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  • Steve Jobs Knew of iPhone 4 Antenna Problems During 2009 Design Phase



    Speaking truth to power is never easy. But, last year, one intrepid iPhone 4 engineer told Apple chief Steve Jobs that the design of the iPhone 4 was ripe for antenna and reception problems. Shortly before the June 2010 launch of the updated Apple smartphone, executives were warned once again of the device's intermittently fatal reception flaw.

    Bloomberg News reported Thursday that Ruben Caballero, a "senior engineer and antenna expert" with Apple, notified his company of the design weaknesses that would produce the widespread call dropping and service interruptions via the "Death Grip" phenomenon. Make no mistake about it, Steve Jobs knew of the problem during the design phase of the iPhone 4. In other words, the complaints that have since leveled the Cupertino tech-giant shouldn't have come as such a surprise.

    Apple’s industrial design team, led by Jonathan Ive, submitted several iPhone designs before Jobs and other executives settled on the bezel antenna, said the person familiar with the company’s design. Caballero, the antenna expert, voiced concern in early planning meetings that it might lead to dropped calls and presented a serious engineering challenge, the person said.
    Apple's response to the Bloomberg report? As expected, there is no response. And Apple won't let Caballero talk either. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, refused to "make Caballero available for an interview." Bloomberg also noted that Caballero "didn’t respond to a call and an e-mail seeking comment." When Apple cracks the whip...

    In response to the negative rock e'm, sock 'em media attention given to the iPhone 4 this week, Apple will hold a scheduled press conference in Cupertino tomorrow that will focus exclusively on the iPhone 4 and the lingering reception issues. The press conference will begin Friday, July 16th at 10:00 am PST.

    Bloomberg
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Steve Jobs Knew of iPhone 4 Antenna Problems During 2009 Design Phase started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 143 Comments
    1. eserfeliz's Avatar
      eserfeliz -
      pwned.

      so now we know why the press conference was called: damage control.
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Selling products which they knew were faulty...I smell Congressional Hearing.

      I just hope they do the right thing tomorrow. Along those lines...


    1. ecd5000's Avatar
      ecd5000 -
      i qouted someone yesterday about the white iphone, my response was that jobs probably knew of this and wanted to push the release anyway and whenever the white comes out this should not be a problem
    1. k0mpresd's Avatar
      k0mpresd -
      as if this comes a surprise to anyone. how could you not know your phone had a serious design flaw until after you released it?
    1. fearls101's Avatar
      fearls101 -
      Well im sure steve was hoping this story never came out. But seriously, did they just hope people would think its really "cool engineering" and that the antenna issue would go unnoticed?

      REMEMBER STEVE JOBS, ITS A CELL PHONE, IT CANT HAVE ANTENNA PROBLEMS FROM HOLDING IT, WHO CARES IF IT'S "COOL ENGINEERING" WHEN THE SUPPOSED "BEST CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY ON THE MARKET" DROPS CALLS FROM NORMAL USE.

      I'm waiting for what they have to say at this press conference
    1. pokerizer's Avatar
      pokerizer -
      Hmmm time to grab some popcorn and watch them dance lol
    1. eserfeliz's Avatar
      eserfeliz -
      anyone want to short apple's stock with me?
    1. BLADEofthePOPE's Avatar
      BLADEofthePOPE -
      Such an awesome phone. It's a shame he/they allowed something like this to pass through. Stevie really dropped the ball on this one
    1. Meglomaniac's Avatar
      Meglomaniac -
      Don't believe everything you read.
      Common sense tells me this is not true for manny reasons.

      And before you start i am not 1 of those apple fanboy and i do believe in the reception problem.
      But i do not believe apple and/or steve knew about this problem.

      This problem already and will probably cost apple alot of money and if you had this knowledge beforehand they know it would cost them dearly.

      So again common sense tells me this story is a load of....
    1. MikePA's Avatar
      MikePA -
      They clearly thought the bumper would solve the problem, albeit inelegantly, which it does for most people. As others have mentioned in other threads, when was the last time Apple made a big deal about an accessory and when did they even offer a 'case' they made? The way the external antenna looked, and maybe the internal space it saved, won the argument.

