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back to article Fanbois end Judas Phone 'Death Grip' with, um, SIM tape

Some iPhone 4 buyers have solved the handset's infamous "Death Grip" reception problems by taping, cutting, shaving, or re-seating its SIM card. Considering third-party examinations of the reception issues by the likes of Anandtech and Consumer Reports, such fixes don't quite stand up to logic, and many users claim the fixes don …

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Sly
FAIL

Apple shoots self in foot

"What we're seeing is a combination of your hand bridging the WiFi and UMTS antennas as well as interference caused by your hand covering the most sensitive part of the cellular antenna in the lower left corner of the phone," Shimpi tells us.

gee... the most sensitive part is in the most covered area of the phone. Just brilliant.

Every phone I've ever had put the antenna on the top portion of the phone if not actually sticking out the top of the phone. That's definitely a design flaw if ever I've seen one.

Where's my rotting Apple icon?.. guess FAIL works.

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Stop

Not a recent phone

If you've only ever had phones with antenna on the top, you've got some pretty old phones. Almost all antennas have been moved to the bottom of the phone for a while now because your head would block a lot of the signal if it were on top. Also, your head will absorb the radiation, and FCC rules (USA) specifically test for this. Moving the antenna to the bottom, as almost all modern phones have done, help to reduce this problem.

The main problem is that the antenna is directly exposed to human contact. Most other phones have it hidden behind some plastic, which insulates it from changing electrical characteristics.

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Boffin

Revenge or comeuppance?

The tinfoil hat brigade have been banging on for ages about the dangers of mobile phone radiation. The FCC have been carried along with this so that they measure the SAR levels of a phone with a detector at the position of the ear and put a limit of 1.6W/kg (the limit is 2W/kg in Europe). Both of these levels are arbitrary with little evidence to back them up.

Surely the TFH brigade should now be trumpeting the benefits of the iPhone 4 as the signal is massively reduced due to the wonders of the design...

Alternatively some of us would rather use phones...

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Boffin

May I just remind you...

that due to impedance differences between human head and air, circa 99% of radiation power at 1800 MHz is reflected at the border betweent the two, and a very similar amount at 900 MHz.

It may be believable if someone claimed that mobile phone causes skin cancer (which, afaik, no-one does) as the exponentially decreasing component of EM radiation at this point might reach some skin cells, but all their other claims are not really physically feasible.

Living just next to (and I mean literally 'next to' - not 100 meters from one) a macrocell phone mast is a slightly different matter because of larger powers involved, but still, not much evidence to confirm that either.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

" covering the most sensitive part of the cellular antenna"

What are they on about? For any antenna shape, size etc. the whole thing is important; there are no sweet spots on the wire itself, so top or bottom doesn't matter, only thing likely to have any effect is the ground plane, which can only be _improved_ with contact.

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Silver badge
FAIL

You're not an antenna engineer

No sweet spots? You're talking utter bollocks. Any tuned antenna's performance is affected by its loading, and the factor by which a load detunes the antenna depends its type (capacitive, resistive or inductive; in real-world situations a combination of all three) and on the position of said load with regard to the antenna feed point.

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Megaphone

Left hand

Could it be that when you hold it in your left hand, your middle finger rests on top of the metal sim tray? Could it then be that the issue is not bridging GSM to WiFi, but instead bridging the GSM arial onto the SIM itself...

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Where does your middle finger rest?

Just thinking about Mr. Jobs' treatment of consumers should instruct many on where to put their middle finger . . .

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Silver badge

Actually...

You might be on to something there.

I remember a problem with a few PCs many years back. They died after a few weeks usage.

We had 22inch CRT monitors on top. After a while, the PC case would distort and a screw moved inside to short the motherboard out.

The fix was some rubber washers to insulate this screw, which worked for many a long year.

Could be what is causing the problem.

Or they could have more than one flaw in their phones.

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Anonymous Coward

wow

Apple really have fucked up this time.

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Pint

Maybe...

Or simply shift the blame to the SIM makers!

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Anonymous Coward

It makes sense that the SIM shorting would cause a problem

although I'm bemused as to how that problem would take the form of signal attenuation

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Jobs Horns

The Fanboys are desperate now

Trying absolutely anything to prove that their Lord and Master cannot possibly have released a poorly designed product. After all, everything Apple releases is perfect - until the next release when it suddenly isn't good enough anymore and they have to have the new one.

