Can you hear me now? Can you hear me ever?
No, it's not the chorus of the latest Coldplay song, but the cries of a growing chorus of frustrated iPhone 4S owners. These disgruntled Apple-ites have taken to the official Apple discussion forums to complain of an unidentified, intermittent bug in the new iPhone that they say silences all audio on outgoing phone calls.
The most popular thread runs over 100 pages and has garnered more than 150,000 views in less than three months. Most of the thread's over 1,700 comments concern the apparent inability to hear the recipient when making outgoing calls, even though the recipient can hear the caller just fine.
A few representative posts from the Apple discussion forum:
Picked up a Verizon iPhone 4S - 32GB and on about 1 in 10 calls I get no outbound audio when dialing. Call shows the timer counting as if the call is progressing but absolutely no ring back and cannot hear the party on the other end when they answer.
I am also having the same issue in Australia on the Telstra network with the new iphone 4S. If I make a call, no audio. The person I called can hear me but I can't hear them.
Same problem here. Got new iPhone 4S yesterday and when the issue does occur - which seems to be more often than not for me the phone looks as if it is dialing but I do not hear the rings, the timer starts counting up when the other party answers but I cannot hear them and they cannot hear me. Once in awhile I can hear them but they cannot hear me. Very frustrating. Positng this to further reinforce to Apple this is an issue that needs to be fixed.
While using speakerphone, a Bluetooth headset, or turning Siri off have proved to be temporary fixes, none of these solutions are practical if the glitch is occurring on every call, as some users have reported. The frequency of the audio outages seems to vary widely, with some users only reporting problems on one in fifty calls. A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on the issue.
The apparent glitch was first noticed in mid-October when the iPhone 4S was launched, but at the time complaints were overshadowed by the more widespread and loudly criticized iOS 5 battery troubles. Apple has addressed these battery issues in two separate statements, though it has not yet publicly acknowledged the audio problem, which has gained considerable media attention over the past months, with influential tech blogs including Mashable, Gizmodo and MacRumors all detailing the kerfuffle.
Coverage peaked again this week when tech site GigaOM published a report claiming that the issue would not be resolved with the upcoming release of iOS 5.1, a claim we were unable to confirm as iOS 5.1 is currently in closed beta testing and cannot be discussed by developers with knowledge of the upgrade. It should be noted, however, that the beta build of an iOS does not feature what will or will not be included in the final version.
We'll have to wait until iOS 5.1 officially drops before we know for sure whether it will solve the iPhone 4S's occasional audio woes. For now, if you're experiencing this problem, let us know in the comments below. Also, many carriers are offering handset trade-ins and The Atlantic Wire put together a nice list of potential solutions. We'll let you know the moment Apple updates us.