      Frankly, even if it didn't solve my antenna problem, I'd have a bumper anyway. The soft rubber edges keep the phone from sliding around on smooth surfaces that are even slightly angled.
    1. M4tt Dam0n's Avatar
      M4tt Dam0n -
      Of course they knew about it. First of all they had to test the phone and it was unusual for apple to make cases for the iPhone. The bumpers only cover the sides that's pretty obvious why. They were too far in the project to revert back and chance the design and time was running out because everyone was expecting a new iPhone.
    1. bcon1208's Avatar
      bcon1208 -
      I for one hope Apple just goes completely belly up over this...maybe some other company will pick up the iPhone idea and do it RIGHT!!!
    1. Eagleye's Avatar
      Eagleye -
      Interestingly, they marketed the iPhone with the antenna being a selling point... and now, we are starting to see it has no point.
    1. bcon1208's Avatar
      bcon1208 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Meglomaniac View Post
      Don't believe everything you read.
      Common sense tells me this is not true for manny reasons.

      And before you start i am not 1 of those apple fanboy and i do believe in the reception problem.
      But i do not believe apple and/or steve knew about this problem.

      This problem already and will probably cost apple alot of money and if you had this knowledge beforehand they know it would cost them dearly.

      So again common sense tells me this story is a load of....
      Yes but Apple couldn't afford to delay their launch at all. The Droid Incredible launched at nearly the same time and it's toe to toe with the iPhone 4 in nearly every aspect and actually better on some parts. Apple knew if they delayed they might lose some potential buyers...apparently Stevie boy thought he could just ignore everyone and we'd just buy a case and call it good....WRONG!!!
    1. j.eck.art.3d's Avatar
      j.eck.art.3d -
      Quote Originally Posted by BLADEofthePOPE View Post
      Such an awesome phone. It's a shame he/they allowed something like this to pass through. Stevie really dropped the ball on this one
      Don't you mean dropped the "Call" on this one?
    1. jdonn2009's Avatar
      jdonn2009 -
      it is kinda funny that they had the bumpers in the opening viewing of this product... and i don't think it was meant to be an accessory...
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by BLADEofthePOPE View Post
      Such an awesome phone. It's a shame he/they allowed something like this to pass through. Stevie really dropped the ball on this one
      Not just anyone, but Jobs according to the article.

      This is what happens when you let stylist design something and ignoring your engineers. Not surprising though most Apple products looks good, and in most cases engineers can work around the design. I guess not this time. Can't wait to see how Jobs get out of this one. Be prepared to be reminded of your iPhone4 failures on every key note speech Jobs.

      Jobs introducing iPhone 5 "I can not get on Wifi for some reason"... "Maybe you are holding it wrong!" says the crowd.
    1. robertr1's Avatar
      robertr1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Meglomaniac View Post
      Don't believe everything you read.
      Common sense tells me this is not true for manny reasons.

      And before you start i am not 1 of those apple fanboy and i do believe in the reception problem.
      But i do not believe apple and/or steve knew about this problem.

      This problem already and will probably cost apple alot of money and if you had this knowledge beforehand they know it would cost them dearly.

      So again common sense tells me this story is a load of....
      Common sense tells everyone else how could they not know about this design flaw... Unless they just didn't test the phone.
    1. nkgneto's Avatar
      nkgneto -
      Quote Originally Posted by Meglomaniac View Post
      Don't believe everything you read.
      Common sense tells me this is not true for manny reasons.

      And before you start i am not 1 of those apple fanboy and i do believe in the reception problem.
      But i do not believe apple and/or steve knew about this problem.

      This problem already and will probably cost apple alot of money and if you had this knowledge beforehand they know it would cost them dearly.

      So again common sense tells me this story is a load of....
      My reason that Apple and Steve Jobs knew about the "Death Grip" issue is that I can not recall a WWDC that they introduced an accessory "Bumpers". Why would they endorse the bumpers at the WWDC if they didn't know about the problem. Also this is the reason why the Gizmodo "lost Iphone" was in a case not for disguise but to avoid the "Death Grip" issue.

      -Luis
    1. ZipZapp's Avatar
      ZipZapp -
      What's missing is "Former" engineer. If it was a present engineer it would be pretty simply for Steve to identify.