Gartenberg: ‘The misplaced schadenfreude of antennagate’

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!Writing for Macworld.com, Michael Gartenberg addresses “the misplaced schadenfreude of antennagate.”

“What was most interesting to me about ‘antennagate’ was the response of Apple’s competitors, most of whom argued that their products were superior to Apple’s design while at the same time denying that any similar problem occurs with their devices,” Gartenberg writes. “(In fact, a number of phones do indeed come with warning stickers about where not to touch them if you want to keep a strong signal.)”

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“While the media, analysts, press and pundits will likely continue to weigh in on every single aspect of the situation—the merits of Apple’s design, the language and tone Steve Jobs used at the Apple press conference, the timing and departure of Apple executives—and debate a multitude of conspiracy theories, I’d advise Apple’s competitors to use caution in their tone and how they react,” Gartenberg writes “It’s important to understand this: the mass market appears completely unaffected by this story. As I write this, it’s still quite hard to find an iPhone 4 to purchase.”

Gartenberg writes, “Rather than focus on Apple, antenna design, and attenuation, Apple’s competitors in the smartphone business should be telling more compelling stories about why their devices and platforms are best-of-breed. That’s the only argument that will ultimately win the hearts and minds of users, period. Bashing Apple’s devices simply won’t work.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s so-called “competitors” don’t have “best-of-breed” devices or platforms. That’s why they jumped on “Antennangate,” which, by the way, was recycled FUD that had already been tried once before. It failed, too:

Additional testing of Apple iPhone’s 3G antenna again shows completely normal results – August 27, 2008
Apple iPhone 3G antenna test verdict: completely normal – August 25, 2008
Apple hit with lawsuit over iPhone’s 3G speed and reliability – August 21, 2008
• Apple: iPhone 2.0.2 Software Update ‘improves communication with 3G networks’ – August 20, 2008
• Apple releases iPhone, iPod touch 2.0.2 Software Update – August 18, 2008
• Steve Jobs: iPhone 3G reception issues affect 2% of total units shipped; software update coming soon – August 18, 2008
• iPhone 3G reception issues could be fixed via firmware update as early as this week – August 18, 2008
• WSJ: Apple preps software fix for iPhone 3G reception issues reported by some – August 15, 2008
• ABC News, Associated Press propagate iPhone FUD – August 15, 2008
• Nomura analyst Richard Windsor and his extraordinary knack for sniffing out Apple iPhone ‘issues’ – August 14, 2008
• Software fix on the way for iPhone 3G reception glitches – August 14, 2008
• Aussie telco source blames Apple secrecy for iPhone 3G reception issues – August 13, 2008
• Apple and AT&T investigating reports of iPhone 3G connection issues – August 12, 2008

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

29 Comments

  1. @Remarkable Jobs:

    Data in fact shows that customers rate the iPhone 4 as better than the 3GS model, and tests show it to be true. So you’re simply wrong. Your attitude makes it clear that you’ve never used an Apple product and that you’re simply jealous of those who have the money and more importantly, the courage to step out of the Microsoft/Dell herd and use equipment and systems that simply work.

  2. I went to the mall this weekend to swap out my iPhone because of the proximity sensor thing. When I came up to the Apple Store, there was a line of about 60 people waiting outside… they were all waiting to buy the iPhone.

    That is just amazing.

  3. The funny thing is me and my sisters fiancé had a debate about just this story a few weeks ago… He said the reason he hates apple is because of how jobs had handled the situation. ie. “saying there was no prob with iPhone 4’s antenna” blah blah… But now that it’s on more phones woo hoo I can throw that in his face.

  4. @Remarkable Jobs

    Do you really believe what you wrote, or are you trying to bait the readers of MDN?

    A device that “did not work as originally promised”? In what way(s) does it not work as promised? What promises have been unfulfilled? The “Antennagate” issue was (and in some media circles, continues to be) way overblown. Most of the articles I now read about this issue acknowledge that there was an unnecessary media frenzy about it. The “flaws” (if there are any) have more to do with AT&T than Apple. And the fact that Jobs carefully explained the issue and offered a full refund to people who were unhappy with the iPhone, or a free bumper/case to those who wanted one is pretty remarkable in today’s world. He knows that the buck stops with him and he took steps to deal with the issue. In my mind, that’s a positive thing, not a negative thing. He took ownership. He provided leadership. He was forthcoming. What more could he have done? (Look at how the top execs of Toyota were scrambling for cover and prevaricating over the whole braking/accelerating issue.)

    And, “…not even as good as the earlier version that it was suppose (sic) to replace.” In what ways is iPhone 4 not as good as what it replaces?

    I’m not being sarcastic or vindictive. I’m just really curious. My wife and I both have the new iPhones (16 gig) and they work flawlessly. We’ve found that whatever promises have been made by Apple about the device have been fulfilled.

    And is it really only about marketing? No amount of marketing could overcome people’s buying decision if the device turns out to be fundamentally flawed, or if it didn’t fulfill the manufacturer’s promises. The most famous example of this is the Ford Edsel. Millions of dollars (lots of money back then) were spent to advertise the Edsel, but because it was indeed a fundamentally flawed product (and not to mention ugly) the thing flopped in the market place. Skillful advertising (which Apple certainly has) does not trump a poorly designed or flawed product.

