Tag Archives: Apple iPhone 4

Inside Apple's antenna testing lab

17 Jul

For the first time, Apple has released information about its antenna design and testing labs, thanks to the whole “antennagate” debate. Complete with photographs and a video, Apple explains how it tests the antenna performance of its products before they are given a go-ahead for mass production. Every thing, from cellular signals to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even GPS signals are simulated in this lab that has the capability to create real-life conditions. Apple engineers use 17 different antenna characterisation chambers (anechoic chambers) in the lab that measure the device’s wireless and antenna performances. Apple claims that the iPhone 4 had been tested across the world with different carriers running their networks on different equipment in different conditions. Hell, Apple even uses artificial hands and heads that mimic human tissue, apart from real people, to test how it affects the antenna performance.

Then how did Apple not come across the ‘death grip’? That was revealed today during Steve Jobs’ candid talk. They came across the signal drop but it wasn’t that bad as some people out there are facing. Probably, that happened when the test phones were in significantly good network coverage and the signal drop wasn’t alarming to drop a call.

Whatever may have happened, the way Jobs tackled the situation demonstrates why Apple has such devoted customers. Some might call it fanboy-ism but it is not a one-way street as Nokia might be able to tell you when its devoted followers are abandoning ship and embracing Android.

Talking about Nokia, it could learn a thing or two from how things have changed in the past 24 hours for Apple. Consumers do not like to wait till you announce your next product if you cannot bring out a quality product in the first place. And if you keep bringing out kickass products, they are willing to compromise when you stumble. The key is to accept when you have let your customers down, lay out bare facts and take measures immediately to resolve the crisis.

Apple to ship free iPhone 4 cases to owners and everyone lived happily ever after…

17 Jul

Steve Jobs today sweet-talked the media, gave out free iPhone 4 cases and literally put the whole ‘death grip’ and ‘antenna gate’ incident behind him. Jobs set the tone at the beginning by saying, “We are not perfect. Phones are not perfect.” Then he went on to show (on video) how a similar death grip could put the BlackBerry 9700, HTC Droid Eris and the Samsung Omnia 2 to sleep – a point that he had been making ever since the whole issue first started getting reported.

What really set the record straight was some stats that he dropped – only 0.55 per cent of iPhone 4 users are reporting this problem and the number of additional calls dropped per 100 calls on the iPhone 4 is less than one when compared to the iPhone 3GS. Talking about the iPhone 3GS, he said that the return rate of the iPhone 3GS was double that that of the iPhone 4 during early shipments. So far, Apple has sold three million units of the iPhone 4 in just three weeks.

Jobs was just short of admitting that the iPhone 4 has a flawed design with the antenna strip running around the edges of the phone but insisted that this is a problem that every handset manufacturer out there is facing.

Still, to pacify its users (I think it was more a step to pacify the press than anyone else), Apple will ship free iPhone 4 cases to all iPhone 4 owners and will refund those who bought Apple’s bumper cases. The offer will begin next week when Apple will put a site online from where owners would be able to choose a case. Unfortunately, Apple won’t be able to manufacture as many bumpers and we have a sneak feeling that we might be seeing silicone cases in different colour options on that site. The offer would be on till September 30. Unsatisfied users can also return their phone and they would be refunded in full without having to pay any restocking fee.

Jobs dismissed the idea of making any design changes on the phone and also said the Bloomberg story that he was told about this problem when the iPhone 4 was being designed were completely false. However, he added that during their tests, they noticed that there was a loss of signal when the e was held in a certain way but they never really thought it would be this bad.

It takes balls of steel for someone to face the press when journalists smell blood and Jobs really came out with nary a scratch on him or his company. It seems to me that everyone just wanted to see him on stage and talk about it in public rather than sharing his views with random people via an occasional e-mail. And to reassure its customers, in a rare move, Apple has posted a video of Jobs’ July 16 iPhone 4 antenna gate address on its website.

Next week, Apple will be announcing its latest quarterly results and it would be rather interesting to see if anyone asks the company how much money they would be spending to ship everyone free cases. Nevertheless, it would be much cheaper than a recall, which would have cost the company at least $1.5 billion according to some analysts.

