Eager punters cooing over their 3G iPhones are finding the third generation connectivity not quite what they had hoped, and according to some reports Apple's super-phone is failing to meet the requirements of the 3G standard. Apple took a lot of stick when the original iPhone lacked 3G, a decision that forced UK operator O2 to …
If the iPhone really was...
... a state of the art next-gen phone then surely it would support HSDPA at high speeds as most other high end smart phones have done for a while... my Nokia N78 is also new, and apart from the touch screen pretty much has the iPhone beat on features, and I got it free from O2 on a much better contract...
Apple are at least a year if not more behind the curve when it comes to mobile data speeds...
Brave of the Dutch
Impressed that T-Mobile Netherlands have pointed a finger at Apple. Risk upsetting Jobs et al and losing the ol' contract! Anyone handy at Dutch and able to translate though?...
I've noticed that when switching from 3G to 2G (when network dictates) that it can take some time for the iPhone to pick up on this, leaving it with no signal for a while. I was also disappointed to find that it isn't proper GPS - more assisted GPS through triangulating mobile masts?
Glad I haven't jumped on the bandwagon!... yet...
With the battery of the new iPhone reportedly being smaller than the old one then maybe it is one way they are trying to save power.
Surely they have more than one fab producing components/completed devices? Which would seem to make a production based flaw less likely wouldn't it?
"iPhone 3G isn't neccesarily"
iPhone 3G isn't *necessarily* equipped with a spell-checker?
iPhone 3G isn't neccesarily
...isn't neccesarily what???
Not fit for purpose
"T-Mobile NL is recommending that punters hope for a software update from Apple"
I'm sure the likes of T-Mobile are also hoping Apple can fix this too because otherwise they will have a lot of customers well within their rights to return the handset to the company that sold it to them (ie - T-Mobile, O2, etc). That will leave the operators with a product recall / refund problem that they didn't really buy into when they decided to sell the iPhone for use on their networks.
If the phone doesn't meet the required spec. then by definition, it is not fit for purpose, regardless of what Apple says.
Oh dear / Ha ha ha / Must try harder, Apple (delete as you see fit)
Evil Jobs says....
bah ha ha ha
My money making plan is working, now to release a new version slightly better but not quite what people think they are paying for.
*giggle* - a translation from TMO's blog page:
Update (13 August):
Following news reports citing this post, we would like to clarify <add nuance to> our statement. Some sites quote T-Mobile as blaming the handset for problems related to 3G reception. This is not the message we wish to convey
<Further down on the original post, after a bit where customers report crap 3G reception in certain areas, also when comparing the iPhone to a different 3G handset>:
We suspect this is a hardware/software issue specific to the iPhone itself.
I fail to see what's to be clarified: they're blaming Steve
Early Batch Different Antenna Design ?
I think it could be due to the ambitious antenna design.
There are rumours that week 31 and later have a modified antenna design.
Don't O2 kneew-cap their 3G network anyway?
I'm sure I read about them artificially slowing down their 3G network, shortluy after I picked up a HTC TyTn II on it :(
Can this really be true? Will the Jesus phone now be stoned for failing to meet the demands of the public? Nah Apple will call it a feature and say that they have tested the spit out of the phone and that it actually wrote the 3G standard so why worry.
Unclear in the article - what exactly doesn't it do 3G wise?
-download fast enough
-upload fast enough
-pick up the 3G network properly
And if so, by how far does it fall short of the mark?
I remember SJ boasting how fast it was in the launch...?
If the iPhone really was...
... a state of the art next-gen phone then surely it would support HSDPA as most other high end smart phones have done for a while... my Nokia N78 is also new, and apart from the touch screen pretty much has the iPhone beat on features, and I got it free from O2 on a much better contract...
Apple are at least a year if not more behind the curve when it comes to mobile data speeds...
You wait ages for an article about the Jesus phone, and then two come along all at once!
Happens to all phones
if you dont select the 3g network manually youll probally be pushed off 90% of the time your phones on, then 3g signal is pants at passing through walls
to awnser your question,
it has sub par 3g reception.
that doesnt mean that it doesnt work with 3g, just that it needs to be closer to an antenna to use it. it also means more packets are lost and general slower speeds
this is pretty serious.. it could mean mass recalls or even some legal action if it turns out that apple cut costs on purpose (regulators doesnt like it when you cheat on their tests)
@ If the iPhone really was...
