Tag Archives: iPhone 4 death grip

Weekend reading: Why Apple needs to loosen its death grip over Antenna Gate

25 Jul

iPhone 4 death gripFirst they denied it. Then they accepted it. And now they are on a mission to prove everyone suffers from it. The headline and the picture are indications enough of what it is all about – the iPhone 4’s ‘Antenna Gate’ and how Apple is reacting to it.

Initially, Apple turned a blind eye to reports that indicated the iPhone 4 might have a faulty antenna design which leads to it dropping calls when held in a particular way (when held in the left hand and the skin covers the lower left edge of the phone – also called as the death grip). Last week, Steve Jobs addressed the media and accepted that there was a problem that affected less than a per cent of iPhone 4 owners and offered free cases to all owners as a peace offering. (The case covers the antenna and eliminates the death grip.)

Everything would have been fine had Jobs & Co. left it at that. But no, like sore losers they won’t accept that they screwed up and have now embarked on a mission to prove that every cellphone out there suffers from attenuation (the loss of signal when the antenna is obstructed by skin when held). Precisely for that Apple has put online a website on which it uploads videos of how death grip can be applied to phones from competing brands.

I admire Jobs and products that Apple comes out with and it saddens me to see how they are unable to come to terms with a bad design decision with your most popular product. While Apple can put the death grip on any phone under the sun, the point they are missing is that people don’t hold phones the way they are holding to demonstrate attenuation on other phones. Apple even shows the iPhone 3GS suffering from attenuation but no one has really complained about it before simply because they do not hold their iPhone 3GS that way!

While Apple’s videos were entertaining initially, now they are becoming irritating and have started putting me off. What will they come up with next week? Probably how to put a death grip on the Samsung Galaxy S? I won’t be surprised.

My point of this entire rant is to just tell Apple to pucker up and face the reality. Rather than telling us that others are bad too, just work things out and give us a solution. We love your phones and are willing to use them with a case if need be. We won’t complain, promise. Just grow up!

Marware launches Bumper-like case for iPhone 4

24 Jul

Marware SportGrip Edge for iPhone 4Ever since Apple announced that it would be offering free iPhone 4 cases to all owners, we felt for third-party case sellers who have spent millions of dollars manufacturing a variety of cases for the world’s most loved/hated (take your pick) smartphone. Now Marware has launched a Bumper-like case for the iPhone 4. Considering that Apple won’t be able to make enough Bumpers for its 3 million or so customers, in all probability, it will offer a choice of silicone slips to choose from once it runs out of Bumpers.

If that really isn’t your thing, you should look at this SportGrip Edge from Marware. Priced at $19.99, it is similar to Apple’s Bumper – it is a band that covers the edges – and it also comes with two sheets of screen protector for the front and the back of the phone. Not only will it eliminate call drops caused by the “death grip” but it will also protect the front and the back from getting scratched.

Gresso’s iPhone 4 Black Diamond case solves 'Antennagate' in style

23 Jul

Gresso has launched its latest iPhone 4 casing, made of 200-years old African Blackwood, the signature material which they have used for the iPhone 3GS casing as well. The Gresso iPhone 4 Black Diamond casing has an 18-K gold Apple logo embedded on the backside with an inlaid glittering black diamond.

This $10,000 case for the iPhone 4 not only makes the device look pretty but also solves the ‘death grip’ problem that many users are facing. The antenna strip around the perimeter of the iPhone 4, which is the known culprit for the problem, will be covered by the steel frame along the edges of the Gresso case. The steel frame has a titanium black PVD coating which being dielectric in nature will nullify the reception issue and consequently, there will be no loss of signal, according to Gresso.

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.