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  • Apple Defends iPhone 4 Reception with General Swipe at All Mobile Phones


    Since Wednesday evening, we've heard from no shortage of readers and contributors on MMi who are confounded, amused, or downright angry about the peculiar phenomenon of cell signal dramatically tapering off when you hold the iPhone 4 by the antenna band. While we've investigated the matter and tinkered with possible fixes since the issue was first broached, Apple formally chimed in on the matter last night.

    Cupertino's response? "This is a fact of life for every wireless phone," the company said in reference to mobile phones having reception issues when held improperly. "Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas." Needless to say, some iPhone 4 buyers (and prospective buyers) aren't taking too kindly to Apple's terse response to the issue. Of course, Apple did at least present one viable solution: "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."

    To be fair, Apple is correct about other devices having reception issues when they are held or touched at locations sensitive to antenna disruption or blockage. But plenty of iPhone 4 buyers were, admittedly, looking for something more from Apple than, as the Financial Times reported, a recommendation to hold the phone differently. Luckily, as the company was more than willing to point out, there are products - like a $30 bumper - which can mitigate the impact of this reception glitch. But following a frustrating pre-order debacle and now massive iPhone 4 supply shortages, this latest headache likely isn't a welcome or timely headache either for customers or Apple.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Defends iPhone 4 Reception with General Swipe at All Mobile Phones started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 151 Comments
    1. bftiedt's Avatar
      bftiedt -
      I think this is over hyped.. the only reason we are hearing about this is bc you can touch part of the antenna. If it was internalized like the other iPhones we wouldn't be hearing about this at all.
    1. Dark Angel's Avatar
      Dark Angel -
      I highly doubt that Apple is going to redesign the antenna(too late now), and so the logical resolution should be to offer the "bumper" at no cost and of the customer's choice in colour. Anyone with basic electronics knowledge could have advised the Apple engineers.....but they obviously knew this, hence the release of the "bumper". Sneaky, but not smarter than most of us out here.....except for the few that are willing to accept the flaw and pay more to resolve it(ie: pay for the bumper). It boggles my mind.
    1. CMOSlabs's Avatar
      CMOSlabs -
      Due to the FCC (Freaks, Crooks & Cronies) they made the cell phone manufacturers put the antennas at the bottom of phones so your brain wont get cooked so bad. Been that way for a while. Your body, being mostly water, does block the signal a tad. Touching the actual ant though is not a good idea. Nothing a little scotch tape wouldn't cure. 30.00 case? Damm, I'm in the wrong business

      Wait I have a idea that came out years ago. The o'l antenna booster decal.



