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Old Oct 14, 2011, 10:51 AM   #1
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iPhone 4S Seems to Fix 'Death Grip' Antenna Issue




One of the big controversies surrounding the launch of the iPhone 4 was related to its antenna design. Several customers reported issues with significant signal loss when holding their iPhone in a natural way. The complaints grew louder until even Consumer Reports stated that they couldn't recommend the iPhone 4 due to the signal issues. Not all customers saw the problem, as the issue seemed to be related to regional signal strength.

Apple even held a press conference to address the controversy. Apple, however, focused on a related but separate issue during their press conference. They discussed normal signal attenuation while gripping any phone tightly, and rightfully pointed out that all mobile phones exhibit this behavior to some degree. The other iPhone 4 specific issue which wasn't addressed during the press conference was the effect of simply bridging the left lower antenna break also causing problems for some. This video from 2010 best demonstrates the effect.

Early testing and reports from iPhone 4S users seem to show that the signal drop from tightly gripping the iPhone has been diminished or even eliminated. One user tested their iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S from the exact same spot and found no signal drop at all in the iPhone 4S while gripping tightly with their left hand and covering the band.




The above picture tries to demonstrate the reduced effect, but even the iPhone 4 attenuation is rather minimal as compared to the worst case scenarios we've seen.

The iPhone 4S is known to have significant antenna upgrades, allowing it to switch antennas to maximize their signal. iSpazio also posted a video showing little effect from the "death grip" on the 4S, though the video shows the demonstrator holding it in the wrong hand for the demonstration. Typically the effect is most seen when holding the iPhone in your left hand to bridge the lower left antenna gap.

Regardless, this should be good news for anyone interested in an iPhone 4S. We expect to hear more real world experiences as more readers get their iPhone 4Ss activated.

Update: InsanelyGreatMac does a great followup video showing the issue seems definitely improved on the new iPhone 4S.


Article Link: iPhone 4S Seems to Fix 'Death Grip' Antenna Issue
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 10:53 AM   #2
TimUSCA
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Oh, you mean the problem that was never really a problem anyway? That's some R&D well-spent.

I realize Apple had no choice but to "fix" the problem due to the bad PR, but the fact that they had to in the first place is ridiculous.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 10:54 AM   #3
arn
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I know there are some people who seem to think the antenna issue wasn't real, but I can say from first hand experience it was real. So let's please not get into the debate about whether it was a manufactured controversy or not.

There were two separate issues

a) "death grip" - holding tightly
b) just bridging the lower left band

a) is common in all cell phones
b) is iPhone 4 specific

arn

Last edited by arn; Oct 14, 2011 at 11:20 AM.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 10:56 AM   #4
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Why not do the example whilst in field test mode and get some comparable numbers?

And what is that message icon on the right side of the top bar? I thought it was from a jailbreak option - which I haven't heard of one for the iPhone 4s yet?
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 10:57 AM   #5
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The "death grip" issue ain't over until Consumer Reports says it's over!
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 10:57 AM   #6
NachoGrande
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I've dropped more calls with my iPhone 4 than with any other phone that i've owned. I'd say the problem was real. Not to mention the proximity sensor issues... 40 more days until I can scrap this iPhone 4 and get the 4s.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 10:58 AM   #7
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I'm looking forward to testing this myself. Hurry up FedEx!
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 10:59 AM   #8
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:00 AM   #9
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Makes me glad I skipped the 4 and waited for the 4S
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
I know there are some people who seem to think the antenna issue wasn't real, but I can say from first hand experience it was real. So let's please not get into the debate about whether it was a manufactured controversy or not.

arn
the problem was real just not a big deal. you had to hold it like you wanted to break the phone, which for a 700 phone people sure tend to treat them like cheap plastic nokia phones you get for free.:roll eyes:

I have had no case on any of the iPhone and had non of the problems or the amount of glass cracks I see people have. what are these people doing that they can't even take care of a phone in their pocket.

