Fast Company

Steve Jobs on the iPhone 4 Antenna Woes: "Relax ... It Is Just a Phone" [Update: Probably Fake] [Update: Maybe not]

iphone4 antenna

Apple's woes over what may be an issue with the design of the iPhone 4's antennas continue: But Steve Jobs is maintaining calm, and is emailing troubled customers on the matter.

The to-and-fro conversation between Apple CEO Jobs and a reader over at BoyGeniusReport is definitely worth perusing in its entirety--assuming it's real, rarely does one see such a free, frank, and extended discussion between a billion-dollar company CEO and a client (AT&T even turns the law on you if you try it). BGR reader Tom was experiencing iPhone 4 signal issues, and had been emailing an Apple engineer on the matter. At one point he discovered a leaked internal Apple memo about the problems, got angry, and CC'd Steve on an email. Jobs, incredibly, replied "No, you are getting all worked up over a few days of rumors. Calm down."

The discussion continued, with Tom staying angry and taking offense at Job's words. Until right at the end, Jobs closed the discussion with a two-part email. First: "You may be working from bad data. Not your fault. Stay tuned. We are working on it." And then: "Retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it."

And in the background to this personal PR spin? We learned early yesterday that Apple's hiring antenna engineers for "iPad/iPhone"-related development. The openings were posted June 23, just as the media flurry was beginning, and note that the applicants task will be to "define and implement antenna system architecture to optimize the radiation performance" of mobile devices. The timescale can only relate to the next-gen iPhone, which is surely already in early stage development. Is it a coincidence? A sign that Apple's spotted a flaw in its design process at too late a stage to change the iPhone 4? Who knows. We're all just waiting for some complainers to calm down, and for Apple to issue a patch or a fix that'll make the problem (if there is indeed a serious one)--go away.

Amazing how in one short discussion between Jobs and an enraged customer the CEO goes from curt to laid back, dismissing his billion dollar, world-changing iDevice as a mere trinket.

Update: As I hinted, this conversation has turned out to be untrue. Apple PR folk have spoken to several sources to say it's not a real discussion that occurred, and it even turns out that someone had been trying to sell the story for cash to a publication before it appeared on BGR. Two interesting thoughts occur though: Steve Jobs does have discussion like this sometimes ... so will the power of his words get diluted by stunts like this? And we have to wonder if this attempt at earning money from an Apple affair wasn't sparked by Gizmodo's shenanigans.

Update 2: This is getting interesting--BoyGeniusReport is now defending its original source, saying it's seen the hard evidence of the email code that proves these emails are genuinely coming from Steve Jobs. Like all publications, including this one, editors have to make a judgement call when a hot story like this one lands in its lap, and BGR is sticking to its guns. But that's where this story goes awry: If these messages, or at least some of them, are really from Steve Jobs ... then doesn't that make Apple's PR department a bunch of liars?

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