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Why Your Clock Radio Is All Abuzz About iPhones

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the i-hate-that-sound-so-much dept.

Cellphones 397

blackbearnh wrote in with a story that's not really about the iPhone, but if your office speakerphones beep like mine does, read on: "If you own an iPhone, you may have noticed that it has a distinct and very annoying effect on clock radios, computer speakers, car radios, and just about anything else with a speaker. The folks at O'Reilly Media aren't immune, so they set out to discover just what is it about iPhones that makes them such bad RF citizens. The iPhones aren't the only bad apples in the cell phone basket and there's not much you can do about the problem. We're really in an interesting time in that there has never been so many high-powered personal transmitters just wandering loose in the world."

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Psh (5, Funny)

waffledoodle (1070284) | about 6 years ago | (#25528409)

As I understand it, all Apple products have a distortion field.

Re:Psh (0)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25529165)

This happened with both my Motorola analog and my Virgin Mobile (Nokia) digital cellphones:

I lay my phone in a little slot next to the car radio. From time to time I hear "digital noise" like a buzzing. I know I'm about 1 second from hearing my phone ring. Sometimes people ask me, "How'd you know I was calling? It didn't even ring." ;-)

-
- posted with LYNX, the Commodore 64 web browser (using 2 kbit/s modem)

Yes they do! (1, Funny)

TheSovereign (1317091) | about 6 years ago | (#25528437)

Along with the distinct air of Fisher Price

Re:Yes they do! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528809)

Along with anal lubricants, toys, fancy effeminate sweaters, and a heapin' helpin' of GHEY.

Re:Yes they do! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528865)

Like Windows XP!

Nothing to see here. (5, Insightful)

HeavyD14 (898751) | about 6 years ago | (#25528453)

It just looks like someone has never had a GSM phone before.

Re:Nothing to see here. (5, Informative)

Spazztastic (814296) | about 6 years ago | (#25528517)

Mod parent up. Cell phones have been doing this since my old Nokia to my new Blackjack II.

Re:Nothing to see here. (4, Interesting)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about 6 years ago | (#25528601)

Aircraft COM receivers are particularly sensitive to cellphone interference. If I forget and leave mine on when I fly, I get a very distinctive da-da-daaa da-da-daaa da-da-daaa every few minutes over the radio. From any cell phone.

Re:Nothing to see here. (5, Funny)

realisticradical (969181) | about 6 years ago | (#25528875)

You've left your cell-phone on when you fly!!! You know that it emits dangerous pilot-killer-rays!

Re:Nothing to see here. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25529059)

Links are occasionally helpful [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

yabos (719499) | about 6 years ago | (#25528907)

Maybe it's the VOR identifier ;)

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

inaneframe (971456) | about 6 years ago | (#25528971)

dun dundundun DUN!

Re:Nothing to see here. (3, Funny)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#25528711)

Yeah, to give some idea of just how non-news this is, I first noticed this effect when Slashdot was called Chips & Dips.

Re:Nothing to see here. (3, Insightful)

tripdizzle (1386273) | about 6 years ago | (#25528719)

I have never known a cell phone not to have this issue. Perfect example of non-news.

Re:Nothing to see here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528885)

I have never known a cell phone not to have this issue. Perfect example of non-news.

CDMA phones don't.

If you live in GSM-land, which is most of the world aside from the USA and Canada, you probably can't get one.

Re:Nothing to see here. (5, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 6 years ago | (#25528763)

Mod parent up. Cell phones have been doing this since my old Nokia to my new Blackjack II.

Yup and with some computers you hear static over the speakers before the cell phone rings.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

tenton (181778) | about 6 years ago | (#25528889)

That is a cool feature; you get advanced warning (subtle) that the phone is going to ring.

