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Inside Apple's Anechoic Testing Chambers

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the pointy-walls dept.

Wireless Networking 229

As part of Apple's press conference on Friday, they mentioned their state-of-the-art testing facilities and released a brief video showing some of their anechoic chambers. They later invited journalists on a tour of the rooms and explained some of the experimentation process. Quoting: "There are four stages. The first is a passive test to study the form factor of the device they want to create. The second stage is what Caballero calls the 'junk in the trunk' stage. Apple puts the wireless components inside of the form factor and puts them in these chambers. The third part involves studying the device in one of these chambers but with human or dummy subjects. And the fourth part is a field test, done in vans that drive around various cities monitoring the device's signal the entire time (both with real people and with dummies). ... The most interesting of these rooms was one that Caballero called 'Stargate.' Why? Because, well, it looks like it belongs in the movie/TV series Stargate. Inside this room, there's a giant ring that a human sits on a raised chair in the center of. This chair slowly rotates around as signals are passed around the entire outer circle. This creates a 360 degree test area. I was told this room is completely safe for humans. And people typically spend 40 minutes in there at a time for testing. By comparison, devices can stay in the other anechoic chambers for up to 24 hours at a time. ... We then went into a room that contained fake heads."

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229 comments

Mind the gap (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942416)

And nowhere do I read a description of the simulated conductive hands covering the antenna gap. Might they have failed to consider one key variable to test for?

Re:Mind the gap (2, Interesting)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942628)

Re:Mind the gap (-1, Troll)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942728)

Looks like somebody can't accept the fact that RIM clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw Apple into a situation that relates specifically to RIM. Namely that a BlackBerry Bold 9700 drops from 5 bars to 1 bar when held in a way that attenuates the signal.

Re:Mind the gap (2, Informative)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942758)

Where's your head at man? The link is about RIM's response to Apple's accusation. It says that they don't have the problem Apple has and that Apple should take responsibility for (but won't).

Re:Mind the gap (2, Informative)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943656)

As someone who has the blackberry bold 9700, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:Mind the gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942682)

Their testing methods aren't functional. They are just designed to look cool.

Re:Mind the gap (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942806)

We then went into a room that contained fake heads

Fake heads? You insensitive clod! Please try to avoid being judgmental or making assumptions.
Haven't you seen Futurama? They may simply not want to talk to you.

It's likely to expect heads to roll after such things as Microsoft killing the Kin phone.
Having phone experience, some of those rolled heads may have found a home at Apple.

Not content to put the radio portion of a phone into a Bennie cap, Apple is likely to use more elegant solutions. Nanobots from the iPhone can transform your hand to give you internal parasitic antenna elements that adjust on the fly, providing antenna gain by focusing signal in the appropriate instantaneous direction. Other nanobots implement energy conversion from biofuel. You heard it here first. Apple will be the first to solve the problems of limited battery life and of obese users that otherwise don't look as good as their phones. As the one company that can be trusted to fully integrate and optimize the TOTAL experience, Apple will modify the user to complete the equation. You will be fashionably absorbed, and love it!

Re:Mind the gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943692)

No matter how you hold it, it works fine in... "The iChamber"!! Buy yours today!

Stargate? (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942428)

"The most interesting of these rooms was one that Caballero called 'Stargate.' Why? Because, well, it looks like it belongs in the movie/TV series Stargate."

Stargate? More like Cerebro: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebro [wikipedia.org]

Little known secret (5, Funny)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942588)

A little known feature of iphone 4 is that if you sit in the 'stargate' and have a finger bridging the 'gap' of the antennae, you are able to cross into an alternate dimension that can only be described as 'insanely great'. Take my word for it.

Re:Little known secret (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942608)

...can only be described as 'insanely great'. Take my word for it.

Most of the reports coming in describe the alternate dimension as 'insanely lonely." ;)

Re:Stargate? (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942744)

"The most interesting of these rooms was one that Caballero called 'Stargate.' Why? Because, well, it looks like it belongs in the movie/TV series Stargate." Stargate? More like Cerebro: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebro [wikipedia.org]

So where is the ring a person is sitting in Cerebro?

Suddenly, an anechoic chamber appears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942432)

I'm ready to bed apple rushed everything and barely used those chambers.
They wouldn't have done such basic antenna design mistakes otherwise.

If they actually cared more about the quality of the product than the secrecy around it they would have tested it with more actual humans in real life situations.

