RIM Responds To Apple’s Press Conference


Yesterday saw Apple CEO Steve Jobs defend and reiterate (and also announce the iPhone 4 launch date in Canada will be on July 30th!) that the iPhone 4 “Antennagate” has been blown out of proportion. During this press conference, the presentation included a demo that showed other smartphones exhibited the same erratic signal distortion behaviour if held with a “death grip”.

One of the first phones in the antenna attenuation demo was RIM’s Blackberry Bold 9700. Here’s the video below:

Well, of course RIM didn’t take this lightly. They’ve had their own launch issues with their smartphones that were intended to be “iPhone killers” (*cough* Blackberry Storm *cough*). A chance to shoot back at Jobs was what they did. Here’s what the CEOs had to say:

“Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”

– Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

Strong words, straight to the point. What I question is the sentence where they explain RIM’s use of “innovative designs”. The last time I checked, Blackberry models have remained with the same form factor since–forever. Trackball, 2 inch screen, tiny keyboard, and a half-baked “browser”.

If you don’t like the iPhone 4 and this isolated issue, don’t buy the phone just yet. Lots of people haven’t had problems with the phone. I still think the advantages of the iPhone 4 outweigh this issue with the antenna’s “soft spot”.

We haven’t even had a chance to play with it in Canada. It’ll be interesting to see how the iPhone 4 performs in Canada, as our networks will surely respond differently versus the overstrained AT&T networks in the US.



  • Managed to find the clip here.

  • Managed to find the clip here.

  • Missing_intellect

    The poll question “After Watching Apple's Press Conference, Will You Buy the iPhone 4 in Canada?” makes it seem like if you say “Yes”, you're only saying it because you were convinced by yesterdays press conference. You should add “Yes, but not because of the press conference” or just remove the “After Watching Apple's Press Conference, ” altogether… although that's been done about a million times already.

  • Dwight990

    hey Gary, rim can shut up with there shitty software phone, i been experience signal drop when i got the phone, and both rogers and rim dont want to do any thing,

  • Sam

    ” I still think the advantages of the iPhone 4 outweigh this issue with the antenna’s “soft spot”.” agreed.

    “The last time I checked, Blackberry models have remained with the same form factor since–forever. Trackball, 2 inch screen, tiny keyboard, and a half-baked “browser”. Agreed as well, but every iphone has looked the same as well. In fact I'd argue BBs have made more physical changes than iPhones. The only one that has been “innovative” in their physical features has been Android, and I'm not so sure that's been a benefit to them. I think more and more we are being seen that companies should stick with one 'iconic' look, and focus on fixing internal performance instead instead of its looks.

  • MikeWantsAnIphone

    But they don't deny that the Bold also has antenna signal attenuation issues as well.

  • Guest

    It is clear that the entire press conferense was designed to deflect attention to the fact that this new iPhone has an actual problem. Why are they giving away free cases otherwise? Every word that was said on that stage was carefully selected and each one of the presenters was trained for hours on how to present this issue, and how to (not) answer questions that would reveal anything. Then, they invite people to their antenna research lab to try to confuse people even more. At the end of the day.. We haven't seen any hard data on how many more dropped calls the iPhone4 has vs all the other phone companies apple was hating on.. Their less than 1 in 100 number doesn't even mean anything without a base of how many calls per day that is (it could be 1000% more calls day on the network). Yesterday was just meant to confuse the fuck out of you, somehow slip in a free case to shut you up, and not actually answer real questions (especially during the q&a at the end). Nice job apple! Your deception techniques are fabulous I'm sure people will eat that up.

  • worthyofed

    The difference is that RIM claims to have been making phones for 20 years. Even for the past 10, the blackberry has essentially been the same. When they tried something different, ie the blackberry storm, it flopped!!
    The Iphone has only been around for 4 years. And it works. People LOVE the iPhone. Why change it if its working so well.

    I think the point is that RIM is stuck in the 90's with the same small screen, trackball and crappy keyboard. Every other company has embraced the future, bigger screens, touch screen, etc. Again, RIMs only attempt at this completely flopped.

  • Chalky_white

    Non intelligent people – but at the end of the day I minor win is still a win! The sad thing though is that the non intelligent people may actually have believed what Steve was saying rather than being logical. And if anyone wants to debate me on that.. Please be my guest. You have no facts and at the end of the day. There were no facts given to us yeterday. Only the fact that you/were all a bunch of stupid fools who can't help but touch a bulleseye… But that's ok.. They're taking away your bulleseye by giving you a free case to cover it up so that you, the stupid consumer will stop playing with it… But not because theres annnnytttthinnnggg wrong with the phone.. No way!

