Senator Jumps into iPhone Antenna Game with Open Letter

| News

Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna and signal strength issues seem to have caught the eye of the government, in a manner of speaking, now that U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY) has penned an open letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In his letter, the Senator asks Mr. Jobs to offer up a written statement for consumers explaining exactly what’s wrong with the iPhone 4, and to offer free-of-charge fixes.

“While I commend Apple’s innovative approach to mobile technology and appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner,” Senator Schumer said. He also cited the Consumer Reports study that claimed to confirm the iPhone’s signal loss issues are a hardware problem instead of a software bug as Apple said.

“Given the discrepancy between Consumer Reports’ explanation of the reception problem and the explanation provided by Apple in its July 2 letter to customers, I am concerned that the nearly two million purchasers of the iPhone 4 may not have complete information about the quality of the product they have purchased,” the Senator said.

He also urged Apple to make a public commitment to fix the issues free of charge, and called the company’s suggestion to buy a case for their iPhones as insufficient.

Apple has been on the receiving end of bad press over the iPhone 4’s antennas ever since the device was released in June. Users have been reporting that holding the phone so the lower left corner is covered can cause the signal strength bars to drop.

Apple has invited journalists to a special iPhone 4-related press conference on Friday morning. Presumably the company will be addressing concerns over the combination iPod and smartphone’s antennas and signal strength.

Along with his concerns over the information Apple has been giving customers, Senator Schumer added “I also encourage Apple to keep its promise to provide free software updates so that bars displayed accurately reflect signal strength; I further urge Apple to issue a written explanation of the formula it uses to calculate bar strength, so that consumers can once again trust the product that they have invested in.”

The full text of the Senator’s open letter is available at his Web site.

Comments

JMallinson

I’ve deliberately avoided iPhone 4 because of the issues, and I think Apple may likely have some work to do to get things in order, but COME ON!  If there’s a meaningful issue with the product, let consumers slug it out with Apple through the appropriate channels.  Schumer works in a dysfunctional Federal government and represents what may be the most dysfunctional of corrupt, bloated, flat-broke dysfunctional states in the union.  Any second that he and his staff spend on taxpayer time addressing this issue is a distraction unworthy of what we pay him (and yes, I’m a New York resident, so I do pay him).

Shut up, Chuck and do your real job.

jimothy

Gee, now that a Senator is involved, Apple really needs to deal with this press issue. They should hold a press conference or something. Good thing Mr. Schumer decided focus the attention of the U.S. Senate on this, otherwise Apple couldn’t have figured out how to address this issue on their own.

Now that the sarcasm is out of the way, let me say something serious: I wish busy-body politicians would their self-important noses out of the operations of private business and individuals.  It all comes across as an insincere act.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

This is why Al Gore is on the board. It’s not for his knowledge of obscure Internet protocols or his ability to get hookers. It’s to keep the government and elected officials from piling on when stuff gets thick.

FlipFriddle

While I like Chuck and what he’s doing for NY, our state is so f@cked right now that he should be concentrating his efforts at home. He could start by throwing the whole state legislature in prison and calling for state constitutional reform.
Politically astute though; if Apple posts a release tomorrow about the press event, it’ll look like they are responding to Chuck’s call for a response.

brett_x

The worst part is that Apple has stated that this is within 30 days of launch, so any unhappy consumer can return it to Apple/AT&T for a full refund. And Apple has made that offer.
There is no consumer injustice happening here [yet?], which is the only time i would expect a senator to step out in front of something.

Lee Dronick

Is he running for reelection?

palenoue

Come on, people!  The senator wrote a _letter_, a single simple letter, yet here you all are acting like he shut down congress, created a new nation-wide department, suspended the constitution and instituted martial law.  What the hell are _YOU_ people doing?  If the country is so screwed up as you claim, why are _YOU_ wasting time writing comments instead of fixing everything?  You should all be shot for not doing your jobs as citizens!  or have your macs taken away, whichever causes you more pain.

Ref Librarian

Can you imagine a senator writing an open letter to Steve Ballmer asking him to not drop the Kin on behalf of consumers?

FlipFriddle

Is he running for reelection?

Yep. Everyone in the state govt. is this year.

vpndev

Can you imagine a senator writing an open letter to Steve Ballmer asking him to not drop the Kin on behalf of consumers?

Why not? Purchasers of Kin have suffered much more than iPhone 4 buyers as far as I can tell. Does Kin have a money-back return policy? Will users who like their Kin be able to get software updates and fixes? I honestly dont know the answer to either of these questions so maybe the good Senator will ask.

