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US Sen. Schumer writes letter to Apple CEO over iPhone 4 antenna

post #1 of 198
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Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer on Thursday issued an open letter to Steve Jobs regarding the iPhone 4 antenna issues, calling Apple's current solutions "insufficient" and asking the company to provide a free fix for consumers.

The U.S. senator said he wants Apple to explain in writing to consumers the true cause of poor reception with the iPhone 4 with regards to the so-called "death grip," experienced by some when covering the handset in its bottom left corner.

Schumer said Apple's solutions so far, including a forthcoming software fix that will provide a cosmetic change on how signal bars are reported, have been "insufficient." He also said the company's suggestion to buy a case to cover the handset's external metal antennas is not adequate.

"The burden for consumers caused by this glitch, combined with the confusion over its cause and how it will be fixed, has the potential to undermine the many benefits of this innovative device," he wrote. "To address this concern, I ask that Apple provide iPhone 4 customers with a clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem and make a public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge."

He also praised Apple for its "innovative approach to mobile technology," as well as "its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide." The letter specifically cited this week's statement from Consumer Reports regarding the iPhone 4, in which the nonprofit organization said it cannot recommend Apple's latest handset because of reception problems that are a result of the hardware design.

The letter comes a day before Apple is scheduled to hold a press conference on its Cupertino, Calif., campus. Some members of the press have been invited to Friday's event, scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific Time, where the company is expected to address the antenna issue and provide a potential solution for users.

Schumer's letter is included in its entirety below:

July 15, 2010

Dear Mr. Jobs,

I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4. While I commend Apple's innovative approach to mobile technology and appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner. According to Consumer Reports' review, released Monday on its website, the iPhone 4's signal-strength problem is a hardwire glitch triggered by gripping the device in a particular manner. This finding, according to Consumer Reports, "call[s] into question Apples recent claim that the problem is largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software." Consumer Reports declined to recommend the iPhone 4 because of this hardware design flaw.

Given the discrepancy between Consumer Reports' explanation of the reception problem and the explanation provided by Apple in its July 2 letter to customers, I am concerned that the nearly two million purchasers of the iPhone 4 may not have complete information about the quality of the product they have purchased. The burden for consumers caused by this glitch, combined with the confusion over its cause and how it will be fixed, has the potential to undermine the many benefits of this innovative device. To address this concern, I ask that Apple provide iPhone 4 customers with a clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem and make a public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge. The solutions offered to date by Apple for dealing with the so-called death grip malfunctionsuch as holding the device differently, or buying a cover for itseem to be insufficient. These proposed solutions would unfairly place the burden on consumers for resolving a problem they were not aware of when they purchased their phones.

I also encourage Apple to keep its promise to provide free software updates so that bars displayed accurately reflect signal strength; I further urge Apple to issue a written explanation of the formula it uses to calculate bar strength, so that consumers can once again trust the product that they have invested in.

I look forward to Apple's swift action on this matter, and once again laud Apple for its innovative efforts and service to millions of Americans.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer
post #2 of 198

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #3 of 198
Afghanistan, Iraq, BP, unemployment, financial crisis, Sarah Palin, and now iPhone.

Our politicians sure have their hands full these days.
post #4 of 198
Even though this antenna thing pisses me off, Schumer needs to STFU.
post #5 of 198
Geese
post #6 of 198
Dear Mr. Schumer,
Get a f*cking life.
Thanks
post #7 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Afghanistan, Iraq, BP, unemployment, financial crisis, Sarah Palin, and now iPhone.

Our politicians sure have their hands full these days.

Yea hands full of death grip
post #8 of 198
This confirms my suspicions.

A lot of the hue and cry is Google's (and probably MS's) increasing lobbying dollars at work. Apple needs to get into the lobbying business, otherwise they will never hear the end of the FCC, Congress, etc. (note how the App Store is being investigated for monopolistic practices when it is part of the iPhone which is the 2nd best selling smartphone, which is a very small part of the much much larger phone category. OTOH, Google's purchase of AdMob, the combination of 2 monopolies (web advertising, and mobile advertising) was greenlighted on the basis of competition from a non-existent competitor (iAds at the time)).

