iPhone owners angered by Steve Jobs' response to reception issue

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Remember Steve Jobs’ advice regarding the iPhone 4’s reported reception issues – it’s all your fault – relayed via an email from the Apple CEO himself (yes, one of those emails). Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, it hasn’t gone down well with UK early adopters of the company’s latest smartphone.

That’s according to a rather opportunistic “flash” survey from rightmobilephone, which found that 63% of respondents were “particularly angered” by Jobs’ email in which he told one early iPhone 4 adopter to “avoid holding [the phone] in that way”.

The mobile phone comparison website polled 836 iPhone 4 users, 93% of whom claimed to have already been affected by a loss of signal whilst gripping the handset to make calls, whilst 78% of owners dubbed the fault “an insult”.

Furthermore, 89% said they’d begrudge shelling out £25 for an official ‘Bumper’ case which apparently prevents signal loss by insulating the iPhone’s various antennas. And, frankly, who wants to own an object of desire only to wrap it up in an ugly case.

Now, of course, the survey’s results aren’t really all that surprising; early adopters of any new consumer technology are never happy if issues arise, but that’s arguably part and parcel of the game. What is more significant, however, is that Jobs’ reality distortion field seems to be weakening or at least the Apple PR machine is having an off day.

As Neil McHugh, managing director of rightmobilephone, notes in the accompanying press release:

“Apple has done a fantastic job of creating a huge amount of publicity around the launch, so I hope the PR response to this obvious technical flaw is better than simply telling owners to hold the handset a different way or pay more for the Bumper case.”

And Jobs’ himself appears to have acknowledged the PR mistake, reportedly breaking with the official line – which of course he writes anyway – telling one iPhone reader in the latest email response to be made public to: “Stay tuned.”

So perhaps it isn’t your fault after all.

  • http://www.riazkanani.com Riaz Kanani

    Guessing something is coming if Steve Job’s latest reposte is anything to go by: http://bit.ly/9UMbtG

    • jenahs

      Nah, still the same. People can get angry with Apple. But still, in somewhat strange way, millions of people are still buying the iPhone.

      I mean, imagine this glitch happening on Droid X? Probably, half would never even want to buy that model. But with iPhone — its just different.

      I guess the only thing that we can do now, is to tease apple.. Well, like shooting it with a Sniper Rifle in super slow mo!

      • Tom

        It’s called having a choice. If the Droid X is a fuck-up, buy the Galaxy S. If that’s a fuck up, buy X10, and so.

        If the iPhone is a fuck up, you either still buy it, or cry youself to sleep.

        It’s nice to have a choice, isn’t.

      • nesa

        I would buy a tom tom GPS then..

  • Adam Skelton

    Having already spent the £25 on a bumper, I’m even more annoyed as it doesn’t seem to solve the problem. 5 bars when held in my right hand, 1 bar when held in my left, and that is WITH a bumper to stop me making contact with both antenna. It only appears to affect my 3G reception though. After a while it switches to 4 bars with no 3G. Put it back in my right hand and I get 3G back.

    • Steve O'Hear

      That doesn’t bode well.

    • vitriolix

      Don’t hold it like that


  • German Soccer

    Brits need to focus on soccer for now and quit whining. Germany gave it to them HARD

    • Steve O'Hear

      Please stay on topic ;)

      • Phil McThomas

        I think the Germans have a reality distortion field of their own when it comes to soccer. The referee and linesman were certainly affected by it!

      • Steve O'Hear

        Agreed :)

      • Michael

        Dude, that makes no sense. Germany had nothing to do with the goal not being counted. Referees are of course not German.

  • http://szeredai.wordpress.com/ encoder

    Jobs is getting pathetic at best with some of the excuses he invents.

    if you have a huge PR machine rolling you have to make everything perfect. one slight mistake and it becomes a catastrophic failure.

    an antenna design flaw on a wireless device is a catastrophic failure to start with multiplied with the PR machine,… it’s like an imploding sun.

  • Chris

    Looks like Apple have helped a lot of people with their “should I try an Android phone this time around” decision making processes.

    I can’t see how a firmware upgrade can rectify what appears to be a physical fault with the design.

  • Steven Sacks

    It’s hardly accurate to call iPhone 4 purchasers “early adopters”. It’s the 4th version of the phone, they’ve sold millions of them. Early adopters were people who stood in line on day one (like me). I accepted flaws in the early days because I was an early adopter. Now, something like this is hard to swallow.

    Apple has released a product with a significant design flaw, and their hubris is shocking.

    Apple has always been a company that prides themselves on making a superior product and they missed the mark here. Hopefully, they will fix it and not fall prey to their own success.

    AT&T service is terrible in Los Angeles, but I still use my iPhone 3G. It’s a great product, but I can’t reasonably upgrade to the 4 with this kind of issue (I am left handed).

