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  • Engineer to CR: You're Doing It Wrong


    An electromagnetic engineer has found fault with the way Consumer Reports did its iPhone 4 testing, calling it "uncontrolled, unscientific" and no different than the simple experiments "that many of the blogging sites have done." While Bob Egan - who says he dealt with "exactly the kind of issues that now face Apple" in his career - stops short of saying that there is no problem, he says it was wrong of Consumer Reports to present their testing results as authoritative.

    As reported here on Monday, Consumer Reports claimed to have "confirmed" the reported antenna issue, replicating the results found by many users and more than a few blogs, and saying "it's official." Its lab tests consisted of setting up three new iPhone 4s in a sealed chamber with a "base station emulator," along with three other phones including an iPhone 3GS and a Palm Pre. Consumer Reports engineers are seen in the video of the testing in the lab, surrounded by a bunch of equipment with an iPhone in a clamp that looks like a robotic hand. Sure enough, when one of the engineers touches the lower-left corner, signal drops, and the other phones perform normally in the same tests.

    While the sealed chamber and base station emulator gave the ability to measure transmit power accurately, allowing more precise calculation of the difference between expected and observed signal, the test in general was no different than what Anand Shimpi had done weeks before, or really than what thousands of users have done on their own. Egan seems to be comparing the testing to an FCC certification test when he asserts that "the iPhone should have been sitting on a non-metallic pedestal inside an anechoic chamber," with no people inside the chamber and that "the base station simulator should have been also sitting outside the chamber and had a calibrated antenna plumbed to it from inside the chamber." He was asked in the comments to his blog post how they could have done the testing with no people inside. In response, Egan referred to the dummy heads used in specific absorption rate (SAR) testing of phones for the FCC. To gain meaningful information about the extent and possible cause of the problem, Egan notes, more scientific testing would have been necessary.

    It should be established beyond a reasonable doubt by this point that the Death Grip problem is real. Apple has no doubt confirmed the problem in its lab testing, and may even be starting to make moves to address it. While Consumer Reports probably overreached in saying the problem was "confirmed," it's at least another report - like Anandtech's - with detailed and specific results - and will hopefully be yet another spur for Apple to step up and deal with the issue directly.

    Source: AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Engineer to CR: You're Doing It Wrong started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 78 Comments
    1. billmilo's Avatar
      billmilo -


      Therre iz no antenna issue, infidels!
    1. maddawg05's Avatar
      maddawg05 -
      the numbers don't lie...unless all the folks with "defective IP4's" just hate their new iPhones soooo much they all got together across the country and came up with this reception issue to complain about. When in fact most of these ppl love their new iPhone even with the issues....they just want a remedy and enjoy their new toy.
    1. x2dope's Avatar
      x2dope -
      wasnt this already addressed? The Remedy is a case, tape, or not to grip your iphone *KEEP IT CLEAN PLEASE*. Pretty simple really. Everyone just wants a little something extra...typical america that we live in today.
    1. XChrisX's Avatar
      XChrisX -
      What this guy is saying is a little wacko if you ask me, however Consumer Reports aren't the brightest group either. No issues with my phone either way, so I'm not worried.
    1. LGgeek's Avatar
      LGgeek -
      "Egan notes, more scientific testing would have been necessary."

      doesn't this belong on a super geek blog somewhere, CR did more than hold it in their hands which is what most of the testing had been up until then. One geek engineer slamming the approach used by another geek engineer, pretty much normal day here is SV.

      To me the best test done so far are real people holding it in their hand, like in the "real" world. It really doesn't matter what happens in the labs with it sitting on a pedestal, pedestals don't buy these things and walk around in real world.
    1. Maxidrom2002's Avatar
      Maxidrom2002 -
      Quote Originally Posted by reanimationxp View Post
      All of these tests remind me of Mythbusters using ballistics gel to test conductivity through the human body. Cmon, really? It varies so much with each person there is no way to test things like this. Each person's hand will have drastic differences in conductivity. Each area you stand on the face of the planet will react drastically differently to this "problem". The only problem here is that the antennas are on the outside, and even then, it's a difference from other phones.. not a problem. On the pro side, you get a better signal, which is something you guys complained about before. On the bad side, you have to hold it a little differently and avoid a slit on the phone.. or get a case. Why is this such an issue?

      You want to test this? For real? Do a survey of everyone who bought the phone. Instruct them on how to perform the death grip, and have them return their results. The overwhelming response will be that people are fine with their phone and don't see the problem. If they do, they've not been a dumbass about it, and bought a case. Even a strip of tape around the edge fixes this people.. /TOPIC!