Re:Suddenly, an anechoic chamber appears (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942534)

If they actually cared more about the quality of the product than the secrecy around it they would have tested it with more actual humans in real life situations.

^^^ This.

All it would have taken was having someone hold the damn thing in either hand.

Re:Suddenly, an anechoic chamber appears (4, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942616)


*sigh* The way the press has scented blood on this - there's nothing they like better than to tear down what they've built up. iPhones. Good machines, over-priced, sometimes innovative with a somewhat irritating and closed development model attached to them. Apple wasn't producing immaculate products from Heaven before, and they're not producing bricks from Satan's arse all of a sudden. Something got fucked up along the way this time, it'll get fixed. The hype and the derision in both directions is irritating to me. Maybe we can stop the rollercoaster and start treating Apple like any other company soon, please? I don't see constant stories about Nokia's phones (which are pretty nice, imho), for example.

Re:Suddenly, an anechoic chamber appears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942708)

Face it, Apple fucked up this time and it really is a big deal. Unlike the iPhone market, Android is fragmented, and it is a good thing. If an Android model has serious issues or misses a feature you like (physical keyboard for example), just buy a different model.

If you don't like the current iPhone, your only choice is to stick with an older model. It matters. It is a big deal for people who love their smartphones.

Re:Suddenly, an anechoic chamber appears (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943054)

If you don't like the current iPhone, your only choice is to stick with an older model.

It's not my only choice at all. I can buy a Nokia which is what I did. I don't like the iPhone myself. I think it has a pretty good UI which is great for people who need that. But I'm currently writing software based on Postgres and I a simple UI isn't such a big selling point to me, I want value for money and a so long as the basic features I require are there (old Nokia 5800 in this case), then I'm happy.

Re:Suddenly, an anechoic chamber appears (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943072)

Agreed, and its not the first time they royally fucked up.

Remember the Apple III?

After the Apple III disaster, Apple released *3* new Apple II models, each lone lasted longer in the market than the III did.

Sometimes you fuck up so bad that you cant go forward.

Re:Suddenly, an anechoic chamber appears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943702)

Face it, Apple fucked up this time and it really is a big deal.

Yea fucked up so much that they will sell millions of these. Continue to sell millions of these and generate a huge profit. Yea that's really screwing up.

These special chambers... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942436)

Are they where its most popular app [motivatedphotos.com] is designed?

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942438)

You think the other companies don't have something like this? It's also funny to see how they use windows in these facilities. Steve must hate the place.

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942462)

I don't think it's a matter of saying "We're better than they are" as it is a matter of saying "before you accuse us of not testing, take a good look at our investment in testing facilities". Sure, the testing procedures may have been (probably were) flawed, but that's a separate issue from the rampant accusations of them not giving a shit.

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942688)

> I don't think it's a matter of saying "We're better than they are" as it is a matter of saying "before you accuse us of not
> testing, take a good look at our investment in testing facilities".

I agree. They're trying to show what goes into this kind of testing. Engineers and technology people aren't going to be surprised by Apple's facilities (though it's cool to see the photos of the anechoic chambers), since other major mobile phone manufacturers will have similar facilities.

Apple's trying to show some of the ways that they control conditions while they're testing. Sitting in a Starbucks holding the phone in weird ways and watching the bars change isn't a good way to measure a problem since there is zero control of the fading conditions. The fact that they had a bug in their signal strength algorithm is bad, but one can't complain the problem happened because they weren't testing.

I think there's been a huge overreaction to the issue. However, what did Apple expect? One could argue there was a huge overreaction when the iPhone/iPad was announced (albeit, positive in those cases). This antenna thing just reminds Apple that the knife cuts both ways.

Re:So what? (2, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942994)

The fact that they had a bug in their signal strength algorithm is bad, but one can't complain the problem happened because they weren't testing.

For the last time.. it was not a bug. A bug has unintentional consequences. What they were doing was intentional.

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942794)

As has been shown endless times while testing software, testing in controlled facilities often belies real life experiences.

Re:So what? (2, Insightful)

Alef (605149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942818)

I don't think it's a matter of saying "We're better than they are" as it is a matter of saying "before you accuse us of not testing, take a good look at our investment in testing facilities". Sure, the testing procedures may have been (probably were) flawed, but that's a separate issue from the rampant accusations of them not giving a shit.

