To our customers who are affected by the issue, we are deeply sorry, and we are going to give you a free case or a full refund.
This is basically how Steve Jobs laid it out to the press corps that attended the Cupertino invite this morning. After admitting that signal loss form holding any smartphone devices IS in fact a more common problem then we are aware of, Steve basically went for the mea culpa and said they did in fact know there was a slight issue in testing but as everyone had bought cases with the iPhone 3GS they didn’t think it would be a big issue. Since the phone launched 22 day ago, Apple or At&T have yet to see a dramatic increase in dropped calls but felt it was time to put this Antennagate to rest and settle the issue. And yes he did use the word: Antennagate.
There are some things we know that we did learn here. One thing is how much we love our customers and how we are going to take care of them. We were stunned and upset and embarrassed by the Consumer Reports stuff, and the reason we didn’t say more is because we didn’t know enough. If we’d have done this event a week and a half ago, we wouldn’t have had half the data we have today.
Throughout the short 15 minute statement, one thing that Steve made very clear was how much Apple loves its customer and has been working their collective butts off trying to make the best iPhone possible and to solve this issue as quickly as possible.
AT&T won’t give out the absolute call drop data for competitive reasons, but they’ll let us release the delta. But how do the call drops on iPhone 4 compare to 3GS a year ago per 100 calls? I can tell you that since we’re being totally transparent, even though we believe the iPhone’s antenna is superior, the data says the iPhone 4 drops more calls than the 3GS. But how many more calls per hundred does it drop? Again, listening to ‘Antennagate’ on the web, it must be dropping many more calls! The iPhone 4 drops less than ONE call per hundred than the 3GS. Less than one.
Another vibe that very quickly became apparent was that Apple was not very happy with the amount of bad press they have been getting for a fairly common issue. Truth be told, even I was a little shocked by Apple expectation of being treated like everyone else. Would Ferrari want to be judged with the same criteria and road tests as the Chevy Craptastic? Does Tag or Rolex sell themselves with the same feature list as Timex? They have very much created this niche of excellence in everything they touch and neither the press nor the public will ever want to hold them accountable to the same standards of cheap Samsung and LG phone.
We’re an engineering company, we think like engineers, and we think it’s the right way to solve real, hard problems. I don’t think the fact that we love our customers is going to change at all. I don’t think we could run any faster — we’ve had cots in the labs, cars in the parking lots all night, we’ve been living here.
I guess it’s just human nature, when you see someone get successful you just want to tear it down. I see it happening with Google. Google is a great company. Look at everything they’ve created. Would you prefer we’re Korean companies? Do you not like the fact that we’re an American company leading the world right here? Of course we’re human, of course we’ll make mistakes. But sometimes I feel that in search of eyeballs for these web sites, people don’t care about what they leave in their wake.
In the end, Apple does in fact have an issue with its brand new iPhone 4, which is still the best phone on the market and the most innovative user experience I have ever had on any mobile device. So today, they tried in there very best and almost arrogant way to make things right. Steve apologized, Apple is handing out free cases and offering full refunds without restocking fees and yes At&T will allow customers to cancel contracts. No news as to what Rogers, Bell or Telus will do but it probably will somehow tow the same line. Will I be buying an iPhone 4, truth is, I only just my 3GS and the iPS 4.01 is working very nicely for me? So, probably not. Will I ever buy another iPhone? Of course I will, after using a Palm, Blackberry and Droid, nothing compares the user experience on the iPhone.
[UPDATE] Apple has posted the video of the entire press conference online here
Also, this took a lot of balls to play at the beginning of the Event