Double post with subtle difference and I still manage to garble it...
What I mean to say is that altho the iPhone has paper support for HSDPA, it's a year or two late to the party and speeds still suck with apparently patchy quality... whereas in my experience Nokia (with an N78) seem to be getting about the best possible out of the network (although that is still way less than the network is allegedly capable of).
Not very good Apple, state of the art phone...? Errr well close but no cigar, still playing catch up IMHO.
The adverts in the US are based around it being 'twice as fast'.
Some different laws in the UK mean the line is replaced with 'really fast'.
I'm not sure how you define 'really fast', but I've yet to hear anyone complain over here.
won't be able to fix this with software
Receiver sensitivity is not going to be something they can straighten out with software. This is a hardware problem due to the way the receiver section has been designed and the enclosure (case) materials that are used. If they use too much metal in the casing the wrong places it shields the antenna and RX sections. A couple of dB of loss here can make the difference between a good call and a bad one (and also with the data throughput.)
@ Anonymous Coward
How exactly is AGPS not proper GPS? GPS has trouble locating you under certain circumstances such as when surrounded by tall buildings. Assisted GPS is exactly that, it uses various methods to quickly approximate your position and then narrow that down using GPS.
No problems here with the Jesus phone and 3G.
With regards to the N78 having the iPhone beat on features, how good a product is, is not always about how many features it has, but how well it performs the tasks it is set to do. I've been using "smartphones" for years, and they are all crap in everyday use compared to the iPhone. Is it perfect? No, but it's a damn site better than the competition. I don't respect anyone's argument on this unless they've actually used the thing in a real world situation for a decent length of time.
Oh and the Jesus phone is HSDPA.
the plastic back
Perhaps this was one of the reasons for swapping to a plastic backing?
What's with all the conspiracy theorists? Is there a full moon out tonight?
A few things to consider while trying to decide if Apple et. al. conspired to do this deliberately, you know, cause Steve is actually Dr. Evil and wants billions and billions:
1. The phone uses Infineon's HSDPA chip set for cellular radio access.
2. Due to a variety of design trade-offs and specifically the WCDMA standard itself, the radio signals the phone receives are very weak, under the thermal noise floor---in fact.
3. A few decibels lower than standard, at this scale, could be something as simple as one of the assembly houses mounting the antenna improperly, micro-faults in the RF signal path, or loose quality control at the antenna vendor, or literally a thousand other minor issues in the manufacturing and assembly process.
4. The fact that this does not affect all phones is indicative that the problem is not software or OS related, but hardware. The wide variety of phones currently using the Infineon chip set makes it highly unlikely that there is a fundamental flaw with the chip set.
5. The WCDMA standard was designed to deal much more serious signal path problems and impairments than this. That's why the phones still work, but just don't have the highest possible connection speeds for a given signal path environment.
Finally, shit happens. This is, as all 3-G phones are, an incredibly complex device, sold at a ridiculously low price. Products launches are rarely perfect. That's why, if you get seriously bent about this sort of thing, you never buy v1.0. Rest assured, the component and QC engineers are on the case, it will be fixed, quietly, just as it has happened when ironing out the wrinkles in every other product launch in the history of technology.
p.s. In case you're wondering, I do not work for Apple, Infineon, or any other company involved with the iPhone.
Not only that, but...
The way 3G / CDMA works means when you need a channel you start quiet and then turn up the volume until the network says "I hear you", to avoid raising the noise floor in the cell too high (and consequently potentially kicking everybody off the cell). If the iPhone's casing was getting in the way, and it's still too quiet, then god help the battery life as the internals struggle to make up to volumes the network can hear.
Look, 3G is pants unless you're a) stood still and b) somewhere near a mast (i.e. not indoors) or a picocell. That's why 3G picocell companies are going ballistic right now - they're going to fill the gaps indoors (shopping centres, etc). I've had loads of headhunters for 3G picocell companies lately.
