Steve Jobs: "We're Not Perfect."

After starting out with a light-hearted YouTube video about “Antennagate” at the Apple press conference going on right now to address the issue (read our livenotes), CEO Steve Jobs came onstage with a mea culpa: “You know . . . we’re not perfect.”

In fact, Apple knew about the issue shortly after the first phones were shipped, and the company has been working on the problem for 22 days. “It doesnt seem like a good thing if you can touch your phone in a certain way and it loses signal,” acknowledges Jobs. Even so, he is quick to point out that 3 million iPhone 4s have been sold in just a few weeks. And, repeating a pervious Apple talking point, he says it is not an issue that is unique to the iPhone 4.

Much as we predicted, Jobs then demonstrated how other phones (including a Blackberry 9700, an HTC Droid Eris, and a Smasung Omnia) have the same reception issues when gripped tightly. “We haven’t figured out a way around the laws of physics. Yet.” he says.

But how big is the probemm? Jobs says the issue only affects 0.55 percent of all iPhone 4s, half of one percent. Return rates are only 1.7 percent. And while the iPhone 4 does drop more calls than the previous iPhone, it is only 1 more out of every 100 calls.

To remedy the situation, Apple will give everyone who buys or has bought an iPhone 4 a free case. All in all, masterfully handled.

Let’s recap: Jobs acknowledged the problem, then offered evidence that people don’t really care because the phones are still selling like hot cakes. Not only that, but other phones have the exact same problem. And it only affects less than one percent of all iPhone 4s anyway. Still, we love our customers so much we are giving them al free cases. Any questions?