      Why oh why are we beating the everloving **** out of a dead horse?
      ...i have a case for my phone 4, i barely use that stupid thing anyway since its not jailbroken (use my jaibroken 3g), but i've noticed everytime i put alot of bandwith through the phone 4, my bars just go down like its cool, or it will even switch to Edge...wtf?... u know, apple should produce a better product in the first place, i don't hear any of my friends that have droids and google phones complain about anything, because those companies have it done the right way...
    1. jeffhesser's Avatar
      jeffhesser -
      everybody is finding a way to get their 5 minutes of fame. Adding iphone4 to the title of an article these days is almost better click bait than porn or boobs! love it, hate it, complain about it, complain about people complaining about it... and on and on!
    1. aposey's Avatar
      aposey -
      I have done testing and here is my results.

      If you have an iphone 4 and you hold it in any way there is not much of a problem and you do not drop calls.

      If you own a EVO or another Android phone you are reporting many problems with your iphone 4 even though you don't actually own one.

      Case Closed.
    1. Maxidrom2002's Avatar
      Maxidrom2002 -
      drop calls is not really an apple thing, its more att+apple combination...
    1. reanimationxp's Avatar
      reanimationxp -
      ^lol they do tend to hate a lot. I'm not saying there isn't an issue.. clearly there is, but it's so easily solved that we shouldn't be talking about it anymore.

      I disagree that droid phones have done anything "right" and Apple hasn't. Every phone has its' benefits and its' caveats. Android lacks the good user experience, animations and smooth framerates, apps and beauty that iPhones have. In this one instance, iPhone fell short on design/signal for SOME people. I can deal with having a bumper on my phone when I have a better camera, better software, better screen and smoother FPS than anyone else, thanks.
    1. Wilbourn's Avatar
      Wilbourn -
      Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you tonights battle of the pocket protectors and the fight of the decade...Get ready for "The Showdown in Silicon Town".

      In the blue corner, fitting 5 pens in his pocket protector....LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, APPLE "THE DIVERSION CONVERSION' ENGINEER !!!!!! - "I'll show YOU what a death grip really looks like !!!"

      In the red corner, fitting 4 pens and 1 pencil in his pocket protector, ....LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, CONSUMER "FRANK THE TANK" REPORTS ENGINEER!!!!! - "I'm gonna send you back to the Analog Age !!!"

      ----"Are you ready ?!?!? , Are you Ready ?!?!?...........COMPUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

      Two men enter, only one will survive......order now on pay per view/
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Maxidrom2002 View Post
      u know what, screw that guy and his stupid anechoic chamber, what is he dealing with?... nuclear power or something?....its obvious to everyone that this phone has problems...this makes me very very mad...
      True there is a problem. But there are two issues here. 1. Finding out what and where the problem is and 2. Making claim without 100% fact... Let's say for argumemt sake Apple was a small company. And CR made a damaging report that crippled the company financially and they went under due to it. Now where would that leave the customers? With nothing or no fix. Like I posted prev in the explosive and emr world we use gps and similar items that require signal. We had the same issues and low and behold after some testing and software fix we had the prob fixed. Now I am not saying the soft fix will help this case but what I am saying is it's wrong and stupid to do a knee jerk reaction. It's also worth investigating that not everyone is having this issue. I have three phones one with no issue and two with an issue. Also my daughter cannot replicate the issue with any iPhone. Strange... Me I can make any phone loose signal unless I'm next to a cell tower or in the AT&T store. In fact I have to wear a em wristband when working w explosives due to me having higher em body chemistry. So to accuse and damage company's shares and share holders without 100% fact is wrong. Do you all think CR really cares about us?!? Think twice. They care about their attention just like all news agencies. They were one of the first to report how great the phone was with the best signal todate. Now almost a month later (a year in news speak after all unlike apple they don't have a financial burden or board of directors to get stuff approved for a fix) they correct their statement... Why??? Because they care??? No!!! Sweeps and anything iPhone is HUGE news! I mean did you see all the reporting over the Nokia that failed or acetel, how about the Microsoft phone that was pulled a couple of months after launch... What about thoes customers CR?!?? It's not big news. People yup I believe there is a problem. And I also believe there will be a fix. But I am also very in tune with the tech news world has their Bush/Obama/Iraq war news in the form of an iPhone. Remember when CNN stated Gore won the presidency? Hmmm how embarrassing. Same crap just with a piece of tech... Now as far as emergency recall?!??? Ummm it's not an emergency... Safety security is not at risk. People aren't dying over this... I say we all just wait to see what apple will do or of the software fix works. And for thoes that don't want to. STOP FREAKING CRYING!!!!! APPLE SAID YOU CAN RETURN IT!!! It's now your option that you are keeping it. Either sh@t or get off the pot so to speak. All this speculation and hate is retarted! Sorry if you are like me and decided to keep your iPhone. But I am not sorry if it bothers you that bad and decided to not return it... Why you won't leaves me clueless except for a hunch that you want to keep it so you can cry... Or in hopes of hanging on for iPhone reporation $...

      Pease out and PLEASE STOP BASHING...