It used to also give me interference on my CRT, if I left my phone near it, which was the norm. I thought my monitor was dying.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

g0dsp33d (849253) | about 6 years ago | (#25528633)

I haven't gotten a chance to test this as my cell doesn't seem to have this problem, but supposedly if you put a magnet around the wires going to your speakers it reduces / removes the buzzing sound. Old USB wires will have a usable magnet in the chubby part near where it plugs in. I'd be interested to know if this works for anyone or if it was just someone's way of earning money on metacafe :-p.

Re:Nothing to see here. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528825)

It's not a magnet. It's ferrite.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

gemtech (645045) | about 6 years ago | (#25528673)

no s$it. I worked with Motorola on hands free car kits, pre-blue tooth. GSM is just a pain in the butt for electrical noise: the packet rate is in the audible frequency range, something under 50Hz.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

CFTM (513264) | about 6 years ago | (#25528789)

Is it just limited to GSM? As long as I've had a cell phone (only about 8 years now) I've noticed that 5-10 seconds before the phone begins to ring, if it's near any sort of audio equipment it will produce that distinctive buzz. Although, with the iPhone, it produces it if you just place the phone near the speakers, no phone call required. Here's my simple solution, move the iPhone to a different part of my apartment! Poof no more noise...

Although if I was a pilot this was drive me nuts...

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

norton112200 (1386281) | about 6 years ago | (#25528841)

I've had this problem for years. My friend had an old samsung phone that, everytime if got a text or call, would drive his monitor and speakers crazy with clicking about a second before the phone actually rang...then again, his speakers were notorious for picking up stray signals. It was about a weekly event at dinner time that his family would begin to hear stories from "The Cowboy Trucker" over his computer speakers, who was broadcasting over a CB radio. This is very much a case of improper shielding in electronics...Nice Speakers though.

Re:Nothing to see here. (4, Informative)

fermion (181285) | about 6 years ago | (#25528883)

It is not just GSM phones. My old RAZR had the same problem. At meeting, anytime a phone rings we get all sorts of interference with audio.

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

sricetx (806767) | about 6 years ago | (#25529159)

GSM cell phones have this audio interference problem, and I think TDMA phones do. CDMA phones do not exhibit this behavior (at least the Virgin Mobile prepaid phone I had a few years ago didn't, and it used the Sprint CDMA network).

Re:Nothing to see here. (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | about 6 years ago | (#25529049)

No joke. Watch CNBC sometime and you can hear everyones CrackBerry going off during the whole show. They finally starting keeping them off set, but many times guests still have them on.

Re:Nothing to see here. (0, Offtopic)

pas256 (914134) | about 6 years ago | (#25529141)

Can slashdot seriously pick up the quality of its posts? It's becoming an epidemic of stupid, time wasting posts. I want the old slashdot back!

GSM Buzz (5, Informative)

russotto (537200) | about 6 years ago | (#25528457)

It's not just the iPhone. It's any GSM phone. Google "GSM Buzz". Meet the "GSM Devil", which relies on this interference to tell you you're phone is about to ring. http://shop.mopodmania.net/product.sc?categoryId=1&productId=15 [mopodmania.net]

Re:GSM Buzz (1)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#25528497)

Yes, all GSM phones do this. However, since this article mentions the iPhone, it's automatically posted to the front page of Slashdot.

Aren't most iPhones still on the AT&T network, what with the whole exclusivity thing? AT&T uses GSM. My Palm Treo on AT&T does the same thing, as did my Razr before it.

Re:GSM Buzz (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#25529175)

AT&T or not, all iPhones are GSM.

Re:GSM Buzz (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25528635)

Correct, lots of cell phones do this. If people are noticing it more with the iPhone, it's probably because people are more likely to want to hook the iPhone into audio equipment than with other cell phones.

Re:GSM Buzz (1)

DingerX (847589) | about 6 years ago | (#25528813)

Actually, it's because the iPhone uses the data network more often. I throw my GSM on the table by my speakers, and it'll buzz once or twice a day for reasons unrelated to incoming messages/calls. But if you have an iPhone that tries to automatically check your email every few minutes and does so across the network, it's going to be a real PITA.

