Senator Jumps into iPhone Antenna Game with Open Letter

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.