Open letter to Apple's CEO Tim Cook about the iPhone 5
call quality problem.
Dear Mr. Cook,
I encountered an important flaw in the call quality of the iPhone 5. The recipient of the call seems to be able to hear me OK, but on my side of the connection, the incoming voice drops in and out. Since this occurs with every single phone call it is practically impossible to have a normal conversation.
This issue could not be resolved by either Apple Support, nor my provider (T-Mobile) nor the Amsterdam Apple Store. Surprisingly, they did not even try to test the phone to confirm my complaint, they immediately swapped my iPhone for a new one instead, without questions asked. By now I have had already three different copies of the iPhone 5, they all show the same problem. I even tested a fourth iPhone 5 on another network; still the same problem.
I tested and compared all those iPhone's 5 with my iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S of my girlfriend. To view this test please goto www.iPhone5CallQuality.com.
The result is very clear: The iPhone 4 series all work fine, and the iPhone 5 always fails the test.
I made this video to warn my friends not to upgrade to the iPhone 5 until this problem has been solved.
I really hope this is a software problem that Apple can fix with an iOS update.
(Open letter, November 14th, 2012, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Apple Store confirms the iPhone 5 has a call quality problem they cannot solve.
Yesterday I visited the Apple Store in Amsterdam to demo the call quality problem of my iPhone 5. Two employees from the Apple Store (an Apple Genius and a person from the Business department) made test calls with my iPhone 5 and had to admit that there clearly is a problem with the call quality. When you are on a call the incoming voice drops in and out, the audio sounds digitized and choppy. We also tested my iPhone 4 with the same version of iOS (6.0.2). The call quality of the iPhone 4 was perfect. The Apple Genius decided to place more test calls with two of their own iPhone 5’s and experienced the same call quality issues. All test calls were made using the standard Apple EarPods.
To rule out that the problem could be caused by settings or installed apps, the person from the Genius Bar activated a brand new iPhone 5 for me. When we made test calls with this new-out-of-the-box iPhone 5 the result was the same: choppy sound on every call. The exact same effect that can be heard in my YouTube video.
The person from the Genius Bar concluded that this is a real problem that they cannot solve. He told me that he would do everything for me to find a solution for the problem and that I would hear from Apple soon. I hope that the Apple Store Amsterdam is more helpful than Apple Ireland.
Update, December 7, 2012: If there is a person working at Apple that can demo me an iPhone 5 that does NOT show the call quality issues that can be heard in my video, I would like to meet you! It will only take 5 minutes!
Contact me here: http://twitter.com/icallquality
Update, December 5, 2012: Today I had an interesting conversation with Apple Ireland. Whereas a few days ago they promised me a new version of iOS would solve my iPhone 5 call quality issues, today they deny everything. They told me the following:
‘There MIGHT be a solution for the iPhone 5 call quality issue in a new release of iOS but it is not guaranteed. The engineers told me this matter was under investigation and as long as an issue is under investigation we will not comment on it’.
I hoped that someone else within Apple could tell me more about this issue, but they replied:
‘Nobody within apple will comment on this any further. We can service your iPhone, or we can give you a refund so you can replace your iPhone yourself.’
Why won't Apple admit that the problem will be solved with an iOS update? Perhaps they detected a hardware problem as well? Of course that would be a disaster for Apple.
At this point I am completely blank. The way Apple is communicating reminds me of the Kremlin in the old days, I am not sure how to handle this.
Please share your ideas on this matter with me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/icallquality
Update: I just found out that it partly is a software issue: Switching on the setting 'Hearing Aid' seems to solve part of the problem:
Settings > General > Accessibility > Hearing Aids (Bluetooth must be switched on for this option to appear, but you can switch it off again after activating the 'Hearing Aid').
Unfortunately, this workaround does not work when using earphones, which I cannot do without. Update, December 4, 2012: Apple Ireland called me. They said:
We are not allowed to tell you if the newest iOS 6.1b3 is the solution for your iPhone 5 call quality problem. We never talk about products that are not yet officialy released'
Update, December 3, 2012: I just received HUGE NEWS from Apple Ireland:
'The engineers found your call quality issue, the next iOS version will solve it.'
Just got this message from my contact person at Apple Executive Relations EMEIA in Ireland. They could not say when the new iOS version will be released.
Later today they will ask 'Apple engineers' if the call quality issue can be resolved -immediately- by installing iOS 6.1b3. This is a version that can be downloaded from Apple by becoming a developer.
Update, December 2, 2012: Apple Ireland left a voice mail message last Friday. They will get back to me on Monday with an update on the iPhone 5 call quality problem.
According to Jonathan Cohen, updating to iOS 6.1b2 could solve the problem. I'll try to get this Beta-version of Apple. I really hope this will solve everything.
Update, November 27, 2012: The engineer from Apple did not show up yesterday. Apple Ireland just called me about it:
'Apple engineers need more time to research the problem first, this is not a known issue by Apple.'
I'm really suprised by that statement because weeks ago, at the Amsterdam Apple Store they told me that more users reported the same problem and they just swapped their phones for newer ones. They said:
'the serial number of your phone is a bit older than the phones we have here. Apple constantly is making improvements so we just swap your phone for one with a higher serial number'.
Anyway, before the end of this week Apple Ireland will let me know the result of their research and whether they still want to test my iPhone 5.
Follow me on Twitter! I opened a Twitter acccount to tweet whilst looking for a way to solve the iPhone 5 call quality problem: www.twitter.com/icallquality
I will ask my followers for the build date of their iPhone 5 to check if the problem has something to do with this.
Update, November 23, 2012: Apfeltalk.de in Germany has a forum about the bad call quality of the iPhone 5.
User mathis73 has an idea, he wants all iPhone 5 users that expierience bad call quality to sign my open letter to Tim Cook:
'Mir hat der Link zur Seite http://iphone5callquality.com
sehr gut gefallen. Hat jemand hier Kontakt zum Website-Betreiber ? Meine Idee wäre, dass möglichst viele den offenen Brief online signieren, dann bekommt unsere Angelegenheit etwas mehr Gewicht...'
I like it, sounds like a good idea. I will think about how to implement this.
Update, November 22, 2012: Good news, Apple contacted me again. I now have an appointment with an engineer from Apple, next Monday.
Other news: Apple is watching us...
Update, November 21, 2012:
Apple has deleted part of my post in the Apple Support forum. They deleted the url www.iphone5callquality.com. Under my post it now says: <Links Edited By Host>
Update, November 20, 2012: Today I found out something interesting about the visual voice mail on the iPhone 5. I left myself a test message on my voice mail (the same one as can be heared in the video). When playing back the message the sound quality was PERFECT. No dropping in and out while listening to the voice mail. This is more proof that the network is not causing the problem.
Update, November 19, 2012:
After sending my email to Apple's CEO Tim Cook, Apple Ireland wanted to know more about my call quality issue. I had a phone conversation with them today and was surprised to hear they didn't even look at the website and video. They also told me they never read the Apple Support forum. I was asked to answer some questions about the problem and now I'm waiting for their reaction.