Yellow spots (don't sweat it, the glue just hasn't dried yet). Dropped signals (dude, first off you're holding it wrong. And secondly, our math was buggered, you had less bars the whole time!). And now you can add slow uploads to the list of iPhone 4 woes. So who's to blame this time?
Not Apple, and hey, don't look at AT&T, the wireless carrier says. The problem, according to AT&T, is sloppy code in the software for Alcatel-Lucent's 3G network equipment, which temporarily drops upstream connections for a handful of AT&T subscribers. It took the launch of the iPhone 4 and the subsequent strain on upload capacity to expose the flaw.
"It came to the forefront after the iPhone 4 because of the big increase in the uplink data," said Mary Ward, spokeswoman for Alcatel.
It isn't just iPhone 4 owners who are affected, but anyone using a HSUPA (High-Speed uplink Packet Access) device, such as AT&T's LaptopConnect cards for PCs and netbooks. Even so, AT&T insists the problem is only affecting some 2 percent of its mobile subscribers.
Alcatel says it's working on the problem and expects to have it fixed soon.
You know those reception issues iPhone 4 users have been complaining about? Of course you do, it's been the subject of plenty of media attention, including here. But what you didn't know is that it has nothing to do with the antenna at all, but how the iPhone 4 calculates its bars, Apple says.
"To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars," Apple wrote in an open letter. "This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.
"We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising."
Hit the jump to find out what Apple says the culprit is, and how it can be fixed.
Show of hands, who didn't see this one coming? Anyone? Like you, your neighbor, the local convenience store owner, and even little Billy who's more interested in what SpongeBob is up to than the world of tech, we could see the class action lawsuit(s) coming, and they've now arrived.
Defect in Design, Manufacture, and Assembly (Apple)
Breach of Express Warranty (Apple)
Breach of Implied Warranty for Merchantability (Apple and AT&T)
Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose (Ajpple and AT&T)
Deceptive Trade Practices (Apple and AT&T)
Intentional Misrepresentation (Apple and AT&T)
Negligent Misrepresentation (Apple and AT&T)
Fraud by Concealment (Apple AT&T)
Lawsuits over the iPhone 4's well documented antenna problems have also come from Washington, Massachusetts, and probably a few other places. One of the suits says "the refusal of Apple and AT&T to both acknowledge and offer to fix users' phones is incredulous."
For those of you who may have been abducted by aliens and just now returned to Earth, Apple has been catching heat for what many are saying is a defect in the iPhone 4's design that causes the device to lose a signal when covering the antenna, most often when holding it with the left hand. Steve Jobs called it a "non issue" and suggested holding the device a different way.
Young Brian Maupin of Kansas City made a hilarious video on YouTube that over a million people viewed (check out the vid here). The only problem is that Brian also works at Best Buy, and Best Buy has no sense of humor. The videos in question poke a little fun at Apple and the iPhone. Best Buy feels the video disparages a product that it sells, as well as the electronics retailer itself. Heaven forbid your employees have opinions about gadgets that they express in their spare time. Brian is now suspended indefinitely and is probably on the way to unemployment.
The most popular video has a customer at "Phone Mart" insisting that the only phone he (or she, the cartoon is indistinct) wants is the iPhone. Even after being told the Evo 4G could print money and grant wishes, the customer still wanted the iPhone because it has "the Wi-Fis". The weird thing here is that the videos say nothing about Best Buy, and Brian does not announce himself as a Best Buy employee. Indeed, the only connection Best Buy has to these videos is the one it has created for itself by perusing this. Maupin is taking the whole thing in stride saying, " I see it all as a blessing in disguise. I’ve wanted to start my career in graphic design/animation for so long, I see this as my kick in the pants to go get it."
Brian suspects Best Buy figured out who he was by digging through his other videos, which he removed at Best Buy's request. He refused to remove the Evo vs iPhone video as it had nothing to do with Best Buy. We wish him the best in his future video endeavors, and shake our collective fist at Best Buy.
One rumor that refuses to roll over and play dead is that Apple's iPhone is headed to Verizon. Assuming you're interested in an iPhone in the first place, this sounds like a win-win proposition, if it comes to fruition. Citing "two people familiar with the plans," not only is it going to happen, but relatively soon, as in January 2010, Bloomberg reports.
"Apple is going to dramatically increase the number of devices it sells in the U.S. when exclusivity at AT&T ends," said John Hodulik, an AG Analyst. "It's hard to ignore the quality issues that AT&T faces."
It's also hard to ignore the exclusivity contract between Apple and AT&T, even though all the rumors up to this point seemingly do. Unless Apple and AT&T have come to some sort of altered agreement, the two sides are tied to each other until 2012.
