Refusing to acknowledge a flaw in the iPhone 4 design, Apple CEO Steve Jobs' dismissive email exchanges with angry customers have drawn criticism.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

July 1, 2010

2 Min Read

Tech icon and Apple CEO Steve Jobs has to be a PR person's worst nightmare. By now, most people who care about Apple's latest iPhone know the device's reception problems. If a person's hand covers the lower left corner of the iPhone 4, then a call will drop off. The culprit appears to be a flaw in the smartphone's antenna, which is integrated in the metal band around the side of the device.

Jobs, and therefore Apple, refuses to acknowledge there's a flaw in the iPhone's design, much to the chagrin of many dissatisfied customers. Apple advises customers not to hold the iPhone in a way that it will drop calls.

But rather than try to ease the growing tension, Jobs in his latest email correspondence with an angry iPhone user appears to make matters worse.

Published by the tech blog Boy Genius Report, Jobs' response to the angry customer's complaint that Apple hasn't distributed a fix for the problem is, "No, you are getting all worked up over a few days of rumors. Calm down."

When the customer, who the blog gives the pseudonym of "Tom," says the problem is real and not a rumor and feels he's been insulted by Jobs' response, the Apple co-founder responds, "You are most likely in an area with very low signal strength."

Jobs' denial of a problem goes on until he ends the conversation by telling the customer to "retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it."

While it's true all smartphones are just smartphones and are not worth having a brain aneurysm over, Jobs' competitors are taking advantage of the discontent among Apple customers.

Verizon Wireless took a dig at the new iPhone in a full-page ad in The New York Times. In promoting its new smartphone, the Motorola Droid X, Verizon included at the bottom of the ad: "And most importantly, it comes with a double antenna design. The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls."

Verizon is a major rival of Apple partner AT&T, the exclusive carrier in the United States for the iPhone.

Jobs' comments also have sparked criticism among industry watchers. Jay Yarow of Business Insider said the chief executive was in "serious denial" over the antenna problem.

In addition, a couple disgruntled iPhone 4 buyers in Maryland have filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming the smartphone's faulty antenna as caused them "emotional distress," as well as annoyance and aggravation. There's no indication that they had spoken with Jobs.

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