Growing attention on iPhone 4 signal issues presents risk for Apple

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A continued focus on antenna issues associated with the iPhone 4, following this week's update from Consumer Reports, could create a risk for Apple, one prominent Wall Street analyst believes.



Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said in a note to investors Tuesday that iPhone 4 demand is still strong, but growing attention on the iPhone 4 antenna could be a concern for Apple. He said checks with supply chain sources have indicated that Apple is having difficulty keeping up with strong demand for its latest phone.



"So far, in our supply chain and industry checks, we have not seen any change in build plans or demand patterns and thus we are not changing our estimates looking for 7.5 million iPhones in the June quarter and 40 million in (calendar) 2010," he wrote.



He continued: "Should this antenna issue become a bigger deal, there could be risk to our as well as consensus iPhone estimates."



As he previously expressed, Wu continues to believe that it would be a simple and relatively inexpensive fix for Apple to discount or give away free bumper cases to relieve the antenna issue. The Apple-branded protective cases prevent users' skin from touching the external metal band on the iPhone 4, which also serves as the device's antennas.



The bumper cases retail for $29, and Apple has said that using them, or any other third-party case, will improve reception issues that users experience when improperly holding the iPhone 4. The issue is caused by touching or covering the gap between the two antennas on the device, found on the lower left side of the handset.



As exclusively reported by AppleInsider earlier this month, Apple gave at least one business free bumpers to fix their iPhone 4 reception issues. The cases were promised on the day the handset launched. Since then, the company allegedly sent a memo to its AppleCare employees, explicitly stating that the company is not "appeasing customers with free bumpers."



Consumer Reports on Monday did a 180-degree turn on its opinion of the iPhone 4, stating that it cannot recommend the device to potential buyers due to reception problems that are a result of the design of the handset. Earlier this month, the nonprofit organization took the opposite stance and said there was "no reason" not to buy an iPhone 4, as they were unable to recreate the widely reported signal loss issues.



Consumer Reports revised its stance after it completed more thorough testing of the iPhone 4 inside a controlled radio frequency isolation chamber. The test used three separate iPhone 4 handsets purchased in New York, and found that only those devices -- and not the iPhone 3GS or Palm Pre -- experienced signal issues.



Earlier this month, Apple admitted that the iPhone 4 calculates bars of signal strength incorrectly, and a software fix is expected to be delivered in the coming weeks. Apple's iOS allots nearly 40 percent of its total possible reception levels to five bars, from -51dB to -91 dB. But the distance from four bars to one bar of reception is much less, from -91dB to -113dB. But the fix will not address the hardware issues found with the device.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 192
    ruel24ruel24 Posts: 432member
    Doesn't a simple coating on the pieces in question fix the problem? They need to fix it and recall the ones that are already out in the wild. Steve's obsession for denouncing any limitations or flaws in Apple's products is growing old...
  • Reply 2 of 192
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 17,431member
    Th risk has already shown up in the price of the stock today: down over 5% on a market-adjusted basis (as I am writing this). The market cap is veering closer and closer to MSFT....



    People at Apple had better take this very seriously. I am predicting shareholder lawsuits as well in the next couple of weeks, if Apple's Board does not address this, going over Steve Jobs's head if needed.
  • Reply 3 of 192
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 962member
    Even if it is a small issue, perception is reality.



    But... sales are going strong, last I heard, still two week waiting time, so what does that say?



    However, it seems Apple is advertising a bit more than usual.



    Wish-wash.
  • Reply 4 of 192
    plagenplagen Posts: 151member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Th risk has already shown up in the price of the stock today: down over 5% on a market-adjusted basis (as I am writing this). The market cap is veering closer and closer to MSFT....



    People at Apple had better take this very seriously. I am predicting shareholder lawsuits as well in the next couple of weeks, if Apple's Board does not address this, going over Steve Jobs's head if needed.



    Mass hysteria over a non-issue.
  • Reply 5 of 192
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post


    But... sales are going strong, last I heard, still two week waiting time, so what does that say?



    that says that a lot of people don't read tech sites or consumer reports or little blurbs on the today show. they buy the shiny new cool apple thing, and when they, too have reception problems the issue snowballs.
  • Reply 6 of 192
    grumpzzgrumpzz Posts: 1member
    I called At&t to inquire about the return policy for the iPhone and was told as long as its not over 30 days you can return the phone without any penalty...

    I hope they fix this ASAP...



    Steve Job stop being stubborn and fix the problem....
  • Reply 7 of 192
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    Wu??? My dear buddy!!! Haven't seen a bullcrap from you for ages now!!!



    Inexpensive fix? A call to FTC asking for a probe into what stock manipulators are so enthusiastically fabricating. I guarantee you risks will quickly disappear.
  • Reply 8 of 192
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post


    Wu??? My dear buddy!!! Haven't seen a bullcrap from you for ages now!!!



