Looking back at 2010's "Antennagate"

Looking back at "Antennagate"
The summer of 2010 was one of Apple's most trying times pertaining to the iPhone. The Apple iPhone 4 featured a totally new look, which CEO Steve Jobs likened to a "beautiful old Leica camera." Even before the phone was unveiled, Apple had a major problem when a prototype of the phone was accidentally left behind in a bar.

On June 24th 2010, the day the phone was launched in the states, iPhone 4 buyers started complaining about calls dropping whenever they touched the lower left corner of the phone with their hand. At the same time, signal strength also dropped. Many blamed the phone's new design which had the antenna wrapped around the unit. The problem led Jobs to make his now infamous comment about consumers holding the iPhone 4 incorrectly. The day after the launch, Apple said that the so-called "left-handed death grip" was a phenomenon that affects all cell phones, and suggested that users employ a rubber case. Meanwhile, one story revealed how an Apple engineer supposedly told Steve Jobs early in the process of designing the phone, that there would be a problem with the antenna. Consumer Reports said the problem was real, and refused to rate the handset.

The whole problem was dubbed Antennagate and Apple tried to smooth things over by sending free rubber bumpers to iPhone 4 owners. The rubber in the case prevented the user's hand from causing the decline in signal strength. Those who passed on the bumper were allowed to take $15 of Apple's hard earned money thanks to a class action lawsuit.

Surely Steve Jobs was happy to see 2010 come to an end. But as the year was checking out, CNN called Antennagate the biggest tech failure of 2010. By the time the Apple iPhone 4s launched the next year, Apple had redesigned the antenna. And that allowed Consumer Reports to return the iPhone to its list of recommended phones for 2011.

Video Thumbnail

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless