There is no antenna-gate

Steve's PR control slipped further from his fingers after the secret iPhone 4 arrived on the shelf three months after the Gizmodo fiasco. From the beginning it was called it Judas Phone - like a trusted friend who betrays you. This is quite a shift from the bloggers who called it the Jesus Phone upon its first generation release.[1] Steve ignored his engineer, Ruben Caballero's advice that the iPhone 4's bezel antenna would cause reception to drop out.[2] The "death-grip" effect forced customers to buy a cover so their bare skin wouldn't touch the antenna and break reception. Steve made a fatal mistake of answering one of the complainants’ emails by typing, “You’re holding it wrong”. Within twenty-four hours, the tech press were all over Steve’s email like a cheap suit. PC World, InfoWorld, Engadget, Wired, PC Mag, TechCrunch, cnet, and even CNN were collectively appalled, but not surprised. Consumer Reports refused to endorse the iPhone 4.[3] Apple stock dropped a little. Now Steve needed some damage control. He cut short his vacation in Hawaii and decided to use one of his famously theatrical public addresses to declare that the overwhelmingly proven problem doesn’t exist.
...but the data supports the fact that the iPhone 4 is the best smart phone in the world, and there is no antenna gate. ...I guess it’s just human nature that when someone or some organization gets really successful that someone or a group of people want to tear it down…. I’m not sure what you’re after here, would you rather that we were Korean companies rather than American companies.[4]
Rather than take the high ground and admit there is a problem, Steve buries himself in the sand, just as he did during his disastrous trip to India as a young man. The Steve-savvy journalists shook their collective heads and smiled knowingly. Everyone from Forbes to CNN had heard of Steve's "Reality Distortion Field" from the Mac Engineers who worked with him in the 1980s. These old Apple geeks borrowed the term from endless hours of watching Star Trek, probably whilst eating endless bowls of nachos. This is how it works:

In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything.  ... The reality distortion field was a confounding melange of a charismatic rhetorical style, an indomitable will, and an eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand. If one line of argument failed to persuade, he would deftly switch to another. Sometimes, he would throw you off balance by suddenly adopting your position as his own, without acknowledging that he ever thought differently. Amazingly, the reality distortion field seemed to be effective even if you were acutely aware of it, although the effects would fade after Steve departed.[5]
This is from the Andy Hertzfeld's entertaining book about the birth of the Macintosh. Although Andy’s claims aren’t always accurate. He stated that Anja Major, from the 1984 Mac commercial, died of breast cancer in 2000, she was alive and well enough to attend the 30th anniversary reunion in December 2005.[6] Anja is still a fine looking lady. One wonders if she received from an apology from the aging geek at the reunion.

[1] Pogue, D. (2007, July 27) The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype. New York Times.

[2] Burrows, P. & Guglielmo. C. (2010, July 16) Apple Engineer Told Jobs IPhone Antenna Might Cut Calls. Bloomberg. Retrieved from

[3] Helft, M. (2010, July 12) Design Flaw in iPhone 4, Testers Say. New York Times

[4] Caulfield, B. (2010, July 16) Re:Apple Talks About The iPhone 4’s Antenna [Live Blog]. From Velocity: Remaking Personal Technology. Retrieved from

[5] Hertzfeld (2004) Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made. Massachusetts: O'Reilly Media.

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