The dispute between users of Apple's new iPhone 4 about poor reception, and the response by Apple that there is no real problem, highlights a fact of life: Nothing is perfect, but Apple fans expect nothing but perfection.
Some Apple iPhone users have been reporting poor reception with the new device, and reports from multiple sources list reasons for the problem ranging from poor AT&T reception to a poor antenna design to the way users hold the device when using it.
The problem could also be related to the way the antenna was designed. The metal enclosure of the iPhone 4 actually serves as part of the antenna in a design move to save internal space in the device, analyst firm iSuppli reported on Monday.
Apple last week issued a statement to various news outlets including the Christian Science Monitor which said that how the iPhone is held impacts antenna performance in the same way it impacts other cellphones.
"Gripping any 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 Phone 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," Apple said in a statement published in the Monitor.
Blogger Boy Genius Report on Tuesday said it received an internal memo from AppleCare reps which instructs Apple personnel who receive complaints about reception to tell customers the reception is fine and that reception problems are a fact of life with mobile phones.
The memo also instructs reps to tell customers to not cover the black strip in the lower left corner of the enclosure, and to consider purchasing a rubber bumper for the device.
To many Apple customers, any suggestion that they way they are using the iPhone could cause reception issues is not acceptable.
One respondent to the Boy Genius Report story, "Trajectory," blasted Apple for telling customers to hold the iPhone 4 in specific ways, and wrote, "Well, this sure wouldn’t be the first time Apple took the 'nothing wrong here, move along' approach to problems with the hardware they are selling. What I find a bit disturbing is that they are specifically coaching their support reps to essentially pretend the problem doesn’t exist."
Another respondent, "Cat," wrote that it is common to jump to conclusions. "Well, this sure wouldn’t be the first time Apple took the “nothing wrong here, move along” approach to problems with the hardware they are selling. What I find a bit disturbing is that they are specifically coaching their support reps to essentially pretend the problem doesn’t exist."