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 →
Apple took aim at the Motorola DROID X in the latest video to hit Apple’s smartphone antenna performance webpage. In the video, Apple demonstrates that the DROID X, like the iPhone 4, will drop 3 bars when held death-grip style by someone with presumably gigantic hands. Though these videos are designed to show that the iPhone is not alone in exhibiting signal attenuation, they are causing a maelstrom of controversy amongst smartphone manufacturers and owners alike, with each entity defending its platform with vehemence. With the laser sight pointed squarely at DROID X, this latest video strikes at the heart of the Android platform and is bound to generate similarly heated responses from the Android community. Android fans can prepare for the battle by watching Apple’s controversial video embedded after the jump. More →
Responding to an online poll conducted by website Tech-Ex, AT&T gave the world some indication of what their dropped-call rate actually is. Tech-Ex conducted a reader poll that indicated AT&T’s dropped-call — for its readers — was around 4.5% for March of 2010; conversely, Verizon Wireless’ rate came in at 1.5% for the same period. The poll obviously did not sit well with AT&T and a spokesperson responded with a statement and some percentages of their own.
Statistically valid drive test shows the AT&T network continues to deliver the nation’s fastest 3G network and near best-in-class call retainability nationwide. AT&T’s network dropped only 1.44 percent of calls nationwide, within two-tenths of 1 percent of the industry leader and a difference of less than two calls out of 1,000.
Those results, from GWS, show that, on a national basis, AT&T is within just two-tenths of a percent of the industry leader in wireless call retainability. That’s a difference of just two calls in a thousand, a virtual dead-heat.
As you can see, AT&T’s data paints a much different picture with a 1.44% dopped-call rate. What do you think? Go ahead and have yourself a little network rant in the comments. More →
With Apple publicly stating specific handsets are susceptible to the same kind of antenna attenuation as the iPhone 4, and RIM and Nokia chiming in, we wanted to know what you guys are finding. Can you reproduce the same effect on your handset? Here is a handset that Apple didn’t specifically call out, the Verizon BlackBerry Bold 9650, and you can see it takes a nice hit when we hold it pretty firm in our hands. I’m pretty sure this has always happened, but I’m not sure I noticed until now. Plus it’s on Verizon. *Gasp*
The much anticipated Apple press conference has just concluded. Here is — in bullet form — what we just learned:
- The iPhone 4 death grip signal degradation thingy happens to a lot of smartphones. Apple demonstrated it on a BlackBerry 9700, Samsung Omnia 2, and HTC DROID Eris.
- The software update (4.0.1) released yesterday will take care of the error in the signal calculation algorithm that Apple discovered several weeks ago.
- Another software update to address other issues (like the proximity sensor thing) is due “soon.”
- Until September 30th, Apple will be giving iPhone 4 purchasers/owners a free bumper or case (depending on supply). A website with details will go live next week.
- Users who already purchased a bumper will be eligible for a refund. You had to have purchased an Apple bumper, not a third-party case.
- The return rate on the iPhone 3GS at AT&T stores was 6%, the return rate of the iPhone 4 is 1.7%.
- The white iPhone 4 will be out sometime later the month.
- Apple has sold over 3 million iPhone 4s thus far.
- 0.55% of iPhone 4 owners have called in to AppleCare to complain.
- Steve Jobs does not use a bumper on his iPhone 4.
There you have it. We want to hear from you iPhone 4 owners. Did Steve’s talk calm you down? Are you happy with this resolution? Will you be returning your iPhone 4?
Consumer Reports has just published a report on the iPhone 4 that refutes Apple, Inc.’s claim that the iPhone 4 signal issues are a “shocking” software error. Consumer Reports says:
Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4’s signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that “mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.”
The tests also indicate that AT&T’s network might not be the primary suspect in the iPhone 4’s much-reported signal woes.
The report goes onto say that Consumer Reports can not recommend the iPhone 4 due to the antenna/signal issues that are obviously and apparent. CR adds a little bit of insult to injury by saying, “We did, however, find an affordable solution for suffering iPhone 4 users: Cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material. It may not be pretty, but it works.” Ouch. Hit the jump for the video and link to the full report. More →
Computerworld is reporting that Apple has temporarily suspend their standard 10% restocking fee for returns of the iPhone 4. Computerworld writes:
An AppleCare support representative who gave her name as “Erica” confirmed that the restocking fee had been ditched. The restocking fee is also central to at least one of several lawsuits that consumers have filed this week against Apple, alleging that the company shipped defective iPhone 4s to customers.
Comptuerworld’s report comes hours after Apple released a statement about the iPhone 4’s reception issue. The article writes: “iPhone owners can return their phones to any Apple retail store or to the company’s online store for a full refund within 30 days of their purchase. For online customers, the 30-day calendar starts flipping when the iPhone is shipped, not when they receive it.” And the hits keep on a comin’. More →
Apple has released a statement regarding reception issues with the iPhone 4. The statement, which is in letter format, cites the “formula” Apple uses “to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display” being “totally wrong,” and the fact that “gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars.” We’ve got the full release for you after the break. Apple said a free software update will be coming in “a few weeks” that will allegedly provide a fix. What do you think? More →
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 →
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 growing number of iPhone 4 owners are reporting that holding the iPhone 4 has an effect on the signal strength of the handset. Multiple videos demonstrate this unusual behavior in which the iPhone, when held in the palm of one’s hand, will lose signal strength by going from 5 bars of coverage to no service in less than a minute. To reverse this loss, one only needs to put the phone down and the signal strength will be restored. Reports are also circulating in the forums with owners reporting this anomaly and suggesting the use of case may inhibit this disturbance in the antenna. Anyone else have this experience with their brand, spanking new iPhone 4? Hit the jump for a few videos demonstrating this loss of signal.
Thanks to all who sent this in! More →
It certainly seems that way. All across the interwebz, proud new EVO owners are saying they’re having a horrible time when it comes to Wi-Fi signal strength. Some users claim to only have 1 bar of signal regardless of their proximity to a router, while others say that you need only be a few feet from a router to have the signal bottom out. It is not clear whether or not the issue is hardware or software related, although it appears that transmission speeds via Wi-Fi are relatively good when in range of a router. We’ve reached out to Sprint for comment, but so far all we’ve been told is that they’ll have their team investigate the matter and get back to us. In the meantime, how has your EVO been fairing in the Wi-Fi department?
Thanks, TJ! More →