This post shouldn't be misconstrued as saying there is no iPhone 4 antenna issue. What I am trying to say is that the issue is not so major (WORST CASE situation involves users spending another $29 and using a bumper) that the FCC and Congress get involved.
post #9 of 198
Someone needs to explain to this idiot that "senator' doesn't mean 'God-emperor".
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #10 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Even though this antenna thing pisses me off, Schumer needs to STFU.

Ditto. (Except it isn't the antenna issues that bother me, it is Apple's reaction so far).

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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post #11 of 198
Where's the letter to AT&T?
post #12 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

This confirms my suspicions.

A lot of the hue and cry is Google's (and probably MS's) increasing lobbying dollars at work. Apple needs to get into the lobbying business, otherwise they will never hear the end of the FCC, Congress, etc. (note how the App Store is being investigated for monopolistic practices when it is part of the iPhone which is the 2nd best selling smartphone, which is a very small part of the much much larger phone category. OTOH, Google's purchase of AdMob, the combination of 2 monopolies (web advertising, and mobile advertising) was greenlighted on the basis of competition from a non-existent competitor (iAds at the time)).

This post shouldn't be misconstrued as saying there is no iPhone 4 antenna issue. What I am trying to say is that the issue is not so major (WORST CASE situation involves users spending another $29 and using a bumper) that the FCC and Congress get involved.

Well, if Sen. Schumer wants to get involved in something for the benefit of consumers, he should address the bait and switch by AT&T on the iPad data plans.
post #13 of 198
Funny. I don't see the big deal with him writing this letter. It's not like it takes a long time to write this.
post #14 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by erybovic View Post

Geese

post #15 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post

Dear Mr. Schumer,
Get a f*cking life.
Thanks

This is NOT going away.

Apple is getting a bundle of negative press and now that they are fairly large, ie msft, this issue will be pressed until either a recall or free bumper until rev 2 resolves these issues.
post #16 of 198
Schumer is an idiot. Typical politician who loves getting his name in the media more than he loves accurate information and a well tought out statement. He should worry more about fixing this country than Apple fixing bars on an iPhone. Oh yeah, he has been in office long enough to be one of the ones who's messed this country up in the first place.
post #17 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Funny. I don't see the big deal with him writing this letter. It's not like it takes a long time to write this.

I agree totally, I dont see what issue the negative commenters have with this letter other than you all might be republicans. Hell, he could have written this on his iPad while taken a crap. Not a big deal to me.
post #18 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlBuc View Post

I agree totally, I dont see what issue the negative commenters have with this letter. Hell, he could have written this on his iPad while taken a crap. Not a big deal to me.

Well, chances are he didn't write it at all. Some staffer was probably assigned to write it and he just signed his name.
post #19 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Even though this antenna thing pisses me off, Schumer needs to STFU.

What's wrong with the Senator doing his job? Politicians are there to represent us on a very wide range of fronts that are of concern to the community. Though it's pretty unprecedented for a politician to give a crap about a single phone, I think it shows that Schumer has his finger on the pulse of what's annoying constituents. He ought be commended for gently encouraging Apple to make its phone deliver everything that users expected.
post #20 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Well, chances are he didn't write it at all. Some staffer was probably assigned to write it and he just signed his name.

Even more of a reason not to have an issue with it.
post #21 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by benice View Post

What's wrong with the Senator doing his job? Politicians are there to represent us on a very wide range of fronts that are of concern to the community. Though it's pretty unprecedented for a politician to give a crap about a single phone, I think it shows that Schumer has his finger on the pulse of what's annoying constituents. He ought be commended for gently encouraging Apple to make its phone deliver everything that users expected.

Agreed.
post #22 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Ditto. (Except it isn't the antenna issues that bother me, it is Apple's reaction so far).

