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back to article Steve Jobs death-grips iPhone 4 reality

A.E. Housman: But it's all true. Oscar Wilde: On the contrary, it's only fact. Truth is quite another thing and is the work of the imagination –Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love When you hold the iPhone 4, does the signal fade more than it would on other popular smartphones, such as Apple's own iPhone 3GS or Google's Nexus …

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If it makes you happy

just send me your iphone4

Thanks in anticipation

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Jobs Horns

So...

...in addition to not being able to get a good signal, the iPhone4 now has zero material value? Actually negative, because you seem to expect "postage paid", too.

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Ingrates

You try and help your fellow human beings and this is the thanks I get!

From what has been written, obviously posession of this devil phone with it's changing bars is driving people to the brink of insanity. So concerned about their mental wellbeing I very generously offer to take this demonic object off their hands to restore their sanity and they start to quibble about the postage!

I am prepared to pay the mental cost of living with variable bars in different locations so you don't have to and you go on about the cost of a stamp! Ingrates!

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Coat

The Truth is out there.

The Ministry of Truth makes sure of that.

(mine's the one with the dog-eared copy of 1984)

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FAIL

To quote a parent.....

"If all the other kids jumped off a cliff, would you jump too ?"

Just because "all the other phones" have the same problem, doesn't mean you can too Steve. Get it right first time.

Or is Apple now a "ach, that'll do" type of operation.

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I think this sums it up...

Apple has always stood for innovation and design integrity. This recent epic fail with the IPhone has really made it difficult for Apple. I think people would rather of had Steve say "We have an excellent product which we overlooked the sleek design for features.....a free bumper will be given out for those who are having troubles with the reception...". There is nothing wrong with admission, in fact, people know that a company cannot be perfect. Apple is no exception to that rule. What they have done though is shown an ugly side which is not willing to admit errors but rather tries to either play them down or be passive aggressive towards its competitors. Both of those traits are not appealing to many.

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Anonymous Coward

D. Rumsfeld said something about ......

known knowns and unknown knowns, etc..., I believe. Sounds like our Mr. Jobs lives in his reality?

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WTF?

Re: D. Rumsfeld said something about ......

I believe this it the clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RpSv3HjpEw

(my god he's a shifty looking sod)

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(Written by Reg staff)

FYI - rejected comment

Just to let you know - having a pop at someone for being 'cancer-stricken' is not valid criticism here. There are plenty of genuine faults and foibles to choose from. Thanks.

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So... Why does my phone behave like this?

Why does my phone drop calls when I'm in some places (but not others) if I hold it near the bottom?

OK, OK - but it's a Nokia. Who's the liar?

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also...

Why do Nokia have a statement in their manual telling people not to hold the phone a particular way? Why do Google have the same thing.

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because...

...you're holding it where the antenna is

this will also cause problems with the iphone4*, EVEN WITH the bumper - all the bumper does is prevent the extra signal loss caused by direct skin contact with the antenna. _That_'s the design flaw in the iphone 4 (that doesn't exist, according to Mr Jobs)

* and, yes, any other phone with its antenna there

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That's the youTube video we all need

We need to see this happen when ONLY touching that strip between the two antennas - so that the rest of the assembly ISN'T blocked. If it happens then, well that's something. Additionally is the attenuation actually worse with this design than "standard" designs (here if the iPhone 4 had near average attenuation for better than I see no flaw - if it's well below average, then I see a flaw).

Nobody has shown either of these things, just a lot of jumping up and down on both sides. What happens of you just short the thing with something conductive? Does it need to be shorted at both ends? If you have wet hands (raining - I live in the UK, it happens) does it make it worse? There is a real confusion between "blocking" and "jointing" (causing an electrical connection between the antenna assembly and either itself, or the person holding the phone).

If the problem isn't "blocking" but "jointing" then it all depends if this is significant over traditional antenna designs (it there is less "blocking" then does the attenuation due to "jointing" make the phone significantly worse than a phone with a more normal embedded antenna).

The fact that "bumpers" cure the problem suggests the problem is quite different to the one other phones experience - not that necessarily makes it worse, or better - just "different".

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Interesting story

From 11th Feb.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/11/nexus-one-3g-problems-persist-after-update-is-it-a-design-pro/

One wonders how Google got such an easy ride. Maybe because they didn't manage to sell 3 million Nexus Ones in 3 weeks or so. Or maybe everyone seems to think Apple have got too big for their boots, and wants to take them down a peg or two.

Or maybe blogs and websites have seen what great click-bait talk of the iPhone antenna is; and perpetuate the story. Hey, I clicked (damn them, they're winning. Arrrggghhh!)

Either way, if this really was such a big issue, you would have thought the return rates would be much higher. Some phones are as high as 30-35%.