Most normal people would have considered returning something they have bought and found faulty, and then after the kind of response Apple gave which is basically blaming the user would definitely have taken it back, demanded a refund and bought a product made by a different company.

Not the Apple faithful though, they will take any shit as long as St Jobs tells them to and keep handing him all their cash.

Can't help but wonder though - what will they do when he dies? Unlike every other big company, Steve Jobs IS Apple and he isn't going to be around forever. Guess they will have to find some other fanatic to follow who just wants to relieve them of cash at every opportunity so that they can go around believing they are better than other people. I hear scientology are always looking for new recruits.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Succession

I understand there's a guy formerly from PepsiCo that might be able to handle it...

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It's the Users fault. Always is.

Even with Windows, if you get a virus, it's your fault. It's not the shoddy software that allows virii to auto-install themselves just for visiting a webpage. PDF hacks must be the user's fault for letting javascript run in a PDF....or opening the file in the first place. Well, that's probably how Apple sees it anyway, going off the same line of "logic."

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Bronze badge
Flame

Ever hear of a ground loop?

These "fixes" could be related to an incorrect ground (Earth to you Brit's) path between the antenna and the SIM card. If there is an inadvertent electrical connection, much of the transmitted signal could easily be lost. A ground plane is used as a way to reflect the signal from an antenna and that ground plane is often part of the printed circuit board in a handheld electronic device. The SIM card

There is also a capacitance issue involved in the transfer of energy from any antennae. Your body has a certain capacitance to it and obviously the presence of someones hand holding the "Jesus" phone changes the signal strength radiating from the antenna. Changing the electrical circuit path will affect capacitance, which affect signal strength. This is how the use of the rubber cover works to de-couple the human body from the Iphone case AND prevent the shorting of the antenna directly to case ground.

I bet that Apple will actually do some real world antenna testing before they release another Iphone. Testing that involves someone holding the phone in their hand might be a refreshing change.

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Anonymous Coward

@an incorrect ground (Earth to you Brit's)

So you believe in that other Earth on the far side of the Sun?

I see there's no "well, duh!" icon.

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Headmaster

Earth/ground

Actually, we do say ground in the UK.

Earth is a ground connection that is actually connected to the ground in the case of mains wiring for a safe exit route for misbehaving electricity.

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Silver badge

We use either...

...except on a ship.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Misbehaving electricity

Hmmm..so the proper remedy for misbehaving electricity is to ground it....

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Jobs Horns

Fanbois loose grip on reality

Or were they pushed?

I wouldn't put it past Apple to start a rumour like this just to distract the faithful.

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FAIL

Blame the SIM?

PMSL

However does beg the question why Apple had to meddle with its size in the 1st place

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Simple

To prevent unlocking by means of TurboSIM and alike.

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Jobs Horns

How many iFlawd warrant a recall?

The infamous iCrap 4 has a few problems:

(1) Apple admits software defects;

(2) The antenna is mechanically defective;

(3) Picture are yellow tinted;

(4) Batteries catch fires;

(5) Connectors burn and melt;

(6) Unbreakable glass breaks and scratches;

(7) SIM shorts to carrier;

(8) Yellow colouring on glass;

(9) Green blob/spot on camera, in the centre;

(10) Proximity detector cuts calls.

Would 15 iFlaws be a reasonable number to trigger a recall?

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Go

No ...

... following crucifixion comes resurrection, not recall.

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FAIL

8 and 3 are the same point.

Desperate to get to 10 faults were you?

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FAIL

8 and 3 are the same point.

Desperate to get to 10 were you?

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Jobs Horns

Lemon colour for a lemon product?

YOU are wrong.

Many glass covers exhibited patches of yellow allegedly from the flue used to old the non-unbreakable glass.

The OTHER lemon effect is the overall tint of images taken with iCrap 4,

Total is still 10 with more awaiting discovery.

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WTF?

Re: 8 and 3

So Darren, you'd be happy to something that only has 9 manufacturing defects, but 10 is just way too many???

