I think Apple have done a great job of handling and hopefully diffusing the antenna situation today. As I predicted the other day in my last post, they did decide to hand out free bumpers or other cases to all owners and have admitted a problem. They are also emphasising a full refund offer for people who still have problems after receiving the free case. I suppose they just want to cover themselves from lawsuits but I’m sure someone’s going to try it.
Smartly though, they made sure to provide some context and demonstrated how essentially all other smart phone suffer the same kind of reception drops when held tightly. They also noted that because the iPhone has slots in the case where the antenna are, they were a prime target for people trying to force the dropping of calls. Other smartphones don’t have an obvious weak spot that you can see like the iPhone 4 does. The data they had seemed to back their case up nicely and I think they’ve been unfairly ganged up on by the press.
Hopefully Apple can repair the damage to their reputation with these new measures. What they’ve basically said is that the phone is fundamentally ok and that there are no major design flaw that ruin the phone. However they will still do all they can to make customers happy by offering these options. I definitely think it was the right thing to do, especially as those bumpers were far too overpriced for what they are.
I think from what the data showed, there is a problem, but it has been blown way out of proportion. In reality the dropped calls are only slightly higher than with the 3GS. Steve Jobs put that down to the fact that there were more cases available at launch for the 3GS because of the design being almost identical to the 3G model. Because the 4 is so different in shape there were practically no cases at launch and therefore less being used. This probably meant that any antenna problems were lessened. Hopefully now the dropped calls will lower to below the levels of the 3GS when everyone gets a case, and in future Apple can iron out the possible issues a bit better than they have this time around. I’m sure they’ve already learned lessons from this and they don’t want to repeat them, but such is the price when you push the envelope as Apple are renowned for doing.