Apple, if the Antenna is AOK, who are THESE guys?

Posted by Zealot on Jun 30, 2010

closeThis post was published 4 years 30 days ago which may make its actuality or expire date not be valid anymore. This site is not responsible for any misunderstanding.

Hold-Different Wow, talk about the best of times, the worst of times. Right on the heels of the news that Apple sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s during the first sales weekend, breaking like a kajillion records, comes more indications that this Antenna mess just ain’t going away.

Apple continues to insist publicly that there is no problem, but Boy Genius got a hold of an internal Apple document telling AppleCare reps how to deny any problem and deal with the antenna complaints. It sure does look from the way it is written that Apple knows damn well it is a problem and is cynically stonewalling. For example, here is one of the best points…

3. Don’t forget YOU STILL NEED to probe and troubleshoot. If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held) it is not the metal band.

Riiighhhttt…..So if there are reception problems while you are holding the phone, then it IS due to the metal band? The one that was not a problem? Way to sound like AT&T, guys. The last bit on the AppleCare cheat sheet is even better.

5. We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers.

APPEASE? Like Neville Chamberlain did? “iPhone Reception in our time…” Nice, really nice. So Apple is equating upset users of their products with bloody-minded global dictators.

Beyond all the Customer Support jiggery pokery, if Apple really believes that there is no problem with the antenna, then why are they hiring eight (count em, eight) new Antenna and RF engineers, all the sudden?

engineers

No problem huh? Then what are THEY going to be paid to do, anyway? Adjust the rabbit ears on your Apple TV?Also that software upgrade that was rumored to be happening last Monday? It didn’t…but you know that…and the AppleCare reps are not being told to even hint that a software fix is coming someday in the remote future, so I am chalking that rumor up to wishful thinking and fanboi daydreams.

Isn’t it about time Apple just came clean, admitted it has a problem with the antenna, and provide some workaround? They just sold 1.7 million of the damn things, they can’t toss a cheap rubber case in with each purchase? Instead they just say it is due to all those stupid people using the phone wrong by thinking they can hold it in their hand and make phone calls with it.

Obviously the tech press and bloggers are going to keep digging at this story relentlessly, one because it is good copy and readers are interested, and two…well, maybe Apple shouldn’t have been so quick to try to kneecap Gizmodo over that leaked phone. After all, they sure did get a lot of publicity off of it. However, sending in the cops may mean that the blogosphere is not being quite so gentle with El Jobso this time around.

This is just going to get uglier…but damn if it isn’t fun to watch.

Zealot (839 Posts) - Website | Twitter | Facebook


By day a department manager and writer for a major network device vendor...by night Zealot stalks the mean magnetic streets, striking fear into the hearts of bandwidth abusers and theme park mascots. Zealot has been involved with mobile devices for more than a decade now, starting off with dumb phones, moving to PDAs and then to smartphones, notebooks and netbooks with the odd PMP thrown in. Most of his mobile time currently is spent on a Treo Pro, Zune HD, Thinkpad T61, HP Mini 311, iPod Touch 3G, iPad 16G or a Hackintoshed Compaq Mini 704. He proudly groks the Geek community and considers himself a Neo Maxi Zune Dweebie (thanks Wil Wheaton!).

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  • http://www.google.com/profiles/116333709033748211378 doogald

    Boy, what a bad article.

    1. Apple has acknowledged that there are issues with the antenna.
    2. The use of the word “appease” goes back far longer than Neville Chamberlain. In fact, the “bloody-minded global dictators” statement is quite insulting. Perhaps you would have been happier had the memo said “mollify” instead?
    3. My guess is that Apple is hiring engineers pretty consistently, and this is probably an indication of a ramp-up of the design process for next year's iPhone 5.

    Apple's official statement was given to engadget (and I do not mean the Steve Jobs emails; look for the part in italics): http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/apple-respon...

  • http://twitter.com/mobilitysite/status/17409376249 mobilitysite

    Posted: Apple, if the Antenna is AOK, who are THESE guys? http://bit.ly/9ihKm0

  • http://twitter.com/mobileculture/status/17409584483 Mobile Culture

    Apple, if the Antenna is AOK, who are THESE guys? http://bit.ly/9C2xZl

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/116333709033748211378 doogald

    Boy, what a bad article.

