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Experts Explain iPhone 4 Antenna Problem

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the darth-jobs-doesn't-see-what-the-fuss-is-about dept.

Iphone 427

CWmike writes "Reports of call and data signal strength problems in the new iPhone 4 have a basis in fact, a hardware expert said Thursday. Later in the day, Apple acknowledged that holding the iPhone 4 may result in a diminished signal that could make it difficult to make and maintain calls or retain a data connection. 'Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone,' Apple said in a statement issued to several media outlets, including PC Magazine, which had run tests earlier Thursday. 'If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.' Scores of new iPhone owners confirmed the reception problem in a string of more than 360 messages posted to a thread on Apple's iPhone 4 support forum." A blog post from an antenna design company explains that the reception problems are probably the direct result of phone design adapting to FCC requirements.

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Cue the fanbois (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697270)

Next thing you know, holding a cell phone with the thumb and forefinger by the top right corner will become the fashionable way for any of the cognoscenti to hold their phones. Those of us who cradle them in the old fashioned way will be "not of the Body of Jobs", and mocked and ostracized.

Re:Cue the fanbois (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697314)

Sorry, but there is only one correct way [imageshack.us] to hold a phone

Re:Cue the fanbois (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697410)

Are you sure? [imageshack.us]

Re:Cue the fanbois (4, Funny)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697868)

Apple will also be releasing this new accessory [techeblog.com] .

Re:Cue the fanbois (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697370)

You need to stop criticizing already! These are magical devices [youtube.com] and need to be properly held [moviesonline.ca] .

Not just for the lefties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697442)

Doesn't a bunch of AT&T advertising speak about how you can talk and do other tasks on the iPhone at the same time? I'm right-handed and I would naturally hold a touch-based device in my left hand in that case, but a lot of post-launch press left me with the (false?) impression that if you were right-handed you don't have so much to worry about.

Not sure which hand I'd use for face to face video calling (queue the jokes ;))

Re:Cue the fanbois (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697486)

Sorry, your vulcan grip has been obsoleted by the new iPhone grip.

Re:Cue the fanbois (4, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697498)

Next thing you know, holding a cell phone with the thumb and forefinger by the top right corner will become the fashionable way for any of the cognoscenti to hold their phones.

So how come this problem was not identified during the system test of the device? Were all the testers instructed to hold it that way? Or maybe they identified it, but did not have the courage to report it?

Re:Cue the fanbois (5, Insightful)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697692)

In a sane world there's no way that my theory can be right, but here it is:
 
The lab tests were done at Apple HQ, where AT&T has a tower in order to keep Steve Jobs happy -- plenty of signal even with the defect. The field tests were done with the rubber disguises on, so it didn't affect them.

Re:Cue the fanbois (5, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697896)

Grounding, or effectively grounding (by say, shorting two ends of a dipole) an antenna will *always* result in loss of signal, even when starting values are ideal. But regardless of how it was missed, the fact that it was missed at all means one thing: inadequate testing.

It may have been (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697724)

And it may have been dismissed. Apple is very much about form over all else. The most important thing to them is how something looks. Features and function get subverted to that end. They've had other devices with problems due to their designs. Time Capsules are an example. They have a bad habit of failing after a year and a half or so, way more than you'd expect. Reason is the internal power adapter. It puts too much heat in the small case and causes failures. The smart thing would have been to have it external, but that would ruin the look.

So Apple may have known this was a problem and said "Fuck it, people can just hold it as not to touch the antennas. We don't want to hurt the looks."

Re:Cue the fanbois (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697820)

So how come this problem was not identified during the system test of the device?

Because - you'll really love this - they put it in an iphone 3 case when they were supposed to be testing it so as to keep the super shiny design secret. Really. The product they were testing wasn't the product they were planning to launch. Bunch. Of. Cowboys.

Apple Fanboys In The Media In Panic Mode (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697574)

They all want to flood the Net with their obligatory iPhone 'reviews' and 'reactions' claiming:

"It's amazing!"