Re:GSM Buzz (5, Funny)

bloodninja (1291306) | about 6 years ago | (#25528649)

Meet the "GSM Devil"

I put on my robe and wizard's hat.

All GSM phones do that! (5, Informative)

Nick Ives (317) | about 6 years ago | (#25528465)

Maybe it's just because you guys aren't used to GSM cellphones but over here in the UK everyone recognises that noise. Anytime you put a mobile next to speakers you get that noise.

Welcome to the 1990s, America!

Re:All GSM phones do that! (1)

rufus t firefly (35399) | about 6 years ago | (#25528659)

Maybe it's just because you guys aren't used to GSM cellphones but over here in the UK everyone recognises that noise. Anytime you put a mobile next to speakers you get that noise.

Welcome to the 1990s, America!

Funny how this post [slashdot.org] got +5, Informative for the same thing you just said, yet your post is sitting at +1, Troll.

Re:All GSM phones do that! (3, Funny)

russotto (537200) | about 6 years ago | (#25528795)

Funny how this post got +5, Informative for the same thing you just said, yet your post is sitting at +1, Troll.

Slashtip: Including a link to a silly gadget is always worth karma. Bashing the US can go either way.

Re:All GSM phones do that! (1)

Nick Ives (317) | about 6 years ago | (#25528941)

I assume it's because I insinuated that the USA is technologically inferior. I actually didn't realise that the USA has GSM, I assumed it was all CDMA. That was the only explanation that popped into my head as to why the guys at O'Reilly hadn't heard the GSM buzz before.

Re:All GSM phones do that! (2, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | about 6 years ago | (#25529085)

You insinuated that the USA is technologically inferior becase we've been living without the GSM buzz? Huh... :p

Verizon/Sprint/Alltell are the only big CDMA players left in the US afaik.

Re:All GSM phones do that! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 years ago | (#25529033)

Funny how this post got +5, Informative for the same thing you just said, yet your post is sitting at +1, Troll.

That's ok, it wil finally be moderated correctly: -1, Redundant.

Re:All GSM phones do that! (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 6 years ago | (#25528671)

These people know full well that GSM buzz has been around for years (even in the luddite, technology deprived United States) are merely playing off the iPhone hype (sorry, this statement was redundant.) What I find cool is that the GSM buzz is so well known it has made it's way into the metaverse, by way of the video game Grand Theft Auto IV. If the player is riding in a car and he is about to get a call (in the game) there will be a few bits of buzz right before the ringing is heard. At first I thought it was a quirk in the music being played, but after it happened a few times I knew exactly what they were doing. There you have it, GSM buzz embedded in metaculture.

Re:All GSM phones do that! (1)

Nick Ives (317) | about 6 years ago | (#25528863)

That buzz in GTA drove me mental. Each time I heard it I instinctively looked at my phone assuming I had received a txt! I agree that it was a very cool touch.

It works in real life too like at house parties, people that have their phones on vibrate sneak a quick look at their phones when the PA gives off the GSM buzz.

Re:All GSM phones do that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528801)

To the fuckwits who moderated the parent "troll", Ewe Ess Ay, Ewe Ess Ay.

Americans should write to the FCC and complain (0, Flamebait)

viridari (1138635) | about 6 years ago | (#25528475)

Apple is responsible for making sure that its devices do not interfere with other electronic devices. Enforcement has been rather slack. But I doubt many are complaining.

The environmentalists have gotten Apple to wake up and pay more attention to how green their practices are. Now the rest of us should wake Apple up and make sure they play well with others, especially with regards to harmful RFI.

Re:Americans should write to the FCC and complain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528829)

A phone is a *transmitter*! (It is also a receiver of course.) It's not "I've hotwired my microwave so I can use it with the door open" interference; it's "When I shine my flashlight at the TV, the picture looks washed out" interference. The flashlight's not broken. It's *intended* to put out light.

