Do I need a bumper, or have they fixed it in the meantime?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by StudyAnimal, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. StudyAnimal macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2010
    I remember there used to be a problem with the iPhone that required using a bumper to avoid dropped calls.

    Have they fixed this in the meantime, or should I still order my iPhone with a bumper?
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    There have been no changes made to the iPhone
    And the publicity over the issues were vastly overblown in my opinion
    While some users undoubtedly experienced issues, the vast majority have not

    I use my iPhone without a bumper exclusively, even though I have one
  3. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    Apple has not sold an altered version of iPhone 4. You can still short out the antennae by a finger but it only affect your call if you have a low signal to begin with.
  4. cecoleman macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2007
    If you keep your paws off the lower antenna band during a call you need not worry. If you are in a one bar signal area you may have a problem if you do. When I'm on call regardless I grip it around the middle naturally, so I don't have the issue. I used the bumper for a while because of its grip back in the summer. However during the winter and wearing long pants I found it hard to get in and out of my jeans pocket because of the rubber clinging to my pockets. I'm not rocking naked with only SGP crystal shields on the front and back. It's working beautifully.
  5. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    As long as I don't use my iPhone 4, as a phone there's no problem.

    I live and work in a very strong 3G coverage area. When it will hold a call, the person I'm speaking to says it's garbled and they can't understand me. I graciously offer to call them right back, then hang up & place the call with my AT&T Captivate Android phone. It's loud & clear, allowing me to communicate as one expects from their phone.

    Apple's been great and given me three replacements. This latest one is a bit better than the rest, but the genius admits it's not what it should be.

    I've had iPhones since day one, I'm a huge Mac enthusiast and have a new MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, & MacBook Airs. So the only point is, unlike some who have no other Mac Gear, an iPhone is a big part of my Mac Eco system.

    Last years iPhone 3GS was excellent. I'm hoping that Apple will return to building a good usable phone with the next model.

    It's a documented fact that Apple engineers were aware of this significant problem. However Steve Jobs overruled them and decided to pawn it off on us, defects and all.
  6. darkside flow macrumors 6502

    darkside flow

    Aug 11, 2010
    I never used a case and have never had a dropped call. I also never had a dropped call in the two years I had my 3G. Very strong signal in Toronto.

    The only time I was actually able to affect the signal manually was on an island in the woods 1 1/2 hours north of Toronto in cottage country.
  7. adztaylor macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2009
    Preston, UK
    It's very hard to answer if your gonna have a problem OP. No one can deny Apple made a bit of a mess designing the antenna this time round.

    I do think the problem that affects some people is location-based. Personally I've had no problems but the reception in my area is very good.
  8. Pink∆Floyd macrumors 68020


    Nov 21, 2009
    Up There
    There was never a problem, just an over reaction by MacRumor's members and other tech blogs.
    People and the media exaggerated so much, it's not even funny to be honest. Me and brother both have launch iPhone 4's with no problems whatsoever. Never dropped a call because of holding the phone normally. Now, if someone wants to be a retard and actually GRIP the phone to death, then, logically, you'll loose signal.

    But if you just hold the iPhone like a normal person, like me, then you wont have any problems.

    In response to your question, you don't need a bumper or case for the iPhone to operate properly. Just use the damn phone :D
  9. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2009
    Texas, US
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    The antenna issues unique to the iPhone 4 were do to the user's skin "bridging" the little insulative gap on the side of the iPhone's antenna band. This reduces the signal (according to Anandtech who studied the issue) around -20db of signal. This was made worse by the fact that the iPhone's signal bars were displayed based on a curve, and didn't really represent the user's actual signal in an intelligible way. So users in low signal area's (with a naked iPhone) would see a dramatic drop of bars if they gripped the iPhone in a way that bridged the gap, and for users in poor signal areas, a -20db signal drop was often enough to drop a call. Other users in areas of very good signal often didn't see a problem at all.

    Apple responded by changing the signal bar formula (thru a software update) and giving away free Bumper cases (which cover the antenna band completely to prevent bridging the insulators) to early buyers of the phone. That policy has now changed to a "Call us if you need it" approach for free bumper cases.

    On the other hand, Anandtech's look at the problem also revealed that the iPhone 4 could hold onto a lower level of signal (without dropping a call) than the iPhone 3GS.

    For me admittedly, the whole thing is a bit of a non-issue, as I always put expensive devices in cases that protect the item from impact and drops. But some folks love the industrial design and want to carry the iPhone naked. Since nothing has changed with the physical design of the phone, if you operate it caseless in an area with very little signal, you can still see the effect. However, I enjoy the fact that I can use the iPhone 4 in area's that were previously dead areas to me, relying on the improved signal performance compared to my older iPhone.

    As with all things, YMMV
  10. b166er macrumors 68020


    Apr 17, 2010
    I've been using mine without a bumper since day one and I think I've had 3 calls drop so far. Impossible to say if it was me or the person I was talking to, or if it was the phone or the signal area, etc.
  11. great high wolf macrumors regular

    great high wolf

    Jan 30, 2006
    First time I got my UK T-Mobile iPhone 4 (bought November 2010) out of the box and started playing with it, the bars dwindled, dwindled and then the network dropped out. I naturally hold the phone with my palm across the antenna gap, and so the thing is basically unusable for me without a bumper. Luckily, Apple gave me a free bumper, even after the free case program had ended. :D
  12. bonecandy macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2006
    Dang, really nice post TruckdriverSean!

  13. Chairman Plow macrumors regular

    Chairman Plow

    May 15, 2008
    I haven't dropped a single call. As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue.
  14. majorbeats macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2010
    dropped lots of calls here...dont think bumper helps...depends on which batch i think.
  15. ridingforlife macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2008
    BC, Canada
    To be honest, I think the whole thing was a bit overblown. I haven't had any dropped calls, with or without a case on my iPhone (on Telus, in Canada).
  16. Mario Loco macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 3GS: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I've had the iPhone 4 for about a month now. Sold my 3GS and got this one. I have always kept all iPhone models naked. No bumper's, no skins, no nothing. I have never had Issues with signal or dropped calls. As a matter of fact I've noticed that I've had a better signal with my iPhone4 then other iPhones I've had.
  17. vanc macrumors 6502

    Nov 21, 2007
    Probably depends on carriers. I am on Rogers in Canana and the iPhone 4 works perfectly.

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