Would you be interested in an iPhone it were offered through Verizon? Hit the jump and sound off.
Steve Jobs might not want to acknowledge any design defects in the iPhone 4, who as far as we know still maintains that the reception issues some users are reporting amounts to a "non issue," but several new job listings may tell a different story. Spreading like wildfire across the Internet, the Cupertino company is looking to hire three "Antenna Engineers," two "iPhone OTA Wireless Systems Engineers", and three "RF Systems Validation Engineers" for the iPhone.
Candidates hoping to score a position as an antenna engineer will have to " Define and implement antenna system architecture to optimize the radiation performance for wireless portable devices. The candidate should be able to design antennas suitable for wireless handheld devices with excellent radiation performance, including TRP, TIS, SAR, and EMC. Work closely with other RF and antenna design engineers, mechanical and industrial designers, and EMC engineers to integrate the antenna design in our products. The candidate will be expected to performance radiation performance measurements, create test plans, execute them, publish test reports, provide feedback to the other design engineers, and lead some of the manufacturing of antenna."
All three Antenna Engineer listings were posted on the same day that widespread reports began to surface of the left-handed reception issues. That could be a coincidence, or maybe it isn't such a "non issue" after all.
Even though BGR received the tip from a new source, it feels “we have very good reason to believe” the tipster. It went on to add that while tiered data plans would replace the current pricing scheme, the carrier would not be charging a premium for its 4G services (a la Sprint).
Every time a new smartphone comes out, the guys at iSuppli get their paws on it and open it up. They rummage around inside and identify all the components to give us an extimate of just how much the parts are worth. This inevitably depresses anyone that spent money on the device in question. In their recent iPhone 4 teardown, iSuppli was able to deduce the new Apple phone is composed of $187.51 worth of hardware.
The most expensive element of the phone is the so-called "Retina Display", which clocks in at $28.50 from manufacturer LG. The NAND flash memory cost nearly as much at $27 for 16GB. The Apple A4 CPU also added noticeably to the cost at $10.75 from maker Samsung. These rundowns of cost obviously do not include R&D costs, or labor. Although, we hear Foxconn works cheap.
This parts list is par for the course. The iPhone 3GS was found to be worth $179 when it came out. Google's Nexus One had hardware costing $174.15 at launch. The 16GB iPhone 4 that was checked out goes for $199 on contract or $599 unsubsidized. This seeming disparity is probably just a fact of mobile life we'll have to live with.
Amazon's Kindle reader apps for Apple's iOS devices – the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch – now support books with audio/video elements. The ability to play embedded video/audio, however, does not extend to its flagship eReader. There are currently 13 e-books that leverage this new feature, including five travel guides, a cookbook promising “heavenly cakes”, and a knitting guide for beginners.
"In the new Kindle Edition with audio/video of 'Rick Steves' London,' the embedded walking tours allow customers to listen to Rick as they explore the sites of London," said Bill Newlin, publisher of Avalon Travel. "Rick's narration adds depth to the reader's experience, while listeners can follow the routes more easily with the text."
Apple is trying to present the iPad as an alternative to dedicated eReaders like Amazon's Kindle. Factor in the growing number of mobile devices capable of doubling up as eReaders and dedicated eReaders begin to appear vulnerable.
But Amazon harbors no intentions of going down with the ship it commands, if it does drown. The company is hedging its bet by porting the Kindle experience to disparate consumer devices. It currently provides free reading apps for the PC, Mac, iOS devices and Blackberry, and plans to support Android soon. Its software presence across a wide range of devices is like an insurance policy against the threat these very devices pose to its eReader.
The internet has greatly accelerated the pace at which news is broken and consumed. The competition is so fierce that a media outlet, howsoever big, is only as good as the last big news it broke. While there was probably never a better time for consuming news, the competition does have its downsides. For instance, media outlets can leave themselves open to sophomoric bloopers in their unrelenting quest for the next big story.
It is something that the DailyMail, Britain's second biggest newspaper, is now well aware of. Yesterday, its website featured a news story titled “Apple Boss Steve Jobs Reveals iPhone 4 May be Recalled.” The article claimed that the iPhone 4 may be recalled owing to many technical issues associated with it. However, the DailyMail had to recall the article instead, after it became clear that it was inspired by a parody Twitter account (ceoSteveJobs).
“We may have to recall the new iPhone. This, I did not expect,” the fake Steve Jobs tweeted on Saturday. To make it an even bigger embarassement for the DailyMail, the impersonator's bio clearly states that it is “a parody account.”