  • Ghost-patrckS

    Have you guys seen the video of whoopie talking about her experience withal iPhone4? Dropped calls on her 2-3 times while trying to do an interview over the phone!!! She smashed the shit out of it.. Bought a 3GS immediately and was able to complete said interview. Check YouTube if you don't believe me.

  • And considering this is a blog that people watch so they know when they'll be able to buy an iPhone… the poll itself doesn't have much meaning.

  • xyber

    One thing RIM's response didn't address: Why the Blackberry's signal bars also drop when it is gripped!

  • Darin G

    maybe black berry owners are “just not supposed to hold it that way”

  • Guest

    Wow steve! Great performance! Instead of owning up to an obvious design flaw.. Bring other companies into it.. But now you didn't own up to a problem. Made it seem like were the assholes for talking about it so much and your pissed off you have to give away free bumpers. Bitch move Stevie boy. Bitch move. And btw i know he was trying to level the playing field but… Those tests should have been gven to consumer reports.. Not just do a death grip in the middle of the dessert and watch bars fall. Shame apple. Shame.

  • jackso

    this stuff isn't new to phones. I clenched my blackberry curve just to see what would happen and whattayaknow, 5 bars to 2. The media DID blow this all out of proportion. I bet the iPhone 4 will perform better than any other smartphone on the market in all areas with a bumper case attached, which most people would plan on getting anyways.

  • Arkaine

    Agreed!! And this is for the whiners ->

  • Arkaine

    Agreed!! And this is for the whiners ->

  • Mikomi Kitty

    I think the point is that the 9700 you have to literally death grip to cause the signal actuation, where as on the iPhone you just have to bridge the antenna's with you hand.

    So im pretty sure there not the same problem, yes of course blocking the antenna with your hand will effect the antenna performance, but with the iPhone you're not blocking the antenna your bridging it with the WiFi antenna.

  • Me

    I agree. I mentioned that it does the same thing on my BB 8330 that I'm using right now on other forums in here. Consumer Report is totally unfair with this issue.

  • Yourgayandyouknowit

    Ok try doing it with one finger your dork. That's all it takes with the iPhone 4.

  • Gary_Jobbs

    Its just a poll.. Every poll has problems. Look at engadgets poll, or Mac worlds poll, or even gizmodos poll. Look. Were not saying anything is wrong with this poll.. But to shut everyone up well give you a free case. And then show you a mystical room to ensure you truly forget that the poll was ever a poll to begin with.

  • Red

    I like my iPhone, but Apple is clearly irresponsible. Fix it with a “free” bumper case or “don't hold it that way” is just ridiculous. I am sure a lot of people buy the iPhone 4 for its look too, not with the ugly bumper case to hide the problem. Yes, iPhone has a lot of great features that other smartphones are either catching up to, but it is Apple's way of handling things that will drive many to give other improving phones a try. To use other brands to deflect Apples's responsibility is simply putting its head in the sand. I bet Steve Job is thinking that how many “sucker” followers are out there even though Apple does not make right with this iPhone.

  • Thisguyesmellslikepeaches

    Also, it didn't address why you smell like peaches? If I attack you for no reason you shouldn't have to defend yourself. Take a finger. Stick it on the antenna band. Boom signal shitty. Do that to a BB. I double dare you.

  • Well done, sir.

  • Ronniegade

    I am no fan-boy to say the least, I've tried and abandoned Macs a couple of times. But I have to admit my 3GS is a damned good phone. I always use a rubber case anyway, so I'm taking the risk with the 4 as my wife had her 3GS stolen … I don' think it's a big risk, and think the press have totally overblown this, but will be returning it if it sucks!!

  • DaMan05

    Man, Gary, I love your blog, but you're such an annoying Apple fanboy. It's crazy. Every one of your articles are so pro-Apple and anti-everything else. None of the other writers do this though. Try toning it down a bit 😉
    I can guess you were probably getting emotional during Apple's pity-party-hand-holding-we're-sorry-and-we-love-you-bullshit press conference 😛
    Don't take any offense please, I love the blog, just try keeping the fanboyness to a low 🙂

  • Vazandrew

    Yes I agree there is a problem but it's solved with a case. Most of us would be getting a case anyway and now we get one for free, sounds good to me. Those who want a naked phone, what are you going to do when it gets damaged? It may sound like a band-aid fix but hey if it works that's all I care about. There is no other phone out there like this and iOS4 puts the other ones to shame.