"A must upgrade for all existing iPhone owning Hipster Douchebags!"

"Magical!"

"Teh best thing evah!!!"

while the actual piece of crap iPhone 4 is:

Ugly
Defectively designed
Runs an outdated OS

No wonder Google kicked Apple and the iPhone into 3rd place in sales and Android is now selling at roughly 50-60 million phones a year.

Re:Apple Fanboys In The Media In Panic Mode (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697658)

> Google kicked Apple and the iPhone into 3rd place in sales

Apple fanboys have been lying about the iPhone being the leading cellphone when it was in second place in sales by coming up with their own made up definition. Now that Apple has been left behind Android in sales I can't imagine the Apple fanboys won't continue to do the exact same thing and continue to try to claim the iPhone is still the leading cellphone.

The media need to call Apple out. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697764)

The media need to grow some stones and call out Apple and these Apple fanatics. They need to grill these Apple advocates about these flaws, on TV, in front of millions of people. They need to go to Apple Stores, wait outside, and interview Apple fanatics as they leave. When the Apple fanatics deliver their bullshit, the reporters need to absolutely destroy them. Take every bullshit claim these Apple fanatics throw out, and rip them to pieces. The media need to humiliate these fools in front of everyone, and treat them like the idiots that they are.

Re:The media need to call Apple out. (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697848)

The media need to grow some stones and call out Apple and these Apple fanatics.

But how would that help their advertising revenues?

How the hell did this get past QA/QC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697668)

What boggles my mind the most is how these absolutely obvious flaws got past whatever quality assurance and quality control Apple might have in place.

It's completely absurd to think that they didn't foresee this happening, or even encounter it during testing. I mean, this is a mobile phone failing at its most basic and critical function. Mobile phones have been around for decades now, so there's no reason why any manufacturer should be coming up with a product that can't reliably make phone calls!

Re:Cue the fanbois (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697606)

Next thing you know, holding a cell phone with the thumb and forefinger by the top right corner will become the fashionable

The japanese demonstrating proper handphone technique:
http://photos-451.friendster.com/e1/photos/15/48/18428451/1_246234319l.jpg

Re:Cue the fanbois (5, Insightful)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697696)

It Just Works. As long as you hold it the way Steve Jobs instructs you to. Coming from the supposed experts on user interface this is a major let down. Users holding the phone the way that comes most naturally to them are not wrong - the product is wrong.

Re:Cue the fanbois (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697732)

will be "not of the Body of Jobs", and mocked and ostracized.

I call that a pretty cool compliment. :)

Cases (4, Interesting)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697304)

How will wrapping the phone in a case and then holding it the same way as before fix the problem?

Re:Cases (4, Informative)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697332)

Because the case is made out of rubber and runs around the phone, effectively isolating you from the antennas, avoiding the antennas to connect to each other through you.

form over function (4, Insightful)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697516)

Of course, apple could have easily designed the phone with with a some plastic along the side, but this would go against their aesthetic "vision". Anyone who has used an Apple mouse (*any* Apple mouse) knows that ergonomics takes a back-seat to physical appearance. Always.

Re:form over function (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697656)

Of course, apple could have easily designed the phone with with a some plastic along the side, but this would go against their aesthetic "vision". Anyone who has used an Apple mouse (*any* Apple mouse) knows that ergonomics takes a back-seat to physical appearance. Always.

Even then I fail to see why the internal antenna has to be electrically connected to part of the external case. They could just have something which gives them the right look. This is a bizarre screwup.

Re:form over function (4, Informative)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697712)

The reason the case is part of the antenna system is actually to improve reception, because it makes the surface operating as an antenna larger.

When isolated it works pretty well I suppose. But it fails when a user touches all antennas at once, effectively short circuiting the entire system.

Re:form over function (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697774)

Maybe their validation staff have small fingers. More likely testing was done with the device flat on a bench with people checking boxes to verify correct display on the screen.