I've got a 3G SE but I keep it on 2G all the time, simply because battery life and reliability are far far better. When you had over from a 3G to 2G cell you're effectively swapping out the whole backhaul network down to base station controllers - I much prefer 2G handovers, tried and tested for the last god knows how long. I only turn on 3G when I'm stationary, have a good signal and would like a little throughput (like I do WiFi). I turn it off again once I'm done.
With all this in mind, if the iPhone's 3G implementation is non-compliant then it really is stuffed unless you leave it on 2G (I hear EDGE is still there, so you'll be OK).
Feels like a bit of a rush job from Apple to catch up with 3G. Maybe they should have left it a little longer...
No such problems in GSM-less Japan
Well, I have had a Nokia 3G phone on Softbank for over 2 years and 3 weeks ago I got an iPhone 3G on Softbank. Also, my wife had the same Nokia and it took 3 weeks until we were able to get another iPhone for her. During that time we have been doing some testing around Tokyo, especially the places I have come to know for bad or no reception (with the Nokia). With the exception of a pub which is located in the basement, all the places I know where the Nokia didn't get a signal, the iPhone does get a signal, and I double checked this again with my wife's Nokia during the last three weeks.
In other words, the iPhone works better on the 3G Softbank network than the Nokia. I think its a 6680 but I am not entirely sure because the Japanese operators always change the model numbers, they call this a 702MkII here.
Anyway, I have asked 8 other people I know who also recently got an iPhone 3G if they had experienced any bad signal situations and nobody had any issues. I also asked a dozen+ folks I saw using an iPhone on the street, again nobody had any issues with reception. Further we have looked at some Japanese bulletin boards where Japanese folks exchange experiences with the iPhone 3G. There are plenty of discussions about the tariff plans, about applications and how this or that app doesn't make sense in Japan, how to use this or that feature, but we could not find anything relating to bad reception.
So, why are there so many folks (it seems) in Europe and the US with reception issues while it seems impossible to find anyone who has such issues here in Japan? Maybe the answer can be found by looking at what makes the Japanese cell phone landscape different from the rest of the world: No GSM whatsover, therefore no EDGE whatsoever, therefore no switching between different air interfaces. It may well be that this whole thing is related to handoff between 2G/2.5G and 3G. I remember that there have been issues with that in the early days of 3G deployment in Europe. Maybe the iPhone 3G hasn't learned how to deal with such a mixed cell environment just yet.
How can you call this a true 3G device when....
....said device doesn't support tethering data (for your notebook, pda, tomtom, etc)?
Ok, I'm going to bite on your comment, "I don't respect anyone's argument on this unless they've actually used the thing in a real world situation for a decent length of time." Firstly, you in turn don't identify which smartphones you are comparing against, I've had mixed experiences with many phones - some are downright awful, some very very good. By not identifying which smartphones you are directly comparing to the iPhone your own analysis fails your own test.
Now, onto the subject matter at hand. Personally, I've never liked any of the Apple products, I find them all just a little too like something you would buy from Toys'r'us. Nice as a toy, but pointless in the real world. Having said that, I can understand why so many people like the iPod. Incidentally, I don't like the iPod for 3 reasons, firstly, I can't fit all my music collection on any available iPod; secondly, I don't really listen to music on the move due to sound quality issues; and thirdly, I don't like buying a product where the battery is going to die after a year and render the product useless. However, I can fully understand why these are specific issues for me, and therefore accept that the iPod probably is a best of breed product in it's class.
Now, in keeping with how good the iPod is, I decided to eat my own words and try an iPhone for a period. Fortunately, a friend had a 3G iPhone and was willing to lend it to me for an extended trial. What I discovered was, I believe, pretty interesting.
The plus side:
1) The basic iPhone interface does look pretty slick, and is generally pretty simple to use.
2) The UI metaphors for the web interface are actually top draw, once a page was loaded, you could move around it and read sections pretty easily. It was also clear that you would, over time, become even more efficient at it.
3) The screen looks fantastic, vibrant colours and very readable.
The minus side:
1) The whole things feels like a beta product. So many things just haven't been finished properly. Take the ability to rotate apps, the fact that it's only built into some apps is ridiculous - it should be a standard feature of everything. Also things like the lack of copy and paste - clearly QA should never have let the product out with such basic functionality.