    1. Apple has acknowledged that there are issues with the antenna.
    2. The use of the word “appease” goes back far longer than Neville Chamberlain. In fact, the “bloody-minded global dictators” statement is quite insulting. Perhaps you would have been happier had the memo said “mollify” instead?
    3. My guess is that Apple is hiring engineers pretty consistently, and this is probably an indication of a ramp-up of the design process for next year's iPhone 5.

    Apple's official statement was given to engadget (and I do not mean the Steve Jobs emails; look for the part in italics): http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/apple-respon...

  • http://bardhaven.wordpress.com Zealot

    No, they don't acknowledge there are issues with the antenna, they admit there are issues with having people hold the antennas…not the same thing.

    Here is what appeared on Engadget that you referenced:

    /quote

    Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.

    We know what you're thinking, and we're thinking it too: this sounds crazy.

    /Unquote

    Next, yes, Mollify would have been a better term since to many people, when they hear appease in a modern context they think of the third definition according to Merriam Webster:

    /quote

    3 : pacify, conciliate; especially : to buy off (an aggressor) by concessions usually at the sacrifice of principles

    /unquote

    So no, not the best word…actually, it would have been best if they had simply said they are not offering free covers at this time. Why appease or mollify anything? Both words make them sound like they are feeling a bit defensive.

    As for the last…8 engineers specifically experienced in RF and antennas, all at once, while this flap over antennas is going on, to work on the next release in at least a year's time…nothing whatsoever to do with iPhone 4 problems.

    Do you really believe that?

    I am willing to see this whole thing as being blown out of proportion, if APple would only act like they are concerned with customer service over this issue and not just stonewalling, circling the wagons, and treating their customers like morons. This IS an issue that can be handled, if Apple would stop the damage control and handle it.

    As for this being a bad post…I think it's sweet.

  • http://www.svpocketpc.com Pony99CA
    3. Don’t forget YOU STILL NEED to probe and troubleshoot. If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held) it is not the metal band.

    Riiighhhttt…..So if there are reception problems while you are holding the phone, then it IS due to the metal band? The one that was not a problem?

    I read Apple's comment differently, so let me rephrase it a bit. “If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held), we need to fix this as it couldn't be attenuation caused by holding the phone incorrectly.”

    I think they're telling their reps not to assume that all reception issues are caused by this issue and that they need to check them out. Regardless of how we think they're handling this issue, I think the reminder is a good thing.

    5. We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers.

    APPEASE? Like Neville Chamberlain did? “iPhone Reception in our time…” Nice, really nice. So Apple is equating upset users of their products with bloody-minded global dictators.

    I parse words very carefully (if you haven't noticed :D) and I knew who Neville Chamberlain was and what his policy of appeasement was — and I never would have drawn that analogy.

    Now consider how many people don't know who Chamberlain was (perhaps young Apple geniuses?) and I think you're overblowing that word. Thie important thing is that they're not going to do anything, even give away little covers.

    Beyond all the Customer Support jiggery pokery, if Apple really believes that there is no problem with the antenna, then why are they hiring eight (count em, eight) new Antenna and RF engineers, all the sudden?

    Those ads were posted before the iPhone 4 came out. So either Apple knew about the problem (as you contend) or Doogald could be right and they're ramping up for the next iPhone release or they're replacing some team members who moved on after the iPhone 4 project (for whatever reasons). We can make assumptions, of course, but I'm not sure there's any hard evidence here.

    But I do think it's an interesting post.

    Steve

  • http://www.svpocketpc.com Pony99CA
    3. Don’t forget YOU STILL NEED to probe and troubleshoot. If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held) it is not the metal band.

    Riiighhhttt…..So if there are reception problems while you are holding the phone, then it IS due to the metal band? The one that was not a problem?

    I read Apple's comment differently, so let me rephrase it a bit. “If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held), we need to fix this as it couldn't be attenuation caused by holding the phone incorrectly.”

    I think they're telling their reps not to assume that all reception issues are caused by this issue and that they need to check them out. Regardless of how we think they're handling this issue, I think the reminder is a good thing.