(Hey, look! I made it through this entire post without saying you're an idiot! Aw, crap. Never mind.)

Re:Americans should write to the FCC and complain (1)

viridari (1138635) | about 6 years ago | (#25529019)

Yes but the transmitter device is only permitted to transmit on specific frequencies. When it is splattering the rest of the spectrum with RFI, it's not functioning in a correct manner.

This is like back in the 1970's (yes I'm old enough to remember) when the guy with the souped-up CB radio next door could be heard loud & clear through your TV set.

the cause could be put into the summary (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 6 years ago | (#25528485)

The source of this is the phone's transmitter, and what it's doing is sending its digital data broken up into very brief packets. Even when it's live, it's only transmitting about 10% of the time. But it's about 200 times a second. So what we're hearing is not so much the data itself, but the envelope, the shape of the packets as they turn on and off. And because we hear the higher frequencies much more clearly and they can interfere more easily than that basic frequency, while we wouldn't hear a 200 cycle tone, that's pretty low, when you interrupt something at that rate, it's kind of like putting a card into a bicycle wheel, you turn it from a gentle waving into a buzz, and it's the edges of that buzz we're so sensitive to.

Yeas, it is that short.

Re:the cause could be put into the summary (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 6 years ago | (#25528689)

Or, in other words, a 217Hz signal is amplitude modulated onto the GSM signal. Some electronic devices (like amplifiers) incidentally demodulate the 217 Hz and convert that to sound. 217Hz is well within the human audible range, thus... dutuh, dutuh, dutuh, dutuh, dutzzzzzzzz.....

(since it's a 217 hz square wave you get lots of harmonics as well)

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528499)

...because the world never heard of a Blackberry before. This isn't news.

One more (2, Funny)

Xerolooper (1247258) | about 6 years ago | (#25528503)

Reason not to get an iPhone

Re:One more (0, Offtopic)

Duradin (1261418) | about 6 years ago | (#25528567)

One more reason not to get a cell phone

Fixed that for you. Cell phones were doing this long before the iPhone.

Do those people think Apple reinvented... (4, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | about 6 years ago | (#25528505)

...everything regarding cellphones? Including, in this case, sometimes annoying side effects?

This is nothing new...especially if, on any other phone, you have also kept semi-constant GPRS connection.

PS. Rearranging speaker cables/etc. eliminates the problem anyway...

Re:Do those people think Apple reinvented... (1)

MadCow42 (243108) | about 6 years ago | (#25528565)

Blackberries are particularly bad too. Same challenges: GPRS, constant data traffic, etc.

Re:Do those people think Apple reinvented... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 6 years ago | (#25528895)

When I'm watching TV I can always tell when someone's phone in the room is going to ring, as there is a loud, audible buzz in my Trinitron.

At least my Sony TV doesn't have a rootkit... that I know of. But it is suceptable to cell phone interference, and not Apple but everyone. I don't even know anyone with an iPhone.

Nextel (1)

selfabuse (681350) | about 6 years ago | (#25528507)

It can't be nearly as bad as the nextels I've had. Put that thing next to a speaker, have it ring and then tell me that you don't think it's giving you brain cancer.

Symptoms already evident (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | about 6 years ago | (#25528661)

Put that thing next to a speaker, have it ring and then tell me that you don't think it's giving you brain cancer.

Heck, I think this statement from the cell phone expert (from TFA) pretty much proves that our phones are rotting our brains:

Rodman: We're really in an interesting time, radio speaking, in that there hasn't been a time before, certainly in the last five years, maybe the last ten, when there was such an inordinate number of relatively high-powered personal transmitters just wandering loose in the world.

WTF? "an interesting time, radio speaking"? And the tortured grammar in the summary isn't much better: "We're really in an interesting time in that there has never been so many high-powered personal transmitters just wandering loose in the world."

'Scuse me, I've got to take this call.

Re:Symptoms already evident (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25529029)

Well imagine everyone packed like sardines in a subway train.