2) Let's be fair, the keyboard is unusable for a large section of the population. I have pretty big fingers, and no matter how hard I tried to get it working it just didn't work ever. Now, I'm someone who learnt the old pen strokes for palm pilots, is happy with both old and new style texting, and has successfully used Blackberry and Nokia smartphone keyboards. I just couldn't get the iPhone keyboard to work. I'm not the only person to note this - a friend of mine has a 3G iPhone and still carries around a sidekick for texting/e-mail (after having a few weeks trying to use the iPhone for those features). Passwords are of course the worst since the auto-correction doesn't work on those, but my experience with the auto-correction was also pretty terrible.
3) The sound quality is as dreadful as the iPods (if not worse). For mobile sound not as good as the Sony products. But here I am a bit of an audiophile, and Apple have always been sub-par on sound quality.
4) The speed of the network (either Edge or 3G) makes the web totally unusable. Yes, it's a really sweet interface, but by the time your web-page has loaded, you could have found a wired computer and done everything you need to do. Ok, it's a lot better if you have a profusion of Wi-Fi hotspots to go to, although the Wi-Fi can be a beast to set up at times (especially trying to use that damned keyboard for settings) - see point 1 above. Basically the web interface feels like someone is trying to put a pretty dress on a pile of shit. It just sucks.
Now, what this means is that, for some people the negatives on the iPhone aren't that important. If you are happy with beta products, don't mind the sound quality of an iPod, have the right size fingers to use the keyboard, and either connect through Wi-Fi, or only load low-graphic websites and can put up with the speed, then the iPhone could be ok for you. But don't, under any circumstances, lay claim to it being the "best" phone on the market. There are far better phones than the iPhone around, it just depends what you want to do. For me, the iPhone just wouldn't work, for others it will be the best thing for what they want to do. Having said all this, I can't see it penetrating business at all, despite where Jobs is trying to pitch the 3G version.
Re: One more thing...
Every handset should indeed be scrupulously tested by every operator, but in my experience working at an operator that isn't always the case, especially when there are not enough prototypes to go round (or "always" as it's known).
I'm glad to hear your experience is different though, nice to know the problem isn't endemic.
"That's why, if you get seriously bent about this sort of thing, you never buy v1.0"
Which is exactly why I NEVER buy first-gen hardware until it has been well tested :)
'sold at a ridiculously low price'
Well, if the iPhone is low priced to you, I want your salary...
One more thing...
"Every mobile operator selling the iPhone will claim to have tested the sensitivity, but the reality is that once one European operator has passed a device the rest will accept the result on the nod - this leaves more prototypes for senior management to tout at meetings."
That's not the reality at all. Every handset, iPhone included, is tested scrupulously because if you don't then you risk fucking up your whole network. I know of a case where a 3 staffer was lent a Samsung, and spent a week travelling around the country shutting down cell sites as he went due to handset/infrastructure issues.
The iPhone does support HSDPA "at high speeds" (why do all iPhone threads bring out the "MY N78/N95/N-whatever IS SUPERIOR TO YOUR PUNY JOBS DEVICE!!!1"?)
O2 wrongly provisioned a load of 3G SIMs in line with 2G SIMs, temporarily throttling a lot of new customers to 128Kbps - for about 3 weeks, 6 months ago.
Shouldn't the title be
"iPhone 3G Isn't Necessary" ... "Nokia N95 is better, honest and less of a rip off"
Aussie Newspapers are saying the same thing
Really is a global problem.
Does it matter in Europe?
I note that this maybe an intermittent problem with WCDMA. Now, correct me if I am wrong (and I'm sure someone will) isn't it a super version of GSM and only mainly available in the US. My understanding is that it is an inferior form of 3G which doesn't even allow simultaneous speech and browsing. In Europe do we not use the superior, and built from the ground up, UMTS which uses different technology and frequencies? If this is the case (and I realise I may be quite wrong here) then in Europe (at least in the UK) where UMTS proliferates should we not be unaffected by this issue?
What say you WTF? - you seem to know your stuff.
Fanboi a little ?
I think its another good example of it works fine in america the rest of the world can sort it out.
Bwah ha ha ha ha .... You EXPECT a Bug Free Apple Product??
