Apple puts out feelers for antenna wizards


Are you an unemployed antenna engineer who specializes in wireless mobile devices?

Apple Inc. might have a job for you.

The company, which is under fire for reception problems with its newest iPhone model and its iPad tablet computer, has posted three openings on its website for jobs described as “Antenna Engineer-iPad/iPhone.”

The posts are dated June 23, the day before the launch of the iPhone 4, which customers have been complaining loses signal when held in certain ways that seem to interfere with the device’s antenna.

Apple responded to complaints last week in a statement that said some loss of reception is common when gripping any wireless device. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company suggested that users avoid gripping the phone “in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band.”

Or, the statement suggested, owners of the phone could purchase one of several cases being marketed for the device.

One iPhone 4 user who e-mailed Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs directly about the issue got a response that said, in its entirety, “There are no reception issues. Stay tuned,” according to the popular MacRumors website.

Analysts at ISuppli Corp. said similar issues weren’t that common among other smart phones because the antenna is usually packed inside. The iPhone 4’s antenna is a steel frame that wraps around the device to boost cellular coverage, Jobs said at the phone’s unveiling June 7 in San Francisco.

The Apple job description says candidates “should be able to design antennas suitable for wireless handheld devices with excellent radiation performance.”

The company did not return phone calls or e-mails Wednesday requesting comment on the ads.

Despite complaints about iPhone 4 reception that popped up widely on the Internet soon after the phone was released, Apple sold 1.7 million of them — a record for the company — in the first three days the device was on the market.

The iPhone 4 starts at $199 with a commitment to a two-year AT&T cellphone plan. Apple says it expects to be selling the phone in 88 countries by September.