Apple may be subtly telegraphing a tacit admission that the iPhone 4's "Death Grip" reception problems may not merely be due to users holding their brand-new smartphones incorrectly: the company has recently posted job openings for antenna engineers.
The company is now advertising three jobs under the heading "Antenna Engineer — iPad/iPhone." These were added to Apple's job-openings website last week:
"Santa Clara Valley" is AppleSpeak for its Cupertino, California, intergalactic nerve center
Apple's sudden drive to enhance its antenna-design expertise might best be filed under "better late than never". The iPhone 4 has engendered howls of protest from fanbois distressed by the device's reception problems. So many complaints have soared across the interwebs that one California law firm is now trolling for disgruntled iPhone 4 owners who are frustrated by the Jobsian handheld's "poor reception quality, dropped calls and weak signals".
Bad PR, frustrated users, a possible lawsuit, even a Fortune report which theorized that the iPhone 4's problems might give a boost to Android phones — Apple's antenna debacle makes this observer wonder if those three new positions are additions to Cupertino's engineering team, or are replacements for three ex-Appleonians who were called on the carpet, taken to the woodshed, forced to walk the plank, and handed their marching orders.
Not that Apple hasn't already been trying to beef up its antenna team. The three new positions join three older postings: an "Antenna Engineer — iPhone" listed in January of this year, an "Antenna Integration Program Manager" from last October, and an "Antenna SQE" (supply quality engineer) for its Foxconn operations in Shenzhen, China, which has been open since last August.
The three new positions are far from entry-level. Each position requires "10+ years of experience in RF with at least 5 years in antenna design and test for wireless consumer products." A Master of Science in Electrical Engineering is required, although a PhD is preferred.
Also required, it might be assumed: a thick skin.
If you're interested, just point your browser at Apple's "Look for a job in Corporate" site and search for "antenna". ®
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 early this month, a number of his demos choked due to what he at the time identified as Wi-Fi saturation in the auditorium. Perhaps his iPhone 4 demos balked simply because he was holding it wrong.
Thanks to Reg reader "M Gale" for the tip.