Steve Jobs: “Relax… It is just a phone. Not worth it”

Thu, Jul 1, 2010


Update x3: BGR apparently got taken for a ride. Fortune reported just minutes ago that Apple PR has emphatically denied that the following exchange took place. So to be clear, none of the statements below can be attributed to Jobs. Who to blame? Jason Bufford, the ass who shopped the false story around.

Well this is a doozy. Boy Genius Report posts a recent and borderline heated email exchange between Steve Jobs and an angry iPhone 4 owner upset about reception issues.

But first, a quick backdrop. The aforementioned iPhone 4 owner is named Tom, and he put up a video on YouTube showcasing signal degradation on the iPhone when held in the left hand. Apple subsequently became aware of the video and contacted Tom, telling him that Apple doesn’t consider it an issue. They also asked Tom not to post any more videos.

And then the firestorm began.

Tom got the ball rolling, emailing Steve Jobs the following:

I assume there is no fix then. If this is legit, I have lost all respect for apple and just want to go back to Verizon and get a nice Android phone. And don’t tell me they have the same issues, all our co-workers with Androids are just mocking us right now…. “Hey, I am going to go in the basement and continue my call. You can use my office on the 2nd floor so you can get a signal”. You are going to kill your brand over one product. Apple is coming off arrogant and rude. If there is no fix just tell people so they can return their phones. We have work to do. I have bought just about every apple product made in the last 20 years  and this is the 1st time I am ashamed to be a MAC fan.

This is just  sickening,


Oh no, all his co-workers with Androids are mocking him? Get a f’n grip. On the other hand, he has a point – if there’s a fix coming, Apple should let people know before the return period expires.

In any event, Jobs replies back:

No, you are getting all worked up over a few days of rumors.  Calm down.

Watch it, Steve, no one puts Tom in a corner.. Oh wait, what we meant to say is that no one tells Tom to ‘calm down’ and gets away with it!

I am really insulted… “Calm down”…. “rumors”… What arrogance. This is will be marked as the begging of the end of Apple. Seriously, DO THE RIGHT THING. I just had dinner with 3 people who had iPhone 4s we all cant make calls without dropping. There is no rumors it is reality.

Jobs responds:

You are most likely in an area with very low signal strength.

And now, Tom is pissed.

Stop with jackass comments. I have has every iphone made. They all had a bad signal but this is the so much worse X3. The whole country is is in a “low signal strength” in reality… all but apple campus and your house it seems? AT&T maps are a joke. I am in “excellent” to “good” coverage and on my iPhone 1, Iphone 3G, and my iPhone 3Gs, I could  at least make a telephone call. After all, it is a phone. Iphone 4…. 5 bars….. touch the phone… ZERO bars call drops.

Steve. IT DOES NOT WORK! Geezzz I hope this this is not really you. Are we on a different MHz? I have yet to see an iPhone [4] work in Richmond when you hold it in your hand. It is not “isolated”. I was a big fan. But I am done.

Steve then fires off two unanswered emails:

You may be working from bad data. Not your fault. Stay tuned. We are working on it.


Retire, relax, enjoy your family. It is just a phone. Not worth it.

Here’s a novel idea. If your iPhone 4 isn’t living up to your expectations, return the damn thing.

Update: The email exchange is real, but AppleInsider is reporting that the email conversation was shopped around to various tech sites by a fellow named Jason Burford who works for a local advertising firm in Virginia. Shopping around email exchanges with Steve Jobs?  We’ve reached a new low, people.

Update x2: BGR has since revised their post, noting that the last line ‘Retire, relax, enjoy your family’ etc. was actually written by ‘Tom’, or one Jason Burford. What a snarky troll.



51 Comments For This Post

  1. Bryan Says:


    Steve is right, of course. It is just a phone. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the end of the world.

    That said, it’s a VERY EXPENSIVE phone. Customers rightly feel that they should get quality in exchange for their hefty investment. Offering up a flippant attitude like “Relax, it’s just a phone” makes them feel like you don’t care about their problems. Not a great customer service approach.

    After all, it’s because of Apple hype machine and Steve Jobs himself that people DO care so much about the iPhone, right?

  2. Robin Says:

    Of course it isn’t personally answered by Steve.

    It’s his executive PR and support team. Still the voice of apple.