There is a press conference tomorrow, (less than one month after the release) How would anyone else have reacted?
post #23 of 198
I have a lot of respect for Senator Schumer and this isn't the first time he has gotten involved in consumer protection matters. I don't see anything wrong with the letter, letters like this get written all the time by senators and representatives.

The timing of the letter is a bit questionable. Apple has already announced a press conference. While I suspect the letter was already in the works, why release it between the announcement of the PC and the PC. It makes it look like he's setting himself up to take credit for whatever comes out of the PC which would be complete BS.

For the record I think Apple has little to no obligation to offer a solution to this aside from directions "not to hold your phone like that".

If they do offer a solution I hope the call it the cry baby band aid and it's a 1" piece of flesh colored tape you apply to the bottom left corner of the phone.
post #24 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by benice View Post

What's wrong with the Senator doing his job? Politicians are there to represent us on a very wide range of fronts that are of concern to the community. Though it's pretty unprecedented for a politician to give a crap about a single phone, I think it shows that Schumer has his finger on the pulse of what's annoying constituents. He ought be commended for gently encouraging Apple to make its phone deliver everything that users expected.

I just wonder how a private letter from an individual to a company came into the public domain. I'm sure Apple didn't release it. Could it be that the right honorable gentleman is doing a little grandstanding?
post #25 of 198
Whilst I think that there are a lot of other pressing issues, the iPhone 4 problem is that, a problem. I wish Schumer and all of the other politicians would hunker down and fix the BP blow out, or fix my lost retirement due to the 2008 economic crash, but sending a quick memo to Steve J is okay with me. Like another commenter said, to write a memo to Steve, could have only taken two minutes. His comments included a lot of repeats, which tells me he sort of whipped it out without a lot of re-read to the thing. I think Apple should fix this thing. i just got through buying two of these iPhones and I have a lot invested. For this price, Apple should have corrected it. To shove it out in the market with all the hoopla and completely ignore and major piece of the product is neglectful in my eyes. Maybe Steve didn't even try it outside of Cupertino. He should have come out my way and tried it. \
post #26 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by benice View Post

What's wrong with the Senator doing his job? Politicians are there to represent us on a very wide range of fronts that are of concern to the community. Though it's pretty unprecedented for a politician to give a crap about a single phone, I think it shows that Schumer has his finger on the pulse of what's annoying constituents. He ought be commended for gently encouraging Apple to make its phone deliver everything that users expected.

Sorry, a Senator's job is not to write letter's to companies about they're, potentially, faulty products. The ONLY reason he's doing it is for the PR facetime (no pun intented ) And no, I'm not a Republican.
post #27 of 198
Just when you think it couldn't get any stranger, something like this comes out of the woodwork. CR really opened a can of it with this. Question is, why is no one calling for CR to retest all other phones in the same manner. I've had some issues but nothing that is preventing me use the phone at all. It just amazes me that people are not patient for thorough research into what might be causing the issue, and the perfect a fix. It's this instant gratification world that we live in. Patient is very thin nowadays. I have to wonder that if we didn't have all the Toyota issues of them not be quite upfront about so many issues with there vehicles, that this would be a non-issue in the media.

Samsung has new phones hitting the shevles today and Sunday. Is CR going to review them as thoroughly? Somehow, I doubt it.
post #28 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle76 View Post

I just wonder how a private letter from an individual to a company came into the public domain. I'm sure Apple didn't release it. Could it be that the right honorable gentleman is doing a little grandstanding?

It's not a private letter from an individual to a company. It's an official letter, thus a public document, from a US Senator to a company, so it would be released by Sen Schumer's office as a matter of course.
post #29 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by jb510 View Post

I have a lot of respect for Senator Schumer and this isn't the first time he has gotten involved in consumer protection matters. I don't see anything wrong with the letter, letters like this get written all the time by senators and representatives.