If I were in Steve B’s shoes (thank God I’m not) I would arrange with Verizon to recall all Kins and either refund in full, or swap to a better phone.

But Kevin Turner is too busy gloating over his this-is-Apple’s-Vista comment to pay Steve B any notice. Pity, because Kin will continue to gnaw at MS as long as there’s a single one in the wild.

jimothy

Come on, people!? The senator wrote a _letter_, a single simple letter, yet here you all are acting like he shut down congress, created a new nation-wide department, suspended the constitution and instituted martial law.? What the hell are _YOU_ people doing?? If the country is so screwed up as you claim, why are _YOU_ wasting time writing comments instead of fixing everything?

It’s not a matter of him spending time or even taxpayer money on it (though those are valid concerns). It’s him using his position as a Senator to prod Apple into a response. It’s none of the government’s damn business. Government is already too intrusive; this is yet another example, even if it is on a small scale.

Other examples would be Congress holding hearings on baseball steroids; really, that’s any of Congress’s business?

vpndev

Sir Harry Flashman said:Is he running for reelection?
Yep. Everyone in the state govt. is this year.

BTW, Schumer is a member of the United States Senate, not a State Senator.

I understand that he is running for re-election this year

terry garbutt

Great. Just what we need.  Another democrat ‘loon’ goes after another US institution. Worse still, this idiot is expected to replace Pelosi when she loses the House this fall.

Lee Dronick

Is cnet closed today?

JonGl

Schumer’s behavior is shameful and, to be blunt, rather slimy. Now that it is known that Apple is having some sort of press conference tomorrow, Schumer piles on, and don’t be surprised if he tries to take credit for whatever actions Apple announces tomorrow.

vpndev

replace Pelosi when she loses the House this fall.

Riddle me this. Whether she loses or not, why would a Senator replace Pelosi, who is in the House of Representatives? There is a difference between the two.

vpndev

BTW: things seem to be more-than-occasionally busted today.

Anyone else been seeing messages such as this?  I’ve had several ...

Database Error: Unable to connect to your database. Your database appears to be turned off or the database connection settings in your config file are not correct. Please contact your hosting provider if the problem persists.

jimothy

Anyone else been seeing messages such as this?

I also got this message. I did what you’ve probably already discovered: Hit the back button and re-submit.

Lee Dronick

vpndev said:Anyone else been seeing messages such as this?
I also got this message. I did what you?ve probably already discovered: Hit the back button and re-submit.

A “Reload” also usually fixes it.

vote 'em all out

Great. Just what we need.  Another democrat ?loon? goes after another US institution.

The last thing Apple needs is ANYONE from Washington sticking their gerrymandered noses into this.

Apple is quite capable of handling this; they don’t need “help” from the government.

vpndev

Heh—Apple is capable of handling this. But Microsoft/Verizon is forking over their (few) Kin customers.

Can we aim the Senator’s wrath at Redmond?? Can I help smile

More seriously though - he’s up for re-election this year so I’m prepared to cut him a little slack. Maybe we didn’t need the letter, but it’s not as though he’s calling for hearings on the Hill. Personally I think it’s minor, and not unusual in an election year. If only the rest of the election-year things were this mild :(  Oh well - that’s a rant for another day

xmattingly

What the hell are _YOU_ people doing?? If the country is so screwed up as you claim, why are _YOU_ wasting time writing comments instead of fixing everything?

Ah yes, the ol’ Democrat elitist standby defense. “If you don’t like what said politician has done, what do you do that’s so great?”

The problem with that ultimatum is that I, nor anyone else who complains about this sort of political behavior, have run for office, been elected by citizens and are being paid a pretty hefty salary to engage in the affairs of this country.

Charles Schumer was elected to handle policy for the entire country, not to score political points by being a consumer advocate wannabe for one stinkin’ electronic device. I mean seriously, if he’s really that bored and can’t find larger issues to tackle, is it any wonder that the Democrats are in such trouble? Last time I checked, there were an awful lot of folks who are still angry over the failed stimulus and excess unemployment…

vpndev

failed stimulus and excess unemployment?

1. stimulus didn’t fail, although it would have been nice if it had done more
2. excess unemployment—see (1)

Clinton left this country with a budget surplus. Thanks to W, I’m not sure if I will live long enough to see the next one.