  3. a droid Says:

    Oh it’s just a phone, i ve just missed something in apple’s commercial…

  4. guy at hockeybias dot com Says:

    Get a pair of cans and some string…

  5. sean Says:

    $apple = new($microsoft);

  6. @sean Says:

    $apple = new($microsoft);

    &sean = “idiot” ($~android google fanboy);

  7. Scott Says:

    This line is very telling:

    “all our co-workers with Androids are just mocking us right now….”

    He’s obviously more concerned about being mocked by his co-workers then having the ability to make a phone call. Jobs is right. It’s just a phone (aka: get a life).

  8. Jon Mason Says:

    This guy is a LOLcat in the making: “I have has every iphone made”

  9. PJRIII Says:

    I had a 3G phone and waited out my two years for whatever was going to be next. My iPhone 4 is great. Vastly improved reception, a bevy of waited-for tech improvements. It’s just a phone, yes, but it’s a great phone. Not one dropped call since I got the new rig.

  10. Micheal Says:

    I have a iPhone 3G.. never owned or even thought about owning a adroid phone. I read all the hype and peoples problems with the iPhone4 and cancelled my pre-order. I will happily stay with my 3G. Now if they would fix all the problems OS4 caused I would be really happy.

    If you do not like the iphone4.. take it back. This whole apple fan boy vs google fanboy is just stupid. Pick a phone that works and enjoy it.

  11. Joe Says:

    The point is, the guy can’t make a call. Touch the phone..ZERO bars. Can you hear me now?

    Even if the iPhone was on Verizon reception would still be an issue due to flawed design. Steve thinks he and Apple have become so good at what they do that failure is not even a possibility. LOL. Just read about what happened to Dell, who shipped millions of knowingly faulty computers, and is still paying the price for it. History is repeating itself.

  12. bane Says:

    yeah its just a phone, not like you had to pay money for it…… wait

  13. Phoenixgeek Says:

    If it’s just a phone and people need to calm down about it them why did they make such a big deal about its information being being leaked before launch. It’s just a phone, no reason to arrest or sue anyone over it.

  14. john henry Says:

    Yeah, let the mac apologists swarm! My new iPhone can do everything (except play flash and make phone calls!!!!!)


  15. jasonv Says:

    just a phone. well then steve and apple commercials all are liars then. but this is what happens when ur overlord doesnt want any back talk lol now he will continue to lead his faithfull donkeys while holding his stick with a carrot tied to it cus he doesnt care about anyone. enjoy dropped calls:-)

  16. Ryan Says:

    Right, it’s JUST a phone when it doesn’t work, but when it does it’s a MAGICAL and REVOLUTIONARY product.
    Fuck you Apple.

  17. my phone Says:

    Tom has a point: a phone should at least do ONE thing: make calls. I know how he feels – I recently ditched AT&T because my Nokia N71X dropped every call that came through. They sent me a new n71x and it too dropped calls. The phone was defective. ATT wanted to send me a third phone to make sure it would drop calls. Meanwhile all of my calls get dropped and I can’t get any work done being a remote employee.

    PHONES SHOULD MAKE CALLS. Yes, it’s *just a phone* but it’s a phone that can’t even do the simple thing a f*&^ing phone should do: make calls.

    iphones are junk and apple is going down the shitter. ATT can also suck it.

  18. Jesse D. Says:

    I’m aware this is an Apple fan boy site, but telling a customer that it’s just a phone and to calm down is absolute insanity. You don’t make a faulty product, refuse to acknowledge or fix the problem, and then tell your customer base that they are over reacting. That’s absolute craziness. Apple is in the wrong, period. They need to fix the issue, period. Their arrogance is mind boggling. Your phone sucks, Apple. Your customers are pissed, Apple. Stop being pretentious douche bags.

  19. jezra Says:

    If Tom feels so strongly about the device being defective, he should return it.

  20. Bobby Says:

    microsoft may be terrible, but with the xbox 360 they admitted their mistake with the RROD, granted it still happens, but at least they man up and take responsibility and replace the system under warranty. Apple says, Don’t hold the phone that way, or it’s not a design flaw. If I have to hold the phone other than the way it’s intended to be held, then its a design flaw. Steve Jobs needs to be knocked off his high horse, and Google is going to be the one to do it. Google takes care of its customers and loyal fan base. Apple only worries about themselves and how much more money they can get from over prices accessories and their bullsh**

  21. Get Over It Says:

    This guy really has four effing iPhones? Why in the world would he need them all? It’s like he wants to be mocked. YOU ONLY NEED ONE PHONE!!! I don’t care if you’re a “fan” or whatever. It’s a bloody phone. It’s not your life. Okay, for some it probably is, but it shouldn’t be. Ridiculous.

