First came “yellowgate” — reports of users who were seeing a golden tint on their screens. Next came “batterygate“; as Apple eventually admitted, some of the location services in iOS 5 (which comes pre-loaded on the 4S) were causing the battery to drain faster than normal. Last week Siri, the intelligent voice assistant baked into the iPhone 4S, was unable to connect to its servers for the better part of a day.
Meanwhile, a growing number of 4S users have found a significant audio bug: On some calls, they cannot hear the person on the other end.
Even for those afflicted, the bug does not appear to affect all calls. It can sometimes be remedied by plugging in a headset, they say, or pressing the mute button twice, or disabling Siri. But the elusive nature of a bug does not make it any less annoying — and the number of users affected by it appears to be on the rise.
This discussion thread on Apple’s website now features 34 pages of notes from affected users, with new commenters chiming in daily. The issue appears to cut across service providers; AT&T and Verizon customers in the US are affected, as are users in the UK and Australia. There is also a Facebook Group called “iPhone 4S Outgoing Call No Audio” — a sure sign that the problem is crossing the threshold from “bug” to “meme.”
What is unknown at this stage is whether this is a software or hardware problem. Users who have installed the developer beta of iOS 5.01 report that it doesn’t fix the issue. Some suggest it is a bug in some 4S earpieces, and that exchanging the faulty phone at an Apple Store does the trick.
We’ve contacted Apple for more information. In the meantime, let us know in the comments if this is a bug you’ve encountered