I see this all the time in my work. Our system just isn't used in the same way it is tested.

Re:form over function (4, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697734)

Actually this was touted on iphone4 introduction speech as a "major new feature" by Jobs. It was kind of obvious for anyone who actually ever worked with antennas that it was trouble. But apparently it sounded fashionable to countless ears of apple clients.

It's a feature among others, aimed to increase hype value of the device. It's pretty obvious why no one else did it, and hence probably seemed like a good marketing idea to apple. All it had to do was what it always did, present it as an awesome revolutionary new feature.

Re:form over function (0, Troll)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697836)

Anyone who has used an Apple mouse (*any* Apple mouse) knows that ergonomics takes a back-seat to physical appearance.

Any Apple mouse? You obviously haven't used the "classic" Apple mice, which were very good and highly ergonomic. In fact, Apple made the first truly usable mice, they spend significant effort in engineering them. Prior to the Apple mouse, mice had two circular rollers instead of a a spherical ball.

Re:form over function (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697882)

Did you know that if you experience this problem that you can achieve electrical isolation yourself without any offensive looking rubber bumper? A $1 bottle of clear nail varnish and you're all set.

Re:Cases (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697710)

So we're saying that no-one has surrounded a phone in aluminium before, not because they were terrible designers but because it's a bloody stupid idea?

Re:Cases (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697862)

Exactly.

Its not that the antenna is at the bottom, its because it is external, and metal, and skin is conductive.

This is a fundamental design flaw that I can't believe they let slip. Now they will probably have to offer discounts on "bumpers" to bring the phone back up to published specifications.

Using external antennas that can be shorted by normal hand moisture! I'm not aware of any other phone that does this. Why was it necessary with a glass backed case? The antenna could have been at the bottom like prior iphones. [maccompanion.com]

There is SO Much about this iPhone release (hardware and software) that has been problematic that I am starting to believe Apple's claims that the leak of the "lost" phone was indeed damaging to Apple. I think it forced their hand, and cornered them into releasing a phone that was not yet ready with software that still had a lot of problems.
The fanboys will be here momentarily to mod this down. Sigh.

Re:Cases (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697912)

So how does the Desire work without a special Apple rubber toy attached to it?

Re:Cases (4, Informative)

Loomismeister (1589505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697346)

The skin connects the front and back antennas through electrical conductivity. If there is a case blocking the connection the problem doesn't happen.

Re:Cases (1)

Linegod (9952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697362)

RTFAs. You are not in direct contact.

Re:Cases (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697880)

You don't have to be in direct contact. Its a radio antenna. Ever heard of specific absorption?

Re:Cases (3, Informative)

antibryce (124264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697368)

the problem comes about when your hand shorts the two metal bits together. Put a case on them and you won't short them.

Re:Cases (4, Insightful)

wramsdel (463149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697420)

It'll insulate the metallic ring that's "part of the antenna system", which might mean "the antenna" or might mean "some other element that helps the antenna do its work" (i.e. a resonant grounding piece). Antennas are tuned, resonant, structures...think of a tuning fork that needs to oscillate at a certain frequency. Bridging the gap between the two exposed elements changes the electrical characteristics of it such that the antenna becomes detuned and reception is impaired. By applying a case, your hand can no longer come in contact with the ring, so the antenna isn't as severely detuned and the cell phone signal isn't as attenuated. I say "as severely" because there will always be some impact when your hand is in reasonable proximity to the device, but it won't be of the magnitude that direct contact would be.

Re:Cases (1)

nwf (25607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697452)

And the real question is why they made the bottom strip out of metal since it's not an antenna. Just make it out of plastic and conduction will be less of a problem.Your hand will still affect it, but perhaps not as much.

Re:Cases (2, Insightful)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697522)

Form over function has been Apple's M.O. when it comes to certain design choices with their devices, something like this shouldn't be surprising. Its also the reason a lot of people buy their devices.