  22. Jon Says:

    1. iPhone & ATT have always signal/reception issues. If you are concerned with having a stable network, switch to Sprint or Verizon where service is always much more reliable.

    2. Steve Jobs does need to recognize we are not all billionaires and that the hefty price on this phone is deserving of a quality product as promised.

    3. Tom needs to chill out. I would be upset too if I had the issues he does but yelling & angry letters/comments is only effective when dealing with call centers.

    4. This is not the “beginning of the end” for Apple. They may have some critical flaws in their products (like a phone that does everything but make phone calls) but they are the innovate leader in their industry with a strong fan base backing them that will not diminish anytime soon. They happen to be growing at an alarming rate… Sorry Tom.

    5. Bringing up a personal experience as to how this has personally effected you is a good idea in a relational aspect, but don’t use it in a manner that may skew what is really important here (aka reception vs your personal image).

    Remember Tom, the power of an argument is both in the content AND structure you put forward.

  23. MrGoldman Says:

    Is anyone really surprised about reception, I have had AT&T for the last five years and the reception sucks but I still love my iPhone, so I’m certain they’ll fix any lingering bugs but that needs to be handled prior to the release. Apparently there’s a break in the communication and thats another issue.

  24. Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Says:


  25. Rob Says:

    I’m not buying another IPhone. I’m buying a Samsung Captivate in the very near future. Relax, Steve. Don’t sweat it. It’s just a competitor’s phone that doesn’t drop calls, has a brighter screen, and plays flash.

  26. Jason Says:

    To those saying chill out, its just a phone. Have you all forgotten the phone isnt working? In other words, its not really a phone anymore if it aint working right. It might as well just be an iPod Touch for them.

    When you buy a cell phone. You expect it to be able to have a decent enough signal during your physical interactions with it, as that is why its a “hand held device”.

  27. Paul Says:

    Why not just wait for Apple to fix the problem or simply buy a case for it. That will fix the problem.

    What a loony. Why get so worked up about something like this. Return the phone if its causing so much of a problem.

    People should relax a little bit.

  28. Jack Says:

    The issue isnt that its just a phone,

    Here i will lay it all out nice and clean

    “Oh no, all his co-workers with Androids are mocking him? Get a f’n grip”

    You clearly misunderstood what he was trying to say… His workplace has OTHER phones which do not suffer signal degredation to the point of failure in an area where the environment changes but still relies upon cell towers with good signal.

    You would be pissed too if you purchased equipment to be knocked off and told “hey its ok to buy our crap just deal with it”.

    However I do wonder about this as it seems since its inception the iPhone started with signal issues I can guarantee that his doesnt really change even if ur carrier and country changes.

  29. Tardigrade Says:

    “I have bought just about every apple product made in the last 20 years”

    Why are people like that? It’s like the companies long ago that only bought IBM stuff. At the time people said things like “No one has ever been sacked for buying IBM products”. That’s just plain stupid.

  30. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    Steve is right. People need to chill out. Of course a 3-day old tech product has bugs. You shouldn’t buy on the first day if you’re not prepared to suffer a few bugs short term. Apple has a reputation for fixing bugs and they have a software update system in place to do so and in-person support if hardware exchanges are required.

    We are still within the 14 day return period, but even later you will be able to sell the device and get back your purchase price and early termination fee. Chill out!

    As for Android, it is like a roommate who wears your clothes and gets your haircut and and then starts putting you down. They say “iPhone” more than Apple does. It is unhealthy. The Android phones are famous for flaws that never get fixed, like Droid’s battery cover and EVO’s battery bug which gives you only 8 hours standby. They crash regularly. The idea that they are feeling superior because an iPhone has some minor bugs is ridiculous and there are so few Android v2 users, who cares? Get a grip.

    Also, I’m suspicious of a guy who says he has had Apple products for years but writes “MAC” in caps.

  31. Tanner Says:

    Wow seriously dude? Could be be any more rude? As he said, calm down. No-one’s life depends on a phone and if it somehow did, they really need a reality check.

  32. THE 4G NETWORK Says:

    you know i used to kinda hate on you i-phone fags, but now i realize
    whats there to hate on… But I must say bravo steve “just a phone”
    doesnt sound like Mr. jobs doesnt care about you over zealous 4G owners , wait what am i saying the network is still 3G hahaha

    hey jobs you know what i hear?… i hear the sounds of contracts breaking. thats right come over to the 4G network.