JonGl

1. stimulus didn?t fail, although it would have been nice if it had done more

Taking money from the private sector, funneling it through the government in an attempt to now “stimulate” the private sector cannot, and will not succeed. The effect was a net loss of jobs, ergo, failure. Economies are not a zero-sum game—which Schumer seems to think, expecting Apple to now “pay up” to keep him off their back.

2. excess unemployment?see (1)

Any attempt to address unemployment without also addressing the issue of growth is doomed to failure, hence 1 and 2 go together. You must have economic growth for unemployment to go down. Schumer, and the media’s blasting of Apple on the iPhone has the opposite effect of growth. Look at the 9 bil. that Apple has lost because of one, erroneous report from the so-called “Consumer Reports” people. That is a real effect, and could have the real effect of costing jobs. This is not that difficult people!!!

Clinton left this country with a budget surplus. Thanks to W, I?m not sure if I will live long enough to see the next one.

Odd, but last time I checked, it is Congress that sets the budget—oh, and look who controlled Congress for six years of the Clinton admin!!! Republicans! Clinton, for all his self-centeredness and self-love, did one thing right. He signed some solid, growth-centered legislation that did two things. 1. actually attacked the deficit by attacking federal spending, and 2. created an environment for real growth in the private sector. Bush had issues, but his greatest problems came in the last years of his admin. when guess what—he had a Democrat-controlled congress!!! Waddya know! The problem is that we have sophomoric self-styled experts, who have never had to balance a checkbook, let alone a ledger, nor meet payroll for a real company, and who are nothing more than theoreticians in waay out of their depth, running the country today. Worse, in the case of Schumer, they are playing thug politics. Schumer is no stranger to this—look at what he did to Toyota just recently. Now it is coming out that most of the “toyota-caused” accidents were simply human error, with feet full on the gas pedal, not on the brake pedal! You gonna tell me Schumer didn’t know this. His hands are filthier than the butcher’s in your grocery store. Apple is merely his latest victim. Worse, Apple is “one of them”, and now you see the dog biting the hand that feeds it.

xmattingly

I believe JonGI comes from a well informed perspective.

I would also add that the so-called “stimulus” came at an expense of as much as $100,000+ per new job created in certain regions. And on top of that, we’re right at the same level of unemployment as we were before they passed the bill. And in the meantime, Obama has worked desperately to spin the statistics, including so-called “saved” jobs that aren’t accounted for. How’s that not failure, on an epic level?

Thanks to W, I?m not sure if I will live long enough to see the next one.

The expiration date on that load of crap was over a year ago. Not saying that Dub’ya didn’t contribute to our problems in a big way, but blame shifting HAS been a permanent cornerstone for policy failure.

Let’s not forget that Chucky Boy had a pretty solid hand in what’s been going on in D.C. over the past year+... he has a 98% rate for voting with his party: doesn’t that SCREAM of a politician who not only has no ideas, but is also a career lemming for his party? And here he is, twiddling over a cell phone… your tax dollars at work.

jimothy

If you repeat something often enough, it still doesn’t become true. There was no surplus under Clinton, but we’ve heard it repeated so many times (and many of us have repeated it ourselves, such as here), that many of us have come to believe it. Fortunately, there are people who are more skeptical and examining, and they have demonstrated that this is a myth.

http://www.craigsteiner.us/articles/16

vpndev

if you repeat something often enough, it still doesn?t become true.

How true. So stop repeating it. Your claim is NOT true. So stop claiming it.

Try this for detail…
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_deficit_chart.html
and notice the negative part around “2000”

If you have contrary evidence, list it. Otherwise….  next troll ...

jimothy

I sent you contrary evidence. Did you bother to look at it? Here’s the link once again.

Rick

The United States is headed for bankruptcy due to idiots like
Schumer. Hey Chucky, if you’re reading this, get back to work.

vpndev

I sent you contrary evidence. Did you bother to look at it?

Your guy basically claims that there were accounting tricks applied to show a surplus. This is not the forum to debate that issue - I’ll just note that it’s the same as had been done for years before and continued through the Bush years and until today.

The downturn in Clinton’s last budget (the transition from Clinton to Bush, Oct 2000-Sept-2001) is mainly due to the dot-com crash. That also caused a lot of problem in Bush’s early days.

jimothy

Agreed. We haven’t had a budget surplus in decades (some answers say 1969 was the last year; other answers put it in the 18th century). Both parties love to spend other people’s money. Likewise, both parties love to stick their nose in other people’s business. That’s exactly what Schumer is doing here.

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