Oh the AppleTards are in a tizzy, ANOTHER well recognized POS Buggy product, again the iPhony, emanating from the ass of Stevie Gods to the wait throngs of Apple buying morons with money to toss down the ol rat hole. You'd THINK that these in denial Dopes would get a clue after YEARS of this same ol shit, but life in Apple Fantasy Land is just too Apple colored lens glasses.
You morons get what you deserve ... but don't fret, Stevie will soon enough issue iPhony 3G v1.1.1 so you can add more cash to the budging coffers of Stevie's bank account.
Me .... I'm enjoying this more and more and more every day laugh my ass off at you AppleTards ... and as you can see from this comments board, more are laughing at you dopes too.
Two words for any 3G phone:
Kind of essential for video conferencing.
Good points, except for number 4. I'm not sure if you are suggesting the issue only affects some iPhones, or some phones in general that use the Infineon chip, but either way, I'm led to believe that it could well affect all iPhones, it's just that most/some people don't notice/don't care, either due to their location or usage or expectations.
I've noticed some wacky going ons with my iPhone's indicated signal strengths - from one bar straight to a full 5, and back to a single bar, when it's sat still on a desk - but then don't most phones do this?
Anyway, as said, I think there's a chance it could affect all iPhones, it's just that x% of the people aren't saying so for the above reasons, so it could still be software.
whats the problem
Come on people remember this is an 'I'-Phone? 'I'Phone! it doens't even need to work to be cool, i'll take three please
@ A J Stiles
Kind of essential for video conferencing."
I personally give a rat's a$$ about cameras on phones in general and video telephony in particular.
If there was an iPhone without a camera, even if it was twice the price, I would go for that in a heartbeat, simply because I could then be confident that it won't be confiscated at the airport when I am sent on business to the various middle eastern countries which have outlawed camera phones. Yes, it happened to me before with a Nokia camera phone and I was stuck without any phone cause I couldn't rent nor even buy a prepaid phone there. I can't tell you how ridiculous you feel when you get a device confiscated for a feature that you never wanted in the first place, a feature that was shoved down your throat only because all the kids want it.
MY BLACKBERRY IS SUPERIOR TO YOUR PUNY JOBS DEVICE!!!1!!one
My 3G suffers, is sluggish etc... My old iPhone however when updated to 2.0 was also sluggish so part of the problem is in the 2.0+ OS and should be able to be fixed.
The 3G part, god knows but im sure it will come out soon, Apple has no control over the carriers so they will get to the bottom of it if Apple wont.
All in all the 3g is a bit of a let down compared to the original in terms of build quality, OS, reception and overall experience.
And it looks like Apple have now burned down the building housing all the evidence... Coincidence?
@ Richard (and Mark)
No. Just someone who has spent a great deal of time developing wireless products (not cellular), and therefore knows first hand how 'incredibly expensive, ridiculously complex, and difficult they are to develop'. Simply put, 3G phones push the limits of current wireless and networking technology, or at least they did a few years ago. LTE is the R&D focus now, and when that technology finally deploys, after literally tens of millions of man hours and tens, if not hundreds, of billions dollars invested in making it comercial, I imagine it still 'won't be good enough' for the likes of Phreaky.
@Mark: America just does everything infrastructure different than the rest of the world (communications, power, weights and measures, etc.). Don't ask me why, personally I think it's retarded, and a bit narcissistic. As far as what's superior, WCDMA, UMTS, and basically all advanced cellular technology going forward are essentially the same at the air interface (i.e. some form of multi-carrier OFDMA). The main differences are at the network and higher protocol layers. Good news going forward (for us Yanks that travel internationally, anyway) is that LTE (4G) will be adopted by the U.S. (thank Vodafone) and, even if it wasn't, is the defacto international standard for 4G. LTE is a UMTS derrivative, enough said.
Finally, on the comment of signal bars that vary while the phone is sitting still. Sounds like signal fading to me. That could be a simple as big metal truck passing by on the street, or even a plane flying overhead. Yeah, we're pushing the limits that hard.
i like it...
i've been on vodafone for years and thought i'd never moved, i've had N95's, Sony Ericsson W910i's, 8800's (Scirocco & Arte) and a whole bunch of other devices, which depending on where you are, performed adequately well for a mobile device. Didnt think much of the original iphone for not having any 3G capabilities so didnt really explore it, but have jumped on the bandwagon with the 3G and left my almost 10 year contract with Vodafone.
