Apple could have easily avoided the Antennagate debacle

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Rend It, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. Rend It macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2003
    United States
    I just finished watching the press conference video. I've never seen Steve Jobs so defensive. :confused: If you take him on his word, they knew of the iPhone 4 antenna bridging issue before release. He also pointed out that other manufacturers include a sticker on the phone to indicate where not to hold it.

    If Apple was as "transparent" as he claims, they should have included a 1 cm sticker near the gap, indicating to users to avoid that spot. They should have also included a brief mention of it in their "Finger Tips" user manual, and point out that if it's difficult to avoid that spot, then perhaps a case is in order.

    If they had done this, users would have known from day one how to handle the phone, and the whining and uproar would have been greatly reduced. Instead, I can only imagine that they figured nobody would notice. Then, when people started to notice, they began broadcasting this exact same message. As a result, they appeared reactionary and defensive.

    Apple - or more to the point - SJ: Just be honest and open about the limitations of your products and people will be much more understanding, even with all of the distortion field hype.
  2. ramallite macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2004
    I cannot agree. There would probably have been a greater uproar (not to mention ridicule) if Apple included any hint that the phone should not be held or touched at a certain spot where, incidentally, a majority of people are extremely likely to be holding the device by default.

    I do agree that Apple could have handled the debacle better with some more honesty and, frankly, a much clearer explanation than they did. Most phones *do* have this problem - in this Steve is correct. But placing the antenna on the outside does two things: Makes the phone's reception much better, and conversely makes it much more susceptible to interference by touching.

    So Apple (as a for-profit corporation with an image to maintain) is now walking a very tight rope of providing as much justification as possible while admitting as little fault as possible. Any CEO would have to do that. The outside antenna is pretty cool but it does come at a cost. Now Apple has a big job on its hands: to solve the interference problem without re-enclosing the antenna in the next model, because to put the antenna back inside would be admission of a badly-made engineering decision.
  3. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    You know, I gotta agree with this. If they just had mentioned that in the manual or something like that, people would have just thought it was part of the phone operations and they wouldn't be making near as much uproar about the phone "not working properly".

    I mean my previous (Nokia) cellphones had a thing in the manual about not holding it in certain spots and I just took it for granted that hey, that's how you operate the phone. If I had come into problems with reception while holding it there, I'd have then just blamed myself and decided to listen to the instruction manual (I didn't though but I also have to try to replicate the issue on my iphone 4). I'd bet more people would just not have even seen it in the "it doesn't operate like it should" light if they went ahead and just said, "don't hold it there" and said that was the operating instructions.

    Too bad hindsight is 20/20.
  4. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
  5. Rooftop voter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 26, 2010
    Hindsight is 20/20.
  6. Rend It thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2003
    United States
    Of course. But, the point is that Apple had a choice: make no mention of the issue and hope no one notices, or point it out (albeit discreetly). In other words, they had the opportunity to be wise before the event. I think SJ made a bad call. Perhaps it was an honest mistake, but lately his behavior leads one to wonder if it was a bout of hubris.
  7. rburly macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2009
    But the OP is right. If Apple had said what the OP pointed out, there's have been no room for complaints.

    I can't believe Apple can't afford the best PR people in the world to advise SJ about how to handle that press conference last Friday. Or, since Steve knows everyone drinks his kool aid, he thought anything he would say would be completely acceptable. C'mon Steve, hire some PR folks the next time. Only for people like me, I won't pre-order anything Apple puts out. I'll wait for the reviews every year from now on.
  8. Phokus macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010

    Give me a break, you're advocating corporations be LESS transparent? They lie to consumers with their marketing and PR departments enough as it is. It would have been welcome if they basically told everyone about that weak spot.
  9. mrcadman macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2010
    There was nothing honest about it at all. They DELIBERATELY removed Field-Test in order to keep ALL users from easily discovering that the I4 has a huge signal loss when touched in a very normal way. For some its a dropped call, others not, but it IS a 24dbm signal loss and it DOES effect the data rates as well. They knew a long time ago, and decided to push ahead anyway.
    Steve Jobs; not a real man, just a corporate male.

  10. Rend It thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2003
    United States
    Yeah, there are a number of things that seem fishy like this. Apple can pride themselves on thoroughly obfuscating the reality of the issue. The signal loss in the iPhone 4 really is not the same as with other phones; I've seen it phrased elsewhere as, "Detuning is not the same as attenuation." This study on microwave absorption in humans indicates that attenuation due to the human body at 1.8 GHz is only 2 dB/cm. You would need a 12 cm (5") thick hand to produce 24 dB attenuation!

    It's also not simple detuning. Touching a finger to a single antenna (a form of detuning) also decreases received signal power, but nowhere near 24 dB. It's the bridging of two antennas that leads to the dramatic signal loss. This is supported by the fact that you can place a key or ring or other metal object over the gap and reproduce a similar 20 dB drop. I can't say for certain, but I doubt that this latter effect can be demonstrated in phones with internal antennas.

