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Billy T
06-07-2010, 12:02 AM
Seems that Apple doesn't really know much about cellphones at all.

As I understand it (I'll be corrected if I'm wrong:D) this new phone uses a loop around the screen or case as an antenna.

Now, every radio transmission & receiving expert worth shooting knows that to make an aerial directional you need to either have multiple elements, or use a loop, and since we'd all look pretty silly with an antenna clamped to our heads, phones in earlier times used simple vertical whip aerials. Then, as receiver sensitivity and cellsite numbers have increased, the antenna has shrunk and gone inside completely.

Apple have tried to increase the size of the antenna (perhaps to get more signal to counter the RFI generated by all the other gizmos they have buzzing away inside their glitzy all-purpose ear decorations) but by using a loop they have introduced a strong directional characteristic and inadvertently made the antenna rather selective about what it can and can't pick up, hence the instructions to hold it in a particular orientation. I'll bet it is at an angle of 45 degrees to the vertical, or something equally awkward.

There is no simple answer to this, and I smell the possibility of a re-engineering exercise and a 100% recall of all affected phones sold to date.

That won't do their profits or their share value any favours at all.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) (An old radio communications man from wayback)

GameJunkie
06-07-2010, 12:06 AM
and they say a software algorithim is partly to blame aswell

bob_doe_nz
06-07-2010, 12:40 AM
There is no simple answer to this, and I smell the possibility of a re-engineering exercise and a 100% recall of all affected phones sold to date.

Nah. Apple will just release the 4gs and everyone will upgrade when they realise their current 4g is obsolete.

KarameaDave
06-07-2010, 12:42 AM
Actually the metal bezel is separated into two antennae.
The problem is caused by people bridging the two.
http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/06/putting-hard-numbers-to-the-iphone-4-antenna-issue.ars

ubergeek85
06-07-2010, 12:50 AM
As for the software side of things, it's basicly just misreporting the signal strength, giving you the impression you have a better signal than what you do.

I've seen one of these pulled apart, it really is amazing how small they've squeezed it down. The 'motherboard' (if you will) is about the size of a baind-aid, maybe slightly wider. I guess something had to give.

Reminds me of the new season of futurama, episode three... the eyePhone... oops can't talk about that here ;)

jonathan
06-07-2010, 09:39 AM
There's a new season of futurama? wicked! But I agree with bob doe. It is just a big scam. They put out expensive, crappy phones that they claim is "amazing". Then, a year later, they put out an "even better" version of that phone, that has all the previous problems fixed. Everyone then goes out and buys this newer, hideously expensive phone, and so Apple gets twice as much profit as they would have just putting out one, good phone.

johcar
06-07-2010, 09:52 AM
There's a new season of futurama? wicked! But I agree with bob doe. It is just a big scam. They put out expensive, crappy phones that they claim is "amazing". Then, a year later, they put out an "even better" version of that phone, that has all the previous problems fixed. Everyone then goes out and buys this newer, hideously expensive phone, and so Apple gets twice as much profit as they would have just putting out one, good phone.

Do you think it would make commercial sense to wait and wait and wait until the technology is perfect before they released a machine??

If every manufacturer did that we still wouldn't have cellphones, personal computers, cars, or television - you name it!

The development process is an incremental one - a manufacturer releases once they have squeezed in as many features as they think users want using the technology available and that is 'affordable' (this can be subjective).

Then time passes, technology changes/improves and makes the previous model less desirable, so the re-manufacturing process starts again.

Don't be so naive (or is it that you're just anti-iPhone?) - how many iterations of Android, Linux, Windows etc have there been. It's called a life-cycle and happens to hardware AND software and just about anything else that is made by humans.

Safari
06-07-2010, 10:14 AM
jonathan is only young johcar, he has not been around long enough to to experience the iterations that take place in technology.

johcar
06-07-2010, 10:27 AM
Cheers Safari - perhaps he should limit his comments to things he has some knowledge of (like Futurama?) then rather than re-posting rants from conspiracy theory blogs...

Chilling_Silence
06-07-2010, 10:57 AM
Think about it like this:
All phones have that issue, even my beloved Nexus One to a small degree. It's just the *worst* ever on the iPhone4
Apple have also previously been "masking" the extent of the Cellphones signal. To a certain degree everybody knew that. They also don't show Wireless networks that are less than 15% signal strength or something along those lines I believe? People knew that, and it was fine, because it meant you weren't trying to connect to a network you were going to be disconnected from all the time.

Basically by making this a "software fix", they're potentially just going to be hand-balling everything off now to AT&T by saying "Hey look if you hold your phone the right way, you've got good enough reception to make a call. We suggest you call AT&T about improving the coverage in your area". It's one possibility.

