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Why iPhone 4 'Antennagate' Is the Lamest Scandal Ever


The iPhone 4 is suffering from a minor technical problem that's been completely blown out of proportion by the media.

Not to be a mere critic, I've performed my own real-world tests on the iPhone 4. I can't find anyone who regrets getting the new iPhone. And all the Apple Store employees I've spoken with said they're not seeing many returns or complaints.

What else?

Well, let's look at exhibit A, a screenshot from Apple's online store:

Three weeks to ship? Well, somebody is buying this phone.

And here's exhibit B, from AT&T's online store:

Click to enlarge

Seven to 14 days? Not bad.

So Apple's in bit of a pickle. It has a product that 1) was a media darling at release, and 2) is selling like crazy right now, but 3) is getting destroyed in the media over a technical problem that clearly doesn't affect many people in real-world use.

If the iPhone 4 is so bad, why aren't people lining up to return them? After all, every iPhone 4 in existence is still in the 30-day return window. And why is it back-ordered? Do people just want to be screwed?

Yes, Apple could behave better. It's censoring message boards discussing the reception issue, and Steve Jobs has appeared cold and callous, clearly underestimating how big the media storm could get.

But should Apple institute a recall, as some experts believe will happen?

Absolutely not, because the antenna problem isn't common in regular use. All iPhones have had reception issues because of the strain on AT&T's wireless network, so why go crazy now?

To make nice, Apple should offer free bumpers to anyone who wants them, extend its return policy to 60 or 90 days for those who want to give iPhone 4 an extended test run, and offer an "I'm sorry that you're upset" apology.

That's it.

This isn't a Toyota-type issue, where people have actually died, nor is it nearly as serious as Microsoft's Red-Ring-of-Death Xbox 360 fiasco.

The iPhone 4 isn't perfect, but as I explained in 50,000,000 iPhone Fans Can't All Be Wrong, Apple has a long history of making imperfect (in the eyes of critics) products that sell like crazy and redefine how we work and play.

Let's get real.

The iPhone 4 is suffering from a minor technical problem that's been completely blown out of proportion by the media, who knows that negative Apple stories go over big.

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Position in AAPL.
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