Will 'Bug Fixes' Repair iPhone 3G?

As customers complained about dropped calls and slow data speeds, Apple released a software update for the 3G iPhone on iTunes.

The software, iPhone OS 2.0.2, is for "bug fixes," but whether that includes the problems customers described to ABCNews.com is unclear.

So far, Apple has not returned calls for comment or released a statement on the matter.

The company has been tight-lipped, at least to reporters, about complaints of spotty service and potential hardware flaws on the new smart phone.

Last week, a company spokeswoman declined to answer ABC News' questions about widely reported dropped calls, slow Web access and lack of access to AT&T's 3G network voiced by readers to ABCNews.com.


In recent weeks, customer complaints about the smart phone, which was advertised with the slogan "Twice as fast. Half the price," have reached a fever pitch online, even on Apple's Web site.

When 48-year-old Doug Clements, a retired refugee from the computer industry and a decades-long Apple fan, started a thread this week on Apple's discussion board describing his difficulties with the phone, he was surprised at the response he got.

Thousands of people from around the world replied to "iPhone 3G Reception Problems? You're Not Alone" to describe similar problems accessing the 3G network.

"I was just shocked that that many people replied," he said. "I am a true Apple fan, so this is nothing to make Apple look bad. … I think Apple should come out and tell people what's going on with these phones."

That "What's going on?" sentiment was echoed by readers from California to Germany, who related similar stories to ABCNews.com.

Dropped Calls, Cell Phone Service

Ambar Kulkarni, a 33-year-old software developer in Alpharetta, Ga., and his wife have experienced problems with their matching 3G iPhones. His biggest complaint? Dropped calls.

"My calls get dropped a lot, and I'm not even moving one inch, anywhere," he said. "I move my chair a little bit, and my call gets dropped. It's just weird."

Kulkarni says he did not experience the same problems with the first generation of the iPhone. He mentioned, however, that the Web download times seemed to be faster.

"I'm not so sure what it could be," he said. "I used to be on T-Mobile before the iPhone bandwagon. I thought T-Mobile was bad, but not like this."

iPhone Problems

Across the country in San Bruno, Calif., Brian Lew, a 30-year-old self-described "power user," experienced problems with the smart phone when it would switch from AT&T's 3G network to its slower Edge network.

"The 3G goes in and out. It will drop to Edge, then it will drop the call," he said. "If you're walking or driving, it will drop the call. I'll have full bars and full 3G, but it will drop the call after one ring. … I'm eager to see how 3G works [overseas]. I think that will be a pretty good test — the network or the phone?"

Who's to Blame?

Currently, it's unclear whether the problem lies with AT&T's network or Apple's handset.

AT&T has received few complaints, according to company spokesman Mark Siegel.

"Overall, the iPhone 3G is working great on our 3G network. Customer response has been tremendous. We couldn't be more thrilled with the results," Siegel said. "The problems you're hearing about are minor. We're not getting a lot of complaints about them. What we always urge people to do is sync their iPhone to iTunes. That way, they're always assured of getting the latest software updates."

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