The iPhone 4’s antenna situation truly is the story that just will not die. Now that the antenna gripes of the GSM iPhone has been exhausted, why not move on to the heir apparent… the CDMA iPhone. iLounge has published a seven minute YouTube video showcasing a karma sutra of death grips that can affect the signal quality of your Verizon iPiece. It’s not much of a secret that all cellular phones can be gripped, in one way or another, that will cause their signal to attenuate. And, to be frank, it isn’t all that surprising that the Verizon iPhone 4 — with the same external antenna design as its GSM cousin — can be pawed with the same, infamous death grip to cause its signal to fluctuate. Regardless, it’s worth noting, so we thought we would bring it to your attention. Have a look at the video, it’s waiting for you after the break. More →
The hubbub hardly registered a blip on most people’s radar screens, but HTC recently found itself fielding some “death grip” claims related to its HD7 smartphone. The term death grip, in this context, was made famous earlier this year when customers found that a certain grip on Apple’s iPhone 4 would cause the handset to lose signal and drop calls. Apple uncharacteristically addressed the issue with a press conference, claiming most phones suffer similar issues when gripped near the antenna. Now, HTC’s HD7 is the latest smartphone to allegedly be affected by certain grips. In response to these claims, HTC made the following statement:
Quality in industrial design is of key importance to HTC. To ensure the best possible signal strength, antennas are placed in the area least likely to be covered by a person’s face or hands while the phone is in use. However, it is inevitable that a phone’s signal strength will weaken a little when covered in its entirety by a user’s palm or fingers. We test all of our phones extensively and are confident that under normal circumstances reception strength and performance will be more than sufficient for the operation of the phone when network coverage is also adequate.
The folks at AnandTech just published their review of the iPhone 4 and took a close look at the antenna issue that is plaguing the handset. In true geek style, they mapped the bar representation of the signal strength from -51dB (perfect signal strength) to -131dB (bare minimum to maintain a connection) and measured the iPhone 4 signal strength attenuation in terms of decibels. The result of the mapping show that over 40% of the signal strength range is represented by 5 bars which means your signal has to drop significantly (over 40dB) to go from 4 to 5 bars and only 10db to go from 4 bars to 3. Pretty big difference. They also found that the iPhone 4 on average loses 24.6dB when tightly held in your hand and 19.8 when held naturally due to the positioning of the antenna and the fact that it lacks insulative coating. These two above factors combined explain why those in strong coverage areas do not see any perceptible drop in bars while those in marginal areas do. If you are sitting pretty at -60dB you can easily absorb a 24dB loss to -84dB and not see any change in bars. But if you are at -91dB and lose 25dB, you will drop from four bars to almost none in a heartbeat. Interestingly enough, they find that the iPhone 4 antenna is significantly improved over the 3GS but is hampered by Apple’s choice not to shield the now famous metal band. More →
Apparently Motorola thinks the antenna issues that are plaguing the iPhone 4 are a laughing matter. Based upon this full page ad that was published in today’s New York Times, we’d have to agree.
“[...] And most importantly, it comes with a double antenna design. The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls. You have a voice. And you deserve to be heard.“
That’s gotta sting a bit, no? Hit the bounce to check out the ad in full-sized glory!
Thanks, A.! More →
Lost in all of the buzz surrounding the iPhone 4 antenna fiasco was the fact that Apple has three new job listings for antenna engineers. Well, that is until Engadget unearthed them after sitting unnoticed since June 23rd, or one day before the official launch of the iPhone 4 and the very same day that the now infamous reception issues came to light. Here’s a little snippet from the job description.
“Define and implement antenna system architecture to optimize the radiation performance for wireless portable devices [...] The The candidate should be able to design antennas suitable for wireless handheld devices with excellent radiation performance [...] Work closely with other RF and antenna design engineers, mechanical and industrial designers, and EMC engineers to integrate the antenna design in our products.”
Irony, we love you so!
Thanks, Zachary! More →
The antenna issues plaguing the iPhone 4 have infuriated many iPhone users (and rightfully so), but have you ever wondered how Apple is training its employees to deal with the fiasco? Well thanks to one of our Apple connects, we now know the exact procedures AppleCare reps must follow when dealing with any reception complaints regarding the iPhone 4. Hit the jump to check them out. More →
The iPhone 4 antenna issue has turned into a daytime drama and PR debacle worthy of Maury Povich. On one side, you have iPhone owners who are causing a bit of a stir by documenting and discussing the signal attenuation issues observed when holding the left side of the iPhone 4. On the other side is Apple’s fearless leader who is trying to defuse the situation with calming words conveyed via email. The latest turn of events in this saga has Steve Jobs proclaiming via email that “There is no reception issue” and admonishing folks to “Stay tuned”. Could this be a thinly veiled reference to the curative iOS 4.01 update that is rumored to land on Monday or does Apple have something else up its sleeve? More →
A circulating rumor suggests that Apple will be releasing an iOS update next week, perhaps as early as Monday, which will take care of the dreadful antenna signal attenuation issue that plagues the iPhone 4. The 4.01 update was referenced in a series of forum posts on Apple’s tech support forums that have since been removed, but not before readers grabbed the pertinent information and relayed it to the rest of the world. Of course, the success of this fix hinges upon the fact that the antenna issue is software-based and easily corrected with a quickly deployed update. If it is hardware-based, then Apple may have a bigger problem on its hands. More →