* Posts by snilsson

5 posts • joined 2 Jul 2010

Apple iPhone 4

snilsson

The antenna, once more

Here is my analysis. If there are any gaps in my reasoning, I'd love to know, honestly.

Fixing the broken antenna design is hugely expensive, so Apple is forced to push on with this defective product using as much spin as they can muster.

A new antenna design amounts to a new phone. It takes years and billions of dollars to come up with a new phone design. You should realize that this is only the second phone from Apple (not counting software and other minor cosmetic changes) and number three is most likely still at an early stage.

To make matters worse, this happens exactly when the smart phone market is exploding. Apple badly needs a new product to push to the market at this point. Recalling the iPhone 4 now may well kill Apple.

The next few weeks will be very interesting. Will Apple's brand and strong halo effect be enough to save them this time?

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Apple's iPhone 4 denial: insulting or ignorant?

snilsson

Interview with (real) antenna expert

Here is an interesting interview (in Danish) with Gert Frølund Pedersen, one of the world's foremost experts in mobile antenna design:

http://ing.dk/artikel/110085-antenne-professor-iphone-er-markedets-vaerste-telefon

A few highlights:

-Is this the worst antenna on the market?

I'm certain of that.

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Surely the problems can be fixed. When the antenna is this bad, it doesn't take much to make it a little bit better. Moving the components around, however, does not solve the problem. It takes a change in the design, and that is not a simple thing.

[-]

But it seems grotesque, that you now can buy a holder for $30, to help add distance to the antenna. We researchers are laughing, but Apple is making money.

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snilsson

Halo effect

@Arctic fox

The halo effect can explain much of this - the Wikipedia article on the subject even uses Apple as an example.

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snilsson

How much is a 20 dB signal loss?

Thanks for the excellent explanation of attenuation and detuning. A question. From the reports we'e seen so far it seems this phone loses at least 20 dB of signal strength when being held in a typical left hand grip. What are normal figures for a standard phone? How much would you lose if you disconnect the antenna altogether? Could you give us some comparisons?

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snilsson
Alert

Between a rock and a hard place

I believe Rik's analysis of the failed antenna design is spot on.

Apple is stuck at this point. Introducing physical changes in a product takes months. Also, they can't touch the radio at all; that would require a new time-consuming validation.

Chances are that Apple only have two choices: pushing this product despite its defects or being without a new phone for X months, where X may be a large number.

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