Is it separate? If they have all these testing facilities and the testing procedure were in fact not flawed, then this problem is not caused by negligence but rather deliberate prioritization (i.e. time to market and/or development costs were more important). It other words, it would mean they really did not "give a shit".

I'm not certain boasting about their testing abilities is the rhetorically smartest thing to do at this moment.

Re:So what? (1)

whoda (569082) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942840)

But somehow, the real life testing using automated systems and real people both observing the data didn't catch the phones "signal strength software miscalculation" problem.

Re:So what? (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943148)

They choose to do it that way, and were very careful in the creation of that calculation. Even going as far as removing the utility to observe the actual signal strength.

Their calculation wasn't wrong. The error was in getting caught fudging their numbers.

Re:So what? (3, Funny)

Eharley (214725) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942502)

A lot of oscilloscopes run Windows.

Re:So what? (2, Informative)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942584)

I'd say a lot of instrumentation runs on Windows only.

Sad but true.

Re:So what? (4, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942752)

I can't watch the video because it's in quicktime and I'm on a linux machine, but it is true that a lot of instrumentation runs windows only. I had the opportunity a few years back to visit the manufacturer of some scientific microscopes. I asked them why in the world they were using such an unstable and complicated platform as windows XP to run their software when what you really wanted was something that was dedicated to running a microscope. E.g., we used to comment on how back in the days of dos, the software for these microscopes was actually better, because dos had few (no?) abstraction layers to the hardware and the software had direct control over the vesa bus cards that controlled the microscope and running that software was the ONLY thing that computer was doing. In the days of NT and XP, software glitches and lag time (e.g. screen updates, etc.) have gotten worse and I think some of that is due to the fact that a modern operating system has a lot of things going on in the background that interrupt the microscope software.

Anyhow, I brought up this problem with the manufacturer and told him that something like linux might be better since it's easier to have a more fined-grained control over which processes are running under what conditions. Their response was sort of typical, the engineers knew about this already and even had an alpha quality version of the software that ran on linux. The managers, on the other hand, couldn't even pronounce linux correctly and didn't even understand the problem. They said that if enough users ask for it, they'll do it. I guess the users don't ask.

I have noticed that on some of the non-production machines, such as the software controlling instrumentation at synchotrons, the software is running on some form of unix. So there's hope, but I think we're stuck with windows until the general user actually sees the benefit of a dedicated instrumentation OS over a perhaps ill-fitting, but familiar, OS. For those of us forced to use mission critical windows software, we still have a lot of computers that are forbidden to be plugged into the internet since obviously if just the OS is getting in the way, AV software would get in the way as well. It makes the validating the MS Genuine Advantage a fun experience when you don't have cell reception in a basement lab (nor land line) and no internet connection.

That is awesome. (1)

Tailor (1858412) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942450)

That doesn't even look like it is real, it looks like the guy in the chair is sitting in the senate from Star Wars. Of course that post had to be written by MG Siegler.

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942516)

Inside this room, there's a giant ring that a human sits on a raised chair in the center of.

Is this really something that readers even though it's valid grammar after editing are in need of?

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942606)

Is this really something that readers even though it's valid grammar after editing are in need of?

Perfect sense does this to Yoda make. Perhaps of the editor over critical you are, MMMMmmmmm?

Stargate, eh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942530)

The iPhone 4 doesn't have any bug, it has a symbiote!

Embedded Journalism (1)

kervin (64171) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942538)

This reminds me of the Embedded Journalists [wikipedia.org] traveling with the armed forces in Iraq.

Re:Embedded Journalism (1, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942706)

Except that Apple is a private company that you can choose not to do business with. They only get your money if you give it to them.

Re:Embedded Journalism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943462)

How is it possible to misunderstand so utterly the kind of similarity he was pointing out? I don't get you people.

And yet the missed it. (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942552)

This seems largely for show. Even the few live testers were forced to hide the phones in bumpers and the missed the finger of death.

Further, they contract out all of their FCC certification runs.

Re:And yet the missed it. (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942718)

How the fuck could it be for show? Were they not having a PR problem regarding antennas right now, the inside of this facility would have remained secret. They haven't managed to build this testing facility in Cupertino in the last two weeks.

Further, they contract out all of their FCC certification runs.

It wouldn't be much of a certification process if companies did the certification testing for their own phones themselves.

