Apple iPhone rivals fire back on antenna issue


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Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs said during a press conference at its headquarters Friday that rival smart phones also have reception problems. Credit: Kimberly White / Reuters

The biggest smart phone makers -- Research in Motion, HTC, Nokia, Samsung and Motorola -- are crying foul over assertions by Apple Inc.'s Chief Executive Steve Jobs that their devices also have antenna issues. On Friday, Jobs claimed that the rival phones have similar problems that have beset its iPhone 4. In a video demonstration Jobs detailed how the competitors phones were also prone to reception problems when held in a certain way.


‘Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable,’ said the BlackBerry maker in a statement. ‘Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation.’

Apple held the iPhone 4 conference at its Cupertino, Calif., campus just days after Consumer Reports magazine said it could not recommend the company’s newest phone because of an apparent design flaw in the antenna. Most smart phone’s antennas are packed inside the device, while the iPhone 4’s is a steel frame that wraps around the phone.

Kenneth Dulaney, an analyst with IT research company Gartner Inc., said it’s understandable that Apple competitors would be upset and not want to be dragged into the controversy. Complaints would’ve surfaced within the first weeks of shipment if similar issues to the iPhone 4’s were found in other companies’ devices, he said. ‘We didn’t hear that.’

RIM said in the statement it even avoided antenna designs found in the iPhone 4 in its own products and pointed out that none of its Blackberrys need a case to assure optimal reception.

Apple is issuing free rubber cases, called ‘bumpers,’ to all of its iPhone 4 users until the end of September. The cases apparently alleviate any reception issues.

-- Kristena Hansen