Coverage of Apple's iPhone 4 Press Conference

120731 iphone 4 press backstage
Backstage at Apple Town Hall (via mrvideobba)

Apple today is holding its iPhone 4 press conference where it is expected to address issues with the device's cellular signal reception.

The event is scheduled to kick off at Apple's Cupertino headquarters at 10:00 AM Pacific Time / 1:00 PM Eastern Time, or just about one hour from now. Apple will not be providing live video or audio coverage of the event, and thus observers will have to rely primarily on text and photo updates coming out of the event.

Live Web/Twitter Coverage

- Engadget
- All Things Digital
- MobileCrunch
- Ars Technica
- gdgt
- Fortune
- MacRumors Twitter updates

We'll also be providing event updates here in this article.

Recent News and Rumors

- iPhone 4 Signal Issue Can Be Fixed With a Software Update?
- Apple Not Planning an iPhone 4 Recall
- Apple Addresses iPhone Signal Strength Display With iOS 4.0.1 and iPad Wi-Fi Connectivity With iOS 3.2.1
- Analyst Claims Design Fix for iPhone 4 Signal Issue Being Deployed
- Consumer Reports 'Can't Recommend' iPhone 4 Due to Signal Issues

Event Updates

- Media are being let into Apple Town Hall for the press conference. The Wall Street Journal has noted the presence of a representative from Consumer Reports, the magazine that made the iPhone 4's antenna issue mainstream news earlier this week.

- Most of Apple's top executives are seated in the front row: Tim Cook, Bertrand Serlet, Bob Mansfield and Phil Schiller.

- Press conference opens with video of iPhone 4 antenna song.

- Jobs takes the stage. Scheduled for a 15 minute presentation followed by a Q&A

- Jobs says, "We're not perfect. Phones are not perfect. We all know that. But we want to make our users happy."

- iPhone 4 is best product we've ever made. We've sold over 3 million of them. Highest customer satisfaction rating, but we've been getting reports of antenna problems. It's been dubbed "Antennagate". We're an engineering-driven company, so we wanted to find the real problem. So here's our data.

- Shows BlackBerry Bold 9700 (Research in Motion), HTC Droid Eris (Android), and Samsung Omnia II (Windows Mobile) all behaving in exactly the same way. Bars drop to one or zero when held in areas of weak signal. A challenge for the entire industry.

132150 iphone reception pc 0858 rm eng 500

- "X" marks the spot. We made it very visible, and with the help of our friends on some websites, everybody knows where to touch to make it happen. We haven't found a way around the laws of physics yet.

- Shows off state-of-the-art antenna testing facility. Invested over $100 million in antenna testing facilities over the past 5 years and have 18 PhD scientists working on antenna design.

132151 iphone reception pc 0876 rm eng 500

- We knew if you gripped the iPhone in a certain way, the bars would go down, just like every smartphone. It's a challenge to the industry and we're hoping to contribute to some solutions over the coming years.

- Only 0.55% of iPhone 4 customers have called AppleCare about the antenna issue. Historically not a large number for us. Return rates through AT&T for iPhone 4 are at 1.7%, far below the gold standard iPhone 3GS return rate of 6%.

- AT&T data on dropped call rates. Exact data not available due to competitive reasons, but we can say that despite our belief that the iPhone 4 has a better antenna design than the 3GS, dropped call rates have increased. But how much? Less than one call per 100 more than iPhone 3GS.

143212 iphone reception pc 0933 rm eng 500

- It's not much difference, but it's too much for us, and we want to know why. Jobs' theory is that when the iPhone 3GS came out, there was already a healthy market for cases that fit it. With the iPhone 4, 80% of consumers are buying the phone without a case, and we can't make bumpers fast enough.

- Our engineers see there's a problem, but it's affecting only a small number of people. I've received over 5000 emails from customers who are having no problems and don't understand the fuss. But we care about every user, and we're not going to stop until everyone is happy.

- Here's what we're going to do. Yesterday, we released iOS 4.0.1...everyone should update.

- Free cases for everyone who bought or buys an iPhone 4 through September 30th. If you've bought a bumper already, we'll refund you. We can't make enough bumpers, so we'll source some third-party cases and you can pick. Apply on Apple's site starting late next week.

- If you're still not happy, you can return your undamaged iPhone 4 within 30 days for a full refund, no restocking fee.

- Other updates: We're also tracking proximity sensor problems, and we'll address those in our next software update.

- White iPhone 4 will begin shipping in limited quantities at the end of this month.

