Why Apple won't recall the iPhone 4

Apple could release iOS4.1 for its mobile devices today, the day before it stands before the world to explain away the kerfuffle over poor reception and an apparent design flaw.

Developers already have the update in their hands as we write, and a couple of sources are stating that the release does nothing to prevent the notorious 'death grip' from killing the handset's signal.

A Greek web site dedicated to the Second Coming of the Hol(e)y Handset reports that the first point release to the recently-renamed OS will appear today, and iPhone Hellas has a pretty decent track record of reporting these things accurately, and long before the rest of the web wakes up.

There have been hundreds of shrill reports from Apple-bating hacks bemoaning Apple's lack of testing when it comes to the iPhone 4's inability to hold a signal, but we have to question how many of these commenters actually use the handset on a daily basis.

We have had an iPhone 4 at THINQ since the day of release in the UK, and despite being able to easily replicate the dropping bars scenario using the patented 'death grip', we have experienced only one dropped call in all of that time. And that was from a delivery driver making a call from a moving vehicle. Hardly cause for concern in our book.

Trawling through the many thousands of forum posts on the matter also leads us to some interesting conclusions. Most of the people who are calling for Steve Jobs' head on a platter because of the apparent design flaw are quite obviously not iPhone 4 owners.

The vast majority of those who do actually have access to the handset are being reasonably pragmatic about the problem in our experience.

Some are reporting that they can't even replicate the dropped bars issue, and we suspect that they are living in areas with strong cellular signals. Others, like us, can get the bars to drop at will, but have rarely - if ever - dropped a call.

Practically all of the comments we have seen from people who have actually used the handset in the real world for more than a few days show the kind or resigned delight reserved only for fans of Apple products.

No... it's not perfect. But what electronic gadget is? What you've got is the best app phone on the market, with the best screen ever seen on a mobile device, with a gazillion Apps most of which are free, and a software platform which is set to turn the handheld gaming market on its head once people start writing games which integrate the gyroscope and the two improved cameras.

You can make free video calls to any of your mates who also have an iPhone 4, and people will come up to you in the street and coo over the stunningly beautiful design (even if the do say 'but says the reception is rubbish' in their next breath).

Here's the bottom line people. Apple is not going to recall the iPhone 4 and it's not going to give you a free Bumper case. Steve Jobs will get up in front of the world's press to tomorrow and announce that there's nothing wrong with the iPhone 4 and that we should all just stop moaning about it.

Apple shares have taken a battering on the back of reports from outfits like Consumer Reports which decided not to recommend the iPhone 4 to its readers because the handset showed a signal loss of 20dB in tests. The watchdog brazenly stated that such a drop was "enough to cause dropped calls".

It's important to point out that CR never reported any actual dropped calls, just a theoretical possibility.

Apple has a PR nightmare on its hands with the iPhone 4. Whenever the company releases a new product, the amount of free publicity it gets is truly staggering. The iPhone 4 has been an unprecedented success selling in its millions in no little part on the back of the thousands of column inches of copy it generated.

But the press is a fickle bed-fellow and loves nothing better than to build a product up to the giddiest heights, praising its every attribute, until it finds a tiny chink in the armour, literally. Faced with even the slightest imperfection, those same hacks who salivated unashamedly over the prospect of Apple's latest and greatest are all to quick to drop-kick their one-time darling into touch over the slightest apparent flaw.

We're sure there are hundreds of people out there who are having nightmares with the iPhone 4 and its antenna woes, and we have nothing but sympathy for them. It must be painful to have the best mobile phone ever made and not be able to make calls with it. But you are in a very vocal minority.

If you can't put up with a dropped call once in a while, you can always take it back to Apple for a full refund.

And on that subject, isn't it funny how we haven't seen a single report of people turning up at Apple stores in droves demanding their money back?