Oh, and to keep on topic; my last phone kept dropping calls when I touched the top -- that was, when it wasn't constantly resetting itself. And it was a Sony Ericsson.

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Boffin

Re: That's the youTube video we all need

Try this one for a start:

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

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Anonymous Coward

@ RichyS

"Oh, and to keep on topic; my last phone kept dropping calls when I touched the top -- that was, when it wasn't constantly resetting itself. And it was a Sony Ericsson."

Well, what else would you expect to happen when you press the power-off button? Dumbass.

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Stop

It really doesn't matter how many bars are on the display

It's only been changed to be more pessimistic to shift the blame onto the network and to make us all talk about bars instead of dropped calls.

I live in an area with very little coverage and My Nokia holds onto most calls with just one bar on the display (probably irradiating my head in the process, but anyway). On the other had I've had an Ericcson which started to drop them at 3 bars.

The facts are you hold the iPhone 4 in a pretty common way which interferes with the antenna, make a call, and it drops it. But as said in the article, the truth is something different.

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Pint

Aye, when I were a lad...

...in the good ol' days, bars *were* what it was all about, because bars = call quality.

Generations of optimisation (and switching to Digital) and infrastructure upgrades now mean that bars don't mean as much as they used to. It's now almost at the stage where any bars at all mean a call can be made & held.

Trust Apple to bring back a bit of nostalgia to the mobile phone market...

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Stop

"Aye, when I were a lad"...

AC: "Aye, when I were a lad"...

Actually, things have gone in almost completely the opposite way to what you've written.

On 1G (Analog) and 2G (GSM) phones, bars told you the signal strength and for both you needed a minimum signal strength for a call to go ahead. Call quality was affected by signal-to-noise (co-channel interference, mostly) which was not what was being reported by the bars. Greater strength won't guarentee higher call quality.

On newer 3G (UMTS) phones bars represent pilot signal-to-noise but even so more bars is still not a guarantee of better quality. This is because fast power control is used to keep the received data channel signal-to-noise at a level suitable for the connection. So again, more bars is no guarentee of quality.

However, on 3.5G (HSPA) phones, the number of bars *can* be a quality indicator. This is because HSPA (in the downlink at least) foregoes power control and instead adjusts the coding scheme (which governs the data rate) in response to the signal-to-noise. Poor signal-to-noise means lower throughput so the number of bars now does relate to quality.

Same will apply for 4G (LTE) devices; received signal-to-noise will relate to achievable throughput, hence number of bars will give an indication of connection quality.

So in the good old days, bars didn't tell you much about your call quality but now they do :)

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Jobs Halo

Mine's Fine.

Thing is, I live in a really marginal O2 coverage area, and my 4 is absolutely fine however I grip the thing, before or after the software update.

Better than the 3G I had before.

Maybe this is a storm in a media tea cup?

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a53
Thumb Up

Mine's fine 2

Had no problems with the death grip, did have problems with being told the sim wasn't installed or that the data server couldn't be accessed, but after changing from a specific carrier (in my case 02) to an "auto" choosing in settings, everything is perfect.

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Joke

"marginal O2 coverage area"

Is there any other kind?

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Megaphone

Why it doesn't affect us

To: Alastair MacDiarmid

In American the mobile masts are far fewer and much further apart so the average American on a mobile gets a low signal.

So what do the phone companies in the USA do about this?

They fake the signal bars to show a higher level of signal. Common practise.

So when we in the UK grip the iPhone4 we still get that 24db of attenuation but due to the closer proximity of masts here we get a higher level to start with. Therefore we don't notice it any where as bad as in America. (Unless we are in a low level area like indoors)..

It's just plain ordinary physics.

If you allow a human to grip the bare metal of any aerial with a sweaty hand then you make the aerial much more inefficient. Apple allowed the bare metal of the aerial to be touched so it was bound to cause problems.

So put it in a case and be done with the problem.

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In a hole and still digging

So the guy says this happens on lots of different smart phones - and is even illustrated on Youtube. OK .... so .... doesn't that just mean that this is a well-documented and widely known about problem that they had the opportunity to design out of their product?

Personally it just reinforces my view that there's a large degree of "form over function" in this range of phones, which does nothing to make me want to buy something that is primarily ornamental.

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Grenade

Umm...

Design out physics - that's what you're asking for. The **maybe** it really would be a "Jesus Phone".

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FAIL

Physics

Agreed, the Laws of physics are unbreakable (as we understand them) but that doesn't mean you don't engineer it to mitigate their effects.

That's like saying a car shaped like a brick can't go very fast due to the air resistance and that's the laws of physics so we can't improve it - Obviously that's false as in fact the solution is to redesign the car to be more aerodynamic - You're not breaking the laws of physics, merely changing how they apply

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Go

Where everything knows your name

"Of course, most people would rather live in a reality where everything works and there are no problems."

So we'll all be off to Tesco Mobile then ?

