iPhone 4S owners complain of persistent echo

It's not just the battery drain. Issues with echoes and other audio quality problems are plaguing a number of iPhone 4S users, too.

Some iPhone 4S owners complain they can't get Apple to hear their complaints, no matter how much they echo around the forums.

Battery drain issues aren't the only problem plaguing some new iPhone 4S users. While Apple tries to address that issue with new updates, some users are also complaining of a persistent and annoying echo.

Since the release of the new iPhone, a large number of users have reported sound quality issues when using an Apple iPhone headset. Owners have also said the problem occurs while using the speakerphone, and it seems to have persisted for many after last week's iOS 5.0.1 update, according to more than 25 pages of discussion on the Apple forums.

Here's what iPhone user uncle PP had to say about his troubles:

For me this is a deal breaker since I use a wired headset almost exclusively. Genius Bar people say I am the only one who has this complaint. That must mean that I am either the only one using a headset or people don't know that this isn't supposed to happen. I actually tested every single iPhone 4S that they had on display (about 10) and they all had the mic feedback problem. I had the SIM card replaced which did nothing.

CNET reader Diana Phillips first began reporting her experience with the problem to me more than a week ago. She says she has had all sorts of audio quality issues during calls using the Apple headset. She explained that people on the other end of her calls often either hear an irritating echo, or sometimes aren't able to hear her at all.

Phillips is currently on her second replacement phone from Apple--that's three iPhones altogether--and still having problems.

"Just got my 3rd phone and it so far doesn't have an echo but I now have a new problem," Phillips wrote in a recent e-mail. "When I make a call the speakerphone button goes on automatically, I can hear the person I called but they can't hear me!"

As if to add insult to injury, Phillips wrote me a follow-up the next day to report that the echo problem had surfaced again on her third iPhone 4S.

iPhone 4S users have reported a number of variations on Phillips' problems and almost an equal number of alleged solutions, including things like turning the speakerphone on and off or plugging in and unplugging the headset. There doesn't seem to be a one-size-fits-all solution to this class of technical issues revolving around in-call audio and the phone's various output channels.

Some users reported that iOS 5.0.1 took care of the problem; others say it made things worse.

I contacted Apple for a response, but haven't heard back yet. It's rumored that iOS 5.0.2 is being rushed out to take another whack at fixing battery issues. iPhone 4S echo sufferers are hoping the update will throw them a bone, too.