    If you aren't happy with that get a 3GS (which I hear isn't as snappy with the new software) or another phone

  • Boobs'n'Guns

    The thing about Apple being a victim of media defamation is completely true. Between Apple haters and looser sudo-news blogs, they get more press than any war, president, moon landing over what really is a non-issue. Why would anyone who is not interested in buying a device be so compelled to be a douche on the internet about it?

    To me, the features and benefits of the iPhone outweigh the minor issues that some are experiencing. I had to return my 3G a few times till I got one that would last me 2 yrs. I had to do the same with my Sony phone, my Motorola phone, and my Nokia phone. If I get the iPhone 4 and there is a problem with it, I will exchange it at an apple store and receive a new one with no questions asked as usual.

    Realize its a great purchase if its in your budget and if the features interest you. If its not for you, get something else and cry on another forum/topic that involves your mobile phone of choice. Ps its not normal to be so invested emotionally in the decisions of others to purchase a device you don't support. Its a little nuts…

  • Lee

    Will be interesting to see how it works here. I sold my 3GS a month ago waiting for iPhone 4 so been using an unlocked HTC Dream with Telus. I juts tried covering all angles of it like crazy with my hands, couldn't get it to drop from 100% signal lol.

  • Meh!

    Well said.

  • No, you're gay.

    Haha, good grammar – I see you found two creative ways to misuse “your”/”you're”. Bravo, idiot.

  • Ari

    What should they have done? Do you have an iPhone 4? This is a Canadian blog and the iPhone 4 has not been release here yet so…. what are you complaining about?

    If you don't want an ugly bumper then get a case instead “OR” just don't buy an iPhone 4.

  • Why don't you write for us? We'll welcome your balanced articles with open arms. 🙂

  • +1

  • Ari

    “where as on the iPhone you just have to bridge the antenna's with you hand.”
    Yeah, in other words, you have to hold it at the “bottom” AKA. hold it a certain way in your “left” hand. You also have to have a weak signal to begin with to get a dropped call. The firmware update will let you know where you signal strength is actually at.

  • Ari

    So RIM is absolutely right and there is no problem with all RIM devices? Got it. In your world, RIM can do no wrong and Apple can do no right.

    All cellphones have this problem. I could provide links to videos on Youtube showing HTC, Samsung phones with the same issue on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile but what good would it do? You would not believe me anyway.

  • Me

    Well said.

  • Brad

    What makes you think you know more than anyone else in this forum? You have the right to speak your mind but to call people non intelligent because they believe what they believe that's credible is hypocritical on your part. You believe what the Consumer Report says. That's what you believe. Apple fans believe what they believe about Apple Products. That's what they believe. But I will never call people “Non Intelligent” simply because they believe what they think is right. By the way, the correct term for non intelligent is “Unintelligent”. So who's unintelligent now?? LOL

  • Khanh

    Take no offense? You just called him ANNOYING.

    Anyway, I don't see how Gary's blog is one sided. I have only been reading it for the last week but have gone through many articles and have found that compared to other tech blogs out there, this is one of the truest and genuinely fair blogs I've read. Objective information with very little to no hints of bias-ness.

  • Thanks for the support, but let's leave DaMan05 alone. Clearly he's feeling sad today. 😉

  • Khanh

    It's funny how RIM doesn't DENY the fact that the Bold has a signal attenuation problem. I think RIM is also being very harsh. Apple did nothing wrong by bringing up other smartphone's issues to show that the iPhone 4's problem is not unique (given that they didn't misconduct their tests on none iPhones). What else were they supposed to say? That we're sorry about the antenna problem and that we'll take whatever steps to fix it? Well, that is leaving out information. If other smartphones react the same way and people are unaware of this, it would be detrimental to both Apple and to the users who they claim to love. Since they passionately profess their love to their users, it only makes sense for them to involve other smartphones in an attenuation comparison. I can understand RIM's frustration, but I do not believe Apple has done anything wrong.

