Steve starts out his press conference stating that Apple isn't perfect, phones aren't perfect and they want happy users. He lays out the numbers for us: over 3 million units sold, Voted #1 Smartphone by Wired, PCWorld, Engadget and Consumer Reports. They have the best customer satisfaction ratings. Apple feels it's the best product they've ever made. He leaves this aside and begins the discussion on the antenna problems.
Apple started seeing reports of antenna issues and have spent the last 22 days working on it. They haven't been trying to hide from the problem, just fix it. One of the first things they did was start doing manual tests on the iPhone and other phones and OS brands. They wanted to verify the YouTube videos and blog reports. Steve says they decided the antenna signal drop problem was a problem with all phones. The problem includes the iPhone 4, particularly when you touch the iPhone 4 at the antenna break on the volume button side. They also discovered the math problem that caused the bars to be self-report the signal wrongly.
Steve then shows pictures of their testing rooms, a $100 million plus facility and mentions they have 18 engineers at their labs. He reiterates they are trying to make state of the art products.
So what does all this mean?
Well, Steve has some numbers about customer service to tell us about. First, most people are reporting better coverage with the new phone. Second, from AppleCare reports, he estimates only %0.55 of iPhone 4 users are calling with problems. Third he tells us AT&T's buyers remorse problem has had a return rate of %1.7, compared to iPhone 3Gs rates of %6. Lastly, Steve tells us that AT&T's dropped call rate amounts to 'less than 1 call per hundred more than the 3Gs'. AT&T won't give out the full numbers. Steve theorizes that the difference is due to the fact that 3Gs phones had plenty of cases available.
Now we get down to what Apple will do:
Steve emphasizes that customer service is the most important thing. Even though it's a very small percentage of users that are unhappy, they still want to make it right. The offer is a free case. Apple can't make enough Bumpers so other cases will be available. This starts at the end of next week on Apple.com. Anyone who has bought a Bumper can get a full refund. Shipping will be free. This will hold until September 30th and then be reevaluated. In addition to that, if you are unhappy with your iPhone 4, you can get a refund for free, with no restocking fee.
As a final note Steve tells us the problem with the proximity sensor is being worked on. Also, the White iPhone 4 will be available July 30th, as will most international iPhone orders.
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Q&A with Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and Bob Mansfield
There were quite a few questions asked and they can be broken down into the following:
A hardware fix is unlikely, though the next iPhone may be engineered differently.
There's probably not a major software fix for the problem, either.
Refunds are sure for unhappy customers, this may include AT&T contract refunds, but not 3rd party case refunds, if you already bought those. For the record none of the 3 guys on stage use cases and Steve tends to use the death grip' with no problems.
Reports of recalls and cover-ups are exaggerated or false. It's pretty clear that various news sites and blogs are annoying Apple.
AT&T is working on the network, it's simply easier in some places than others. (3 weeks in Texas for a new tower compared with 3 Years in San Francisco)
Apple is striving to make the best of function and form and make all it's users happy.
Financial impact of the antenna problems will not be reported on until the next quarters reports.