    • G-Systems

      This idea that Apple products are “superior” is a product of the PR campaign that they’re adopted (with undeniable success). As of late, Apple’s products have been placed head-to-head with many others and Apple has consistently shown its lack of superiority–not an affirmation of such. Windows 7 -vs- OSX? Windows 7; iPhone 4 -vs- Evo? Evo…

      With the passing months, we’re seeing Apple’s inferiority more and more. I’m not convinced that people will “wake-up” since waking up infers acceptance of choice and many people don’t like making choices (take deciding on restaurants for dinner, for instance).

      The people who have acknowledged their choices have already moved on from the iPhone (which was an excellent choice when it was first released because it was more simple and more powerful than the other phones at the time). Now that the industry has surpassed the iPhone, resting on laurels is something that the Apple family is going to have to cease. The mere idea that they’ve become Nazi-ish in their business practices (Read: Gizmodo and Ellen Degeneres) shows that they would rather not concede to competition, but would rather make their customers blind to competition.

      Apple products do not “just work”…they’re a computer-based device like everything else, and are prone to defect like everything else. They’ve effectively limited defect by limiting product choice and innovation, but that doesn’t mean that defects aren’t there.

      Something as simple as an antenna system–introduced to the mainstream before 1948 as a viable means of instant communication thanks to Mr. Hitler…Man of the Year, by the way–should not be this big of a problem. It wouldn’t be a problem if Apple acknowledged their competition and actually put out “Superior Products…”

      Microsoft has learned this lesson, it seems…

      When will Apple?

    • iPhone 4 Not Happy...

      I couldn’t agree with you more…would have eritten the exact same thing. An iPhone 4 is not early adopting !!

      Went on a trip recently and reached a remote part of the country. My wife’s Blackberry was showing 5 bars…My friends pre 4 gen iPhone were showing some reception and were usable. My iPhone 4 was showing “no signal”. A reboot didnt fix it…

      And that whole dropping bars while holding it in your hand is driving me crazy (even if doesn’t have an effect on call retention). I am lucky to et through a call w/i it being dropped. Dont know who to blame for that – AT&T or Apple.

      All said and done, I got badly burnt by this iPhone 4 experience. Going back to my old strategy – wait for Apple products to settle before buying like I did with my 3G.

  • http://iyad-bitar.tumblr.com Iyad Bitar

    it is true then! iPhone can do a lot of things except phone calls.

  • David Brown

    It’s caused me to just go for a 16G 3GS instead. I’ll wait for the second generation phone. I know a LOT of people who have done the same.

  • Mike H

    Anyone thinking of “defecting” to Android should remember that the iPhone experience goes a heck of a long way further than just a phone: http://nanocr.eu/2010/06/27/googles-mismanagement-of-the-android-market/

    There’s no excuse for bad antenna design (and I wonder if the camoflaged test units meant this problems didn’t show up earlier?) but if it’s a choice between changing grip and changing everything else, I’ll take the former.

    • Steve O'Hear

      “camouflaged test units” – that’s not a bad theory.

  • Tom

    Honestly, I don’t see much difference between Apple and North Korea.

    • Steve O'Hear

      Err, one’s a country and one makes mobile devices?

      • Tom

        Each ran buy a Dear Leader with millions of brain-washed followers.

      • John Smith

        The one’s a despotic entity and the other’s North Korea.

      • Don

        In North Korea antennas have a grip on you

    • http://szeredai.wordpress.com/ encoder

      Err, the one has PR the other one makes it all.

    • http://www.3sixtydegreescouting.com Greg Braddock

      With Apple you have a choice. Buy or don’t buy.
      North Korea, if you were born there you are fuc*ed.

      Apple has a right to make their products anyway they choose, it’s up to the consumer whether or not to buy and if the lines on launch day were any indication, I can see that the consumers have made their choice.

  • Gary

    People still won’t protest with their wallets.

  • http://www.3sixtydegreescouting.com Greg Braddock

    I’m not sure what the problem is here:

    If you have a problem with a product, you return it to the store. If they can’t rectify your problem, you ask for your money back. I don’t understand why people continue to complain about such an easily rectified problem and I kind of agree with that one guy, if this were a DROID, people would just return it. But because it’s Apple, they feel the need to complain and hold Apple to a higher standard.

    I have an iPhone 4 and am not experiencing this issue but you can believe that if I were, I wouldn’t be bitching about it on tech blogs, I’d return it ask for another unit and if the problem persisted, I’d ask for my money back. PROBLEM SOLVED.

  • http://thunderpeel2001.blogspot.com JohnnyW

    Everybody loves the underdog… Except Apple aren’t the underdog any more. The tide is turning!

    • http://twitter.com/jackofallTrolls monsterofNone

      which would make them the underdog again?


      • BuckBlack


        Why that what, dude?

