According to a “well informed source,” reports T3, the problem first surfaced at least two years ago.
Apple’s PR wizards told loyal fans that any issues were only unearthed following the launch. Back in June we reported that the company had known about the problems for a while and had been planning to keep customers in the dark and, if they weren’t fully informed, avoiding helping them to actually resolve the problem. A leaked document showed that at the time the company was worried about what its helpline staff could tell frustrated iPhone users who had antenna problems.
The policy given to “Apple Care” said: “Keep all of the positioning statements in the BN handy – your tone when delivering this information is important. The iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. Our testing shows that iPhone 4’s overall antenna performance is better than iPhone 3GS.
“Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 3GS, avoid covering the bottom-right side with your hand. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 4, avoid covering the black strip in the lower-left corner of the metal band.
When the phone launched and problems started coming to light, some industry experts suggested that the phone had been rushed out to fit in with Apple’s original announcements and the hype about the next generation release.
Paperchase, or Taskmaster, or Papermaster – wotshisname – got sacked just the other day. It’s thought by some that the long list of bad PR for the iPhone 4 was the cause of his departure from Cappuccino HQ, but as Daring Fireball points out, he may not have been the bloke to blame anyway.
Daring Fireball says: “One last tidbit from an informed source: the bug on the “touching it wrong” signal loss issue was filed two years ago. This is not a problem they didn’t catch, or caught too late. So, on the one hand, clearly the fundamental antenna design predated Papermaster’s time at the company. But on the other hand, there was plenty of time to find a solution to the problem. I.e., it’s not that Apple should not have used an external antenna. It’s that it should have been even better.”