If there isn't a cell/microcell available, all their phones will be transmitting at max power to try to find an available cell.

I wonder what the RF safety specs say about that scenario.

woohoo! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528521)

I'm so fucking excited! next week, Barack Obama will be elected in a landslide! That measn all you capitalist motherfuckers are going up against the wall since the democrat supermajority in the house and senate guarantee implementation of communism! Prepare for wealth redistribution!!!!

Re:woohoo! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528647)

Fuck the state. Fuck Obama. Fuck you too!

I want anarchy baby! No state, no communism, no capitalism, nothing at all except freedom!

Freedom from exploitation and oppression. Freedom to live my life without being interfered with.

FUCK OBAMA!

Huh... (1)

danomac (1032160) | about 6 years ago | (#25528539)

My phone is constantly beside my computer speakers on my desk or by my clock radio when I'm sleeping. I haven't heard anything from either...

Maybe it's because the computer speakers are so old that they're actually still shielded (unlike most today?) Dunno about the clock radio though, but it's pretty old too... has to be at least 5-6 years now.

if you mean iPhone it's because it gets crappy rec (1)

Oo.et.oO (6530) | about 6 years ago | (#25528615)

my iphone gets much less reception than my pearl does. so i get little to no gsm buzz. my pearl would buzz any speaker within a meter or so.

Re:if you mean iPhone it's because it gets crappy (1)

fbjon (692006) | about 6 years ago | (#25528901)

That doesn't make any sense. Poor reception means the phone will transmit with more power in order to get through whatever's between you and the antenna.

Re:Huh... (1)

awyeah (70462) | about 6 years ago | (#25528657)

You probably don't have a GSM handset.

Re:Huh... (1)

danomac (1032160) | about 6 years ago | (#25528949)

I'm pretty sure Rogers uses GSM networks.

Re:Huh... (1)

awyeah (70462) | about 6 years ago | (#25529023)

I believe you're correct. I think it's Rogers that's GSM... and I want to say Bell Mobility that uses CDMA? I can't remember all the providers in Canada...

Re:Huh... (4, Informative)

russotto (537200) | about 6 years ago | (#25528737)

Maybe it's because the computer speakers are so old that they're actually still shielded (unlike most today?)

Yes, speakers which are magnetically shielded to prevent affecting CRTs will also likely reject the GSM buzz.

The clock radio would only pick up the GSM buzz if the speaker was on (radio or buzzer); when it's off, no problem.

Re:Huh... (1)

danomac (1032160) | about 6 years ago | (#25528923)

When I go for lunch I'm going to try it, just for the hell of it. I'm curious now. ;)

Surprisingly consumers weren't concerned (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | about 6 years ago | (#25528549)

when even Nokia's internal policy is that all their employees must use headsets. Even the worms that repaired Fry's body knew better.

Scary EM interference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528569)

It's scary the way a mobile phone can be heard on my computer speakers. It seems reasonable that it can't be healthy to have them close to my body either. Even when carrying one or using one I try to keep it as far away from my two favourite organs as possible.

Re:Scary EM interference (0, Troll)

CmdrGravy (645153) | about 6 years ago | (#25528849)

Wow, you too are some sort of Hi Fi speaker then. One that has achieved at least enough sentinence to post on Slashdot. Well done, Sir, er, entity. On behalf of all those poor dumb speaker entities throughout the world you should not slack in your crusade.

Re:Scary EM interference (1)

profplump (309017) | about 6 years ago | (#25528877)

Yes, because when a device designed to convert electromagnetic waves into audio waves does, um, exactly what it's designed to do that's a sure sign that something terrible is happening.

And I don't know about you, but my body shares about 87% of the components of a typical audio system, so I expect more or less the same effect on my body as on my cheap audio system.

--

Seriously your speaker system is *supposed* to make electrical noise into audio noise. That's the definition of a speaker.

