iPhone 4 Launch Problems: Jobs Wants Us To Use A Rubber


If there’s one constant in the ever-changing world of mobile tech, it’s the iPhone. The iPhone is a shiny stalwart among phones, a simple, elegant comfort in a smartphone world brimming over with more Droid remixes than you can shake an Etch-A-Sketch at (the Droid Incredible, Droid 2 and now Droid X, so far!). With the iPhone 4 there’s just one flavor (not counting the straightforward storage capacity and black/white iterations), one carrier (unfortunately) and one monolithic company cranking out mini, glassed-in mobile monoliths: Apple.

While sales aren’t exactly suffering, the iPhone 4’s launch has seen its fair share of woes. Mysterious yellow splotches have appeared on some iPhone displays (but in such high-res!) and there seems to be a fairly serious and widely demonstrated signal problem that relates to how you hold the metal band surrounding the device. While hardly any debut of an ultra high profile product gets out of the gate without a few issues, Apple’s even more high profile CEO is digging his own (solid gold-lined) grave with his recent response when he instructed a worried customer to “just avoid holding it in that way.” Er.

To add insult to injury, Apple’s been pushing their weird line of day-glo ineffectual phone cases called “Bumpers” since the iPhone 4’s official announcement. Naturally, as these decidedly un-Appley rubbery  only cover the metal portion of the phone and not the surrounding glass, you’ve got to wonder (assume?) they were designed to directly address the reception problem. I’m just not sure why the company would waste time during one of the most anticipated keynotes of the year to pimp some kind of tacky cases that inexplicably cover maybe 15% of an otherwise gorgeous device.

So what do you think? Did you get your paws on one yesterday? Are you dying to? Or are you just, well…over it? Let us know in the comments!

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Taylor has written 136 articles for us.


  1. From what I have gathered, there is some kind of thin plastic bezel around the front and back glass panes which is prone to scratches. I think this is why they introduced the bumpers. Of course it would have made more sense to just use some sort of plastic that doesn’t scratch as easily, but then again that wouldn’t have brought in an extra $30 for a small piece of cheap plastic or rubber or whatever

    I doubt that the bumpers will do anything to resolve the issue with the dropped calls. Users will still hold their hand over the lower side of the device, which is where the antenna is located and therefore block reception (it’s better to hold it more towards the middle or top). And the front and back glass panels allegedly don’t need any “protection”, which is why the bumpers merely cover the sides of the device.

    As far as I can recall, the last time that Apple introduced a case along with a product was the very first iPod nano, which basically was covered in scratches as soon as you removed it from its original packaging. A shiny chrome back and acryl-esque glass on the front? Yeah, that sounds reasonable… not. So what I’m trying to say is: They introduce these (horribly coloured) accessories when they know that something is prone to heavy wear and tear.

    • Umm yeah, or maybe I was wrong. Tests seem to indicate that reception doesn’t drop as dramatically when the iPhone is covered by a case. Not a huge issue for me as I always use a case for my 3G anyway. I’m not getting an ugly Apple case when I upgrade to the 4 later this year, though. There are plenty of far prettier cases around already.

    • From what I’ve heard, the reception problem has more to do with the conductivity of human skin short circuiting the antenna. Or something like that. So the rubber bumper would interrupt the interference and make your phone work.

      • I already stated. I am using an iFrogz case and the signal drops. Going to try the bumper as well and see if it helps, though I would like to protect the back

  2. Yes, signal drops even with a case. I am using the iFrogz and it drops like a rock if I cover the lower left-hand side.

  3. Hmm, I went into AT&T yesterday and played around with the iPhone 4 a little. Despite the issues atm (and those stinking bumpers,) I’m going to get it next week, or so. It’s just so pretty!

    I doooo have one complaint. Double-tapping on the home button is now used for multitasking… soo does that mean I can’t double tap to quickly mess with my music controls? I would assume you can change that in the settings somewhere, I tried but couldn’t figure out how… *unimpressed face*

    • Double-tap and then slide to the right will give you iPod and orientation controls. Also, double tapping on the lock screen will bring up your controls as well

  4. If there was one thing a company manufacturing a phone should make sure it is capable of doing is making phone calls. That’s kinda like an architect building a house without a roof and saying, “That’s why we got you these nifty neon rain coats to wear inside!” I really hate it when companies I love and support make really easy to make fun of mistakes.

  5. I would like to care about the fact that Apple managed to fluff up the ability of the iPhone 3G/4/5/42/whatever to make a phone call but I am just apathetic towards Apple. Even if the things they make are swanky and have touch screen, which is still amazing to me and I’m 18. (It’s probably because I’m poor, WOE.) It’s like Microsoft all over again except this time I’m old enough to be aware that the world domination tactic is being used.

    Really, I couldn’t afford to get an iPhone even if I did want one, which I don’t. Also, the Apple love freaks me out a bit, especially because the biggest twit at my sixth form would probably marry Steve Jobs despite being irritatingly homophobic. He loves Apple that much.

    Maybe I’m just bitter because I can’t afford Apple products. Or maybe not. It’s very sleek and pretty though!

  6. Once I figured out how to activate the darn thing, I haven’t really had any problems with it. *knock on wood* It’s shiny.

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