- Next batch of international iPhone 4 rollouts will take place on July 30th.

- We love our users, and we've built over 300 retail stores with Genius Bars to serve them and get free advice. But when we fall short, we pick ourselves up, figure out what's wrong, and try harder. And when we succeed, users reward us with their loyalty. When we have problems, we take it personally. Maybe we should have a wall of PR people to insulate us, but we don't.

- We've been working very hard over the past 22 days to figure out the problem, and we've confirmed that the heart of the problem is that all smartphones have weak spots. And if our customers are having problems, we'll give them free cases or a full refund. But the data supports that this is the best smartphone in the world and there is no "Antennagate" for us, but a challenge to the entire industry.

Q&A with Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Bob Mansfield

Q: How's your health, Steve?
A: Fine! I was on vacation in Hawaii, but this was worth coming back for.

Q: Any changes to future antenna design?
A: Steve: We're still working on this. We're happy with the design. Maybe our wizards will come up with something better, but we don't think there's a problem here.

Q: I can't get my BlackBerry Bold's signal to drop like the iPhone 4's.
A: Steve: You may not see it in certain areas.

Q: Why does this happen with just a single finger? It doesn't require a full grip.
A: Bob: Your body is a pretty effective signal absorber. So when you touch it, you attenuate the signal. But when you grip it, you can attenuate it even more.

Q: Were you warned about this issue?
A: Steve: I assume you're talking about the Bloomberg article. It's a crock. I've challenged them to prove it. I've talked to Ruben (the antenna engineer who supposedly warned Jobs during the design process) and he agrees it's bullshit.

Q: Will you apologize for investors?
A: Steve: We are apologizing to our customers. We want investors for the long haul. To those investors who bought the stock and are down $5, I have no apology.

Q: Do Apple customers have to choose between form and function?
A: Steve: No. We try to have our cake and eat it too.

Q: Refunds for AT&T contracts too?
A: Steve: I believe so.

Q: Is there anything you could have said during the iPhone 4 launch keynote to lower expectations?
A: Steve: I've thought about that a lot. We didn't fully understand if there were problems. We might have set the expectations that all smartphones have weak spots. One of the things we've learned by being a leader in the smartphone world is that we have to educate. So we needed data, and we've got that now. You could make a really big smartphone that doesn't have this problem, so big you can't get your hand around it, but no one's going to buy that. We're not perfect, and we're working our asses off.

Q: Why the September 30th deadline for free cases?
A: Steve: It's so we can re-evaluate. We don't know what solutions may come up by then. Maybe Eminem will come out with a band-aid that goes over the corner and everyone will want that.

Q: If you bought a third-party case, can you get a refund?
A: Steve: We're not going to refund third-party cases. It's a very small number because we didn't share designs with case makers, but now we wish there were more out there! Case makers have a history of disclosing designs we share with them, so we don't share. If people know what's coming, they stop buying the old version.

Q: Do any of you use bumpers on your iPhone 4s?
A: All three executives hold up their phones...no bumpers or cases. Steve: I don't, and I get better reception. I don't see the "death grip" issue.

135936 iphone reception pc 1043 rm eng 500

Q: What have you learned here?
A: Steve: One is how much we love our customers and how much we want to take care of them. We were stunned, upset, and embarrassed by the Consumer Reports stuff, but we didn't know enough to be able to address it. If we'd done this event a week and a half ago, we wouldn't have had half the data we have today. We're engineers, and we want to solve real, hard problems. I don't think we could have done this faster...we've had cots in the labs, cars here all night. We've been living here. But's human nature to tear down successful people. I see it happening to Google, a great company. Haven't we earned the credibility and trust that we'll take care of our customers? The reaction has been overblown, and we could use your help with this.

Q: Did you consider a recall?
A: Steve: When you love your customers, nothing is off the table. But we want to be data-driven. We sent engineers to people's homes to test equipment and take logs. And we didn't bash down any doors!

Q: How about return rates at Apple stores?
A: Tim: Very lower, lower than AT&T's numbers.

Q: The New York Times says there might be a software fix. Is that true?
A: Steve: We just talked about how the iPhone 4 only drops 1 call per hundred more than the 3GS. Go talk to the Times, because they're just making this stuff up. Scott Forstall comes on-stage: It's patently false. We can continue to tune the way the baseband interacts with the network, and we do that all the time, but the Times' statement is untrue.

Q: What kind of financial impact do you expect?
A: Tim: We'll wait for our Q3 financial results conference call next week to discuss that.