And unless your entire audio signal path is shielded you shouldn't be terribly impressed that the wiring picks up nearby electromagnetic radiation. Compare the length of your cell phone antenna to the length of the unshielded wiring in your speaker system and consider if that orders-of-magnitude difference in length might be enough to overcome the sub-optimal tuning of the speaker signal wire as an antenna and allow it to pickup the cellular signal at sufficient strength to be audible.

My Nokia 3610 did this also. (4, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | about 6 years ago | (#25528587)

As others have said, this really is a GSM issue and not an iPhone issue. The sound I hear from my computer speakers with my iPhone is identical to what I heard from my Nokia 3610 which is about as un-iPhone as a phone can get without being better described as a rock.

Seriously - the interference sound is identical.

My only concern really is what is this doing to my neurons, rods, cones and assorted other presumably sensitive body parts. I don't care about a goofy sound coming from my computer speakers every once in a while.

Re:My Nokia 3610 did this also. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 6 years ago | (#25528905)

If I recall correctly, it's below the ionization threshold, so mostly it'll heat those parts up a bit. If those parts are particularly susceptible to electric or magnetic fields, perhaps a bit more.

FCC Rules Part 15 (4, Interesting)

doas777 (1138627) | about 6 years ago | (#25528599)

whatever happend to the label on the bottom of everything, which states that:
"This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) the device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) the device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesirable operation."

obviously the folks that made my PC speakers obeyed those rules, so why is apple getting away with breaking condition 1?

Re:FCC Rules Part 15 (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | about 6 years ago | (#25528753)

Maybe they don't consider it harmful. But it is annoying as hell.

Re:FCC Rules Part 15 (5, Informative)

leighklotz (192300) | about 6 years ago | (#25528797)

whatever happend to the label on the bottom of everything, which states that:

"This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) the device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) the device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesirable operation."

obviously the folks that made my PC speakers obeyed those rules, so why is apple getting away with breaking condition 1?

The iPhone isn't operating under Part 15. It's licensed. Your cell provider holds the license from the FCC. They paid a lot of money for it; remember the spectrum auctions that raised billions. It's your speakers that have to live with the licensed world, not the other way around.

The same is true for broadcast radio, TV, police, fire, ambulance, business radios, taxi dispatchers, amateur radio, military, and even foreign licensed broadcast systems. Your speakers have to live with it.

You might try (1) using twisted pair instead of zip line to your speakers and (2) using ferrite bead clamps, a few turns wrapped around both ends of the speaker cable. But it probably won't help, as it's likely your speakers internal amplifier is picking up the signals directly, as they're cheaply made (see TOA) and poorly shielded.

Re:FCC Rules Part 15 (2, Interesting)

BigForbis (757364) | about 6 years ago | (#25528803)

Cell phones do not fall under part 15 of the FCC's rules. Therefore they don't have to follow this. I believe cell phones fall under part 22 or part 24 (but I could be wrong about this).

Re:FCC Rules Part 15 (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 6 years ago | (#25528843)

I've wondered that in the past as well. I always assumed it depends on how you define "harmful."

It's not like cellphones cause pace makers to mis-fire, CPUs to make miscalculations, storage devices to become corrupt, etc. They emit a frequency that get's picked up (and played) by speakers.

If you classify harmful as "undesirable operation" then yes, it's harmful. But if "undesirable operation" is in a separate category as "harmful" then I guess it's a no harm / no foul as far as the legal-ese goes.

Re:FCC Rules Part 15 (1)

dpaton.net (199423) | about 6 years ago | (#25528861)

Because transmitters, like the iPhone, and like every other cellphone, are held to a different standard.

Also, the "interference" is only harmful if you have a cheap, poorly shielded device. The signals that are causing the problem are fundamental to the operation of the GSM network. The sources of RF are more numerous now, including from cellphones and computers with lame lexan cases, but I wouldn't automatically call it interference.

Re:FCC Rules Part 15 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528903)

so why is apple getting away with breaking condition 1?