Apple sells Shiny, and this is a result.

Re:Cases (3, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697928)

And the real question is why they made the bottom strip out of metal since it's not an antenna.

Perhaps because it *is* an antenna? It doesn't have just one antenna, but multiple antennae circling the phone, for Wi-Fi, GSM and Bluetooth.

Re:Cases (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697612)

Because the official Apple rubber bumper that fits around the phone is allegedly $25, that's why.

Antenna placement (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697322)

I suspect they placed the antenna there to minimize the amount of RF energy exposure to the brain but now you'll have to be careful about how you hold it.

Re:Antenna placement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697356)

Wow it's almost like you read TFA.

Re:Antenna placement (3, Funny)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697366)

I suspect they figured no one would bother to use to try and make a phone call. [tipb.com]

Re:Antenna placement (1)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697372)

Yeah, I suspected that too after reading the linked article that said just that.

Re:Antenna placement (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697414)

I suspect the optimization problem was aimed to maximize beauty, and they neglected the antenna on the equation :)

Re:Antenna placement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697460)

Shall the user attempt to use its dirty hands on the device, forever will require to be enclosed in a crystal case for its admiration only! Other brands of actually working phones are prohibited by the scriptures as the gospel according to Steve says.

Re:Antenna placement (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697672)

I suspect they placed the antenna there to minimize the amount of RF energy exposure to the brain but now you'll have to be careful about how you hold it.

My openmoko has the GSM antenna at the bottom of the phone as you describe, but its inside the plastic case.

in addition (2, Funny)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697336)

for those slashdot customers experiencing loss of signal and poor quality, we recommend exiting the basement and removing your storm trooper helmet to place calls.

Re:in addition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697622)

I might leave the basement, but I will never take my stormtrooper helmet off good sir...

Re:in addition (4, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697762)

Geeks generally don’t buy Apple products. They buy a Linux phone from an obscure company that is also barely usable as a phone, but at least completely hackable.
Hipsters and valley girls buy Apple products. Oh, and those people that drive Priuses. ^^

Re:in addition (-1, Troll)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697894)

Slashdot is also read by many engineers, who might have eventually gotten damn tired of maintaining their own PCs and decided to get something that Just Works (tm). So they bought an Apple product.

An iPhone, though, I won't touch as long as it's tied to AT&T. And I'm not going to go hacking on it to make it halfway work with some other provider. I do enough complicated fiddling at work.

Another person (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697344)

who would rather be part of a group then have a properly working device.

Sad really.

Re:Another person (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697390)

Apparently effectively working devices are now illegal thanks to the FCC. Yet another stunning example of government regulation making our lives better and safer! Like the government regulations that caused the bank collapse and the government regulations that caused the oil spill! ...oh.

Re:Another person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697544)

A blog post from an antenna design company explains that the reception problems are probably the direct result of

Apple avoiding royalties to patent holders of antenna designs. Could it be that they will recall them due to excesive unicorn stardust mix?

Re:Another person (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697572)

I can hold my Android phone any way I want to and I don't see any loss of signal strength, so apparently it *is* possible to design a working phone within current SAR limits...

I wasn't aware that government regulation forced BP to cut corners and undertake a risky well closure strategy, ignoring evidence that the BOP was damaged. Which regulation was that?

Re:Another person (3, Insightful)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697638)

It's funny how every single other phone is not affected by this very dangerous government regulatior...

Simply ... (5, Funny)

randyzoch (689187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697374)

1) Stand on one leg, preferably facing the cell tower. 2) Use your other leg to form a crude counterpoise for the iPhone4's various antennas. Also, experiments in dry/low-humidity regions which lead to dry/chapped hands may also contribute to your success making and holding a call. What other company could get away with producing a product like this and succeed?

Re:Simply ... (1, Funny)

nwf (25607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697462)

What other company could get away with producing a product like this and succeed?