The timing of the letter is a bit questionable. Apple has already announced a press conference. While I suspect the letter was already in the works, why release it between the announcement of the PC and the PC. It makes it look like he's setting himself up to take credit for whatever comes out of the PC which would be complete BS.

For the record I think Apple has little to no obligation to offer a solution to this aside from directions "not to hold your phone like that".

If they do offer a solution I hope the call it the cry baby band aid and it's a 1" piece of flesh colored tape you apply to the bottom left corner of the phone.

Uhhh no the definitely have an obligation to fix this. Telling consumers to hold your phone a different way is unacceptable. Even more unacceptable is saying there isn't an issue then trying to issue a software fix to deflect what is really going on.
post #30 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Someone needs to explain to this idiot that "senator' doesn't mean 'God-emperor".

Yeah, this man who has 2 degrees from Harvard and has decades of experience in politics is an "idiot".

It should be more like this: someone needs to explain to Steve Jobs that his name doesn't mean 'God Emperor'.
post #31 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinpa88 View Post

Sorry, a Senator's job is not to write letter's to companies about they're, potentially, faulty products. The ONLY reason he's doing it is for the PR facetime (no pun intented ) And no, I'm not a Republican.

Actually, this is exactly a Senator's job: to look after the interests of constituents.
post #32 of 198
Sleazbag politician looking to take credit for whatever action that is to take place the next day.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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post #33 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

I also encourage Apple to keep its promise

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer


For the sake of accuracy, an addendum:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

I also encourage Apple to keep its promise…[unlike I do myself and most of my political colleagues on both sides of the aisle]…

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

post #34 of 198
This kind of crap pisses me off. Apple has always come through if there were issues. Give them some time to figure out if there really is an issue.

Grandstanding by the honorable senator. He needs to STFU and only get involved if there really is a problem....

And then he should call upon CR to test ALL phones for the same issue. Start writing that letter Senator.
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post #35 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Actually, this is exactly a Senator's job: to look after the interests of constituents.

Should he write letters on behalf of stilted lovers in his constituency too?


Dear Laura,

Jon really misses you. The way you treated him was unfair, as he has a lot of stress with work and everything. He is really sorry, and I'm not going to rest until I hear an apology. Together, we can get through this!

Sincerely,
None of my fucking business.
post #36 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

This kind of crap pisses me off. Apple has always come through if there were issues. Give them some time to figure out if there really is an issue.

Grandstanding by the honorable senator. He needs to STFU and only get involved if there really is a problem....

And then he should call upon CR to test ALL phones for the same issue. Start writing that letter Senator.

It's the immediate response from Apple telling us to hold our phones a different way or get a bumper guard or better yet saying there isn't an issue. This is a real problem.
post #37 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

Should he write letters on behalf of stilted lovers in his constituency too?


Dear Laura,

Jon really misses you. The way you treated him was unfair, as he has a lot of stress with work and everything. He is really sorry, and I'm not going to rest until I hear an apology. Together, we can get through this!

Sincerely,
None of my fucking business.

Get real dude.
post #38 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Funny. I don't see the big deal with him writing this letter. It's not like it takes a long time to write this.

No but it is all about politicians/government telling businesses what they can/can't/should/shouldn't do.
(General Motors, AIG)
post #39 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

No but it is all about politicians/government telling businesses what they can/can't/should/shouldn't do.
(General Motors, AIG)

No different from us telling them what they can/can't/should/shouldn't do. They need to be held accountable. When it all comes down to it, Apple doesn't have to do anything because of the letter but I think it adds a little more to the argument.
post #40 of 198
I think the anger with this guy is not that it's not his place to be posturing over the iPhone 4 (maybe he actually has one), but that there are so many other things that require more urgent attention.

Of course, making progress on the War on Terror, the financial crisis, or the oil spill require him to work with his colleagues so there could be bottlenecks in what he can actually do, most internet trolls don't realize this. Short of enlisting in the army, starting his own small business, or going down to Louisiana and actually doing the dirty work himself, there's not much any single Senator can do on any of these fronts.

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