Maybe the interference is not considered harmful. And if it would be, then GSM phones would have to be forbidden in general. After all this buzz has nothing to do with the iPhone in particular, but is a "feature" of every GSM phone since GSM was introduced in 1992.

Re:FCC Rules Part 15 (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 6 years ago | (#25528975)

Because a cell phone is not a Part 15 device. Read Title 47, Part 15 [wikipedia.org] some time - interesting stuff. Cell phones fall under at least parts 22 and 24, and possibly others.

gsm only (1)

ketan324 (1085019) | about 6 years ago | (#25528645)

Its just GSM based phones, the RF distortion is not an issue with CDMA based phones.

Metal foil wallpaper (1)

jhines (82154) | about 6 years ago | (#25528669)

Look for it to make a comeback. A room papered with the right stuff would be quite quiet RF wise. Velvet optional. :) Work well if you have a room you don't want stuff working in.

Um (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25528679)

This basically went away with the 3G iPhones. I don't get any GSM interference at all except when the phone switches to EDGE.

And You Just NOW Realized It With The IPhone??? (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | about 6 years ago | (#25528701)

I've had a Palm Treo 650, AT&T 8525, an AT&T Tilt, and an IPhone. All four of these devices caused a distortion when you got them near a set of PC speakers or a clock radio. This is nothing new.

Not much you can do? (1)

residieu (577863) | about 6 years ago | (#25528749)

The iPhones aren't the only bad apples in the cell phone basket and there's not much you can do about the problem.

Not much you can do? You can always not buy an iPhone. My phone doesn't cause problem for speakers or my clock radio.

Re:Not much you can do? (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 6 years ago | (#25529003)

The iPhones aren't the only bad apples in the cell phone basket and there's not much you can do about the problem.

Not much you can do? You can always not buy an iPhone. My phone doesn't cause problem for speakers or my clock radio.

Well, as the grandparent said, iPhones aren't the only ones that do it.

I've had cellphones that do it, and some that didn't appear to. Likewise I have some speakers that are immune to the problem while others (as well as my clock radio) suffer from it greatly.

It's not an iPhone issue but a frequency issue. GSM phones that use GPRS or Edge cause it which covers a LOT of phones. And the iPhone 3G defaults to GPRS when it has a low 3G signal.

There is a relatively easy fix for this (2, Informative)

AdamWeeden (678591) | about 6 years ago | (#25528771)

Yes, this is a pain in the butt, but as others have noted, it's nothing new. I've been having this issue since my first AT&T (formerly Cingular), i.e., GSM, phone. There is a trick to fix this though: magnets. Simply loop your speaker wire through a magnet, as this article [gizmodo.com] indicates.

Re:There is a relatively easy fix for this (1)

phrostie (121428) | about 6 years ago | (#25528985)

i'll give it a try, thanks.

on the other hand i'd bought a little FM transmitter so i can listen to my itunes on my car radio. it has the same problem. can this be fixed also?

I really was beginning to wonder... (0, Redundant)

greyhueofdoubt (1159527) | about 6 years ago | (#25528779)

I really was beginning to wonder if it was just my imagination. I have everything turned off on my iphone except wifi and edge/voice (No 3G around here). At first I thought the little static tantrums were happening at fixed intervals, so I timed it. No luck. Then I had the iPhone connect to the internet through my computer instead of the router so that I could read the logs. Nothing.

Sooo... I tried using a few styles of ferrite RF chokes, I tried wrapping cords into air-core chokes, I tried keeping data and sound lines as far away fro the phone as possible. Nothing seems to work, so to be honest I've pretty much just started using the iPhone's internal speaker when I'm listening to pandora or something.

I'm glad I'm not alone on this, but it kind of sucks. I hate to single out the iPhone, but it's the first phone I've used that did this.

-b

p.s. and having one central app store that will occasionally refuse to let you buy anything due to 'problems with the itunes store' sucks ass. Thanks, Apple. Oh and thanks for not letting us record video, run apps in the background, or let apps access onboard music.