  • Guest

    You put way too much thought and effort into a response. You're just part of the problem for talking about it more. Go somewhere else troll

  • Guest

    The should have admitted that putting the antenna on the outside with a specific spot that you can put your hands near was stupid. Instead they called everyone else stupid and now blogs like this one that went on tv and criticized apple, are now praising apple because of yesterdays BS press conference.. Which by the was was all smoke and mirrors.. Please challenge me as to why it was smoke and mirrors.. I'm just waiting to tell you why your not an intellect and have been dooped by a million dollar pr team

  • Jr

    In addition to that, people who want a naked phone can just get the many clear cases out there. Some are so thin that you can barely notice it is on. If you're still not satisfied, you can go kick rocks.. plenty of other phones out there that you can go whine about.

  • Yourmoregaynow

    Sorry maybe it's because I'm on an iPhone with a touch screen. Wow you're even more retarded than I originally thought. Sometimes 1 moronic fanboy makes the rest of you look really ill whitted. Sorry. That means stupid.

  • Guest

    Well that entire presentation was meant to deceive the people who wanted to really believe in it.. There were no relate facts given (properly anyways) and we didn't learn anything new about the relate problem with an external antenna. All he did was say that antennas are a problem. This phone doesn't have the same antenna as any other phone.. Its external. Any other phone, you can't block all signal with 1 finger.. Please. All I'm saying is you worship apple like a god and therefor look the other way on things because you want to believe.. But in this instance any rational person should realize that nothing was answered yesterday.. Except you know the date of the release.. And your getting a bumper/case for “no reason given”

  • SpareAE

    He did take ownership that's why he is giving free cases away… he just wanted to explain that their company is not the only one to mess up with antenna issues it's a common thing. His opening statement was “we aren't perfect” Maybe watch the whole conference before you start bitching out Steve jobs. When you can create a billion dollar company and create something truly innovative you can come back and bash him but for now just leave

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  • Guest

    I saw the entire thing. Why are they giving away the cases if there's no problem? I understand he wants to make his customers happy. I know that. But apple is te first and only to use an antenna like that. The first and only to loose all signal with 1 finger.. But he drags everyone else down with him. And guess what!! Just bacause he's a nice guy.. Free cases for all! But not because there's anything wrong with the product.. No

  • Turtle

    part of the problems stems so much from people knowing SPECIFICALLY where to touch. if someone took the time and effort to decode where to touch any phone to cause a similar effect, then people would complain. the problem is that the iphone 4 DOES have a weakness, which is greatly exacerbated by the fact that it is obvious.

  • Frenk

    july 28th people…..I'm counting the seconds!

  • Frenk

    “…hy your not an intellect and have bee…”

    and will you also tell us why you're unable to use proper grammar?

  • Frenk

    who gives a crap about goldberg…..

  • Noahattic

    knowing the exact signal strength won't help dropping calls, if apple really make it accurate, but who knows…. it's more like giving me a warning that you will drop calls around the area. what r u gonna deal with it? run aways 10km just to make a call?

    simply bridging the antenna is totally different from shielding the antennas really tight.

  • mackman6151

    as much as i love the iphone to be fair, RIM's devices (with the exclusion of the Storm), have always had better reception than the iphone, especially in low coverage areas like elevators lol. not sure if that's an AT&T issue with tehBold 9700, but I've tested that “death grip” on at least 10 devices both on Bell and Rogers and never got that. Hopefully the iPhone 4 on those carriers won't have the issues either.

  • Noahattic

    i hope iphone 4's antennas issue won't be as big as the states. but, i would like to point, your attitude is the reason of apple is dare to allow a flawed design open to the market. they know people are still going to buy it. so why spend million of dollars to change the design or coat the antennas. they just give u 30 cent rubber to cover their asses. they give u 30 cent rubber to have you shut up. oh wait, they only give it to u before 9.30.

    ok, anyways, i'm still going to buy the iphone 4 since i really need to upgrade my phone. i just don't like apple's attitude of the whole thing. after the whole bullshit conference, saying” we care our customers” sounds so weak. it sounds more like we care our customers' money.

  • Noahattic

    i feel the same way, the whole press conference just insulted the intelligence of human being…..

    when jobs mentioned they've been working their butts off for 22 days to figure out what's going on, just me laugh….. c'mon jobs…. before giving ur customers some education, i think you need to improve you lying skills..