      There I'm done venting... Sorry if your offended. But please return your phone if it does not work for you...
    1. Cokeman's Avatar
      Cokeman -
      Quote Originally Posted by x2dope View Post
      wasnt this already addressed? The Remedy is a case, tape, or not to grip your iphone like ur cooock when ur jerking off. Pretty simple really. Everyone just wants a little something extra...typical america that we live in today.
      The remedy would be for Apple to fix it. I don't want a free case. I want to be able to exchange it for a non defective iPhone.
      Anyone with this issue doesn't have to grip the phone like they are trying to break it. Touching that strip will cause the problem. It should be called the "Death Touch".
      It's people like you why companies get away with crap like this. There are defective iPhone 4's and Apple should be replacing them.
    1. giancarlo's Avatar
      giancarlo -
      Why don't you guys just get bumpers and STFU about this whole thing already. Apple is not sweating with this whole death grip recall crap because look at the news....the phone is still selling out and people still wait. The pro's of this phone outweigh the cons. Like others on here, I got mine at launch and never had an issue with dropped calls or signal....but I am in Miami. Regardless I STILL bought a bumper for the phone, because quite honestly I think it looks better and feels more sturdy with the bumper. You guys can either continue blogging and crying or just really get a bumper....you might be surprised how much you'll like it afterwards

      Quote Originally Posted by Cokeman View Post
      The remedy would be for Apple to fix it. I don't want a free case. I want to be able to exchange it for a non defective iPhone.
      Anyone with this issue doesn't have to grip the phone like they are trying to break it. Touching that strip will cause the problem. It should be called the "Death Touch".
      It's people like you why companies get away with crap like this. There are defective iPhone 4's and Apple should be replacing them.
      BTW, it's not a defective device. You're apparently still using it when chances are you have a backup phone at home.
    1. TheDirtyDiddler's Avatar
      TheDirtyDiddler -
      Death drip or no death grip, I can't understand why people aren't putting cases on their expensive glass phones.
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheDirtyDiddler View Post
      ... I can't understand why people aren't putting cases on their expensive glass phones.
      Simple. Different strokes for different folks
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cokeman View Post
      The remedy would be for Apple to fix it. I don't want a free case. I want to be able to exchange it for a non defective iPhone.
      Anyone with this issue doesn't have to grip the phone like they are trying to break it. Touching that strip will cause the problem. It should be called the "Death Touch".
      It's people like you why companies get away with crap like this. There are defective iPhone 4's and Apple should be replacing them.
      If it don't work for you than return it for a refund. The ball is in your court. If you think it's a bad product dot buy it. Apple already said return it. Why are all the people demanding--missing this point? Yes it's your right to buy the phone but it's your decision to buy and say with what you feel is substandard. It's getting old reading the hate mail over this. You find a hair in your food do you still eat it? Or if you get bad service all the time do you go back? Come on there is life without an iPhone. Return it and move on!!!

      Also people like you quote has some truth however, constant complaining and false claims with no truth like cr is also counter productive. I would rather apple take their time (yes that's fine the did wave return fees for people wishing to get a full refund) and get it right! Let's say it is the software. And they recalled or issued bumpers and that didn't work. Hmmmm so let's either return the phone or be satisfied with what works. Case.







      For the record YES I like mine and am keeping it!!!
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      So the positioning of the SIM card inside the tray is no longer one of the causes? I remember that being brought up a while ago.
    1. Imsorussian's Avatar
      Imsorussian -
      Quote Originally Posted by whereswaldo View Post
      How do we know that he isn't doing it wrong too?
      I used to work as a cell tech for nextel, and I think I was doing something from from what i'm reading, the way I used to test signal, is I had a screen room which isolates the surrounding freq to avoid interference, i never had the phone stationary, I would just lay it on the table and I would be inside the screen room, I always thought that if i'm grounded (and the floor was rubber) i would not conduct any freq and I wasn't holding the phone durring the test. so I dont know I dont have the prob with iphone "deathgrip" syndrome and I got it on 24th of june. so I think its a software issue and not hardware. but what do I know? I only studdies 2 years in micro engeneering and learned from this guy that looked like the top nerd and I think he was a 50 yr old virgin, and by what I observed he seemed to know what he was doing
    1. Hyperextension's Avatar
      Hyperextension -
      Wow people flip-flop so easily and love to support Apple even if Apple could care less about us when it all comes down to it.

      I sure hope that they made a change, but why keep people guessing? Apple should come out and say they made a change. I am hopeful that there was a change and it is working now, prior to the launch here in Canada, expected to be announced on July 16. I have read about iPhone4 users in Canada unable to replicate the dropped bars on Rogers network though.

      Who knows? As long as it works, I am happy, but I will not settle for dropping bars due to the way I hold or do not hold it. One advantage I suppose, is that I am on bluetooth 95% of the time I am using the phone. Either a headset or in-car.