Aren't There More Important Things For Congress To Focus On Than The iPhone's Crappy Antenna?

from the grandstanding dept

We haven’t really written about the whole Apple iPhone antenna thing because, really, who cares? As the NY Times pointed out, it’s just a phone. It’s a nice phone, by all accounts, and the antenna problems seem like they could be pretty annoying, but there wasn’t much for us to comment on that wasn’t already covered by a thousand other blogs. However, you know things have reached silly season when even our Congressional reps are getting involved. Senator Chuck Schumer, who can grandstand with the best of them, has decided that this antenna issue is an issue for Congress to be concerned about, and has penned a letter to Steve Jobs (“Dear Mr. Jobs,”) to come forward and explain the issue. Of course, Schumer sent the letter after Apple had already scheduled its press conference for later this morning where it’s expected that something (no one’s quite sure what) will be resolved about the antenna. But, really, what role does Congress have in this at all? The story is getting plenty of attention from all over the place already. It’s not like Congress can help shine a light on it. All this appears to be is Schumer stepping into a headline because it’s a hot topic. Sometimes it makes you wonder if Congressional Reps & Senators now have their press people monitoring the Twitter trending topics for issues grandstand-worthy….

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Companies: apple

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Comments on “Aren't There More Important Things For Congress To Focus On Than The iPhone's Crappy Antenna?”

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38 Comments
DS says:

Re: Re:

Last time I checked, I don’t pay techdirt’s salary. I pay Schumer’s salary. So if TechDirt posts a story about something that I feel is a waste of time, I don’t read it, and I didn’t lose anything. When the Schumer does something I don’t care about, I have to sign his paycheck regardless.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re: Actually, Mike, it is KIND OF his job

no, its up to people to gripe about it until they either fix it and make it right, or people refuse to buy the thing because it does not function as it should.

its a design flaw, its not the job of government to meddle in the affairs of electronics design flaws where there is no risk to public safety. the pinto? good design flaw for the government to get involved in and investigate.

the iphone? bad design flaw for them to investigate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Actually, Mike, it is KIND OF his job

Antitrust… none here plenty of other phones those people could have bought that are BETTER and CHEAPER. Dumb consumers buying a bad product who if it worked as advertised was STILL worse than it’s competition from a hardware standpoint. Aesthetics aside.

Competition Policy… yea there’s tons and they are arguably better on CERTAINLY better networks.

Consumer Rights… buyers remorse return the god damn thing in that buyer remorse period. Unless those have been completely removed for cell phones and if so put that back!

jsl4980 (profile) says:

As a New Yorker, I think it’s best for Chuck Schumer to focus on the little things because when he focuses on the big things I usually disagree with him.

I don’t think Senators and Congressmen have any part to play in this, but I do think that the FCC or FTC (not sure) should play a small roll in this. Apple was “shocked” to find out that they reported 4 bars instead of 2 in many places. To me that sounds like false advertising or at least misleading customers. Since signal strength and coverage play such an important role in marketing and advertising I think there should be a standardized scale for signal strength indications. I don’t know if that should be the FCC or FTC to make the rules, but they should say 5 bars = XdB and 4 bars = x… If you leave it up to Apple they’ll lie about it to make themselves and AT&T look better.

A smaller point is that Apple sold a semi-defective product to millions of users. They should fix it or at least accept returns for upset users.

FarSide (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, seems likely that Apple has such little experience in business to know if they intentionally mislead people, it’s actually better for their future business.

I’m sure if congress doesn’t get involved the next version won’t work at all, plus give little children cancer from 5 feet away.

Too bad there aren’t any other phones out there to choose from except an iPhone.

Sean T Henry (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If congress is doing anything they should be pushing for standards. Like you said 1 bar = XdB. Then demand that the antenna must be able to send and receive signals from X yards away with the tower at half power and the phone behind a 2ft thick concrete wall. That will set a standard for what the phones must beable to do that way the antenna will never be worse than the standard.

When they are at it why not push to remove locking phones to providers. We have the right to take our number with us to a different provider but not our phone.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Why the hell not?

“Sometimes it makes you wonder if Congressional Reps now have their press people monitoring the Twitter trending topics for issues grandstand-worthy….”

Why not? This is something malware creators already do when planning to release search engine malware, and they’re only slightly more despicable than Congress critters.

Btw, awesome use of four periods. I assume you’re trying to emulate the Helmet, always a worth endeavor….

Vidiot (profile) says:

Grandtstanding...

… that’s all it is, grandstanding. Like giving a bile-laden speech during Special Orders, when the House chamber is empty and even the CSPAN techs are napping. Showboating, and with absolutely no chance of changing anything.
At least once a week, fill in the blanks: “Aren’t There More Important Things For Congress To Focus On Than [CURRENT HOT TOPIC HERE]”

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Odd, I fail to see how complaining about one popular phone vs the entire market of phones, especially when it’s a hardware issue internal to Apple and their monopoly with AT&T, means that they are protecting consumers and not just playing lip service to the idea that there really are “bigger fish to fry”.

But I guess I could see your point if you actually detailed that out for others to see.

Steve Train (user link) says:

Everyone has a point even though you missed it.

Congressional aids watching for mainstream material for congressman to chime in on is nothing new. That’s what congress is. voice of the people. Too bad we can’t focus them more but it is what it is for now. I would like to see Techdirt chime in directly on the IPhone issue since it is tech worthy to do so and not so tech worthy to comment on congress belated comment on the issue.

The reason why the IPhone issue is so covered by tons of blogs is that it’s about finding a soft brown spot on little perfect Apple. Anyone that has an ounce of tech in their blood knows that Apple is far from perfect and can see the publicity games that Steve Jobs plays to the public. Apple removes any negative comments about their products from their message boards. Most companies are good enough to leave comments made and even try to answer back or fix the issue. Apple denies any problems with their products at every turn. They sweep issues under the rug and hope they go away. Look at the Air Port and Time Capsule products. Hundreds of Thousands of those products fried and people lost tons of data in the process. The time Capsule was so bad that a website was created for those who lost their product can log the time of death. This time the problem is with their flagship product and it will be impossible to sweep under the rug so everyone wants to see if Apple can get a little humble this time. Personally I think Steve Jobs is so shady that they will release a new version of the Iphone and call it IPhone 4G except the G will stand for Grip but they won’t tell anyone that. They will just let them think they are getting 4G service and then blame AT&T when they aren’t.

Eddie says:

Where, in the Constitution, does it give Congress the right to stick its nose into ANYTHING like this? All of you whining that the government needs to protect us from big business, think on this…what makes capitalism work (and it does work) is the fact that if you don’t like the product of a company, you dont have to buy it! If you already bought one, take it back for a refund and quit bitching about it…go buy a different phone. We dont need the government holding hearings on an antenna problem…any more than we needed hearings on steroid use in baseball.

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