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The iPhone 4's Mounting Issues and Glitches

As anyone following the hype could have predicted, the iPhone 4 has sold excessively well. The masses of Apple fanboys gobbled up more than 1.7 million units of the Apple product within three days of its release on June 24th. Yet, once the rosy giddiness from owning the latest Apple fad lifted, some consumers noticed something: there are a bunch of glitches with this thing.

For one, the infamous antenna issue is inexcusable. As a clear hardware problem, Apple representatives have essentially told the public, “get used to it.” A software update is now available, but it only makes the iPhone 4 signal meter more accurate with respect to the lower left-hand corner problem. So now you can accurately watch your network signal tank. Customers may also purchase a $30 bumper from Apple so that one’s hand does not touch the bottom left corner, though any iPhone case would also do the trick.

It’s a show of negligence that a hardware problem like this could make it out of product testing. It may be a small issue since having a case is almost compulsory, but it’s troubling that a major mobile device can have such a universal problem.

Network upload speeds have been sluggish in certain areas of the country. Last weekend, upload speeds in many cities like New York, Boston, Seattle, Cleveland, Denver, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Cincinnati, etc., were capped at 100kbps, which is a tenth of expected speeds.

AT&T has since announced that the problem came from a software defect in Alcatel-Lucent equipment. “AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect–triggered under certain conditions–that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment,” said Jenny Bridges, AT&T spokeswoman. AT&T has made a temporary fix that restores upload data speeds to regular 3G speeds, so maximum speeds will be around 384kbps until the problem can be entirely solved. Bridges also reported that this was affecting less than 2% of AT&T’s wireless customer base.

Granted, Apple can’t really be blamed for this one, but I think this falls under the list of problems occurring with exclusive AT&T coverage.

In certain lighting, the iPhone 4’s camera pictures are coming out yellow. Images taken outdoors or with flash have been fine. However, as reported by Macworld, indoor pictures in low lighting come out with a yellow or green cast. The problem is exclusively with the new iPhone, not the 3G models:

It appears to be a problem with the camera’s auto-white balance.

And some iPhone users are having trouble with the device’s proximity sensor. The sensor, common for mobile touch phones, turns off the touch screen when the phone is brought to one’s ear. In this glitch, people have found the touch screen may turn back on when there’s little movement, or even flicker rapidly. This may be due to the proximity sensor’s new location further up on phone, moved because of the new front-facing camera.

There are also complaints of discolored displays that appear yellow or greenish. Apple has been touting the iPhone’s high resolution Retina display of 326 pixels per inch, which is better resolution than a human retina. That may be harder to appreciate with urine-colored stains on your screen.

Some iPhone 4 Displays Have Yellow Bands, Spots, Other Problems

Examples of display discolorations

Apple has yet to release public statements for many of these issues.

It seems that proper field testing should have discovered these problems long before release. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of corporate complacency. Regardless of Apple modernity and sleekness, people still want devices that are reliable, that can operate in the real world. Apple still has a responsibility to put out products that are well-designed and well-tested. Unfortunately, many of these bugs may not be fixed until the iPhone 5. Consumers should probably hold off on joining the iPhone 4 craze until Apples answers for these glaring defects.

[Photo courtesy of squarespace.]