Antenna Gate 9/30 Deadline?

So Apple at their press conference concerning antenna issues, Apple provided an arbitrary deadline of 9/30 to announce their next steps in regards to this antenna issue.

Likely reasons why?

1. Hoping that furor over this issue will just die down over time.

2. Gives Apple time to clear out current inventory effectively (with the case offer) while the engineering team determines a way to eliminate the issue (not sure that this is possible, every phone has a weak spot) or move the weak spot (move it to a less obvious “holding” spot of the phone)

3. Gives Apple 90 days to collect even more data on how this is not a real issue.

4. It’s the end of Q3, so Apple can decide whether to continue with the cost of case subsidy (or adjust the retail price to 179.99 giving customers cash for their choice of case), and make the necessary adjustments in their expectations for Q4 to Wall Street for the solution.

5. Gives AT&T an additional 90 days to improve the areas that suck which highlight the actual user experience of this issue. Not sure 90 days more matters when AT&T has had 3 years.

Well those reasons are not really that interesting, so let’s go with a rumor based reason.

Although Apple went to great pains to not throw AT&T under the bus during this whole press conference, the tech media talking about this issue is in the same poor reception cities that AT&T has really been unable to fix since the iPhone launch. Reception quality is a big part of this issue. You have to be in a weak spot for this issue to be a factor. Your location/city is a massive factor in your opinion of AT&T, and of the iPhone. MoD had zero issues in Atlanta with his iPhone. Huge city, population spread out over a massive square mile radius where AT&T probably has zero issues getting cell towers built (like Texas).

However, in Chicago on the Northside of town in a condo surrounded by lots of old buildings, my iPhone performance dropped considerably. To the point that MoD got an 3g Microcell from AT&T to alleviate the problem. Now, the iPhone 4 in a case while not using the MicroCell completely outperformed any other iPhone (using a case or not) that the MoD has used in Chicago at home or elsewhere. It’s a better antenna with a bigger weak spot. The reason why 98.3% of users are not having this problem is because 90% of them don’t leave in the areas where this is even an issue. To repeat Steve from Friday, this is ONLY an issue in areas of weak coverage (or overloaded coverage which is probably the same user experience)

What Steve Jobs would probably like to have said on Friday.

“Still having issues with your iPhone? Try using a case. Still having issues, starting in November try the iPhone with Verizon or Sprint instead. Each network is going to have dead areas, so choose the carrier that works best for your needs.”

The Verizon iPhone rumor just won’t die with another version appearing last month. What clearer way to resolve so many of these antenna/signal quality issues than to get the iPhone on another network. There’s one school of thought that you don’t really hear of these issues with other phones because the iPhone is the only device really limited to one network at least in the US. Before the iPhone, US cellular customers purchased their phones based on price and network coverage. The iPhone was the first device where the device was supreme. And do we really hear all this iPhone reception stuff overseas?

Announcing Verizon will change the conversation completely, and basically eliminate antenna-gate. The time window between announcement and launch will give potential buyers enough warning time to delay/research a buying decision, give Apple enough time to train their store employees on how to assist customers making a Verizon iPhone purchase, allow for inventory to build up for the big launch, and get Verizon stores ready for the launch as well.

I think Apple will take a hands-off position of not pushing either network, letting the customer explicitly decide their new network or stay with their existing carrier. For customers unsure about which network to choose, Apple will probably copy the same retail practices used by vendors who sell multiple networks like Apple partner Best Buy.

The Verizon iPhone is Apple best sure fire way to ending this whole issue. The fact that it will create billions in revenue and hurt Windows Phone 7, Palm,RIM, and Android sales is merely secondary (tongue firmly in cheek).

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