  33. Nik Says:

    Apple sucks, this is what you get for supporting that company.
    Should have gotten an android phone… Only a bunch of retards who can’t use real technology buy Apple products.

  34. Digg Says:

    From Digg

    To all posters defending Steve Jobs unconditionally: lol
    To all posters defending Tom unconditionally: lol
    To all posters with iphone 4s that can’t make calls but don’t do anything about it because its the iphone 4 and you want to protect your dignity of making an idiotic purchase by putting down everyone who doesn’t have one for the reason being its overly expensive and downright useless since it can’t make a single call unless you “hold it the right way” or buy a Apple designed case: Epic Fail. /b

  35. Daz Says:

    Not trying to defend Apple because they are in the wrong but if you feel that strongly about it return it and get another phone for free.

    I’m left handed and never had a call drop yet, still going to get a bumper for it cause I like the look, and it will help the signal further

  36. Anonymous Says:

    And this is why they are now getting a fat law suit against them. HA always hated apple….

  37. Dan Says:

    Steve “don’t worry it’s only a billion dollars in revenue” Fucking arrogant Prick! Hey steve I hear that u will get bettere reception if you pull your head out of your ass!

  38. angryrat Says:

    When I say, it’s just a computer/phone, apple fanboys jump on my throat.
    I guess it works only one way: when your very expensive gadget does not work. (Though Tom does need to chill the … down.)

  39. Nik Says:

    I found the perfect solution.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    Yeah, it’s just a phone…that doesn’t work. For all the extra gadgets crammed into it, it should at least do the one thing imprinted into its name. Helloooooooooooooo. Congrats guys, you just purchased another iPod Touch.

  41. 'sup Says:

    I have an Iphone 4, and can not replicate the problem no matter where, or how long I hold it with no “bumper” or cover. Works fine.

    quick note, people who shop emails like this, it lends me to believe that they are not upset, but rather looking to get a rise out of a famous ceo.

  42. Sky Says:

    I like the thoughtful review done by AnandTech. They provide a matrix of numbers for comparing phone models. The attenuation effect is more severe with the iPhone 4, but this is tempered by their observation that the attenuated iPhone 4 still outperforms the previous version. That’s the reality. Nonetheless, I hope Apple goes after this issue with a solution in the next release, and supports their 1st-release customers in the process. Why not make a good product better?

  43. >. Says:

    “Wow seriously dude? Could be be any more rude? As he said, calm down. No-one’s life depends on a phone and if it somehow did, they really need a reality check.”

    Perhaps when I’m in a life and death situation, I would you know, like to be able to call 911?

  44. nexus one owner Says:

    Could someone please also sue Google and HTC for their crappy “superphone”?
    Google’s Nexus One has even worse reception that the iPhone 4. Their fix to that problem was to simply LIE with the reception meter – Froyo will show 4 bars even when there is absolutely NO SIGNAL.
    And I am not only one user complaining – check out XDA-dev (a place full of android fanboys) where many others have the same problem.
    How f*ing hard is it to build a phone that can actually … uhm … make calls?

  45. LOL Says:

    It’s hilarious to see all the posts here. Too many fan boys action and
    i just like to say. First, it’s common sense for someone to be angry when he is the one who had all these problems.If you were in his shoes, god damn. you will be complaining too. And yes, Iphone 4 is defective by design and maybe most of you are Apple’s fan but if you can feel there is an issue than don’t deny. Complain is part of improvement. it does hurt their sales but it will improve the over all phone usability. No point just supporting them blindly.

  46. dmax Says:

    If Steve didn’t reply, then this isn’t really news. Printing the whole scenario and then appending at the end “whoops” isn’t good journalism, and is what drives us towards idiocracy.

  47. Phil Says:

    Whether the story actually happened or not it makes some very good points and the author doesn’t need any of your fanboy crap.

  48. bunny Says:

    Steve has finally had his “Let them eat cake” moment! Spending hard earned cash on a phone and then thousands more on a phone plan may be OK when you do not earn it like Steve, but it doesn’t sit so well when you have to work your arse off like normal people, and the job market is soft.

  49. Aidan Says:

    Apple are too proud to admit their mistake and flaws. If they don’t have a big head, don’t wear a big hat.

  50. Jon Says:

    Palm Pre may not be an epic phone but at least it can make phone calls when I want, doesn’t drop calls, and wait… MAKES CALLS! LOL.

  51. تعلم البوكر Says:


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