    Inexpensive fix? A call to FTC asking for a probe into what stock manipulators are so enthusiastically fabricating. I guarantee you risks will quickly disappear.



    Here here.



    Funny how everyone I know with an iPhone 4 has ZERO issues/problems with it. Must be magic air in Japan here.
  • Reply 9 of 192
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Plagen View Post


    Mass hysteria over a non-issue.





    So I guess all the independent tests are all 100% wrong. Prove your case that it's a non-issue for all i4 users. There may be some that it doesn't affect. However that is because they live in a place that has strong signal. We all know the bars are bunch of crap, especially how Apple calculates it. If you live in a stong area, your signal may drop from -63 to -91, which is still in the 5 bar threshold. However if you are at -88 and then drop to -110, you are down to 1 bar. For a lot of people, that's enough to drop the call or get worse voice quality. This is a real issue for a significant number of owners. Anyone who believes otherwise is ignorant.



    Just because it doesn't affect a person individually doesn't mean it isn't real.
  • Reply 10 of 192
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Plagen View Post


    Mass hysteria over a non-issue.



    It may be hysteria, but Apple needs to realize that these things take on a life of their own. With a lower profile product, you can just quietly fix it, like they did with the video issues on some 27" iMacs, but, with something like this, you either control the story or the story begins to control you.
  • Reply 11 of 192
    iPhone, iPad, iPhone, iOS, iPhone?



    That's about all I've been seeing for the past several months.



    Isn't an update to the Mac Pro due soon?
  • Reply 12 of 192
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,114member
    Mass hysteria without a shadow of doubt. Fuelled by Apples competitors and the headline hungry press.



    My advice: If you are having reception issues.. stop holding it like a jerk.





    "look ma, the toaster burns mah fingies when I put mah hand in it"
  • Reply 13 of 192
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EWTHeckman View Post


    iPhone, iPad, iPhone, iOS, iPhone?



    That's about all I've been seeing for the past several months.



    Isn't an update to the Mac Pro due soon?



    If you look at profits/sales, Apple is now a "Wireless Cell Phone" company. In fact, today's youth are probably discovering that "Apple also sells PCs".
  • Reply 14 of 192
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Plagen View Post


    Mass hysteria over a non-issue.



    Then buy. Otherwise shut up. (Feel free to vent in the many threads below that amply address the iPhone, not Apple's stock price).
  • Reply 15 of 192
    ruel24ruel24 Posts: 432member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EWTHeckman View Post


    iPhone, iPad, iPhone, iOS, iPhone…



    That's about all I've been seeing for the past several months.



    Isn't an update to the Mac Pro due soon?



    +1 I think the Macbook Pro is due for a refresh, too. I sure hope with the success of the iPod/iPhone/iPad line that Apple doesn't forget the Mac along the way.
  • Reply 16 of 192
    This is not over. And until there is definitive resolution...I will stay with my 3Gs. Not Good.
  • Reply 17 of 192
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,451member
    Well, not suffered from any signal loss or dropped calls with my iPhone 4 and the only problem I had was with the proximity sensor but that was only when I had the iPhone trapped between my ear and my shoulder.



    If users were to toggle 3G off and only enable it when they want to browse etc then they wouldn't be losing any signal anyway as the drop only happens when connected to 3G. This also extends your battery life by a fair old margin.
  • Reply 18 of 192
    obs1970obs1970 Posts: 22member
    What a bunch of Bruhahha and like "success" mentioned stock manipulators.



    I placed 2 orders for iphone 4, for me and my wife. I am upgrading from 3G. After reading reports, I was concerned I would get a subpar phone.



    I got my iphone yesterday and this device ROCKS. AMAZING. AWESOME. So far no reception issues. And no bumper yet. Which I'll buy anyway to protect the device. But my 3G had a ton of reception issues. My wife's samsung had reception issues.



    Apple, please discount this bumper thingy to $8 or $10 and shut those suckers up. That would still be 80% profit probably
  • Reply 19 of 192
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EWTHeckman View Post


    iPhone, iPad, iPhone, iOS, iPhone…



    That's about all I've been seeing for the past several months.



    Isn't an update to the Mac Pro due soon?



    Huh? This is AppleInsider. What is this Mac you're talking about???
  • Reply 20 of 192
    I don't know of anyone who so far has been complaining about loss of signal because they don't clutch the phone with their entire hand. However, you have to wonder why Apple would create the "BUMPER" for the phone. As far as I can remember this is the first time they have created a case or semi-case for the iPhone or iPod Touch. It sorta looks like they thought it could be an issue and this was the quick fix.
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