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you are webster phreaky aren't you?

how is amanfrommars these days?

still dribbling in a corner?

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FAIL

Naw...

...just desperate.

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WTF?

10 Flaws?

1) All software has bugs. Every phone I have ever owned has software bugs at least to begin with.

2) This is a valid fault and a big one. Apple should at the very least send out bumper cases for free until they fix the hardware design.

3) Not on my iPhone 4 or any of my friends (at least 5 units). Scattered reports suggest it may happen in some cases and Apple will replace affected units.

4) I have not seen a single report of this. Citation?

5) I have seen this story and no-one has actually said if this was a fault with phone, cable or PC it was connected to. And there is only 1 report of it happening so hardly a big issue.

6) The screen is easier to damage than iPhone 3, but they don't scratch themselves so if it is looked after no problem.

7) This is down to SIM card design not iPhone.

8) Same as point 3.

9) Not that I have seen in my iPhone 4 or on anyone else's I know who has one. I hadn't heard of this problem so Googled it and only found a single report. Did you Google 'iPhone faults' and just list every one that you found?

10) Not had this problem myself but seen a lot of reports of it. Should be easy to fix with software update according to Apple.

So yeah the iPhone4 does have some issues that it should not have been released with, but I think most of the 10 you list are frivolous. I'm not a fanboi by any means, but the haters are really going out of their way to tell everyone how crap the iPhone 4 is. Wouldn't it be simpler to just not buy one?

It's a brand new product and experience tells me that the software bugs will be gone soon, and a redesign of the hardware will be close behind. The only thing that really annoys me is Apple's refusal to acknowledge the serious hardware fault when holding the phone in your left hand. They aren't fooling anyone by denying there is a hardware fault in the antenna and Apple have handled the fallout of the iPhone 4 fault poorly.

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Troll

I for one..

..do not welcome the return of the not so might morphin' Webster.

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Thumb Down

Only 10 faults?

But I thought it went to 11?

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I suggest somebody reads what they type before submitting

The infamous iCrap 4 has a few problems:

(1) Apple admits software defects;

(2) The antenna is mechanically defective;

(3) Picture are yellow tinted;

(4) Batteries catch fires;

(5) Connectors burn and melt;

(6) Unbreakable glass breaks and scratches;

(7) SIM shorts to carrier;

(8) Yellow colouring on glass;

(9) Green blob/spot on camera, in the centre;

(10) Proximity detector cuts calls.

Points 3 and 8 aere the same thing which cures itself once the bonding agent evaporates.

Point 2 The antennas work perfectly and have been proven to do so, the fault is with the positioning of them which allows them to be shorted out.

Point 4 Battery fires where has this been reported?

Point 5, 1 reported cable connectore fault, out of a few million doesn't warrant a recall

Point 6 Show me where they have advertised the screen as unbreakable? Theres 1000's of security companies would be please to know about this new technology.

Point 7 Sim's only short to sium holder when people have trimmed a full size sim down to fit.

Point 9 Never seen a report on the green blob thays not to dissmiss it without merit, but merely noticing the fact that even the slightness thing Apple related gets reported on here it seems funny thats never been mentioned.

Point 10 Proximity sensor yes has a fault, its a little sensitive, a software patch will fix it.

You sir seem to be a troll.

Apple has its faults the Iphone4 has some problems many of them recognised and addressed by Steve Jobbie, To be honest when i worked in the mobile phone industry I heard many of the same complaints levelled and SE, RIM and Nokia. And many more, mostly alot more severe.

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One thing wrong here....

I'm not going to add to the flaw/not-flaw debate, but i will say that this is NOT a "new product".

It's the continuation of an existing line.

Yes, a new generation of product is allowed it's debugging period -- that's only fair, it's like that for just 'bout everything -- but in this case there seem to some very major problems that previous experience should have helped avoid in the first place.

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Jobs Horns

Lemon 11

The ELEVENTH reported defect on the Lemon phone is BLUETOOTH.

Numerous complaints are being posted on Apple about muffled outgoing speech using Bluetooth. < http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2481487 > Read it before Apple deletes it.

Only four defect slots left!

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Jobs Horns

Go Google, like I did

Lemon version 4 is not a 'new' product; Version 1 was new. You expect manufacturers to use revisions to eliminate prior problems not increase them.