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Jobs Horns

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit!

Look at the monkey, look at the monkey!

(Where's the 'head explodes' icon when you need one?)

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Coffee/keyboard

That does not make sense!

EOM

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Coffee/keyboard

titular response

Damn it!... He's using the Chewbacca defense!

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Coat

Sorry to be a pedant but

Chewbacca lives on Kashyyyk.

Mine's the black one with the matching respirator helmet

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Dead Vulture

iPhone 4 is to the Register as Lady Di is to the Mirror

New material much?

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Horse

Shit

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FAIL

Jobs....

....what a bullshit spewing ass-clown !!!

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Heart

educate me please

What is an "ass clown"? And no, I do not have a mirror handy.

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Translation of the Danish Blog

Below a translation of the danish Blog without the Google Translate mumbo-jumbo.

Has the iPhone 4 been born with Antenna-Problems?

"Its enver been done before. And its really cool engineering." This is how Steve Jobs presented the new metal-frame on the new iPhone, when the phone was unveiled for the wondering world.

The frame works like the phones antenna.

But in reality, the principle behind the iPhone4 Antenna-system is far from new.

And it might possibly be so problematic that it will reduce the phones effeciency.

En of the leading experts, when it comes to mobile-antenna's, is Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen from Aalborg University's Institute for Electronic Systems.

He is leading an international research-team, that just the other day got a million-crown support from the "Højteknologifonden" (High-Tech Fund) for the development of a more effecient mobile-antenna, and har for many years studied the anetanna-technology on the cell-phone front.

Asked about Apples presentation of the iPhone4, he answered, that the construction of the antenna as part of the phones frame is old news that has been seen many times before.

Pretty much all mobile-antenna in the market uses the phones metal-parts as antenna.

But on the iPhone 4, it also looks like that this antenna constructions can give special problems, because part of the antenna will unavoiderbly make contact with the users hand.

"The printcard itself works as part of the antenna and the metalframe directs the signal to it. But that means that the user cannot avoid interferring with the antenna-system with his touch" says Gert Frølund Pedersen til ComON.

But can the designers not compensate for touch in the software, so that they negate the problem of even provide a benefit ?

"The human tissue will under any circumstances have a inhibiting effect on the antenna. The touch means, that a larger part of the antenna's energy will be turned into heat and is therefore lost. Thereby, the antenna will be less effecient at sending and receiving the radiosignal" says Gert Frølund Pedersen.

Scientists in Aalborg university has previously demonstrated, that the hand reduces the cell-phones antenna-effeciency in a large degree. The antenna-effect can be reduced with more than 90%, if you hold the cell-phone tightly where the antenna is placed.

But on top of that comes the electrical disturbances, which the physical contact between the tissue of the skin and the metal of the antenna will produce.

When Steve Jobs t he other day demonstrated an online-function on t he new phone, he could not at first manage to connect the wonder-machine to some of the present WiFi-Net. But was th e reason for the mess in the otherwise so controlled presentation caused by a badly designed antenna ?

"There are most likely other factors that can cause that you cannot get on in a place like this. But maybe the antenna has been a contributing factor. The machines that have the weakest signal, is of course thrown off first" says Gert Frølund Pedersen.

He points to, that a more effecient antenna-construction in a smartphone, would be a system with two different antenna, that could take over for one another, depending on where you were holding your hand.

Exactly such an antenna-model, that works optimal and energy-friendly in the futures advanced smartphones, the north-jutland team has set as their goal to develop.

....

Please excuse any spelling-errors I might have missed.

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Flame

iPhone 4 Antenna

The Data he provided showed that the problem is not impacting the majority of consumers in real world usage scenarios. If this problem was really being experienced in real world scenarios the return rates of the phone would be off the chart. Sure you can replicate the problem by gripping the phone extremely hard, but no one who spends $600 on a smartphone *no contract* is going to do that. Covering the antenna area or holding the area do not impact reception, it is only when you purposely grip the phone that you witness the impact.

As far as the signal loss on the iPhone 4 compared to other phones can we at least agree that covering the antenna area with an extremely tight grip impacts all phones? I've tried the Motorola Droid, Samsung Moment, HTC EVO 4G, Samsung Seek, LG Rumor Touch, Droid X, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 - the final result was that all phones lost significant bars while covering/gripping the antenna area.

I think the media needs to provide some data based on their own testing of different phones on the market before they suggest this problem is catastrophic. I would at least like a news source test 1,000 units spread across the country before they start to jump on a Consumer Report. When's the last time anyone read Consumer Reports, honestly?

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FAIL

@cellfanatic - shill much?

I know, I know, arguing on the internet and all that.

However.

Stop with the FUD.

Two points:

1) 1 extra dropped call per 100 over the 3G is a massive amount worse - I can't quite believe that they touted this as a 'good thing'. Dropped calls are on the order of a couple per 100, so 1 extra is significantly worse.

