Apple – style over getting a signal


I’ve not hidden in the past my dislike of certain aspects of Apple products that I don’t like.

And today’s news that there are reported problems with the iPhone 4’s data connection didn’t surprise me. It appears that they’ve embedded the antenna in the bottom corner of the phone and, held in hand, it rapidly looses signal (especially, it would appear, it you’re left handed). That’s not too good.

All of this is made worse, by the fact that the iPad also had (and may still have, as I’ve not kept up on this) wi-fi issues at launch, where weak signals appeared common place.

A work colleague bought an iPad this week and showed it to me. I wasn’t overwhelmed, I have to say – in particular it was a lot weightier than I expected. Anyway, he boasted how much better it was than his Netbook, whilst wondering why his wi-fi connection kept disappearing. The best he got was 1 out of 5 signal bars. Meanwhile, next to him was my Netbook, connected to the same network and showing 4 out of 5 bars of signal.

Hey, let’s make it slimline with more chrome? Yea. Connectivity? Who wants that.

Maybe if they spent as much time on the practical elements as they did on the desire and their ridiculous PR announcements, they’d have a great phone. Meantime, little things like connectivity and being able to change the battery matter to many people.


An update on the iPhone 4 problems, courtesy of PC Pro..

Apple has played down dissent surrounding reception problems on the iPhone 4, telling buyers of the £500 handset that signal loss is normal in mobile phones and to hold it differently if they experience signal loss.

The reception issue emerged on launch day for the iPhone 4, with users reporting that holding the phone – particularly in the left hand – caused signal strength to drop, sometimes drastically.

Nice way to deal with the issue.

But according to Apple, signal loss is perfectly normal in handsets.

“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,” said Apple in a statement.

My Hero has the antenna in the base of the phone but you have to very specifically wrap your hand around the very bottom (and not in a natural way you’d hold the phone) to lose some signal. Holding it naturally, as if making or taking a call, the signal doesn’t drop.

Yeah, they are absolutely right, all mobile phones I’ve used have lost network connection as soon as I hold them. That’s totally normal!

PC Pro adds…

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.”

The casing of the iPhone is made from stainless steel, which Apple says also acts as the antenna for picking up wireless signals.

When Apple boss Steve Jobs first showed off the iPhone 4 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, he described the integrated antenna as “really cool engineering”.

However, it appears naked flesh on the metal around the antenna can either cause a bridge between different sections of the aerial that disrupts the antenna or simply masks the signal.

That last statement does sound to be a design fault more than anything. As somebody else comments…

How could such a big fault slip through alpha much less beta testing?  If this is an engineering fault Apple need to fix this fast or the cool crowd will turn on them

I doubt the last bit, though. I suspect if Steve Jobs walk on stage and showed them a turd with an Apple logo on it, most would buy it. For £400. And they’d clap and whoop.

And what a great analogy for how the iPhone 4’s looking at the moment too?

David Artiss

David is the owner and main author of this website. Working as an IT Professional for 25 years and programming for far longer, he is a self-confessed geek and gadget fan. Overweight, glasses wearing and having a deep interest in science fiction and comic book heroes, he doesn't avoid the stereotype.

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