The reason the Antennae Issue Wasn't Discovered In Apple Testing??

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by KidStallyn, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. KidStallyn macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2008
    Was mainly due to Apple complete secrecy in development. In this case right here, it totally bit them in the butt. Apple is no different then any company with respect to testing. I'm sure, at the time, they thought they did a full and thorough job testing this device. They used the same methodologies that they did on the 2G, 3G and 3Gs models. Every single one of those was tested out in the wild. There's been many "electronic" sightings of them prior to release when identified by different analytics programs. The iPhone4 was no different.

    And Apple has always done this in secrecy. The very first iPhone design was so secret, nobody caught a first glimpse of it until release day. Follow on models were seen, but for the most part, were renditions that ended up being generated form the original iPhones design. Apple always hid their design in intricate cases shielding them form peoples views, or disguising them to look like current models.

    And here we have iPhone4 and Gray Powell getting lit in a bar and losing his in the wild test device. The person who found it, thought that it was just a regular old iPhone until they removed the protective case. Shortly thereafter it was disabled remotely by Apple. Then the clever dissection began by Gizmodo. But lets not forget the case it was found in. I'm sure it was probably bumper-esque in its design. It probably wasn't a bumper but more of a full body case that covered the back and sides as well. If there was a major design flaw in the metal band, this case could have hid the problem the entire time.

    But I also don't think it effects every phone. Mine personally does not exhibit the issue. I'm either in a strong signal area, or there is something different with my phone that makes this bridging of the two antennas not happen. I'm left handed, and I've squeazed the heck out of the phone in a death grip while talking. Perhaps there's a coating on the metal surface of mine, that's not on others. Who knows at this point. Ive even tried to get the problem to happen by placing my "naked" iPhone4 on a paperclip stand that I made for my iPhone3G....Placing one metal part of the paperclip stand on one antenna and the other on the other side of the antennae..electrically bridging the two antennas. Not a single bar drop for me.

    All I'm trying to say is that Apple, for the past couple of weeks since this issue has been greatly publicized I'm sure has been working night and day trying to isolate what is going on. I'm sure they have phones that exhibit this issue, and have a reason as to why this is happening by now. The reason they've been quiet is because they wanted to figure out what the root cause is. Perhaps it's a manufacturing defect that the phone didn't get the proper coating on the antennae ring. Who know. If they offer a recall, I'm sure they'll have a good system in place that will handle everyone in a timely manner. Basically, I'm sure it will be in lines of....Free Bumper until we can get you a replacement model with a fix shipped to an Apple store near you.

    As for mine, I do keep mine in a protective case 100% of the time. I'll admit it. My 3G when through hell in my possession. It's fallen off a roof, cracked the screen from a fall at Target one day, and the home and sleep wake buttons didn't work. I had to jailbreak mine so that I could re-assign the volume keys to perform those functions. And with my history, I really need a case that can take the shock.

    Anyways, sorry for the diatribe here. Apple will do the right thing tomorrow. Have faith peepz.
  2. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    May 6, 2010
    New York
    I hope so. Their response tomorrow has a huge influence on whether or not I get an iPhone, or look elsewhere. I'm seriously rooting for the iPhone here.
  3. cwubbels macrumors regular


    Sep 24, 2008
    Yeah having all the prototypes in a case didn't help when doing "real world" testing. Of course I don't know that to be true, I'm just going off of the prototype that was found.

    I would think however, they would conduct some lab testing as well as real world testing. Maybe it would have shown up then?

    I don't know... Hard to say...

    Hopefully we will find out some useful info tomorrow!

    Good post though.
  4. opmisk macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2010
    This theory is extremely naive... not trying to knock your idea but a company the size of Apple has extremely exhaustive testing processes. To think that the only testing done was with a case is short-sighted.

    They certainly knew about the issue, deemed it a risk, and when weighed against other risks/benefits, they determined it was worth it to ship with the current antenna design.

    What they truly failed to do was to anticipate the 'volume' of the backlash. I'm sure they expected a few complaints, and pro-actively created the bumper, but I doubt they expected the issue to gain as much visibility as it has.

    I'm an Apple guy, but I'm very disappointed in their response to this point. Personally, the phone works great for me, I love it. I don't hold in such a way as to affect signal, and have had zero issues. That said, I certainly understand the camp that is affected, and would expect Apple to somehow make it 'right'. Lets hope they do.
  5. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    May 6, 2010
    New York
    It's just hard to imagine how someone couldn't have predicted this problem, even without actually testing. The hypothesis comes before the testing for said hypothesis.