      Just put this on the back lower right corner

      I made one for my 3GS a while back. It actually helped it out in my poor AT&T area.
    1. SchmilK's Avatar
      SchmilK -
      i drove 32 miles in 45 minutes while on a single phone call and going passed the 2 mile marker areas that i ALWAYS drop calls on my 3GS i did NOT loose the call once...the whole time TRYING to get it to drop the call!
    1. katmeef's Avatar
      katmeef -
      Quote Originally Posted by bftiedt View Post
      I think this is over hyped.. the only reason we are hearing about this is bc you can touch part of the antenna. If it was internalized like the other iPhones we wouldn't be hearing about this at all.
      i disagree that it's overhyped. Yes, we wouldn't be hearing about it if it was internalized like other iphones..... Thats the point!
    1. eg6motion's Avatar
      eg6motion -
      My verizon phone does this. Apple people are straight crazy. They are like spoiled little children.
      If I hold my iPhone 4 in the above manner, I lose 1-2 bars. If I hold my BlackBerry Storm in the above manner, I lose 2 bars.
      YouTube - BlackBerry Storm with iPhone 4 reception issue
    1. wiiwet's Avatar
      wiiwet -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheOrioles33 View Post
      They need to send everyone a free band thingy because $29.99 is nuts! Waiting for the Hong Kong version on eBay for 99 cents.
      this is how apple can make more money out of you, and they have more replacements for us if we drop the phone, that is why we can take it a part with just 1 screw driver.
    1. katmeef's Avatar
      katmeef -
      but does your blackberry loose ALL reception and go searching for service?
    1. j.eck.art.3d's Avatar
      j.eck.art.3d -
      For once, the lefties in the world win! I really am sorry to the majority of the right-handed world for making light of this.
      I was wondering if my phone was miraculously unaffected by this issue as I hadn't seen ANY signal loss as I held my phone. Then I realized... I hold the phone in my right hand and use my left hand to navigate, click, touch and swipe. I guess the iPhone 4 as the "green scissors" that were in your elementary art classroom.
      In response to how apple could "let this happen": I read a post today that makes PERFECT sense. As we all saw a few months ago from the lost/stolen/leaked iPhone 4 prototype, when Apple field tested these devices they hid them inside of cases that made them look like iPhone 3Gs so that they could test them "in the wild" without the public even knowing. They probably found this issue very late in the development process. So late in fact that they had already committed to it fully. Now, if you take a few steps back like I did after the keynote and question why they thought to put a rubber gap between the antennas to insulate them, BUT not think that humans would complete that circuit, it doesn't shine well on their engineers. When I posed this question to myself during the keynote, I just thought "wow, apple must have some type of way to prevent the short built in, like how GFI outlets work, INGENIOUS" I guess I was wrong
      It takes a lot less time to develop a mold for a rubber "bumper" than to totally redesign a phone, hence Apple came to market with the first ever Apple-made case.
      These "bumpers" probably cost less than a dollar to produce, if Apple wasn't so strong-headed, narrow minded and elitist, they would give a "bumper" to everyone who has already purchased and purchases an iPhone 4 in the future. That would be a good PR move, they already admitted that it is a fault of their design, so appeasing the masses wouldn't make it any worse, it would only make things better.
      None the less, don't expect next year's iPhone to have external antennas, which is a shame because this year's design (aesthetically and ergonomically) kicks @ss, I love it!
    1. brbortscheller's Avatar
      brbortscheller -
      Wow. They make you pay an extra $30+ just for your iPhone to work?! HOW PATHETIC!
    1. giancarlo's Avatar
      giancarlo -
      I honestly think it's a matter of getting used to. I honestly don't see the signal drop anymore, and I never had a drop call either. I am in Miami, FL.....so maybe it all depends on what part of the "coverage map" you're on? I'm absolutely loving my iPhone 4.....like it would have to completly brick up for me to be mad about it.
    1. Jazz0420's Avatar
      Jazz0420 -
      It's s@*% like this from apple that made is real easy to switch to the EVO!!!
    1. evolutionarymc's Avatar
      evolutionarymc -
      As soon as I get mine, it's getting unboxed and put straight into a Defender series Otterbox. I wont even put a print on it, I may just wear gloves. In my opinion you'd have to be crazy to carry that bad boy naked. lol!!!
    1. pldtboy's Avatar
      pldtboy -
      Steve Job is holding it wrong when he did the presentation at WWDC. So even him he doesn't know that there's a flaw in the antennae reception.
    1. ClerkDante's Avatar
      ClerkDante -
      For every problem, there is a solution, and Apple historically has resolved them more quickly than any other company.

      Chill out people.

      PS-I can't make it happen to mine. 2 big cups of Hatorade.
    1. evolutionarymc's Avatar
      evolutionarymc -
      You know? When companies aren't afraid to innovate they catch all this slack, there are always flaws in new design. That's how you fix them for the future products. Every other phone on the market is garbage! I'll take my few iPhone flaws with all it's PROS.
    1. wakka102's Avatar
      wakka102 -
      I have yet to have any issues with mine that I got atthe store yesterday. It's a 32GB model. No screen issues or antenna problems at all. I imagine a small reception drop is normal and acceptable of up to a bar or two if held wrong. But if you are completely losing signal take it to apple because that is certainly not happening with all the phones. I can attest to that with mine
    1. katmeef's Avatar
      katmeef -
      Quote Originally Posted by evolutionarymc View Post
      You know? When companies aren't afraid to innovate they catch all this slack, there are always flaws in new design. That's how you fix them for the future products. Every other phone on the market is garbage! I'll take my few iPhone flaws with all it's PROS.
      Nice innovation - a signal kill switch

      There's no right or wrong way to hold the ipad (but there is for the iphone!)
    1. silent1643's Avatar
      silent1643 -
      i likie (mute after a few seconds)
      [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK37dysPPzU[/ame]
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Quote Originally Posted by beantown6171 View Post
      just went to the apple store, he gave me a new phone but it did the same thing, he told me to just keep my original one and he will get me a bumper but they were sold out he said i can go online and order one, i said no way i am paying for one, he said well i don't know what to say he gave me a 1-800 number to call.

      i called and said i wanted to talk to a supervisor and explained to him that this is unacceptable, he then said he will send me a free bumper and hope that it will help
      Pass the number along please.