That said I find that walking around with a phone stuck you your ear makes people look like dorks and 80's rejects. people bluetooth is for real use it.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
I know there are some people who seem to think the antenna issue wasn't real, but I can say from first hand experience it was real. So let's please not get into the debate about whether it was a manufactured controversy or not.

arn
You mean like the one you just started ?
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:01 AM   #12
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Funny. My AT&T iPhone 4 doesn't have this issue. There are times when I can death grip it and actually goes up 1 bar. On the flip side, I am not in a low coverage area.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:02 AM   #13
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I don't know why somebody would do this but this looks really fake.
Why are the pictures that show the screen while the phone is being "death gripped" different from the ones on the left? There are additional icons in the status bar only on the pictures on the right.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:03 AM   #14
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I never had the vulcan death grip issue with my phone, but for those who did, I'm glad for them that it appears to be fixed.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:04 AM   #15
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That's great news.

Now, how do I convince Apple/Orange to upgrade my iPhone 4 to an iPhone 4S to fix reception issues..? I only get 2-3 bars of 3G in my area, and will often drop completely.

Orange blame Apple for the iPhone 4 antenna, and Apple say it's because Orange has poor reception, that any phone does this. Maybe if they gave me an iPhone 4S to prove otherwise..
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
I know there are some people who seem to think the antenna issue wasn't real, but I can say from first hand experience it was real. So let's please not get into the debate about whether it was a manufactured controversy or not.

arn
Thank you.

Right handers that had their pinky touch the lower left break saw major db loss. Left handers that had their palm touch the same break had the same issue.

Grip had NOTHING to do with it. NOTHING. Any phone will suffer from the water content in your hand. This was just making light contact to a soft-spot in the antenna design of the iPhone 4. You get an almost inexcusable 10dB loss. In VERY strong signal areas, you would not see bar drops (such as ATT stores), but if you had average signal or worse, you would likely lose the call.

Hopefully what is happening is if you hold a 4S the way you are comfortable in doing so and contact is made on that spot, it just switches to use the top antenna bar.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:04 AM   #17
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by ed724 View Post
You mean like the one you just started ?
Ha! I thought the exact same thing.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:04 AM   #19
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The software interprets the signal it has an then graphically represents it in the corner. As such I personally don't think we can guarantee this test tells us much. The only way to truly tell is real world use and/or a more thorough test.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:05 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Lucbert View Post
I don't know why somebody would do this but this looks really fake.
Why are the pictures that show the screen while the phone is being "death gripped" different from the ones on the left? There are additional icons in the status bar only on the pictures on the right.
Oops. I looked at the photos wrong.

Hmmm. I dunno.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:05 AM   #21
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That was expected, not fixing it after 16 months would be so dumb
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:06 AM   #22
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It probably would be slightly better if they could test somewhere there was a weak signal to start with. IIRC, the signal strength 'bands' are higher for the top bars than the bottom, so this problem was much more noticeable for users with weaker signals to begin with.
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:06 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucbert View Post
I don't know why somebody would do this but this looks really fake.
Why are the pictures that show the screen while the phone is being "death gripped" different from the ones on the left? There are additional icons in the status bar only on the pictures on the right.
Even if the story is true the pictures don't prove it. The red arrows are misplaced and the labels are wrong. Also, take a look at the time. Presumably the earlier one if from the iPhone 4, and the later one is from the 4S.
The extra status bar icons are from a jailbreak only app called LockInfo, which can't even be installed on the iPhone 4S.
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Last edited by justinfreid; Oct 14, 2011 at 11:09 AM. Reason: looked closer at the picture
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:06 AM   #24
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What are those icons next to the battery? A mail icon and a speaker? on both the iPhone 4 and the 4S? Are both phones jailbroken, or am I missing something here?
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Old Oct 14, 2011, 11:06 AM   #25
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Does this help the Verizon phone as well or just GSM bands?
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