue all smartphone makers deal with.

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