Re:And yet the missed it. (4, Insightful)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943218)

The tour was for show because it sidestepped the key points. That is,

  1. How with all that testing did they miss the obvious test of just touching the antenna?
  2. Why did they ignore their internal memos that flagged the issue early on?
  3. If they knew about the issue, why didn't they insulate the antenna to begin with?

  I believe they knew about the issue early on. I further believe it's quite possible the engineers had intended to coat the antenna but Jobs didn't like the look of a coated antenna [anandtech.com] . When it came down to "what are we going to do about this?" the logic that prevailed was "It only affects a minority (left-handed customers) so we'll put the bumpers out there and charge extra. That'll address the problem and bump our ROI on the phone. Problem solved." They failed to anticipate how the decision would blow up in their face and since it's probably Jobs who made the call, it's taken this long for the rest of Apple to convince him he had to acknowledge the mistake.

Re:And yet the missed it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943356)

Are you drunk or just stupid?

PR Glitter (5, Interesting)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942556)

The linked techcrunch article sure does have some pretty pictures, but it just makes it that much more sad that Apple missed something with their million-dollar test chambers that any left-handed person will notice in a day or two.

I'm right-handed and hold it in my left hand! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942642)

many people do this!

I use my right hand for dialing, etc

but honestly, even right-handers hold the damn phone in their left hand most of the time...

Re:I'm right-handed and hold it in my left hand! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942974)

Have you thought that maybe you're left-handed except for writing?

Re:PR Glitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942714)

The linked techcrunch article sure does have some pretty pictures, but it just makes it that much more sad that Apple missed something with their million-dollar test chambers that any left-handed person will notice in a day or two.

What Apple is doing is the equivalent of Microsoft showing us the large focus groups they used in developing Vista (note: Microsoft actually did that at one point during their Vista PR campaign. It didn't help).

Re:PR Glitter (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942754)

If it was an internet meme that Microsoft didn't use focus groups for Vista, then it would be a valid thing to reveal evidence that they did. Likewise, since it's been an internet meme that Apple didn't test the iPhone 4 properly, it's valid to show evidence that Apple does extensive testing of their phones.

Of course neither focus groups nor testing guarantees a defect free product design.

Re:PR Glitter (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942790)

If it was an internet meme that Microsoft didn't use focus groups for Vista, then it would be a valid thing to reveal evidence that they did. Likewise, since it's been an internet meme that Apple didn't test the iPhone 4 properly, it's valid to show evidence that Apple does extensive testing of their phones.

I was under the impression the meme was Apple knew, but they did it anyway, since it looked great.

It won't be the first time Jobs picks design over engineering.

Re:Troll alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943478)

I saw what you did here

Re:PR Glitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943056)

Welcome to the real world. Random selection testing vs millions of real users. It's odd that such a glaring flaw wasn't found but completely normal that millions of users find some problems in a few handsets.

Re:PR Glitter (4, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943452)

I see a lot of discussion of robot hands, synthetic hands, synthetic heads, etc. How much time is actually spent, you know, with dirty hands at the construction site? With sweaty hands after a jog? With wet hair and ears, just getting out of a shower? These aren't devices that are meant to be used by robots, they're meant to be used by human, yes icky sticky salty smelly human beings. Considering the problem is the variability of the human hand and modes of usage, I think they need to spend more time in field tests with the actual device. Of course, not leaving them in bars would be a good thing to remind the engineers, too.

Re:PR Glitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943880)

The linked techcrunch article sure does have some pretty pictures, but it just makes it that much more sad that Apple missed something with their million-dollar test chambers that any left-handed person will notice in a day or two.

Did they miss it though? Everything I'm seeing that isn't speculation says they've known about this from the early prototype days, and despite a sensitive point being dangerously close to human skin, are confidant it is a better-than-average antenna. Certainly better than any previous iPhone model.

They even have numbers to back it up: less dropped calls on iPhone 4's than the average across all AT&T customers.

PR stunt. (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942562)

All for spin control. The real question is how good is this facility compared to other manufacturers. I'll bet Motorola has similar if not better facilities.

Re:PR stunt. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942830)

All for spin control. The real question is how good is this facility compared to other manufacturers. I'll bet Motorola has similar if not better facilities.

Well duh! They'll be testing all the same things. Apple isn't saying anywhere that they have the unique and best testing facility on the business. They are simply counteracting the internet meme that they didn't do enough testing. In particular they are demonstrating that the performance of the antenna was tested in great detail whilst held in people's hands and without a case.