If it's software, then Microsoft. :)

The cure is in the case (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697386)

All of a sudden Apple offers a case for the iPhone themselves, in the form a rubber band that runs around the phone, which not only protects the phone when dropped, but also isolates the user from the antennas. This case is exactly the cure you need for the antenna-problem.

Could it be possible that the rubber band was actually a part of the original design of this phone, but later made optional in order to rake in more cash? If so, I really think Apple should hand out free cases to people experiencing these problems.

Re:The cure is in the case (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697490)

You forgot to mention it's a $29 rubber band.

Re:The cure is in the case (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697580)

That's exactly the point I'm trying to make: was the rubber band perhaps part of the original iPhone 4 design, but made an option so it could be sold for 30 dollars a pop?

If so, that would be a pretty terrible way to rake in a few extra dollars, because the phone is effectively crippled in its current, naked, form.

Re:The cure is in the case (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697938)

Would it be better if the rubber band was part of the design but the marketing team forced the engineers to remove it so that the device would look better?

Re:The cure is in the case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697808)

You seem to have lost the fractional part of that number. May I suggest using a non-integral datatype in future to avoid gigantic amounts of precision loss and truncation.

Uh... Huh... (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697400)

"For best results, levitate one inch from your ears."

Detuning antennas is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697432)

...but designing a phone such that holding it normally means you touch and thereby detune the antennas is super bad, only to be topped by then claiming this is normal. WTF Apple.

Is there no other design solution? (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697450)

The iPhone 4 has two symmetrical slots in the stainless frame. If you short these slots, or cover them with your hand, the antenna performance will suffer (see this video I found on YouTube). There is no way around this, it's a design compromise that is forced by the requirements of the FCC, AT&T, Apple's marketing department and Apple's industrial designers, to name a few.

Possible solutions include:
  • having another small slot so the two antennae aren't right next to each other and you'd have to short both slots.
  • Cover with a non-conductive coating
  • Put the antennae actually inside the phone.

I guess there are some extremely complex technical or aesthetic or regulatory reasons why each of these isn't going to work but I'd like to know what they are.

Re:Is there no other design solution? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697552)

Possible solutions include:
o having another small slot so the two antennae aren't right next to each other and you'd have to short both slots.
o Cover with a non-conductive coating
o Put the antennae actually inside the phone.

Getting an android.

Coating is best idea (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697654)

They already had the phone inside the case in previous generations, the external antenna does improve the signal. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. A light non-conductive coating would work perfectly well.

Re:Coating is best idea (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697736)

Until it gets scratched

Re:Is there no other design solution? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697852)

There's no reason why it wouldn't work.....but after their first tester lost his phone in a bar (you may have heard of that incident), the iPhone team refused to do anymore live testing, and thus never realized that it would be a problem.

(That may not be true, I just totally made it up)

This is 100% Apples fault (1)

Loomismeister (1589505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697488)

The phone was designed by Apple, and they are the ones to blame for this. They have made a mockery of themselves and everyone that bought into the iPhone 4 hype, and destroyed their reputation by telling the customers "I'ts not me, it's you."

QA (2, Funny)

LeftFootRequired (1842296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697494)

Thats what you get for making you engineers hide the product in public by dressing it in an iphone 3 case during QA. Oops!

Dogfooding (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697646)

Moral of the story: Don't cover your dog food in rich beef gravy and liberal amounts pepper.

If It's Too Good To Be True... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697510)

Steve Jobs is the new Gordon Brown. His arrogance has pushed the price of Mac outside the reach of ordinary people. Now he's blaming everyone else for his mistakes. The ridiculous thing is the guy is a genius but starting to make Microsoft look good. He's obsessed and losing touch. Without the happy tax of iTunes he'd be as sunk as Gordon Brown when the banks screwed up.

Steve Jobs needs to get real before he sinks Apple. People just want to do stuff and feel part of things but Apple's Stalinistic like taxed to the hilt walled garden is a real turn off. Dangle the bait and slap people enough times and support turns to hate. It might not be right or fair but that's where it's heading.