    Your thoughts?

  5. “Rather than focus on Apple, antenna design, and attenuation, Apple’s competitors in the smartphone business should be telling more compelling stories about why their devices and platforms are best-of-breed”. The problem is that Apple’s competitors cannot tell anything compelling about their devices, thus they spew trash about the iPhone 4. The irony in all this is that I have been able to replicate the antenna attenuation problem in a BlackBerry Bold (first version) and a Palm Treo 680 that I still own and not in my iPhone. Now the Droid 2 is having its fair share of reception problems. Let’s see if the media will crucify Motorola as they tried to do with Apple.

  6. @Really?

    Thanks for your courteous and responsible reply to my post – a rare thing around these parts so dominated by Steve Jobs lemmings.

    Jobs promised at the WWDC launch that the iP4 was the best phone ever, that it had a superior antenna design the purpose of which was to improve the phone’s ability to send and receive so that functions like email and web browsing would work better than ever. And, that it’s performance in making and holding on to phone calls was an improvement over previous iPhones and all other mobile phones.

    So, I signed up for a place in line, stood there for six hours, handed over my money for the phone, re-upped my expensive ATT contract for two years, bought the extended warranty, a renewal of my MobileMe subscription and left happy.

    Happy until it turned out that all of Steve’s assertions on launch day were a lie. All I had to do was simply touch one tiny spot on the antenna and any phone call would be immediately terminated. Net browsing and email performance is clunky, at best and not nearly as good as my iP3G which has been handed down to my wife.

    Then, he appears at the famous presser that he had no choice but to arrange and admits that the antenna was badly designed and that you would be getting a rubber band or case to cover up the problem. Not fix the problem, but cover it up – completely destroying the look, feel and uniqueness of the new phone.

    I want to exchange my iP4 for one that works as promised. Just that simple. I don’t want a refund, I want what was promised.

    A real fix – a redesigned antenna – is coming around the first of October and that’s when all of us early adopters who want the phone that was promised should be able to walk into any Apple store, hand over the defective device, and be given a new one that works – you know, the best ever, the most reliable signal, the revolutionary breakthrough in smartphones.

    In doing so, we send a powerful message to Steve Jobs – don’t take us for granted, stop the arrogant behavior that says we get what you want not what we want, and stop misrepresenting your products.

  7. @Remarkable Jobs
    Get over yourself, if that is possible. How can you feel so personally embittered over the iPhone 4 antenna design? And why you feel that it is necessary to include FUD as fact? Perhaps your position is not actually very defensible?

    There are many examples of design defects in consumer products – cars are one example – that go through a lengthy process of denial and obfuscation before the company finally provides some kludge repair or minor compensation. My personal favorite was being offered free food coupons by the restaurant that gave me food poisoning.

    For instance, years ago Dodge issued a recall for leaking fuel rails on the Dodge Grand Caravan. If the fuel rails were not currently exhibiting leakage, their quick and dirty fix was to install external clamps at the seal in question – a poor choice, at best, for a pressurized system. That “fix” actually caused my fuel rails to *begin* leaking. I had to pressure the dealer to install the real fix – a new fuel rail joint/seal design. My point is that there are many legitimate examples of serious product defects that were not handled nearly as quickly and effectively as Apple did with the iPhone 4. You need to chill.

  8. Back @ Remarkable Jobs:

    I’m sorry that your experience with the iPhone has been so bad. As I said in my initial response, my experience has been the exact opposite of yours. I find that web browsing and email is smooth and responsive. I’ve done side-by-side comparisons with some of my friends who have the 3G and in these informal tests, the 4 is speedier in every regard. Have you called AppleCare? It’s entirely possible that your phone is defective. Why don’t you give them a call? (I can’t remember the number — I think it’s 1-800-my-iphon.) The AppleCare rep will walk you through some troubleshooting steps and procedures. If, indeed, the phone is defective you can get a replacement for free. Just a thought.

    Perception is reality. And your perception is that you’ve been lied to. Nothing can change that, I suppose, but I encourage you to take some steps to try to resolve the issues you’re facing with your phone.

    MDN Magic Word — “bad” as in it’s too bad you’re having these issues with your phone.

  9. @Remarkable Jobs
    “I want to exchange my iP4 for one that works as promised. Just that simple. I don’t want a refund, I want what was promised.

    A real fix – a redesigned antenna – is coming around the first of October and that’s when all of us early adopters who want the phone that was promised should be able to walk into any Apple store, hand over the defective device, and be given a new one that works – you know, the best ever, the most reliable signal, the revolutionary breakthrough in smartphones.”

    You can’t always get what you want. The only arrogance around here is you whining like a child for what you were “promised.”

    You had a choice. Return your iPhone 4 for a full refund and wait for Apple to release “what was promised,” or accept the fix that, by all accounts, fully addresses the antenna performance issues encountered by a subset of iPhone 4 users. If you did not like the friggin’ “rubber band” then you should have returned the phone. You are pathetic.

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