    On a related note, I wonder if Apple uses (or will use) something like this to help solve this problem:
    Antenna Tuning Approach Aids Cellular Handsets
  11. b166er macrumors 68020


    Apr 17, 2010
    I honestly believe that Apple could have had this press event BEFORE releasing the iPhone and it would not have helped at all. Everyone still would have bought one and then went ballistic if they happened to get one of the affected models.

    Coming on MR and complaining makes way more sense than not buying a phone you are sure will disappoint you or returning one that already is disappointing you.
  12. malim macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2010
    Succes leads to arrogant

    Since the introduction of iMac, apple gained a popularity around the world and sales climbing up. But it also creates few problem such as product defect etc. White iMac with LCD vertical lines, iPod and iphone issues, all contributed to increased quality decline in their product.

    I think this scenario is exactly like microsoft when they are at the epak of their popularity. They become arrogant, never listen to the consumer, neglected the social responsibility etc. And it seems that Apple is in this era....

    The success and popularity gained seems blinded them and the tune of their top executive too has changed from mellow down to earth to more arrogant sounding.

    High demand on their product also lead to quality control. Manufacturing process has to double or triple their capacity has lead to more percentage of defect product come out from the assembly lines.

    I think this attitude of being arrogant must be stop. They should come back to their core value, being humble, being honest and sincere.

    Thats why now I see why Microsoft invited anipad owner to be part of their consumer research for their future product, because i think they don't want to repeat their mistake again. They not ashamed to tell that they want to get an opinion from ipad user how they use their device.
  13. mrcadman macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2010
    Uh, from what I've observed, the entire collective Apple would never have the good character or moral fortitude to simply mention "by the way, touch it here, and you'll massively detune the antenna." Rather, they removed Field Test in Ios4 so it wasn't as obvious. The fact is, if you bridge the gap, there will be a very significant loss in performance for both antennas. Period. The laws of physics apply to everyone, not just a few phones.
    It's great that many seem to live in wonderful signal areas and I applaud your ability to never need you phone in a spotty area, but I'll be really, really impressed if you can obtain half the expected resale value for your I4 next year.

    The facts are:
    1. They knew months ago, but after much investment.
    2. They absolutely tried to hide your ability to observe the mistake.
    3. They advertised only pictures of a phone, sans the needed case.
    4. When called on it, by experts no less, they manipulated the stats.
    5. They discovered their "stunning" mistake about the bars and fixed that. Amazingly, not a single Apple fan has realized that meant the update quite a while back didn't really improve their signal, it just gave them more bars. I suppose they see this not as a previous lie, but as guidance and leadership.

    Everything anyone needs to know about the character of Steve Jobs and Apple is right there in 5 easy steps. These can only be ignored by blind faith and suspension of disbelief.
  14. Rend It thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2003
    United States
    Bridging the gap everyone usually refers to (bottom left, below volume buttons) has a more significant effect on the 3G performance than WiFi. The reason is that that gap is the feedpoint for the EDGE/UMTS antenna. In other words, it's the point where the RF in/out from the circuit board connects to the antenna (via a small coax cable). This is evident in iFixit's teardown. The feedpoint for the WiFi antenna is near the gap at the top of the phone. The third gap (right side, below micro SIM slot) appears to only be for purposes of aesthetic symmetry.

    If you're in an area of marginal WiFi coverage, touching the top gap should have a larger effect than touching the left gap.

    Just FYI. :)
  15. iSlanderous macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    the phone has a design flaw. buy a case, don't touch the area, or return it.
  16. thales macrumors member

    Jul 17, 2010
    They removed field test from iOS 4, not the iP4 specifically, although that does not invalidate your theory.
  17. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    FYI - the HTC phones and some others have it in their manual (with pictures even) of where it's best to NOT hold the phone due to heat or blocking reception.

    So to say Apple would look ridiculous indicating it in their manual is silly.

    It's call ACCOUNTABILITY folks. Some companies take it - some don't. Apple doesn't want to be held accountable. At the press release - rather than taking ownership - they shifted the blame. Whatever works for them, I guess.

    If they HAD indicated in the manual - ANY manual about this potential issue, they could have just squashed the hoopla by saying "All cell phones do this - which is why we documented our locations like other manufactures in the manual"

    But they'd rather look superior and deny any issue upfront. The "formula" for showing bars is another example where they tried to "stack the deck" to look better than their competition and when that failed, they changed it to again - what? look better than their competition...
  18. solarein macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2010
    To say not to cover up an area of the phone's back is one thing - it's easily avoided.

    To say not to touch the phone's sides is quite another - it's much much harder to avoid.
  19. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I'm not arguing that point.
  20. siraether macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    To be fair, he is only saying not to touch an area about a milimeter wide...
  21. mrblack927 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 19, 2008
    They thought they could get away with it, plain and simple. They gambled and lost.

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