    18 Phd scientists and engineers don't even know the difference between touching the antennas and shielding it?

    what's more funny is a tape can just fix the problem that apple's 18PhD team cannot fix…

  • Mikomi Kitty

    Exactly! On my Blackberry to make it loose a maximum of 5 Db i have to hold the phone uncomfortably.

    Not just touching lightly a small part of the phone to make it loose 20 Db. Not a fair comparison imo.

  • guest

    hear hear.

  • rorypiper

    This story is so over, for me. Obviously, Apple is not going to redesign this phone. Buy it if you like it. Don't buy it if you don't like it. Us complaining about it on the comments of a blog is not going to change anything.

    There. I said it. I feel much better now.

  • Guest

    You mean 30th.

  • Dave

    you know what? I couldn't wait to get the new iPhone 4 but honestly I'm kind of skeptical now. for the first time I really wanted my phone with OUT case because I thought the iPhone 4 looks nice but If I can't have that option I don't know if I should get one. I think I will have to test one out before buying. because if it performs like it does in some of the US customers I really don't want non of it because I don't want to be worried about it all the time to drop signal/calls. But hey I have't tried one out just yet. so i will Test one for sure

  • JK

    one more thing Apple didn't mentioned was that you don't really have to hold it like “death grip” all you have to do is with a touch of a finger bridging two antenna and BOOM!! drop signal/call for some. I used 2 blackberries one Bold exactly the one shown in the Video and one curve. and none of them drop the signal like the video showed even with the tightest longest “death grip” unless they are using/doing something with it i'm not sure.

  • Cygnus

    This story is past its point with a strong piece of evidence: LOOK AT THE POLL RESULTS. WE ARE STILL GOING TO BUY THEM …. so stop shooting at Apple because we still want their products. This is an iPhone forum, not a place for people who hate Apple to throw their 2 cents in .. when WE DONT CARE.

  • Vartanarsen

    you have 30 days to try to your hearts content!:)

  • SpareAE

    There really isn't a problem with the product that's why he showed the percentage of the problem, some people are affected with this problem so they are giving cases because that seems to fix the problem with it. It's a great phone that is why people want to find the slightest problem with it so they can bring it down, but if any of those people were given an iPhone they would be as happy as could be

  • invincibleparm

    As far as the debate, RIM happens to be a terrible phone company in my opinion. I have a lot of friends that dropped money on their phones and have had nothing but problems. It was quoted earlier that RIM has not managed to innovate their design…well, they got rid of the track ball, lol. That is about it, They are the older Nokias of the Smartphone set.
    As far as the iphone…. nothing said here, or in the media is going to stop people from buying it. I currently have a Milestone (Android) and I love it, but I'm also in line for a 4. It is a nifty phone and well thought out as far as design. Yes the external antennas are crappy, but lots of previous phones have suffered from design/software flaws. Did that stop making some of them successes? No. Apple got caught with their pants down on this one, yes, but it happens to everyone. Why is it such a huge deal?

  • me

    You totally missed my point. I'm not talking about the presentation. I'm talking about labeling people for what they believe. Please read my post again.

  • Sam

    I'm well aware I'm on an iPhone blog and I am an iPhone user as well. That being said, your definition of flop seems to be a bit stretched. The Storm has done terrific in sales and it's “same small screens, trackpads, and crappy keyboards” have done just fine for consumers and their phones are consistently at the top. I can definitely respect that you don't like it, (and no I can't say I'm a fan of the storm either) but it's hardly going to be the end of RIM.

    and personal opinion, I think its silly to expect that every phone be a touch screen.There are many that prefer having tactile buttons and having options is what makes being consumers fun.

  • Sam

    it's a big deal because apple is never supposed to 'drop their pants down' 😉

  • Peter

    With an investment such as the iPhone 4, it'd be idiotic not to get a case. If you drop it and it breaks, you have pay quite the bit of money to get it replaced. Just use the free case, honestly, it doesn't look that bad, and you'll save yourself a lot of money in case something does happen. Though, that being said, the bumper doesn't look like it offers much protection, I mean, it just covers the side, and I think it has a little bit of thickness so it'll prevent the screen from smashing on a *flat* floor. Atleast it's something, right?

  • Peter

    Were he truly an apple fanboy as you say, would he really post a story in which Apple is dissed by another company?

  • Vazandrew

    Exactly. Finally someone who shares my point of view. I don't think many people will be getting the bumper because they can't make enough, whatever third-party case they give out will likely offer decent protection

  • +1