    They split the antenna bands up because they KNEW the parts couldn't touch. Yet... when you touch it, they are re-connected. It's no secret the human body is a top notch conductor.
  6. S1njin macrumors 6502a


    May 3, 2010
    You would think so, but probably not. I'm sure there is some sort of signal booster in Cupertino for them to build prototypes off of. Think about it - would you build a phone where there was one or two bars of strength or would you build it where there was five bars - this way any shortcoming w/ performance could be isolated to the phone and not the network.
  7. mgamber macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2008
    Frankly, I'll believe Apple does the right thing when I see it. They have a history of not doing the right thing so I don't believe my cynicism is entirely unfounded.

    Per the rest of it, when someone asks me about the "antenna problem" and if they should buy something else because of it, I tell them that the antenna isn't the problem, it's a symptom. The problem is Apple and it's corporate culture. It's obsession of image, of form over function, of secrecy that would havae humiliated the USSR at it's height, it's cult of personality, it's erratic behavior and it's total inability to admit that something wasn't 100% perfect, ever. If they don't mind dealing with a company like that, the phone is fine, just buy a case.

    It's form over function. They used stainless steel so it would look "cool" and they wouldn't have to coat anything. If they had used any other material, it would have had to be coated and none of this would have happened in the first place.
  8. cwubbels macrumors regular


    Sep 24, 2008
    True, I have noticed that when I "death grip" my phone at my house (solid 5 bars) I lose no signal.

    When I "death grip" my phone in a 4 bar area I can go into searching for signal.

    If they have signal boosters (MicroCell... Just kidding) then they wouldn't notice the issue even with the bridging of the antennas.
  9. Vertigo50 macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    The AntennaSys guy said on TWiT that every engineer who even knows the basics would know this is an issue to watch out for. He said that their cases would definitely insulate it from the hand, but the engineers would still know to test it.

    Unfortunately, this actually looks WORSE for Apple, since it implies they knew about the issue. Now there are reports on the front page of MR that Apple may have known about this issue all along, and that Jobs wanted this design anyway. Sadly, Jobs has done this before, so it sounds credible.

    I think the main problem with all of this isn't so much the antenna problem as it is the PR problem. I still can't BELIEVE they issued that statement about changing the bars, as if that was the issue, essentially just lying to our faces.

    They have to fix the PR issue now.
  10. ravensfan55 macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2009
    I still think this is a manufacturing defect. Many phones don't have this problem at all. Apple may have found this problem vey late in the development stage, sometime around WWDC or June 15th when preorders started. I think Apple underestimated the scale of the issue. I think Apple decided to hold off on the White phones was to make sure that the problem was solved so none of the white phones were affected. They knew there would be people waiting out for white.

    Apple should put aside a considerable stock of phones to replace those affected by the problem.
  11. amitdoc2b macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    Mine has no problems either. Neither does my roommates. But the reason it was not discovered during testing 'out in the wild' is because they keep a case on the newest prototypes so it does not draw any attention. For example, when that guy in Northern California found the iPhone 4 prototype, it was embedded in a case that made it look like the previous generation iPhone. Keeping a case on it prevented them from seeing the significance of the antenna issue.
  12. cwubbels macrumors regular


    Sep 24, 2008
    Good point. They should of known these little black notches wouldn't have done the job...

    It would seem they just said "lets wing it."
  13. Runt888 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2008
    Apple has always gone above and beyond when responding to any problems I've had with their products, and is consistently rated one of the highest in consumer satisfaction and support. I would trust them to do "the right thing" more than any other company.

    Whether or not their definition of "the right thing" is the same as yours is another question...
  14. iambasil macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2010
    London, UK
    Come on... of course they were aware.

    They built a new construction of the design, and purposely decided to group the different antenna uses on the 2 separate bands, making a point that there had to be a gap between them (which Jobs even directly commented on stating 'it's not very apple' before explaining why it was needed).

    Given this, of course they would have been aware that the human body can conduct and may bridge the antennas. And as for the so many other posts suggesting this is all new... nokia and the like have been intentionally designing mobile phones to take advantage of the human interaction with antennas and their typical connection points for over a decade. Reception can actually be improved by holding it in certain places on many phones.

    Hopefully they'll come up with an antenna variant - and will offer dissatisfied customers the opportunity to have the antenna replaced free. I think that is the best we can hope for. It may well be pre-coated. Personally, I'd be surprised if they were that generous.

    They won't be getting rid of the existing design or recalling the phone (that 'analyst' report made me laugh out loud - 'experts' indeed!) - they'd be stupid to! At last count from this sample, only 59% of users have been able to replicate the reception problem (most of which won't have had any dropped calls) - and that is from a highly skewed audience (MacRumors posters who would test it and be more aware than your average user).
  15. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    It's feasible - and has been speculated before.

