2010 was a huge year for Apple news. As we close out the year, we look back at some of the year’s biggest stories and what they might mean for 2011.
All items tagged with "antennagate"
Apple’s deservedly racking up a lot of year-end awards as the New Year fast approaches — from the iPad being named Walt Mossberg’s gadget of the year to Steve Jobs garnering the Financial Times’ Person of the Year award — but you can end this one to the more ignominious trophy pile: CNN has just listed Antennagate as one of their ten biggest tech fails of 2010.
Even if Apple thought Antennagate was overblown, let’s face it: their last attempt to put the iPhone’s antenna into the exposed edges of the device didn’t work out so well, prompting a PR catastrophe so bad that Apple was actually forced to hold an emergency press conference… something they never do.
That in and of itself suggests pretty strongly that Apple’s going to try something new for the iPhone antenna in future handsets, and if a new patent is any indication, that new approach to hiding the iPhone’s antenna may be by hiding it under the iconic Apple logo.
What’s that you say? You missed your chance to get a free case from Apple for your iPhone 4 as part of their Antennagate free case giveaway? Well, good news: you can once again buy an official iPhone 4 bumper in a panoply of colors directly from Apple. It’ll cost you just $29.99.
Don’t have the scratch? Not to worry: you can still try your luck complaining to an Apple Store Genius about your iPhone 4’s attenuation issues. Really, though, isn’t it worth thirty bucks not to have to listen to some insufferable turtleneck lecture you on the physics of radio antennas for half an hour before he wearily sighs and condescends to hand over your free Apple-branded rubber band?
Just a friendly reminder: if you fancy a free case or bumper for your iPhone 4, today is your last day that Uncle Steve is going to make it easy for you to get one.
Yup. Today, September 30th, is the day that Apple’s free iPhone 4 case program comes to a close, making getting a bumper to wrap around your attenuation-prone iPhone 4 antenna as easy as downloading an app and waiting (quite) a few weeks delivery.
Over the weekend, Apple announced that they were ending their free iPhone 4 case program come September 30th, blithely quipping that “we now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought.”
Apparently, Consumer Reports remains unconvinced, though, because they are continuing to not recommend the iPhone 4 to customers, according to a recent update on their blog.
Our tests found the Bumper successfully mitigates the iPhone 4’s reception issue, which was a weak point in the phone’s otherwise-stellar performance in our tests. And we agree with Apple that not all iPhone 4 owners will experience reception difficulties with the device.
But putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us. We therefore continue not to recommend the iPhone 4, and to call on Apple to provide a permanent fix for the phone’s reception issues.
It is arguably Consumer Reports’ scathing denunciation of the iPhone 4’s antenna problems that caused “Antennagate” to become as much of a public relations disaster for Apple as it was. Will Consumer Reports’ withheld blessing continue to plague Apple and re-open the issue once the bumper case program ends, or is the fire effectively put out? While I agree the iPhone 4’s external antenna makes it more susceptible to attenuation than other phones — no matter how much finger pointing and bar-fiddling Apple does — I think the fire’s largely been put out: even dropping one call more out of a hundred than the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone you can buy. At this point, Consumer Reports just looks petulant.
All good things must come to an end, and now that Apple has largely put the fires out on the public relations nightmare of Antennagate, they’ll be ending their free iPhone 4 case program come September 30th… unless you complain loud enough.
We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought. A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.
Of course, given how backed up Apple is sending out free cases, even if you order one now, you’re not likely to have a bumper around your iPhone before next year. Perhaps that’s the bigger takeaway from Apple’s decision to end the program: if you’re really having problems with your iPhone 4’s reception, you couldn’t afford to wait for Apple to finally get around to sending you one anyway.