Of course as any engineer (hardware or software) will tell you, no amount of testing will guarantee a defect free product. It'll only reduce the number of defects.

Re:PR stunt. (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943164)

And so I say - spin control. We didn't see this article before the release of the IP4 because they had other PR priorities.

Yeah, right (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942566)

At one point we were told that the iPad had been in testing in this facility “for years.” Even more interesting may be that the iPhone 4 specifically had been in testing in these chambers for 2 years. You know that means. Not only was the iPhone 5 likely in the same room that we were in. But the iPhone 6 may have been around as well.

If you believe there's an iPhone 6 in that testing chamber under a black cloak, then Gizmodo has a phone they want to sell you.

Wow what a great chamber, IT DIDNT WORK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942578)

Stop posting apple PR whore stories. Really, this is slashdot, not TAUW

OOooo! BLINDED BY SCIENCE !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942602)

Stupid lady hacks !! Ina Fried excepted.

Re:OOooo! BLINDED BY SCIENCE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942646)

I met Ina Fried in a club down in North Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Cherry Cola
C-O-L-A Cola

She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said, "Lola"
L-O-L-A Lola, lo lo lo Lola

Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy,
But when she squeesed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Oh my Lola, lo lo lo Lola

Well, I'm not dumb but I can't understand
Why she walks like a woman and talks like a man
Oh my Lola, lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo Lola

Well, we drank champagne and danced all night,
Under electric candlelight,
She picked me up and sat me on her knee,
She said, "Little boy won't you come home with me?"

Well, I'm not the world's most passionate guy,
But when I looked in her eyes,
I almost fell for my Lola,
Lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo Lola

I pushed her away I walked to the door
I fell to the floor I got down on my knees
I looked at her, and she at me

Well that's the way that I want it to stay
I always want it to be that way for my Lola
Lo lo lo Lola

Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world,
except for Lola Lo lo lo Lola Lo lo lo Lola

Well I left home just a week before,
and I never ever kissed a woman before,
Lola smiled and took me by the hand,
she said, "Little boy, gonna make you a man"

Well I'm not the world's most masculine man,
but I know what I am and that I'm a man,
so is Lola
Lo lo lo Lola Lo lo lo Lola

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ina_Fried [wikipedia.org]
Personal
Prior to June 2003, Fried transitioned from male to female and began using the byline "Ina Fried." Fried had previously signed articles "Ian Fried." [4][13][14]

Still don't know when they knew... (5, Interesting)

HumanEmulator (1062440) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942604)

Nearly everything about how Apple has handled this has been wrong. From their disingenuous attempt to rebrand the problem "Antennagate" to stop the media from calling it the "Death Grip", to their feigned surprise [apple.com] that the iPhone signal bar calculation was heavily weighted to make the iPhone look like a strong performer.

Now they're showing off how much testing the phone went through, which seems indicate they knew it was glitchy from the start. Or did they? I mean after all, in one of the first reviews of the iPhone 4 before it was even released, Walt Mossberg said [allthingsd.com] :

However, on at least six occasions during my tests, the new iPhone was either reporting “no service” or searching for a network while the old one, held in my other hand, was showing at least a couple of bars. Neither Apple nor AT&T could explain this.

So the very first review picked up on it, but they didn't have an explanation? They said they waited to have a press conference because they wanted to do testing to determine the problem, but doesn't that undermine the point that you've done adequate testing? Why after their press conference, is it still so unclear if they knew whether skin connecting the antennas was a problem or not?

The really bizarre thing is I've had an iPhone 4 since day 1, I've seen the glitch and until I got a case it had been affecting my data connections, but I still really like this phone! Is Apple turning us all into battered wives?

Re:Still don't know when they knew... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942624)

You should head to the linux shelter for battered customers right away. Dont worry we wont tell Steve where you are.

Re:Still don't know when they knew... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942948)

If you don’t want an iPhone 4, Don’t buy it.
If you bought one and you don’t like, bring it back.

Re:Still don't know when they knew... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32944002)

Fellow Anonymous Coward, I salute you for your insight, which otherwise might go overlooked.

People should never complain, never bitch about flaws, never try to get a company to improve its product. We should just silently consume, or refrain.

I feel really sorry for Apple. Poor poor gigantic tech company, bullied by blogs and what not.

Maybe I'll buy a bunch of defective phones just to show my solidarity.
 