2) No one disputes that if you shroud an antenna with your hand, it will get worse. The iPhone 4 does it with one finger touching the right spot.

-- A telecoms test engineer (WCDMA / LTE)

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Anonymous Coward

One touch versus hand grip

The issue is that in the US under AT&T by just touch the iPhone 4 in one partcular area can cause signal reduction or dropped calls while you need to grip the whole phone for other Smartphones to replicate this effect. This is called 'magic', ie distract the audience and they wont notice what you're really doing. Steve Jobs is such a magician!

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Err...

We don't know how many of those "100" calls another phone would have been able to initiate. That's the real issue we're all dancing around, there is no way to know. But if another phone could only have started a lower number then the iPhone 4 is in the clear. If another phone could have initiated more (and held onto more) then clearly the iPhone 4 has a less efficient design.

Trouble is - we don't have that information, and to fair to Apple; neither do they.

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Boffin

As My Grandpa Used to Say*

"The Data he provided showed that the problem is not impacting the majority of consumers in real world usage scenarios. If this problem was really being experienced in real world scenarios the return rates of the phone would be off the chart. "

This assumes that a significant majority of the users think and act similarly to you. As my grandpa used to say*, "If everyone was the same, we'd all be after your grandmother."

It also assumes that the users have properly identified the source of the problem. But in my experience with Apple users, they are generally happy to identify something, ANYTHING, other than their Apple product as the source of any problems they have. I doubt this applies to all Apple users, but it's enough to cast doubt on your argument's assumptions regarding Apple users. Furthermore, the symptoms of this particular issue can easily be wrongly attributed to other variables (location, network usage levels, network quality, etc.)

In short, there is no reason for there to be a significant correlation between error rate and return rate.

*No, he didn't. I got this quote from somewhere and can't remember where at this point. If I could, I'd attribute it. But it's too good to not use at all.

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General call completion rate

From what I have seen most networks expect the call completion rate for the whole network to be in the mid 99's, say around 99.5%. That includes network related failures as well. So 1 call dropped in 100 is a very big deal, let alone 1 more than a iPhone 3GS.

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WTF?

It wasn't the real Steve Jobs who said this. It was the Fake Steve Jobs.

Guys, even on a comment piece it's kind of nice if people don't just make up quotes. Or give purportedly genuine quotes that make someone sound bad, then a bit later say "by the way, they didn't actually say that".

Jobs has said enough dumb and contradictory things on the antenna business for him to be mock-worthy in his own right, without muddying the waters by mocking him for things the author knows he hasn't said.

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Paris Hilton

@ Ian K

Wow. You're not the sharpest tool in the box, are you?

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Grenade

@Stike Vomit

Better a blunt tool than a...than a...GIT! :p

Yes, I did understand why the article's author wrote what he wrote; I just thought it was poor anyway.

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Dead Vulture

@Tool (of the sharp variety)

No, he's got a point. The "Comment" tag doesn't absolve the author of all responsibility when it comes to coherent writing and acceptable style (in my opinion; debate welcome). You, I and he have probably all read the Real Jobs(TM)'s statement by now, so we know where his words end and Fake Steve's begin.

For anyone new to the matter, it's not so easy - especially as the real statement was so adrift from reality in many places. I challenge you to point out any in-place reference to the change of source where it occurs in the piece. Did Real Steve say *any* of the above?

It's basic good form in journalistic writing to introduce a quoted source before the actual quote. That permits the reader to, for example, not waste time reading further when the name "Mandelson" pops up. I don't doubt the author appreciated this, but structured the piece as he did for effect. Some may feel that's fair game in a Comment piece, but even the "payoff" at the end failed to make it clear where Real Steve stopped and Fake Steve began - and that's just weak.

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Boffin

Your piece in one link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn-YesqzvNk

God bless the Taiwanese

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Unhappy

Additional calls dropped

I'm not sure I understood the statistic "less than 1 additional call dropped per 100". I guess that's meant to sound like it's a tiny extra amount. But if the iPhone 3 is dropping 0.1 calls per 100 and the iPhone 4 is dropping 1 call per 100 that's 10 times as many dropped calls, but still less that 1 additional call per 100. Without knowing the actual figures "1 additional call per 100" is a bit vague.

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Go

Just interested...

Can the other companies RIM, Nokia, etc sue Apple for libel for his saying that there phones do the same thing?

If they take the independent tests that Consumer Report states that they dont suffer to the same degree, id say it seems pretty open and shut that Steve Jobs lied about the quality of another manufacturers product to sell more of his own. And if im not mistaken, that's an illegal act...

Antennagate - the soap opera that just keeps giving us more reason to hate his Jobsiness...

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no they can't

seeing as they instruct users in their own manuals not to hold the phones in particular ways

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