Apple knew of antenna problems?

That’s what Bloomberg is reporting. Apple is denying the report, but their refusal to allow an interview of the engineer in question speaks volumes.

A few days ago I commented that I thought Apple’s refusal to put the iPhone 4 out for beta testing is substantially responsible for the trouble they are having now. The Wall Street Journal backs up my contention:

The electronics giant kept such a shroud of secrecy over the iPhone 4’s development that the device didn’t get the kind of real-world testing that would have exposed such problems in phones by other manufacturers, said people familiar with the matter.

The iPhones Apple sends to its carrier partners for testing are “stealth” phones that disguise a new device’s shape and some of its functions, people familiar with the matter said. Those test phones are specifically designed so the phone can’t be touched, which made it hard to catch the iPhone 4’s antenna problem.

Apple gave its carrier partners far less time to test the iPhone 4 before its launch and gave them significantly fewer devices to test than other handset makers, people familiar with the matter said. AT&T Inc., Apple’s exclusive partner in the U.S., has until recently taken the brunt of criticism for dropped calls on Apple phones.

For what it’s worth, I like my iPhone 4 and I don’t plan to return it. I have had dropped calls, though; whether they would have dropped with my old iPhone 3G, I cannot say.

(Previous post.)

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