Q: I use my iPhone in heavily-congested San Francisco. Does the handset have any role in congestion management?
A: Steve: I'll let Scott answer that one, but I'll say this...when AT&T wants to add a tower in Texas, it takes three weeks. When they want to do it in San Francisco, it takes three years. No one wants it in their backyard. AT&T is investing, but it takes time.

Q: A couple of years ago you released an iPhone software update that improved reception. How does that relate?
A: Steve: We came to the realization about 8 years ago that we didn't want to get into a business unless we controlled the primary technology. And we did that with the iPod, and moved on to the iPhone, where he can frictionlessly distribute software updates because we control it. And now everybody's copying us. But to answer your question, the formula for calculating the bars has been off since the beginning, so I'm not sure I understand your question.

Q: Well, you supposedly fixed this problem two years ago, and now you say it's been a problem all along.
A: Steve: They're probably unrelated. I honestly don't remember the issue you're talking about.

Q: You've been communicating with customers a lot via email. How has that impacted how you're dealing with the issues?
A: Steve: I've always done that...my address it out there. But I get a lot of email and can't respond to all of them. People have started posting them on the web, which is a bit rude, but now they're even making them up. But I want to communicate with our customers.

Q: Regarding free case offer, will it extend outside U.S., and will it be extended past September 30th?
A: Steve: Yes, and we'll evaluate things as far as any possible extension.

That wraps up the Q&A. Steve thanks everyone for coming and asks "Has this helped?" Says he wishes it could have been done in the first 48 hours, but then you wouldn't have had as much to write about.

Top Stories

lg wing

LG Considering Exit From Smartphone Business, Halts LCD Production for iPhone

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:38 am PST by
LG is considering exiting the smartphone business entirely amid declining shipments and accrued losses of $4.5 billion over the past five years (via The Korea Herald). LG CEO Kwon Bong-Seok cautioned staff earlier today that the company is re-evaluating its presence in the smartphone industry: Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about...
2019 mac pro side and front

Tim Cook Gifted Donald Trump 'First' 2019 Mac Pro

Wednesday January 20, 2021 5:45 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted former United States President Donald Trump with the first 2019 Mac Pro that came off of the assembly line in Austin, Texas, according to a financial disclosure report that was released today (via The Verge). "Mac Pro Computer, the first created at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas," reads the entry, which values the machine at $5,999, the base price for a Mac Pro....
Apple VR Feature

Bloomberg: Apple's First AR/VR Headset 'Pricey, Niche Precursor' to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

Thursday January 21, 2021 3:27 am PST by
Apple's first virtual reality headset will be a "pricey, niche precursor" to a more ambitious augmented reality product, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
iOS 15 icon mock banner

iOS 15 Rumored to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:58 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iOS 15 operating system, which we expect to see unveiled in June, is rumored to be dropping support for a few of Apple's older iPhones. According to French site iPhoneSoft, iOS 15 will not be able to be installed on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, or the 2016 iPhone SE, all of which have an A9 chip. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were introduced in 2015 and are now more...
iphone 12 vs iphone 12 mini

Apple Shifting Some Production From iPhone 12 mini to iPhone 12 Pro to Meet Demand

Wednesday January 20, 2021 8:12 am PST by
Apple has reportedly cut production of the iPhone 12 mini by two million units to create more manufacturing capacity for the iPhone 12 Pro, according to a new Morgan Stanley investment note seen by PED30. Apple is believed to have made the switch for the first quarter of 2021 in an effort to combat continuing lead times for the more popular iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 12 Pro lead times remain ...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...
maxresdefault

Video Demos macOS Catalina Running on iPad Pro via x86 Emulation

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:36 am PST by
A video demonstrating macOS Catalina running on a current 2020 iPad Pro has been shared on YouTube, giving us a look at an interesting hack that has a Mac OS up and working on one of Apple's iPads. There's limited information about how the process of getting macOS Catalina on an iPad Pro works, but it uses x86 emulation and was done through the UTM software that allows virtual machines to...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 Release Candidate to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Thursday January 21, 2021 10:14 am PST by
Apple today seeded the RC version of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a week after Apple released the second betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
iPhone OIS Feature2

Sensor-Shift Camera Stabilization Rumored to Expand to Entire iPhone 13 Lineup

Wednesday January 20, 2021 7:46 am PST by
The entire iPhone 13 lineup will feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization, compared to only the iPhone 12 Pro Max among current models, according to a brief story preview shared today by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. "Apple's next-generation iPhones slated for launch in the second half of 2021 will all come with sensor-shift stabilization technology, according to industry...