Yeah I woke up crabby today.

Give me a break... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#25528793)

Ok, I hate apple's hype machine as much as anyone, but seriously... this isn't an iPhone thing. I have never seen ANY GSM phone that had power and did not interfere with PC speakers, speakerphones, and car radios.

Not on 3G, EDGE only (4, Informative)

yabos (719499) | about 6 years ago | (#25528953)

The GSM buzzing is all GSM phones but I noticed on my iPhone that using 3G it goes away. From what I've read, the loud noise is caused by rapid turning on/off of the GSM transceiver which creates EM pulses.

Freaking people out with it (1)

sunami (751539) | about 6 years ago | (#25528959)

Much better is when I'm around people that don't know about this, and I tell them their phone is about to ring.

It seems to be AT&T more than anything... (1)

tjrw (22407) | about 6 years ago | (#25528983)

As mentioned many times already, this has nothing to do with the iPhone and everything to do with GSM.

However, it seems AT&T are much worse. My personal phone is on T-Mobile and my work phone is on AT&T. The work phone produces much more interference. Switching the SIM from that into my phone, I get the same issue. I think AT&T must bump the transmit power to maximum on devices connected to their network. I wonder what this does to battery life!

Suck it up, clock radio owners (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 6 years ago | (#25528989)

Your clock radio comes with the following government message:

This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules....

(2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.

It is not our place to question why we are not to reject interference, or what dangers might ensue if were to attempt such a thing. Rather, is our duty under the law to accept interference. So do your part, listen carefully to the buzzing radio, and just be proud to be doing your part as a citizen of this great land.

Motorola iDEN also (1)

corsec67 (627446) | about 6 years ago | (#25529007)

I bought a Motorola i670 on Sprint because I thought that Sprint was a CDMA carrier, but apparently they use some iDEN [wikipedia.org] handsets, which is very similar to GSM.

I get the "GSM sound" in my car radio, since I store the phone under the head unit.

A much larger problem, pro audio (1)

TK2K (834353) | about 6 years ago | (#25529025)

I would like someone to address what I see as a far greater issue. clock radios can be annoying due to the interference caused be cellphones, but there are some cases where the interference can be downright deserters! I am referring to professional audio systems. We have three theaters that I work in, 2 blackboxes and one mainstage. The mainstage 32-channel board is unaffected by cellphones, however the two smaller boards are. Is there any sort of add on that can be used to shield audio cables from cellphones? We run a line level out of the mixer to two powered speakers in one blackbox, and the interference is particularly bad, seeing as the audience is literally right above the line level wire. Any ideas?

phantom keypresses (1)

jjeffries (17675) | about 6 years ago | (#25529027)

Forget radio chatter... I'm always putting my cell phone (it's not a jesus-phone) down on my desk, around my keyboard or mouse cables, or resting it on the shelf-like bit on the back side of my IBM clicky keyboards. On more than one occasion I have had incoming calls "type" on the keyboard or "click" the mouse buttons--that could be REALLY BAD depending on what I'm doing at the time.

If your dentist or pilot tells you to turn off your cell phone... listen to them!

CRT bell (1)

mlush (620447) | about 6 years ago | (#25529037)

I rather liked the say my (CRT) screen flicked three times when I was about to get an incomming call, (then again only a very few knew the number :-) don't get that now its all LCD

you call out the iphone on this? (1)

alta (1263) | about 6 years ago | (#25529115)

Every digital phone I've had from Bellsouth Mobility->Cingular->ATT has had the GSM NOISE.

It's not at ALL an iphone issue, and by naming the iPhone TFA becomes TROLL. I've had this with every Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry I've had in the last 10 years, or at least when the ATT group went GSM.

Guess what, tMobile is GSM too.

So well known, there's a dedicated website for it:
http://www.feelingcingular.com/ [feelingcingular.com]

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