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Flawed iPhone 4 Creates Controversy

Stephanie McNeal |
July 2, 2010 | 1:00 p.m. PDT

iPhone 4 (Creative Commons)
iPhone 4 (Creative Commons)
Apple's new iPhone 4 is making headlines again this week, but this time they aren't so positive.

After millions of people began using their new iPhone they noticed problem. The new phone has an antenna band that wraps along the outside. When users touched the antenna band on the left hand side, they lost a significant amount of their cell phone signal. Their calls were dropping suddenly because they simply touched the wrong part of the phone.

Needless to say, people are pissed. But what has gotten them even more mad is Apple's reaction to the controversy.

Tech sites are blowing up with alleged secret Apple memos that tell their employees to deny the phone has any sort of problem. One advises its employees to tell customers that they are simply holding the phone wrong and to claim that all phones will lose reception if gripped a certain way.

Many iPhone 4 customers freaked out, thinking that the iPhone's problem may not be fixable and that all iPhone 4's may have to be recalled. They began imagining a stampede of people rushing back into lines to return the phones they had just paid up to $700 for, and decided to go straight to Apple to complain.

One website, the Boy Genius Report, released screen shots of an email exchange between one of their readers and Steve Jobs. 

There is no way to verify that the emails are actually from Jobs (I could list my mom under "Steve Jobs" in my contacts list and create the same thing), but the emails are pretty damning. In them, Jobs tells the reader he must simply be in a bad signal area or working from bad data. Jobs also tells him that he needs to "calm down and not get worked up over rumors" and that "it's just a phone, enjoy your family."

Apple has since come out and said the email exchange was faked, and another tech website, Apple Insider, has claimed that the conversation was offered to them for a price.

In spite of Apple's attempt to calm the panic, furious Apple fans are taking their frustration to a new level.

A group of iPhone 4 users in Maryland filed a class action lawsuit against Apple and AT&T, claiming, among other things, negligence, fraud and deception. (Poor AT&T. How is this their fault?) Other lawsuits have also been filed in other states.

Apple finally came out Friday and addressed the issue. It turns out the problem may not lead to widespread panic and iPhones users burning their phones in the streets after all.

Apple says the issue is not a problem with the actually phone, but with the phone's software. It can be fixed in a few weeks by a software update. No phones will have to be recalled and iPhones sold after the software update is released won't have the issue.

Of course, there are those who are skeptical of the explanation. They cry that the whole thing is a conspiracy. But I wonder how dumb those who actually filed a lawsuit against Apple--good luck with that one, Joe the Plummer--are going to feel when their allegedly horrible reception issues are fixed by one sync of their phone.

Then again, the updates may not work.

We will just have to wait and see.

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