If Steve Jobs doesn't bring prices down or release OS X for the PC platform it will prove Warren Buffet was right. Steve Jobs is just arrogant and greedy. It's a real shame he's up his own ass like that but if this carries on I sniff another boardroom coup. Maybe it's time he retired now before he ends in failure.

Re:If It's Too Good To Be True... (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697584)

Obviously there are millions of people who buy a computer and use it like a toy. They are the voters for Steve Jobs. If you think Steve Jobs is so imperfect, millions more voted for Bush, twice.

Re:If It's Too Good To Be True... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697800)

Yeah, that's the sad thing. David Cameron is the equivalent of Steve Balmer and that big mouthed water treading bullshitter now has his hands on the wheel. People are suckers for idiots who sell "common sense" and pretend to be your friend.

So its really the iPod4? (4, Funny)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697514)

Worse reception than the iPhone3 - check.
Still tied to the worst US carrier - check.

But hey, facetime is so awesome it overcomes all this...

Realtime video calls which exceed the definition of the human retina? - cheC&&^& >>>>>CARRIER LOST

Nothing to see here (0, Troll)

bbahner (693829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697588)

I have one - haven't seen any problem in real-world use although I can make a bar disappear by covering the bottom of the phone. Pandora continues to stream just fine. I'm guessing many phone manufacturers hide the issue by making the signal strength indicator update more slowly or in a non-linear fashion or something... Non-issue really, but the rabid Android contingent needs something to make them feel better about the 6 hour battery life of the EVO. Let's be real - ALL smartphones have some issue or another that can be called out. The new iPhone is a pretty damn great piece of kit regardless.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697834)

This issue presents itself with the touch of a finger. It isn't the same issue as what happens with pretty much all phones when your hand covers the antenna. It's a much more serious issue that happens because you can actually make contact with the antennas, effectively changing their sizes by bridging the gap with your (conductive) skin.
 
There is plenty to see here, and Apple will need to create a redesign *within* the current iteration in order to save face, but I have a feeling that the most they'll do is lower the price of their rubber bands, or maybe give them away for free.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697886)

rabid Android contingent

Hey I resemble that remark. Maybe you can explain why multitasking in iOS4 requires cooperation from the application? On my openmoko the window manager (illume) takes care of it, just as in gnome and fvwm (and the equivalents in windows and macos).

Holding it wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697600)

http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/comment/4/2010/06/cb961cf310b63bfb04ae7b75059f37f5/original.jpg

"Just avoid holding it that way" (5, Informative)

Chad Birch (1222564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697608)

Saw a great post on reddit earlier today [reddit.com] where a user goes through a bunch of Apple's own advertising to see how they've shown the phone being held.

Re:"Just avoid holding it that way" (5, Funny)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697776)

Another reddit poster showed the true way to hold an iPhone: http://i.imgur.com/h9UDd.png [imgur.com]

FCC requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697620)

The requirements at issue here are FCC SAR (specific absorption rate) requirements created to limit body tissue exposure to electromagnetic radiation. I can't help but notice the enthusiasm for pointing out the effects of these regulations on sacrosanct geek toys.

When fuel efficiency regulations lead to fragile, injury prone vehicles nothing is mentioned. When some new EPA rule is certain to chase another slice of our industry to China no one appears concerned. Let misguided fears about non-ionizing radiation degrade the performance of the latest Jesus phone though...

If you're going to put individual judgment at the mercy of your well intentioned bureaucrats to get your way over others don't be surprised if others don't score some points on your ass the same way. That's the world you've built for all of us.

Danish professor predicted this (5, Interesting)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697632)

This guy is an expert in antenna design from Aalborg University, and predicted this [google.dk] two weeks ago.

No case? (-1)

sharky611aol.com (682311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697666)

I'm no fanboi, but seriously, how many people don't use a case for their iPhone? Probably 50% of my friends own one, and I can't think of a single one who goes "naked". This is a non-issue.

