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The Latest Damper On Apple's Reputation

Stephanie McNeal |
July 6, 2010 | 4:34 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


The controversy surrounding the new iPhone and its reception problems only continues to grow.

On Friday Apple stated that the reception problems many iPhone 4 users were experiencing with the phone were actually a problem with the phones' software and its signal strength display.

Apple says that the software on the phone that calculates how much signal is available is faulty, but that this problem has existed since the original iPhone and has nothing to do with the iPhone's new antenna design.

In fact, they say, the new antenna gives users a better signal than any iPhone has previously. The flaw in the software will be able to be fixed with a simple software update that they are currently working on and will be released in the next few weeks.

But not everyone is buying it. Many iPhone 4 users feel that the problem runs deeper than a software issue and won't be able to be fixed that simply.

Amanda Fox, a writer for Helium, says that Apple's quick fix is suspicious and may just be treating the symptoms of a deeper, more complicated hardware problem.

"They can send out an update that configures the unit to always show at least three bars, to take a higher actual loss of signal to calculate a lower than actual visual loss of bars, or any number of permutations to create the illusion of a fix," she writes. 

Many tech websites are saying that a software glitch cannot be the problem with the new phone, because many different people have experienced the phone losing signal when it is held a certain way. 

Computerworld.com, which posted an earlier article describing this phenomenon in detail, said in response to Apple's statement, "Apple has finally come out with a public statement about iPhone reception problems, and it's the kind of non-apology apology that politicians give out when they're caught making outrageously offensive comments about a major ethnic group."

Apple is offering a full refund within 30 days of purchase for the new phone, and even dropped the usual 10 percent re-stocking fee it usually requires for returned items. 

It will be interesting to see if Apple can fully fix the reception problem with a software update, or if the problem runs deeper like many believe. Either way, this whole fiasco has certainly put a damper on Apple's near impeccable reputation.

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