GADGETS & GAMES JULY 15, 2010, 6:40 P.M. ET
Apple Knew of iPhone Antenna Glitch
By YUKARI IWATANI KANE And NIRAJ SHETH
Chief Executive Steve Jobs's insistence on strict control of Apple Inc.'s product-design process appears to have backfired with his new iPhone 4, leading the company to overrule internal concerns about antenna reception and to deny carriers adequate time to test the phone before selling it.
Apple's iPhone 4 has been dogged by reports of antenna-reception problems since its launch last month. The company has called a news conference to discuss the issue Friday. Apple doesn't plan to recall the phone, a person familar with the matter said.
Apple engineers were aware of the risks associated with the new antenna design as early as a year ago, but Mr. Jobs liked the design so much that Apple went ahead with its development, said a person familiar with the matter.
The electronics giant kept such a shroud of secrecy over the iPhone4's development that the device didn't get the kind of real-world testing that would have exposed such problems in phones by other manufacturers, said people familiar with the matter.
The iPhones Apple sends to its carrier partners for testing are "stealth" phones that disguise a new device's shape and some of its functions, people familiar with the matter said. Those test phones are specifically designed so the phone can't be touched, which made it hard to catch the iPhone 4's antenna problem.