    5. We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers.

    APPEASE? Like Neville Chamberlain did? “iPhone Reception in our time…” Nice, really nice. So Apple is equating upset users of their products with bloody-minded global dictators.

    I parse words very carefully (if you haven't noticed :D) and I knew who Neville Chamberlain was and what his policy of appeasement was — and I never would have drawn that analogy.

    Now consider how many people don't know who Chamberlain was (perhaps young Apple geniuses?) and I think you're overblowing that word. Thie important thing is that they're not going to do anything, even give away little covers.

    Beyond all the Customer Support jiggery pokery, if Apple really believes that there is no problem with the antenna, then why are they hiring eight (count em, eight) new Antenna and RF engineers, all the sudden?

    Those ads were posted before the iPhone 4 came out. So either Apple knew about the problem (as you contend) or Doogald could be right and they're ramping up for the next iPhone release or they're replacing some team members who moved on after the iPhone 4 project (for whatever reasons). We can make assumptions, of course, but I'm not sure there's any hard evidence here.

    But I do think it's an interesting post.

    Steve

  • http://bardhaven.wordpress.com Zealot

    Alright, I may be sensitive to the word Appease…but it was still a silly way for them to look at the situation.

    As for the ads, the second set were placed in the midst of the initial discoveries, so I feel it was clearly a reaction to them…which would be great and smart and wise and I would applaud them for being proactive….if they would just be open about it.

  • iPhone User

    I dunno what all the complaint is about. I can hold my hand over the antenna and grip the phone only holding the bottom left corner, and I can't MAKE the thing drop a call. Seriously people, there is not a device in the world that doesn't drop a call. Honestly, this is the highest quality handset I've ever had the privelidge to use, and I will continue to do so happily.

    As for the training release that someone leaked, what's wrong with making sure that someone does get troubleshooting assistance for REAL reception issues? The people answering these calls are in a call center, probably taking call after call with no down time, most likely working overtime trying to keep up with all the new users needing help. All that statement says to me is to not get jaded and not think that every call about reception isn't someone complaining and wanting something in return for something that may or may not be a hardware issue.

    Are any of the news people reporting on the issue actually using the device? They should go try one and then complain. There isn't a device on the market that comes close on the voice call quality, the camera is unreal, and the battery lives easily twice to 3 times the life of a typical android device using the same variety of programs. All I can say is this thing is worth all the hype it got before release, and probably more.

    As for the engineers, maybe Apple is trying to expand a little with how much demand there is for this generation of device and also the iPad, which ALSO uses a 3G data connection. Chill out people. Being reactionary doesn't get anyone anywhere. If there's an issue with the device, neither I nor about 100 other people that I know who have and use the device on a daily basis have NO problems. Don't just look at what the loud people have to say. Listen to the people who are using the device normally and have NO PROBLEMS!!

  • iPhone User

    I dunno what all the complaint is about. I can hold my hand over the antenna and grip the phone only holding the bottom left corner, and I can't MAKE the thing drop a call. Seriously people, there is not a device in the world that doesn't drop a call. Honestly, this is the highest quality handset I've ever had the privelidge to use, and I will continue to do so happily.

    As for the training release that someone leaked, what's wrong with making sure that someone does get troubleshooting assistance for REAL reception issues? The people answering these calls are in a call center, probably taking call after call with no down time, most likely working overtime trying to keep up with all the new users needing help. All that statement says to me is to not get jaded and not think that every call about reception isn't someone complaining and wanting something in return for something that may or may not be a hardware issue.

    Are any of the news people reporting on the issue actually using the device? They should go try one and then complain. There isn't a device on the market that comes close on the voice call quality, the camera is unreal, and the battery lives easily twice to 3 times the life of a typical android device using the same variety of programs. All I can say is this thing is worth all the hype it got before release, and probably more.

    As for the engineers, maybe Apple is trying to expand a little with how much demand there is for this generation of device and also the iPad, which ALSO uses a 3G data connection. Chill out people. Being reactionary doesn't get anyone anywhere. If there's an issue with the device, neither I nor about 100 other people that I know who have and use the device on a daily basis have NO problems. Don't just look at what the loud people have to say. Listen to the people who are using the device normally and have NO PROBLEMS!!

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