There’s a phenomena with the new iPhone that, since I don’t own one and have a waning interest in ever owning one, I was unaware of before reading a blog post in the New York Times. It seems that, for many users, if you hold the iPhone in a certain way, the very act of holding the iPhone will make the signal degrade. The technical explanation is that if you hold any cell phone a certain way, you risk covering the antenna and thereby affecting your signal. However, Apple has — according to the post — produced specific covers for the stainless steel band along the edge of the new iPhone. Could they be trying to profit from their own design flaw? (Answer: Wouldn’t you?)
Expectedly, Apple brushes the problem off, saying that “gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance 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.”
However, Steve Jobs responds to the issue a bit more brusquely.
Non issue. Just avoid holding it in that way.
I’ve heard responses like that before. They were in geeky tech forums by developers with little time for rudimentary questions or trolls just waiting to bag on the latest n00b. You might expect more (although, maybe not if you’re familiar with his history of sending terse responses to the undoubtedly hundreds of emails he receives daily) from our geek messiah, the man who single-handedly raised Apple, like Lazarus, from the dead to re-establish its place at the top of the tech industry.
Bill Gates made similar comments in the antitrust case against Microsoft about packaging Internet Explorer with Windows and he was crucified for it. Microsoft is just barely starting to recover from the PR nightmare they lived in for a decade.
So when is the public stoning of Steve Jobs going to be held? Surely we aren’t going to make an exception this time? Surely the now-mammoth Apple, Inc. isn’t still the little underdog who could?