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  • Apple Rejects App That Monitors Cell Radiation


    Apple has rejected an app that allows users to determine the radio frequency energy emitted by the iPhone on the grounds that the information would "create confusion with iPhone owners from a usability perspective." The Tawkon app was developed by a team of Israeli engineers over 18 months, and figures the amount of energy your head absorbs by estimating the power output of the iPhone's radio.

    Cell phone radiation is the subject of considerable debate, with manufacturers (predictably) on one side, consumer groups on the other, and scientists somewhere in the middle. The World Health Organization has stated, based on the consensus view of scientists studying the issue, that it is unlikely that cancer could be caused by cell phone use. However, some studies have shown an increased risk of a benign tumor of the auditory nerve, and many countries have recommended specific limits on the amount of energy that is safe for your head to absorb. The specific absorption rate (SAR) metric is used to measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the body, in watts per kilogram. The US has set a SAR limit of 1.6 W/kg for cell phone use. The iPhone 3GS maxes out at a SAR of 0.79 W/kg, while the older 3G puts out 1.38 W/kg.

    The amount of power the phone's radio puts out at any given moment obviously affects the SAR, and different things will cause the radio to work harder. For example, if you're holding your phone in a way that covers the antenna, the phone will have to boost the radio to compensate. Likewise, if you're deep inside a building as opposed to being out in the open, or if weather conditions limit the radio signal, the cellular base station will instruct the phone to transmit at a higher level. But there's no way to know what power level your phone's radio is using at a particular time, so you might be exposing yourself to more energy than you're expecting.

    This is where Tawkon comes in… or came in, before the ban hammer dropped. According to the company website, Tawkon uses your phone's GPS and compass as well as the accelerometer and proximity sensor to determine the distance from cellular towers, the speed you're moving at, the weather, terrain, how close the antenna’s is from your body, and whether the antenna is vertical or horizontal. It uses all these factors to calculate a prediction of how much energy your body is absorbing at a particular moment.

    In order to monitor your exposure in real time, Tawkon allows you to access your address book from inside the app so you can make a call. It monitors the "radiation levels" with an intuitive green-yellow-red display, and warns you with a vibration and a tone if you get too close to the "red zone." Using the phone's proximity sensor, Tawkon also makes suggestions like recommending a better location, using a headset or changing the iPhone’s orientation relative to your face.

    Tawkon had been languishing in the approval process for a couple of weeks, the company told TechCrunch's Roi Carthy, and ultimately Apple denied approval on the grounds that the information Tawkon provided would create confusion with iPhone owners from a usability perspective. Use of the term "radiation" is a bit scary: emissions at the frequencies that cell phones use are not ionizing, and are far, far below levels used to create dielectric heating in a microwave oven. However, the idea that the way to prevent "confusion" is to keep users from getting information about their exposure seems specious reasoning at best.

    Tawkon told Carthy that they hope Apple will eventually approve the app, and that they intend to sell it for between $5 and $10 US. They are working on Blackberry and Android versions, so hopefully mere competitive pressures will encourage Apple to do the right thing here.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Rejects App That Monitors Cell Radiation started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. iest's Avatar
      iest -
      There is very little evidence published to support any notion of health risks associated with using a mobile phone.

      I put published in bold because there are scientists out there who have put research into this showing unexpected results, but no publisher will release it.
      I know this for a fact because a few lecturers of mine (who are research scientists) have had this happen to them.

      The long and short of it is that microwave transmissions from mobile phones do cause changes within living cells nearby.
      But this is obvious - just like microwaves of a certain frequency vibrate water molecules and heat them up (microwave oven) then microwaves of other frequencies can certainly cause other small molecules to vibrate. We're talking cell-surface proteins here.

      But the fact of the matter is, the only thing that is happening is certain molecules are heating up (a bit).
      This is in no way similar to ionising radiation such as X-ray or gamma, that actually rips DNA apart and causes cancer.
      The power levels are simply too low for it to cause an effect.