So far, i don't regret it, i think i would have rather stayed on vodafone, purely for historic reasons, but the 3G iphone on O2 i'm using is pretty speedy and certainly destroys the competition in terms of being able to display what i need. So, it may take a couple of seconds to load the bbc front page, but then it is downloading the full desktop experience and then crunching it to fit into safari for iphone, but the postives of having the full desktop experience far out way the speed, size, or anything else that all of the other devices could offer. The real gem with the iphone is the screen size and the device size, i.e. slim so fits in pocket. This far-outways the micro-seconds savings i might make on different 3G areas. (And to be honest we don't get 3G everywhere anyway, so until that happens, there isnt much point in worrying about it).
I'm definitely not a mac fanboy, nor an iphone fanboy (i lean way towards the windows environment) but i must say, i do like this 3G iphone a lot and it's gonna take something really special to tear me away from it... (nokia 5800 tube maybe - although looks pretty thick/deep)....
Almost forgot you there Mate. Dunno really. This is the first I've read or heard of this problem. Just going by what the article says, and my own experience with these kinds of transition issues. Could actually be a problem across the entire product line. If that is the case, it's a design problem, and possibly a recall. Hard to believe though, as Apple uses an Infineon reference design for the cellular radio, including (iPhone) processor interface software (SDK, hardware and software integration engineering support, etc.). Then there are the various government and carrier certification processes (certainly not bullet-proof). If there was a problem with the reference design, it's hard to believe that it has not been noticed before, and it would be seen across a large percentage, though maybe not all, of the phones using it. Infineon has a large customer base for this product line, and this platform has been stable for a relatively long time. Granted, you are right. It is certainly possible.
Here's to hoping I don't have to eat these words.
...another mindless rant from the biggest "Denial" case since South Park's Mr Garrison.
You're so deep in the (apple) closet, you're finding christmas presents.
(Thanks Family guy; knew that would come in handy one day).
This is my 9th mobile phone, and 3th "PDA". My 3G iphone is reliable, easy to use, bug and problem free in normal use, fast (enough) on 3G and frankly the most useful bit of hardware I've bought this year, pipping even my eee 901. Better than any PDA or phone I've ever had. I now have one device in the bag instead of 3 (phone/PDA/MP3). On business trips it has proved indispensable - I can even get rid the bag entirely now on some trips.
I, like most iphone/apple users I imagine, are quite contented with their buying decision, we went in "eyes open", knowing the technical pro's/con's thanks very much, and don't worship at the church of Jobs.
And I bet you just f*ing hate hearing that don't you...wouldn't surprise me one bit to find your bitterness comes from being the only senior cleric evicted from the church of Jobs (probably for claiming Intel was heresy and the work of Satan)...bet if we raided your abode we'd find a IIfx in a shrine, surrounded by scented flowers and candles...
AC 'cos some of us have more serious monitoring concerns to worry about than an iphone phoning home.
Apple fans are rolling out the QQ cannons!
O2's EDGE decision had nothing to do with Apple
"Apple took a lot of stick when the original iPhone lacked 3G, a decision that forced UK operator O2 to deploy an EDGE network just to support the 2.5G technology the iPhone did have."
What absolute crap. O2 were commited to EDGE rather than 3G *years* before Apple entered the scene.
@ Richard - Sorry mate, late for lunch...
As far as what's superior, WCDMA [is] UMTS. [A]nd basically all advanced cellular technology going forward [will be] essentially the same at the air interface (i.e. some form of multi-carrier OFDMA). The main differences [will be] at the network and higher protocol layers. Good news going forward (for us Yanks that travel internationally, anyway) is that LTE (4G) will be adopted by the U.S. (thank Vodafone) and, even if it wasn't, [it] is the defacto international standard for 4G. LTE is a UMTS derrivative [but will use OFDMA, not CDMA], enough said.
Now why are the pearls of wisdom from the great P T Barnum ringing in my ear ?