The fact the iPhone Bumper can lessen the extent of the signal strength loss, yet there's been reports of an internal memo that states that staff are under no circumstances to empathize with the customer and offer a free Bumper is sad. When laptops have an issue such as a faulty battery, they are recalled by the millions. Why should the iPhone4 be any different, in that the customer must either:
1) Suffer through the possibility of poor reception when holding it in their left hand (As I do regularly, operating it with my right fingers while on speakerphone / headset)
2) Spend another 15% of the purchase price and buy something to rectify a manufacturing fault

End of the day, I'm glad I waited for the announcement then spent my money otherwise. Goodbye iPhone! Can't imagine the kind of damage this has done to Apples reputation with the general populace ...

prefect
06-07-2010, 11:11 AM
Whats wrong with a nice pull out aerial like my old motorola celly flip had.
It had exceptional signal but its no good after telekom binned 025.
At Port Jackson in Coromandel it was only phone that worked when I was camping there 10 years ago.

johcar
06-07-2010, 11:21 AM
I was going to upgrade to the 4 and pass my 3GS to SWMBO, but in addition to the antenna issues, I understand the 4 is optimised for the Vodafone network anyway, so I might just stick with the 3GS and look to Android for the next upgrade.

I hate chopping and changing OS's though - my investment in apps (time, as well as $$) just gets blown away... Already done it once going from Palm to Apple...

Chilling_Silence
06-07-2010, 12:12 PM
Yeah I felt the same way prior to actually receiving my Nexus One, I didn't wanna feel as though I had wasted all that $$ on software, games etc .. And I'd spent $250-odd on apps.

However, once the phone arrived, that all went out the window and to be frank I couldn't care less now (OK well maybe I care a little, coz it's a fair bit of dosh, but still).

mikebartnz
06-07-2010, 04:43 PM
The whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. My Nokia if I don't hold the right way will interfere with the signal. The signal bars aren't telling the truth but the reception is still usable and there will be a software upgrade to fix that. I think it is time some people got a life.

robbyp
06-07-2010, 05:30 PM
Think about it like this:
All phones have that issue, even my beloved Nexus One to a small degree. It's just the *worst* ever on the iPhone4
Apple have also previously been "masking" the extent of the Cellphones signal. To a certain degree everybody knew that. They also don't show Wireless networks that are less than 15% signal strength or something along those lines I believe? People knew that, and it was fine, because it meant you weren't trying to connect to a network you were going to be disconnected from all the time.

Basically by making this a "software fix", they're potentially just going to be hand-balling everything off now to AT&T by saying "Hey look if you hold your phone the right way, you've got good enough reception to make a call. We suggest you call AT&T about improving the coverage in your area". It's one possibility.

The fact the iPhone Bumper can lessen the extent of the signal strength loss, yet there's been reports of an internal memo that states that staff are under no circumstances to empathize with the customer and offer a free Bumper is sad. When laptops have an issue such as a faulty battery, they are recalled by the millions. Why should the iPhone4 be any different, in that the customer must either:
1) Suffer through the possibility of poor reception when holding it in their left hand (As I do regularly, operating it with my right fingers while on speakerphone / headset)
2) Spend another 15% of the purchase price and buy something to rectify a manufacturing fault

End of the day, I'm glad I waited for the announcement then spent my money otherwise. Goodbye iPhone! Can't imagine the kind of damage this has done to Apples reputation with the general populace ...


I just got a nokia, and the instructions say don't hold it in particular areas of the phone otherwise it will affect the performance. So it isn't just an iphone problem. The iphone one is all about bridging the gap between the two pieces of metal, when you hold it. However if you are buying an iphone, the odds are that you will buy some form of sleeve or bumper for it anyway to protect it.

jonathan
06-07-2010, 06:17 PM
Do you think it would make commercial sense to wait and wait and wait until the technology is perfect before they released a machine??

If every manufacturer did that we still wouldn't have cellphones, personal computers, cars, or television - you name it!

The development process is an incremental one - a manufacturer releases once they have squeezed in as many features as they think users want using the technology available and that is 'affordable' (this can be subjective).

Then time passes, technology changes/improves and makes the previous model less desirable, so the re-manufacturing process starts again.

Don't be so naive (or is it that you're just anti-iPhone?) - how many iterations of Android, Linux, Windows etc have there been. It's called a life-cycle and happens to hardware AND software and just about anything else that is made by humans.
eh. the flaming starts.

Chilling_Silence
06-07-2010, 06:26 PM
However if you are buying an iphone, the odds are that you will buy some form of sleeve or bumper for it anyway to protect it.

Potentially, but you should be buying it to protect it rather than correct a manufacturing fault. As mentioned even my Nexus One does it, but the iPhone4 has to be the worst phone on the market for doing it. Ask Ars! :D

robbyp
06-07-2010, 06:31 PM
Potentially, but you should be buying it to protect it rather than correct a manufacturing fault. As mentioned even my Nexus One does it, but the iPhone4 has to be the worst phone on the market for doing it.