An average person would not have any faith in the expression "according to Apple" as they have lied in the past. Apple should be doing a "Johnson and Johnson" (recall process) on this but they are simply hunkering down. The Apple antenna problem cannot be fixed with software.

You acknowledge some faults and yet you find the product acceptable? Redesign of hardware - what about the millions of compromised units already in circulation: Is Apple going to send out a field replaceable case assembly?

Please read: < http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/opinion/1721122/apple-abdicates-responsibility-products >.

The Apple lawyers are working overtime. Apple requests exemption from Freedom of Information requests < http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/07/22/apple_accused_of_stalling_ipod_battery_fire_investigation.html >; they are relying on the 'divide and conquer' method to stop people sharing information. It is only people with good resources (my employer subscribes to Reed Elsevier) and publications such as The Register, Gizmodo, Consumer Reports, Cryptome, etc. will out the news. Apple's, now censored, forum on antenna was available on MS Bing in cache format but these, too, are now deleted.

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FAIL

doubt they'll recall

remember the outcry about hardware accelerated graphics on the htc tytn2? same sort of thing and they got away with it..

suprised this antenna issue got through qa though..

is crapple hitting the fan?

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QA?

I'm not. I Notice that on the phone that turned up a few months ago, they had hidden new one inside the case of an old one (Much larger), so i suspect the antenna issue didnt crop at all in testing.

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Smith & Jones already described this solution

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDSeyH4SDlM

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FAIL

But they do a nice display....

The neat thing about the software fix is that it really summed up the non-prettystuff engineering in this unit -- "never mind the functionality, look at all those pretty pictures". Apple have been able to steal a march on the other manufacturers because they sell a second-rate phone disguised as a first-rank hand-held computer, and people tend to overlook the shortcomings provided the unit "more or less" works. The more traditional phone manufacturers have a lot of investment in the phone engineering so we've come to expect that "it just works", even if the UI sucks somewhat. Now the phone boys know what consumers want they'll just buy and interface.

Apple should have bought a phone company....

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Silver badge
Pint

Fixed

My patent !pending solution can be yours for under 2 bucks.

http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Hansen-Color-Quick-Clear/dp/B001TXE2K6/

Hell, you can even get different colors, perhaps at a greater cost, so your iPhone 4 can feel pretty and you can change the color to reflect your mood. It is beyond me why I've never seen it mentioned although I've seen calls for recalls that essentially ask for the same thing. I've used nail polish on circuit boards to prevent shorts on knock-ups in the past so I don't see why it wouldn't work on an iPhone.

Now then, I'm late for Beer-thirty appointment. Oh, you might want to avoid copper colored polish or anything with metal flakes for that matter.

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Having to paint something for it to work as advertised

is retardtastical.

Apple phones suck, Windows phones suck, Nokias suck. Android is all that's left if you want a semi-smart phone.

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Unless...

You are away from a plug for 24 hours. Even with light use, the battery life of Android phone is a joke.

My E72 runs for at least 5 days.

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Android is not a phone

It is an OS which runs on many different phones with many different batteries, the life of which varies greatly. You cannot simply say that 'android phones' have poor battery. My Nexus One lasts 2 days with moderate use, for example.

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I agree in principle...

... that a product you've just purchased should not require you to gussy it up like a cheap whore for it to work.

That being said, i still think it's an ingenious idea.

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Troll

You're absolutely right Martin

Your fix is far superior even if it does cost another few hundred dollars. Oh, I've thoughtfully provided the icon you obviously forgot.

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Flame

AHS, ASS

All hardware sucks, all software sucks. There's nothing that's non-sucky, with just a small amount of stuff that has a bearable suck-level. And with greater integration of functions the suckiness increases exponentially.

I believe the average rotary desk phone to be the last of the non-sucky telecoms devices (that's obviously excluding telco cockups).

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The solution

You're seeing the connection level dropping, well it's simple to solve that : just take your iPlode on the other side and then you can notice anything since you don't see the screen anymore.

Is it not so simple as Apple is? I don't understand why the Kid don't recommend this workaround?

(some pixels fail on your Macbook's lid, well, just close the lid)

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