Consumer Report confirms iPhone 4 reception issues are hardware related, recommends duct tape as a solution

13 Jul

Consumer Report, the folks who test everything under the sun and give their recommendations have declined to recommend the iPhone 4. The reason – their lab tests indicate that the iPhone 4’s network reception issues are real and they are not software related. In fact, they tested other phones on AT&T and found that Apple’s claims of “every phone suffers from signal loss when held” were nothing but complete BS. They have also come up with a solution to get rid of the deathgrip (iPhone 4 losing signal when the lower part of its antenna band is touched) – duct tape! Check out the video below of how they bust Apple’s myth that it is an AT&T problem and not a design flaw.

via Consumer Reports

This iPhone 4 is on fire, really!

9 Jul

Yes, that’s a fried iPhone 4 that you see here and check out the molten remains of the USB cable that came along with the phone. Apparently, the AT&T customer hooked the phone with his computer and the connector port of the iPhone 4 caught fire! According to BGR who got hold of the pic from their AT&T source, Apple has acknowledged that it is a faulty port rather than user negligence. Hmm, do not try this at home, folks and keep your fire fighting gear on while you charge your iPhone 4 next. Just kidding, it is probably the first and only iPhone 4 to meet a fiery death.

Apple: There's nothing wrong with our phone, your network sucks!

3 Jul

And the plot thickens… After hearing hundreds of customers complain about the iPhone 4’s reception issues (when held) and even a video that demonstrates how the network is fine when the phone is kept on a table but vanishes as soon as it is picked up, Apple claims that there is nothing wrong with the hardware. A “Letter from Apple Regarding iPhone 4“, issued a few hours ago, states that Apple was “surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them.” And… found nothing wrong with the phone’s hardware!

Instead, Apple insists that every phone ranging from Nokias to Droids to BlackBerries, demonstrate the same characteristics and lose signal when the phone is held! This is the worst BS I have ever heard from anyone. Instead of agreeing that their ‘might’ be design issues, this is what Apple wants to tell us:

“Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.”

So let me get this straight, when the iPhone 4 is kept on a table, it shows full signal bars, but when it is picked up all the bars disappear. Even if it was showing more bars than it ought to, the phone moved from a ‘decent’ reception area on the table to an area with no reception as soon as it was picked up? Something surely does not add up over here.

Nevertheless, Apple says that it is now working with AT&T’s prescribed formula for calculating signal bars and there should be a software update pretty soon that will fix the issue. Mind you, we are talking about fixing the number of bars that are displayed and not the real bone of contention – the grip of death.

There is one thing that we’d really like to know from Apple: How come we never witnessed any changes in the signal bar when we held the iPhone, the iPhone 3G or the iPhone 3GS? The network is the same, the algorithm to display signal bars hasn’t changed (yet) and the only change that we can see is in the design of the new iPhone.

Hmm… Now we know why Powell Gray (the guy who ‘lost’ his iPhone 4 prototype in a bar) was using a case on his iPhone 4 – it wasn’t just a security measure, but that was also the only way he could make calls without dropping them every minute.

Jokes apart, if Apple can really solve the reception issue with this software update, I’d be tempted to pick up a factory unlocked version.

Moto Droid X: Makes calls, no matter how you hold it

1 Jul

Wonder what Motorola meant by the last few lines in this ad copy? (:P)

And most importantly, it comes with a double antenna design. The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls.

via Motorola’s Facebook page

iPhone 4 users experiencing display discoloration, reception problem gets demoed on video

24 Jun

Cupertino, it seems we have a problem! Some folks who received their iPhone 4 a couple of days early are reporting a yellow/brown discoloration on the heavily hyped ‘Retina Display’. The problem seems to be affecting a sizable number of users as it has become a hot topic of discussion on various forums. Elsewhere, Engadget’s Ryan Block has managed to scratch the back of his iPhone 4 review unit, which sorta worries us and reminds of the ghastly scratch-prone first generation iPod Nanos. The problem doesn’t seem as terrible, but if we were you, the first thing we’d do is pick up a protective casing even before we took out the iPhone 4 from its box.

And that’s not all. Apparently, if you touch the metallic band while you hold the iPhone 4, it affects the network reception! A user has posted this video on YouTube and there are others on MacRumors Forum who have experienced the same thing! OMG! Is the iPhone 4 suddenly looking less tempting? Here’s the video: