Dear Senator Schumer...
One of my dearly beloathed Senators (Charles Schumer) has apparently taken up the plight of the iPhone 4 victims as a righteous cause. While I agree that Apple screwed the pooch on their RF design here, I find it somewhat disconcerting that Sen. Schumer has chosen this to focus on. Please allow me to engage in a brief bit of snark:
Sen. Schumer's letter to Apple:
July 15, 2010
Dear Mr. Jobs,
I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4. While I commend Apple's innovative approach to mobile technology and appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner. According to Consumer Reports' review, released Monday on its website, the iPhone 4's signal-strength problem is a hardwire glitch triggered by gripping the device in a particular manner. This finding, according to Consumer Reports, "call[s] into question” Apple’s recent claim that the problem is “largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software." Consumer Reports declined to recommend the iPhone 4 because of this hardware design flaw.
Given the discrepancy between Consumer Reports' explanation of the reception problem and the explanation provided by Apple in its July 2 letter to customers, I am concerned that the nearly two million purchasers of the iPhone 4 may not have complete information about the quality of the product they have purchased. The burden for consumers caused by this glitch, combined with the confusion over its cause and how it will be fixed, has the potential to undermine the many benefits of this innovative device. To address this concern, I ask that Apple provide iPhone 4 customers with a clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem and make a public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge. The solutions offered to date by Apple for dealing with the so-called “death grip” malfunction—such as holding the device differently, or buying a cover for it—seem to be insufficient. These proposed solutions would unfairly place the burden on consumers for resolving a problem they were not aware of when they purchased their phones.
I also encourage Apple to keep its promise to provide free software updates so that bars displayed accurately reflect signal strength; I further urge Apple to issue a written explanation of the formula it uses to calculate bar strength, so that consumers can once again trust the product that they have invested in.
I look forward to Apple's swift action on this matter, and once again laud Apple for its innovative efforts and service to millions of Americans.
Charles E. Schumer
And my snark-tastic reply:
July 15, 2009
Dear Sen. Schumer,
I write to express great concern regarding your concern with the Apple iPhone 4 reception problem. While I have always appreciated your efforts in consumer advocacy and protection, I believe that the iPhone 4 reception issue is far below the threshold required to be worthy of a US Senator's attention.
Given the free market dynamic and the availability of other devices with functionality similar to - or arguably better than - the iPhone 4, as well as the steady pace of innovation in the mobile communications market, the iPhone 4 issue will, in time, sort itself out. Should market pressure prove insufficient there are already legal actions being prepared regarding this issue.
May I respectfully suggest that you direct your efforts instead to the confirmation processes for the 98 federal judgeships currently vacant (including the nine empty robes in our very own second circuit), or perhaps to prodding some of the legislation you have proposed out of committee (S.71, S.250, S.993, S.1066 to name a few).
But no, seriously - 98 vacant seats on the federal bench? That's a little over 10% -- Can we PLEASE address that?
And I don't hold Obama blameless in this debacle either: There are 98 vacancies and only 39 nominees pending. Get off your ass and start packing the damn court!
(OK, I'm done now. Stupid government...)
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