Re:No case? (3, Insightful)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697860)

Something that affects 50% of customers is a non-issue? Despite your claim, you are, in fact, a "fanboi."

Re:No case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697864)

I have seen some iphones in the wild around here. Grand total of zero of them were cased in something. I would argue you're an exception that reinforces the rule.

Honestly, I can't remember seeing any phone in casing for about 5-7 years now. They just are ergonomic enough now and don't scratch and get damaged anywhere near as easily. Of course you have belt cases, etc, but you take the phone out of those when you use it.

For the record, it's not this problem that's being described, but the shorting of the antenna to design flaw. But putting a hand on exposed antenna ALWAYS reduces signal quality. That's the main reason why no one takes antennas out of the outer shell of the phone if they can help it.

iProphylactic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697686)

I generally like Apple products, but this is an epic fail on Apple's part.

To add insult to injury, Apple expects one to purchase their $29.00 rubber protective band that is produced in a third world country for about $.03. What a deal!

FCC? (3, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697698)

A blog post from an antenna design company explains that the reception problems are probably the direct result of phone design adapting to FCC requirements.

Because it has nothing to do with their decision to place the antennae on the exterior of the device.

Yes! (1)

talksinmaths (199235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697716)

Fuck Yeah Side Talking!

Latex gloves perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697730)

Clearly they meant for you to hold the iphone while wearing rubber gloves. Must not mark the perfect design with *fingerprints* after all.

This is a device meant to be LOOKED AT, clearly. It's far to precious to actually USE.

If it affects "every wireless phone"... (2, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697770)

...then why is it that this is the first time so many people are experiencing this problem?

You are supposed to hold it with your pinky out! (2, Funny)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697780)

It's just like drinking a latte.

Heh, interesting. (1)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697792)

So now rather than having a case for your phone be an accessory, they... are indirectly making you go and purchase one. I mean, not exactly as strong as wording as that, but... if that's how you hold your phone, especially if you're a lefty or something, you kinda need one. Yay accessory sales.

It just occurs to me, though, that if buying a case for it is the way to go about fixing the problem, couldn't they have just... buried the antenna inside the device's actual case? Or put more body around it? Oh, of course not, then the device wouldn't look as lovely. I guess form truly no longer follows function.

Not a problem for Apple fans (2, Insightful)

HexKrak (1716604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697824)

The first and 2nd gen iPhones had the highest dropped call rates in recent history but it didn't stop people from using them. If apple announced their next phone would be constructed purely from dog poo, for environmental reasons of course, people would still line up around the block to be the first to own one.

Seriously, all phones do this. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32697872)

The Nexus One does this. An old Nokia 6230 from the old days does this. There's plenty of snapshots people are making which demonstrate exactly the same effect on loads of devices out there. Every phone - even those with extending antennas - does this to some extent. You don't even have to be in direct contact - RF at these frequencies doesn't work like that. The 'bars' thing is bullshit anyway. Most phones are faking them up to make it less obvious.

The only difference here is Steve erred by pointing out exactly where the antenna lives. Everyone's aware of what they're touching, whereas in other phones they didn't notice the difference because they weren't looking for it.

So when is the first post... (1)

jvkjvk (102057) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697910)

... that lets us know that this is because Apple has determined that this is an incorrect way to hold the phone?

Their ergonomic department has found that the ergonomics are wrong, so they are actually doing you a favour by requiring you to hold the phone in a certain way.

It's actually to your benefit, and phones that don't have this, err, feature, are bad for you. /ducks

Regards.

This isn't phone (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32697946)

It is an iPhone. What 20th Century Neanderthal uses it to make phone calls? That is so second millennium! If you use it to make iChatty video calls, you can avoid the antenna problems using WiFi and enjoy screwing AT&T out of billing you for voice minutes. That is the Apple Way.
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