By Alexander Wong | 17 Comments
By Raywen Ong | 20 Comments
Remember the whole antenna gate issue several months back? Apple had held an emergency press conference that announced Free bumpers to all iPhone 4 users who purchased their device until 30th September.
With 30th September coming, Apple has announced that its iPhone 4 Free case program is coming to an end. They added on their website that:
We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought. A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.
Small issue they said, after all that effort attack its rivals on Antenna Attenuation. We guess Apple probably realised despite the whole Antennagate issue, its iPhone 4 sales still remained strong with or without a case included.
In Malaysia, our local carriers Maxis and DiGi have yet to release their iPhone 4 officially. We’re not sure if they are just waiting out for the free bumper program to expire considering Maxis had already start selling the iPhone 3GS 8GB which was announced together with the iPhone 4. If they launch the iPhone 4 this month, Malaysians will have to rush to redeem their free bumpers like free flight hunters on AirAsia.
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Apple has updated its Antenna Attenuation site, removing their “how to drop signal bars on rival smartphones” content. Previously the site was focused on telling the world that other phones such as Blackberries, Nokia, Androids and Windows Mobile are just as bad as the iPhone 4 when it comes to antenna reception. Now what’s left is Apple showcasing its Antenna design and research.
So what prompted Apple to remove them? Some say Apple finally learned to hold its rival phones properly but we believed they’ve realised that they are getting more negative response than what was intended. Apple had received a lot of flak for dragging rivals to their own problems instead of addressing them. We’ve seen how Nokia, RIM, Samsung, HTC and Motorola responded towards the campaign, telling off Apple that with many years in the industry, they know better where to place their antennas.
Slashgear managed to get in touch with Apple and claims that their update is merely their drive to “constantly refresh” their content. They denied any legal action against them and no hidden message behind the move. The video contents are still available on Apple’s Youtube channel.
After having Motorola Droid X included on Apple’s Antenna Attenuation site, Motorola fights back again with another ad. This time it disses iPhone 4’s need to wear a bumper and proudly mentions its vast experience in making phones.
This is the 2nd one after its first version that obviously made fun of phones that doesn’t allow you to hold the phone any way you liked.
If you can’t see the text above, the copy below the phone is written as follows:
At Motorola, we believe a customer shouldn’t have to dress up their phone for it to work properly. That’s why the DROID X comes with a dual antenna design. The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like to make crystal clear calls without a bulky phone jacket. For us it’s just one of those things that comes as a given when you’ve been making mobile phones for over 30 years.
While Apple is busy fire fighting the Antennagate issue, Samsung did more than just mocking the iPhone 4. It took a step further by offering FREE Samsung Galaxy S to disgrunted iPhone 4 users in the UK via its twitter account @samsungukmobile. The devices are reported to be unlocked and contract free.
Quite a smart move of them as these unhappy iPhone 4 users are converted to Android after much whining and complaining on Twitter. According to its twitter account, they have shipped several units already and at time of this post, it looks like there are only a few units left.
While this isn’t happening in Malaysia, the closest option to get a free Samsung Galaxy S was through Maxis 10 programme where reviewers may possibily keep it for free. Perhaps Maxis & Samsung in Malaysia should learn something from this.
Apple is definitely feeling very sour over Antennagate. While they have just launched its free case program, they still have time to attack on its rivals on the Antennagate site. Recently they have added Nokia N97 Mini and today they added the Motorola Droid X into the list. Apple doesn’t seem to be slowing down and if they have it their way, they might probably add as many devices out there in the market.
No matter what Apple does, the fact remains that having an external antenna at places where people normally hold their phone is a flawed iPhone 4 design. Its attempt of dragging other phones in are pathetic. Sure, Apple has made a point that Antenna Attenuation does happen on other devices but the way they hold other devices in the demo is unnatural. We doubt anyone is going to hold it like that especially with fingers covering the screen while talking.
Since Apple has already “solved” the problem with the iPhone 4 Case Program, they should just drop this and focus their resources elsewhere. Can someone say White iPhone 4? At the end of the day, you’ll still see Apple Fanboys buying the iPhone 4 and the rest of us remembering it for its antennagate.
This Case Program is applicable for those who purchased an iPhone 4 until 30th September 2010. All claims must be made within 30 days of purchase and if you bought yours before today, you must apply by 22nd August 2010.
If you’ve bought one previously, there’s instructions and details on how you can get your refunds at the site as well.
Got an iPhone 4? Head on there now.
Here’s something new. When Apple launched its Antenna Attenuation campaign which showed other phones having similar issues, Nokia was one of the first to respond. Initially, Apple only used Blackberry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II and its existing iPhone 3GS.
Since Nokia made noise, the guys at Apple probably thought why not we do the same on a Nokia device. Today they have added a Nokia N97 mini suffering drop of bars when it is hold in a particular manner. We wonder how long can this antennagate go on.
Joining in the rebuttal of the iPhone 4’s Antenna Attenuation Saga is Samsung. Samsung Electronic has responded that its smartphone antennas were designed to ensure no difficulty in getting signals and they hasn’t been any reception issues reported so far.
They also mentioned that their antenna for the Omnia 2 is located at the bottom while iPhone 4’s antenna is located on the lower left side. Samsung’s design keeps a distance between a hand and the antenna which should minimise any possibility of antenna issues.
They also iterated that Samsung has conducted field tests before rollout of smartphones and reception problem have not happened to them so far and there isn’t any room for such problems to happen in future.
Interestingly, Samsung wasn’t as tough as the rest with its response. Some are pointing out that it could be Samsung’s relationship with Apple as Apple uses their hardware components.
When Apple started smearing its own problems on its rivals, RIM and Nokia had came out with an immediate response for it. HTC now has kind of responded as well since their Droid Eris was “showcased” on Apple’s Antenna Attenuation site.
According to HTC’s PR head, the HTC Droid Eris had approxtimately 0.016% complains with regards to signal or antenna problems. This is about 3X less compared to Apple’s 0.5% mentioned on yesterday’s press conference. To be fair, we do note that HTC Eris obviously sold less than the iPhone 4 3 million units but the point here is that signal loss is not really an issue for HTC. Even when Apple showed the HTC Eris, the antenna is placed at the top which is not an area you would often hold.
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When Apple diverts the Antenna Issue on Blackberry, Androids & Windows Mobiles, the rivals obviously won’t keep quiet. Nokia and RIM had immediately hit out on Apple’s so called education of Antenna Attenuation which showed a Blackberry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris and Samsung Omnia II suffer signal loss when hold at particular spots.