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Apple Addresses iPhone 4 Concerns

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Apple addressed popular concerns spawned by its recently released iPhone 4 in a press conference at the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters this morning, a decision made necessary by the recent media frenzy surrounding the technological powerhouse’s latest product launch—and by Consumer Reports’ withdrawal of its recommendation for said gadget.

The iPhone 4 boasts a top-of-the-line app store, brilliant user interface, and stunning screen technology. But what good are those perks, consumers and the media alike demanded to know, when the phone doesn’t work properly? The phone has apparent reception issues—when held a certain way, the silver stainless steel bumper which doubles as the antenna doesn’t function, and the phone drops calls.

CEO and co-founder Steven P. Jobs acknowledged that the technology does have certain issues, but emphasized that the same problems affect all other smartphones that are currently available on the market. As evidence, Mr. Jobs provided videos of phones such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700, Droid Eris, and Samsung Omnia experiencing signal loss when held in certain ways. The implication seemed to be that the issue has been exaggerated by the press and the blogosphere. “This has been blown so out of proportion that it is incredible,” Mr. Jobs said at the news conference. “We’re not perfect. Phones aren’t perfect. We know that, you know that,” Jobs said.

The company defended its product, stating that its AppleCare data suggests that only .55%, or 1 in 200, of iPhone 4 owners have called in and complained directly about the issue to Apple. In addition, the company said that the return rate for the phone is 1.7%, a number much lower than the that of the last model, the 3GS, which experienced a historic return rate of around 6%. Mr. Jobs also argued that the iPhone 4 phone drops less than 1 call in 100 when compared to the 3GS. He stated, “The data supports the fact that the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone in the world. And there is no ‘Antennagate.’ There is a challenge to the entire industry to improve antenna performance so that there are no weak spots.”

Despite the company’s staunch insistence that the iPhone 4 is the best phone the company has ever shipped, it did offer an olive branch to users. Through September 30th, iPhone 4 users can receive free bumpers—cases that wrap around the rim of the phone—from Apple free of charge. Users who have already purchased a bumper case from Apple will get a full refund.

While the offered solution does improve call quality, many users and Apple fans are underwhelmed at the company’s response, contending that Apple took the lazyman’s route of offering a free case instead of owning up to it’s mistakes and committing to searching for a hardware fix.

Photo from William Hook via flickr

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