Marc Chacksfield, Global Managing Editor
When: 2010 (after the iPhone 4 launch)
Antennagate was such a big deal for Apple that Steve Jobs cut short his holiday in Hawaii to speak at a hastily put-together press conference to lay to rest the problem of the iPhone 4 dropping signal if ‘you’re holding it wrong’.
It’s a bizarre conference, which first pokes fun at the issue by showing a parody song that was doing the rounds at the time.
Then it was down to business, Jobs goes from smiles to serious in seconds as he explains just what the situation is. And boy did he explain.
In 30-something minutes, we got Apple at its most humble. The first slide of the presentation states: We’re Not Perfect. A huge admission from a company that prides itself on premium products that are advertised as just that, perfection.
Then Jobs backtracks slightly, stating “phones aren’t perfect” and goes on to discuss why the industry as a whole has an issue with signal… a problem shared and all that. The conference hammers home the fact it’s not just a problem with iPhones. It shows the same issue with a Blackberry, an HTC and – of course – a Samsung.
Then we were baffled with science.
How Apple has 17 anechoic chambers, plowed $100 million investment into its antenna business and even used 18 PHD scientists to help them figure out how to make the antenna for the iPhone 4. We’re not sure what ever happened to those 18 scientists. We hope they are all okay.
The whole thing was a brilliant passive aggressive response to the problem, where Apple spent 30 seconds admitting it wasn’t perfect then 10 times that explaining that it was still a hell of a lot more perfect than the rest of the industry.
And in the end, the solution boiled down to everyone getting a free bumper for their ‘definitely not broken, all phones have this problem’ iPhone.
To be fair to Apple, it took them just three weeks to confront Antennagate and looking back on it – now we live in a world of exploding phones – the whole thing seems a little tame.