    It certainly wouldn't be the first time issues were missed in testing because of Apple secrecy. I recall at least one such problem - where the CD trays on certain PowerMac models couldn't retract due to catching on the enclosure. It wasn't spotted in testing as prototype units were different, for secrecy reasons.
  16. KidStallyn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2008
    I believe this as well. Just because they used Stainless Steel doesn't mean they wouldn't necessarily put a coating over the metal to prevent conductivity. There are numerous processes that the metal can go through that will strengthen, harden, and remove conductivity, without making it look as though its ever had anything applied or done to it. Look at the stainless steel refrigerators from 5 years ago....Touch it, and fingerprints were readily visible. Look at them today.....touch it, and you can't get a fingerprint on one. Why?? It's the different coatings and processes the metal goes through. I'm betting that there was a flaw in how the coatings were applied and/or the dry times. I've seen this with conformal coatings of logic boards. You don't get the right temperature for curing, or there is some extra humidity in the process, the whole coating can just peel off. I'm sure they've been having round the clock failure review boards to make a determination. We will have to see.

    As for the glass back of the phone, RF signals will pass trough that with ease. There is a slight refraction of the RF signal, but something that is easily calibrated. I'm a RF engineer, and we've used Dow Corning Gorilla Glass on numerous applications without issue. We just calibrate out the refraction errors.
  17. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Perhaps the black seams were larger when first designed.

    Then later, Jobs told someone to make them smaller.

    I'd love to know the real story. Perhaps this Caballero fellow, who seems to have been contracted by Apple and/or Apple licensed his patent, will tell us more soon. (Or was he an actual employee for many years?)

    Edit: his LinkIn profile says he's been the "Sr. Director Engineering iPhone/iPod" at Apple since 2005.
  18. mgamber macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2008
    The right thing is to admit and fix the problem and exchange phones as people bring them in because of dropped calls and so on. At a minimum. Apple's been pretty good about problems I've had with their products, but they don't lift a finger unless I bring it to them. The Macbook Pro and it's video subsystem problem, for example, was widespread and the video manufacturer even admitted a flaw in the design. Apple said nothing until they finally outright denied a problem. That's not "the right thing", in my opinion. There are plenty of other examples. Regardless, this is an image problem which hits Apple in the dead center of it's obsession. When you add it all up, I'd say it's 50/50 that they'll do "the right thing".
  19. Stiss macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2009
    If Apple tested the phone in the field, which we all know they did, with a case, which we all know they did, the chances of seeing this issue was greatly reduced.
  20. Nickel Dime Bay macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2009
  21. iVoid macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2007
    That may fix the antenna issue, but it would break the multi-touch screen. :) :)

    Isn't a bit ironic that a phone that relies on the touch of skin to be controlled is hampered by skin touching it in such a way as to affect the antenna.
  22. rabmag macrumors member

    May 6, 2010
    I think the reason is as simple as the signal that is in the Cupertino and surrounding areas is one that is not affected by the "death grip" design flaw.

    More than anything, this problem seems to be area specific. From my own personal experiences as well as many others who have posted have stated that we can produce the signal issue in some areas, while we can't in others.

    Take a look at my post:

    You can see that one of the users without the antenna issue is in Cupertino. Furthermore, another user from Fremont(25 miles away) also states they don't have the antenna issue.

    I'd like to see others from the same area who have the issue. Apple likely tested in an area that just wasn't affected.
  23. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Apr 6, 2005
    They could have also attached a 10 foot antenna and nothing of this would have happened.

    I like how everyone suddenly started pulling industrial designs out of their asses and they probably have never created anything in their lives other than a morning sandwich.

    Saying that Apple used Steel cause it "just looks cool" is preposterous.
  24. mgamber macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2008
    Well, there are better ways to make an antenna without it looking any different if that's the design they really wanted. For example, they could have used a hollow plastic band that looked identical, was hollow inside and, in that, placed an insulated copper strip. That keeps the antenna outside, protects it from almost anything and could still be thick enough to keep capacitance from the hand from affecting it little more than if it was in the phone itself. I'm actually surprised they didn't do that. They may have even been able to get away with a stainless steel hollowed band if it didn't interfere with anything too badly. Or at least they could coated what they have now with something non-conductive. That wouldn't help with capacitive detuning but at least bridging that gap in the band wouldn't result in sudden loss of signal.

    FYI, I've been creating and using all kinds of antennas for almost 40 years using formulas that have been around for almost, if not, 100 years. It's not exactly rocket science. Maybe next time you might consider skipping the nonsensical hyperbole and insulting tone if you want to actually learn something.

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