Re:Still don't know when they knew... (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943296)

Nearly everything about how Apple has handled this has been wrong. From their disingenuous attempt to rebrand the problem "Antennagate" to stop the media from calling it the "Death Grip",

Oh yeah? http://www.google.com/search?q=Antennagate&hl=en&safe=off&rls=en&prmd=nlv&sa=X&ei=witDTKDRHYyOjAexpIlV&ved=0CA8QpwU&source=lnt&tbs=nws%3A1%2Ccdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A6%2F1%2F2010%2Ccd_max%3A7%2F15%2F2010 [google.com]

Re:Still don't know when they knew... (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943696)

The really bizarre thing is I've had an iPhone 4 since day 1, I've seen the glitch and until I got a case it had been affecting my data connections, but I still really like this phone! Is Apple turning us all into battered wives?

Not really, it just means you have a different set of priorities. Different people have different priorities: some people will take a lame phone if it means they can keep a permanently open SSH connection. Others care about style (and let me troll here and say personally I think iPhone 4 is ugly). I suspect you just enjoy your phone and the connection issue was just a minor annoyance. Other people care about device freedom. It's a matter of preference, there's no such thing as the perfect phone.

Anechoic chamber is RF wise safer than the reality (3, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942664)

In the anechoic chamber there is going to be one source of RF and there will be no reflections or other paths, only line of sight from antenna to antenna.
In the real world you are exposed to far more RF. From your cell phone, from the cell phone of everyone else in the neighborhood, from the microwave oven, from every monitor, cpu and everything else.

The real danger in an anechoic chamber is sanity. The non-reflective cones also absorb acoustics, which make the space a very strange aural experience, which can do funny things to your brain. For one you feel really, really alone, you can't even hear the echo of your own voice.

Re:Anechoic chamber is RF wise safer than the real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943784)

Great! Let me add that to my "possible alternatives to waterboarding" list: place in anechoic chamber.

Many potential jokes... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942694)

'junk in the trunk'

I think they have just coined a new porn phrase.

the fourth part is a field test, done in vans...

... down by the river.

Apple tested what they MUST. (4, Insightful)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942700)

Now, as much as Apple annoys me, and they do enough that I stopped using my iPhone and got an HTC desire, I do feel compelled to point something out to you folks, most of whom are not in the wireless industry.

Apple, and to that extent, all wireless manufactures must perform TRP and TIS testing as laid out in the CTIA Test Plan for Mobile Station Over the Air Performance, which I think are currently at 2.2.2.
The thing is, OTA testing takes a long time and is actually a lot of money.
Please note, that for certification, a company can NOT perform this testing on their own. They must use a PTCRB test house, which is independent for what should be obvious reasons.

As I mentioned, the CTIA test plan looks at both TRP (Total radiated power) and TIS (total isotropic sensitivity) under a few conditions, which are head adjacent(left and right cheek) and free space. This is done in all bands and all modes. That's to say you test the 850 band in GSM. GPRS, EGPRS and UMTS(3g). Each band is tested in full on three channels, the low, mid and highest of the band. Then a single point offset method is applied to all intermediate channels relative to the 3 primary channels in both position and power level to save time.
This still takes a LONG time.
A GSM 850 L/M/H TRP in free space takes about 1 hour in a non stargate system (note almost no labs use this system since it uses power meters which have trouble to properly trigger a EGPRS pulse)
about the same for the same conditions in TIS.
UMTS though takes about 4 hours for the TIS.
Now, you take a phone like the iPhone and account for charge times and the like and you are looking at about 3 - 4 weeks of lab time since you can only use 1 phone!
I also assume that would be lots of cash in lab time. Granted, that's crackers to Apple.
The point is, all phones on a PTCRB network, to witch ATT is, MUST pass these requirements. This means that Apple had to have passes ALL requirements.
They did was they were required to do. It just goes to show what you can't catch everything with this testing, but given that it's a rare problem..you can catch most.

Re:Apple tested what they MUST. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32942746)

Ooooooh, lah-di-dah.

Re:Apple tested what they MUST. (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942960)

The thing is, OTA testing takes a long time and is actually a lot of money.

Apple has a fucking lot of money right now.

Re:Apple tested what they MUST. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943536)

You know, nobody complained that their antennas signals were too strong...

The dead horse (1)

w00tsauce (1482311) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942800)

Keeps getting beat cmon

Re:The dead horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943968)

Yep... stinky dead horse... ... guess Portland, Oregon has the best AT&T coverage on the planet... Haven't seen a problem with reception in the 3 weeks I've had the phone.

