Exclusive: Conversation with Steve Jobs on the iPhone 4 antenna problems

iphone-4-low-signal

One of our readers has a pretty interesting story to share. It is one that involves his passion for Apple products, an Apple engineer, Steve Jobs, and reported problems with the iPhone 4’s antenna placement. Let’s call the person talking to Apple and Steve Jobs “Tom”… Tom recorded a video which he posted on YouTube. That video demonstrated the iPhone 4’s now well known issue of signal degration when being held mostly on the left lower side of the phone. Apparently, Apple noticed the video, and reached out directly to Tom. While talking with Apple, Tom was informed that Apple doesn’t consider this an issue, and that anything online is just “rumor hysteria”. Apple also asked Tom not to post further videos.

Tom followed up by emailing the Apple engineer and Steve Jobs directly. Below is the email thread broken down. We have verified the email headers and information, and believe this exchange to be 100% legitimate.

Updated…

First email:

[Apple engineer name redacted],

When we spoke, you would not tell me that there is a fix for this phone?

A friend just sent me this: http://www.bgr.com/2010/06/29/leaked-apples-internal-iphone-4-antenna-troubleshooting-procedures/

I assume there is no fix then. If this is legit, I have lost all respect for apple and just want to go back to Verizon and get a nice Android phone. And don’t tell me they have the same issues, all our co-workers with Androids are just mocking us right now…. “Hey, I am going to go in the basement and continue my call. You can use my office on the 2nd floor so you can get a signal”. You are going to kill your brand over one product. Apple is coming off arrogant and rude. If there is no fix just tell people so they can return their phones. We have work to do. I have bought just about every apple product made in the last 20 years  and this is the 1st time I am ashamed to be a MAC fan.

This is just  sickening,

[Tom]

Here is Steve Jobs’ reply:

No, you are getting all worked up over a few days of rumors.  Calm down.

Our reader’s response:

I am really insulted… “Calm down”…. “rumors”… What arrogance. This is will be marked as the begging of the end of Apple. Seriously, DO THE RIGHT THING. I just had dinner with 3 people who had iPhone 4s we all cant make calls without dropping. There is no rumors it is reality.

Steve Jobs counters:

You are most likely in an area with very low signal strength.

Our reader again:

Stop with jackass comments. I have has every iphone made. They all had a bad signal but this is the so much worse X3. The whole country is is in a “low signal strength” in reality… all but apple campus and your house it seems? AT&T maps are a joke. I am in “excellent” to “good” coverage and on my iPhone 1, Iphone 3G, and my iPhone 3Gs, I could  at least make a telephone call. After all, it is a phone. Iphone 4…. 5 bars….. touch the phone… ZERO bars call drops.

Steve. IT DOES NOT WORK! Geezzz I hope this this is not really you. Are we on a different MHz? I have yet to see an iPhone [4] work in Richmond when you hold it in your hand. It is not “isolated”. I was a big fan. But I am done.

Steve responds once again:

You may be working from bad data. Not your fault. Stay tuned. We are working on it.

Sent from my iPhone

And lastly, Tom emails in again:

Retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it.

What are your thoughts on this one? Is Tom in the right? Did he get a little too aggressive with his emails? Do you believe Steve Jobs when he says Apple is actively working on it?

UPDATE: The last line in the email exchange was actually not said by Mr. Jobs; rather it was by “Tom.” We corrected it as soon as we were made aware.

UPDATE 2: Added email header information and full exchange..

From: Burford Jason
Subject: Re: No Fix
Date: June 30, 2010 1:05:10 AM EDT
To: Steve Jobs
Return-Path:
Received: from new-host-2.home (pool-96-253-89-57.rcmdva.fios.verizon.net [96.253.89.57]) by mx.google.com with ESMTPS id c35sm25851088qco.0.2010.06.29.22.05.11 (version=TLSv1/SSLv3 cipher=RC4-MD5); Tue, 29 Jun 2010 22:05:12 -0700 (PDT)
References: <9C1F0280-6BD5-490E-AF89-50710B677139@burfordadvertising.com> <6E69753C-40F2-4327-9F0F-AA1BFAEAFF79@apple.com> <0AEDD93C-E272-4EE2-9069-C673A698189B@burfordadvertising.com> <561C74EC-C886-4AD9-B2DD-293F44453DB8@apple.com> <188F384D-126C-4FFC-8A15-D68BA80FCF17@burfordadvertising.com> <65CA06C0-6380-4629-AC6C-FFB8B641CB3D@apple.com>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=Apple-Mail-22-1066883072
In-Reply-To: <65CA06C0-6380-4629-AC6C-FFB8B641CB3D@apple.com>
Message-Id:
Mime-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v1081)
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.1081)
Retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it.
On Jun 30, 2010, at 12:26 AM, Steve Jobs wrote:
You may be working from bad data. Not your fault. Stay tuned. We are working on it.
Sent from my iPhone
On Jun 29, 2010, at 8:55 PM, Jason Burford wrote:
Stop with jackass comments.
I have has every iphone made. They all had a bad signal but this is the so much worse X3.
The whole country is is in a “low signal strength” in reality… all but apple campus and your house it seems?
AT&T maps are a joke. I am in “excellent” to “good” coverage and on my iPhone 1, Iphone 3G, and my iPhone 3Gs, I could   at least make a telephone call. After all, it is a phone.
Iphone 4…. 5 bars….. touch the phone… ZERO bars call drops.
Steve. IT DOES NOT WORK!
Geezzz I hope this this is not really you.
Are we on a diffesrnt MHZ?
I have yet to see an iPhone work in Richmond when you hold it in your hand. It is not “osolated”. I was a big fan. But I am done.
On Jun 29, 2010, at 11:45 PM, Steve Jobs wrote:
You are most likely in an area with very low signal strength.
On Jun 29, 2010, at 8:13 PM, Jason Burford wrote:
I am really insulted,… :”Calm down”…. “rumors”… What arrogance.
This is will be marked as the begging of the end of Apple.
Seriously, DO THE RIGHT THING.
I just had dinner with 3 people who had iPhone 4s we all cant make calls without dropping. There is no rumors it is reality.
On Jun 29, 2010, at 10:15 PM, Steve Jobs wrote:
No, you are getting all worked up over a few days of rumors.  Calm down.
On Jun 29, 2010, at 2:28 PM, Jason Burford wrote:
Ken,
When we spoke, you would not tell me that there is a fix for this phone?
A friend just sent me this:
I assume there is no fix then.
If this is legit, I have lost all respect for apple and just want to go back to Verizon and get a nice Android phone.
And don’t tell me they have the same issues, all our co-workers with Androids are just mocking us right now…. “Hey, I am going to go in the basement and continue my call. You can use my office on the 2nd floor so you can get a signal”.
You are going to kill your brand over one product. Apple is coming off arrogant and rude. If there is no fix just tell people so they can return their phones. We have work to do.
I have bought just about every apple product made in the last 20 years  and this is the 1st time I am ashamed to be a MAC fan.
This is just  sickening,
Jason
UPDATE 3: Apple PR has said this was not Steve Jobs in the email exchange. We have updated this with screenshots…
photo 1

photo 2
photo 3
UPDATE 4: More screenshots…
photo 1
photo 2
photo 3
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photo 5
UPDATE 5: We have published a follow up story confirming the emails to be authentic. http://www.bgr.com/2010/07/03/the-entire-steve-jobs-email-story-its-real


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