      That's how I perceive it anyway.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Like I say, some people will believe anything.
      I suggest you cease using a mobile phone if you believe that then.
      I have seen no evidence whatsoever of any adverse affects and I believe that is because there are no adverse effects. If you believe differently then the only safe course is to stop using them.
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by pauldanielash View Post
      figures the amount of energy your head absorbs by estimating the power output of the iPhone's radio.
      stop asking how it works, read the dang article before commenting
    1. matthew1111's Avatar
      matthew1111 -
      Apple will do anything do get more business, especially if it means endangering their business customers.
    1. CMOSlabs's Avatar
      CMOSlabs -
      Hmm, Ive been a Ham Radio operator since the 70's. A 144mhz and a 440mhz handheld transceivers could put out around 3 watts, Then there are the linears that pump the rf output to 1000 watts or more, Breaker,breaker 19. Your microwave oven is 800 to 1000 watts or more at a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz (GHz)—a wavelength of 122 millimetres (4.80 in)

      Back in the 80's when I got my first cell phone, it was a large black box with a cable to the hand set that mounted on my dash of my van. Mounted the external ant, outside on the roof. In the instructions it said, do not get closer than 3 feet from the ant during operation. These type of phones were 800mhz with a output of 3 to 5 watts of power. About the same as a CB Radio at 27mhz. Radio Shack had a hand held CB with 5watts of power too. Then the bagphones and and Transportable cell phones started coming out. Again, 3 to 5 watts at 800mhz, the ant was on the phone though and not on the handset. These were all analog cell phones. Then Motorola came out with there brick phone ($2500.00), now we can have 3 watts of 800mhz next to are head while talking. A few years later, the famous Motorola flip phone.
      But with that one, they reduced the power to around 1 watt. As more cell towers got put up, the cell phones did not need that much power to hit one. Regular wireless phones to hook up your lan line at your home were starting to get popular, 20mhz, then 40, 1ghz, 2.4ghz and now 5.6ghz wide spectrum, etc. Now like they did to the TV channels, all cell phones are digital and are around .05 watts of power. Many GSM phones support three bands (900/1800/1900 MHz or 850/1800/1900 MHz) or four bands (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), and are usually referred to as tri band and quad band phones, or world phones.
      So now were upto 1.9 ghz at a .5 watt. Its nothing to worry about because the output is so small. Getting a Xray at a hospital is 10,000 times worse for your body than a lifetime of cell use.

      FYI, on the iPhones, the wifi antenna is at the top, by your ear, the cell antenna is by the speaker and mic, so its by your mouth, not your brain.

      As for this rejected app, myself, I would love it. I repair Iphones so I would used it to measure the output of the cell signal, ie: test the transceiver. This is kinda like the old school CB Watt/swr meter. Its monitoring the xmiter rf output, which is available by the hardware already in the phone, then converting that info into the evil rf sucking sponge brain damaging force. (grin) But then again, I have a $2000.00 HP RF spectrum analyzer that does all of that and more.

      Of course there is still a controversy over this, but there has been no prof that cell phones cause brain tumors, I think txting is more dangerous to the body and brain
    1. ronfin44's Avatar
      ronfin44 -
      This is a ridiculous app. Why waste money on a stupid gimmick like this? There's such a tiny risk of radiation that it's silly to even consider this app as serious. This isn't an OE254 connected to a TOC with multiple radios transmitting where the output could actually affect you. Jesus. There's a better chance you'll get hit by someone texting while driving rather than cancer from an iPhone, and no, I don't have a factual study to prove that, I just have common sense which seems most people are lacking in.

      Another dumbass app to clutter the crApp Store.
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Everybody knows the iPhone screws with everything. People with computer speakers or amplified speakers in any way, including your car, know the iPhone constantly messes it up with it's keying up sounds. The iPhone lives above the FCC law and to have this app would prove it. Apple just might be Satan himself after this rejection. Screw the people, sell the phone.
    1. mofolo's Avatar
      mofolo -
      Well if he could create an Application like this, surely someone can develop an in-call recorder!!
    1. rubenmer5's Avatar
      rubenmer5 -
      Quote Originally Posted by exNavy View Post
      To hell with the crap store, bring it to Cydia, we'll take this fine product.
      +2
    1. StrongEagle's Avatar
      StrongEagle -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kroo View Post
      Do... smokers need to be told of the dangers, ... or potheads?
      Hey! What's wrong with pot?
    1. odoggy75's Avatar
      odoggy75 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kroo View Post
      If you're not already aware of the risk, with all phones, then you're an idiot. Do cigarette smokers need to be told of the dangers, or alcoholics, or potheads? This is why we have to put "contents hot" on a freakin cup of coffee, coz people choose to be sooo stupid and ignore what is plain common sense. If you're not using an earpiece (which comes with most new phones) then you're stupid enough to need something like a radiation meter. By the time you power up the app, you could have put the damn earpiece in your ear. Are people really that dumb??
      Please speak up, my earpiece ruined my hearing!