Other projects... (3, Interesting)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942820)

“This lab used to be secret. Most people don’t know it exists,” Caballero told us. Dubbed the “Black Labs,” when I asked about the black cloaks, Caballero said that “we have a lot of other projects going on.”

Other secret projects? Alien research!!! That's how they stay ahead of the curve. I knew it!

Nothing really special (2, Insightful)

whoda (569082) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942822)

It sounds like a newer version of the testing facilities we were using at HP 15 years ago.

Standard RF test procedure (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943248)

It sounds like a newer version of the testing facilities we were using at HP 15 years ago.

Right. Those are common in the RF community. I used to work in a facility that made military RF gear, and they had some, including one big enough to hold a satellite.

The other alternative, incidentally, is to test outdoors in an RF-quiet area. Testing for FCC Part 15 RF noise output compliance is often done in a flat, open field, with the device sitting on a wooden turntable. The test gear is stationary, and the device is rotated to check if it's emitting something it shouldn't. For cell phone gear you have to test somewhere that doesn't have anything emitting on cell phnone frequencies, so you either have to test in an anechoic chamber or somewhere remote with no cell phone coverage.

Cool photos, Standard RF Testing Chamber (2, Interesting)

xianthax (963773) | more than 3 years ago | (#32942884)

good job on the photography but these are pretty standard anechoic RF testing chambers. The only news worthy thing is that Apple is main-steam enough that people actually looked at these photos.

Any company doing serious RF development will either have their own and rent time in a dedicated testing facility.

Search google for "anechoic chamber" and you'll find hundreds of photos of such facilities.

The US Air Force has one big enough to park a C-130 in :)

TOO MUCH APPLE COVERAGE (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943050)

iPhone 4 is out. Some people have signal issues due to a design decision. Many people think it's the best phone they've had. Many people think it's the spawn of Satan. Apple held a press conference to give away a fix to the problem. Some people think the fix is ugly and doesn't do anything about the Satan problem. The End.

This flamewar has been pounding Slashdot for a long time, but since the lost/recovered prototype iPhone 4, it's been ridiculous. Every . Single . Day on Slashdot there has to be an Apple flamewar, and the Anti-Apple jokes now begin to bleed into other stories. Too much coverage, Slashdot. More physics, less phones. Leave the intensive, by-the-minute coverage of mobile phones to Gizmodo and Engadget.

Re:TOO MUCH APPLE COVERAGE (0)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943682)

It will still outsell every other smartphone (perhaps even non-smartphone) handset on the market and Apple will remain more profitable in the phone industry than its 5 nearest competitors combined.

That's a terrible post... (5, Funny)

IrrepressibleMonkey (1045046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32943746)

iPhone 4 is out. Some people have signal issues due to a design decision. Many people think it's the best phone they've had. Many people think it's the spawn of Satan. Apple held a press conference to give away a fix to the problem. Some people think the fix is ugly and doesn't do anything about the Satan problem. The End.

This flamewar has been pounding Slashdot for a long time, but since the lost/recovered prototype iPhone 4, it's been ridiculous. Every . Single . Day on Slashdot there has to be an Apple flamewar, and the Anti-Apple jokes now begin to bleed into other stories. Too much coverage, Slashdot. More physics, less phones. Leave the intensive, by-the-minute coverage of mobile phones to Gizmodo and Engadget.

Sorry, but your post really doesn't make it clear whether you are for or against the iPhone... How the hell are the Slashdot crowd supposed to mod that?

Just pick a side and start whining - you'll get the hang of it soon enough. They'll be another iPhone 4 submission tomorrow, so you can try again then.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32943888)

I do understand the ins and outs of the antenne problem. Thing is, I still want an Iphone 4 as badly as I wanted it before. Signal coverage in my area is insane, there is no chance I'll ever get less than five bars no matter how you define them. The only reason I don't have one already is that I can't afford it. Oh, and it isn't available yet in my country (not really a problem as I understand how to order it from half way around the planet).

The Iphone 4 has flaws. So be it. It is still the best smartphone on the market. I will never, ever, buy another HTC after they burned me with a semi-defective firmware on the S-100. Nokia? Ha! Don't make me enumerate the ways I got shanked with those 'phones.

So, to summarize, what are we talking about here? :-)

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