Apple started to look bad when dozens of loyal iPhone 4 buyers began reporting reception issues with the iPhone 4. It looked worse when Consumer Reports confirmed the problem in independent lab tests and refused to give the phone its recommendation. And it looked downright shady when it began censoring discussion of said tests from its own forums. But in what might be the most damning news to surface yet in Apple’s “Death Grip” antenna fiasco, a new report claims that Apple engineers knew the antenna would cause problems before it ever made it off the drawing board.
According to a anonymous sources cited by Businessweek, Apple senior engineer Ruben Caballero expressed concerns about the steel loop design in early planning meetings when several designs from Apple’s industrial design team were still on the table. His apprehension: the antenna around the perimeter of the phone would need to be diced up into separate sections to handle different frequencies for different wireless networks. Electrically connecting two sections – as with a hand – could lead to dropped calls.
Businessweek also claims that “a carrier partner” – presumably AT&T unless Apple was courting other carriers at the time – expressed concerns about the antenna design prior to the June 24 launch.
Apple spokeman Steve Dowling refused to comment for the BW story and denied access to Ruben Cabellero for an interview, leaving the allegations unconfirmed, but also unrepudiated.
More details will likely emerge on Friday, when Apple holds a press conference at its Cupertino headquarters.