      • BuckBlack

        Such is the lot of the early adopter.

        Queue around the block with the fanboys and the richkids for the latest kit from apple, and you’re effectively paying through the nose to be a beta tester.

        Second mouse gets the cheese, etc.

        Let the septics be the guinea pigs.

  • Justin

    Plus Steve is incredibly arrogant. iPhone 4 just looks good but doesn’t work…. I think I’m going android at least they can fix the market issues apples issue is hardware and won’t be fixed until gen 2

    • http://www.3sixtydegreescouting.com Greg Braddock

      The iPhone works fine, I have one. I’m not defending the fact that Steve has pretended that issues don’t exist but you don’t even own one yet so how can you say it doesn’t work?

      I am not having any of the problems with my phone so it does work. But as a consumer, you certainly have the right to choose but it would be nice for you to have all of the facts first.

      I recommend you try one of the phones to see how great they are and if you have problems with it, return it and there’s no harm done.

      • Garbled

        So you own one and decided to base all your conclusions on the basis that your phone works?

      • http://www.3sixtydegreescouting.com Greg Braddock

        I’m basing it on that the majority of people are not having these issues because if they were, phones would being returned at an alarming rate and yes, the fact that my phone works proves that this is happening with the minority of people.

  • Joe

    You left out the first part of SJ’s latest email response:

    “There are no reception issues. Stay Tuned.”

    That doesn’t sound like he acknowledged there being a mistake.

    • Steve O'Hear

      I meant a PR mistake.

  • http://twitter.com/jackofallTrolls monsterofNone

    wah. buy something else. then see a dentist.

  • MightyMicro

    “Stay tuned.” That is the problem precisely. You can’t.

    • alan

      Brilliant !!!!!!

  • Jimmy

    Well the OS update has goosed my 3G and made it a just short a brick in terms of its speed. I messed around with the iPhone 4 yesterday and very underwhelmed. Ive had enough of Apple and their glossy covers but underneath nothing. Android for me next just need to decide which phone. Yes its probably lacking apps but that should only get better in future so I am willing to give it time.

  • Sim

    It seems Apple is panicking, according to this blog they’ve rushed through the production of an “iGlove” to fix recetion issue:


  • http://www.wobuu.com/en Mallorca

    Schoen sich mit anderen Leuten zu treffen die die gleiche Meinung als ich haben!

  • http://itoptech.com/2010/06/sign-here-if-you-think-apple-should-give-free-cases-to-fix-the-iphone-4s-problems-iphone-4/ Sign Here If You Think Apple Should Give Free Cases to Fix the iPhone 4’s Problems [Iphone 4] | i Top Tech

    […] cellphone comparison site in the UK—took a pool among 836 iPhone 4 users, finding 93% affected by the problem (a theory here is that people in the US notice it less because they blame AT&T’s […]

  • fm

    ha-f***ing-ha… delighted for all of you lunatic apple boys. if steve jobs took a crap and put an apple logo on it, you idiots would buy it. no sympathy

    • http://szeredai.wordpress.com/ encoder

      fm, are you crazy. what the hell is wrong with you. why are you calling them idiots? they are not idiots, they are just “special”, naive, diseased. you know what i mean. but they will feel better.

  • Ed

    I’m sick of the media having an Apple bias. This is what it is, a fuck up. Had it been any other company and the response would’ve been totally different. Another thing, there might not be Android iPhone killers out there, but there are a few decent alternatives, EVO, Incredible, Galaxy, etc. keep in mind that this is the latest and greatest Apple had to offer this year and it will be a while before they come up with their next device, and in the meanwhile tens of Android devices will have hit the market, and the series 7 would have been released. The competition is finally heating up for Apple, and I’m loving it.

    • G-Systems


  • http://www.iqbalgandham.com Iqbal Gandham

    I opted for X10, but having that and having access to iphone, must say iphone is much faster.

    If the other providers just got their act together they may just realise that there is an almighty opportunity to jump on the Apple App bandwagon, and do what creative startups do.

    Let someoone else spend billions educating the market on a new way to do things, and then you sit back and launch a superior product…come on Sony make the X10 faster, Nokia wake up.

    As for the iPad, well according to their Ad “It’s already a revolution” someone please tell me where to send Apple a Dictionary, I am sure there is an app for that ….


  • http://www.iqbalgandham.com Iqbal Gandham

    I opted for X10, but having that and having access to iphone, must say iphone is much faster.

    If the other providers just got their act together they may just realise that there is an almighty opportunity to jump on the Apple App bandwagon, and do what creative startups do.

    Let someoone else spend billions educating the market on a new way to do things, and then you sit back and launch a superior product…come on Sony make the X10 faster, Nokia wake up.

    As for the iPad, well according to their Ad “It’s already a revolution” someone please tell me where to send Apple a Dictionary, I am sure there is an [cr]app for that ….


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