They should just include a free cover to go around the metal band, cost them 5c each. However I am sure they have relationships with cover makers, who would not be happy.

R2x1
06-07-2010, 06:41 PM
An Apple iBand will NEVER be less than $25 - low prices are for the common people who do not appreciate the finer things in life. :punk

robbyp
06-07-2010, 10:10 PM
An Apple iBand will NEVER be less than $25 - low prices are for the common people who do not appreciate the finer things in life. :punk

I was talking about the cost price to apple would be very low, but they may sell it for $30 US on their website. I see bumpers are one of the top selling products on their website. Must be huge margins on them.

The Error Guy
06-07-2010, 10:13 PM
Part of the problem (as I understand from looking at some tech drawings of the phones antennae system) is that when held in a certain way you hand forms part of a loop, effectively bridging the connections between the 3G/HSDPA and the WAN/Bluetooth antennae. The signal interference triggers something in the the apple programming (not sure where but no one will ever find out because if they do apple will hunt them down with sawn off Mossbergs) This causes interruption in the DPS (I think its DPS, data packet streaming but I can't remember. article regarding stuff like that had weird acronyms) causing signal drop out and all sorts of errors related to bed connections. consider it like trying to D/L something with 60% packet loss

The Error Guy
06-07-2010, 10:22 PM
I'd also say any metal objects touching it would cause harmonics, probably not good as they could cause "harmful interference" which, according to the FCC is illegal.

Billy T
06-07-2010, 10:59 PM
Interesting comments. I'll just add that whether loop or two-part, the antenna will still be directional and have a distinct polar radiation pattern with front and rear lobes at right angles to the two elements and deep nulls off the ends of each element. Whichever way you look at it, at Ghz frequencies the antenna will be strongly directional, and to compound that, the hand holding it will also absorb significant radiation at those frequencies as well.

It might take a while for Apple to dig their way out of this mess, or perhaps the faithful will forgive them their trespasses, and just live with the problem until the next 'must-have' model appears.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Chilling_Silence
07-07-2010, 10:16 AM
It might take a while for Apple to dig their way out of this mess, or perhaps the faithful will forgive them their trespasses, and just live with the problem until the next 'must-have' model appears.

That pretty much sums up the fanboys.
That said, it's not just unique to Apple, there's MS, Google ...

johcar
07-07-2010, 10:30 AM
eh. the flaming starts.

Post # 7 was hardly a 'flaming'. More a statement of fact.

Yes, I own an iPhone, but it is certainly not the best phone I have owned (I'm a Palm fanboy, not an Apple fanboy, but Palm weren't bringing the Palm Pre downunder and now Palm have gone "downunder" themselves anyway. And HP are going to use the best ever smartphone OS developed for Tablets - meh!).

My choice of phone was limited at the time I was looking for a replacement for the Treo 650 (which was on CDMA). I hate Windows OS phones, dislike Symbian and the Nexus One wasn't available in NZ at the time.

So the only choice left was an iPhone.

It has bricked on me twice (recoverable) - something my Palm NEVER did, so I am less than impressed with the hype around iPhones.

So don't count me in the iPhone fanboy camp - as soon as I gather some cash and find a good replacement, the iPhone is gone.

Billy T
07-07-2010, 11:04 AM
Do you think it would make commercial sense to wait and wait and wait until the technology is perfect before they released a machine?? If every manufacturer did that we still wouldn't have cellphones, personal computers, cars, or television - you name it!

The development process is an incremental one - a manufacturer releases once they have squeezed in as many features as they think users want using the technology available and that is 'affordable' (this can be subjective).

I didn't see this as a flame either, but I make the point that antenna technology is not subject to significant development because it is bound by some very simple and fundamental rules. I'll acknowledge that "active antennas" with electronic steering and other enhancements are very hi-tech, but they don't appear in cellphones and cellular antennae are pretty basic.

The most important requirement is that they be omni-directional because a mobile phone, by definition, is very rarely in a stable positional relationship to the cellsite antenna, in fact in boundary areas between cell site coverage patterns, a call can swap back and forth between two or more cellsites several times a minute. CDMA technology seems better suited to this aspect of cellular operation and I notice that TDMA calls are often badly broken up in this situation. I can often (but not always) tell who the cellular provider is by the call quality.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

mikebartnz
07-07-2010, 11:44 AM
is very rarely in a stable positional relationship to the cellsite antenna, in fact in boundary areas between cell site coverage patterns, a call can swap back and forth between two or more cellsites several times a minute.
When I lived in Greytown which happened to be in the middle of three cell towers the Nokia phone (5110 I think it was) was always dropping calls when it switched between them. My next Nokia didn't have the same problem but I certainly paid a lot more for it.

johcar
07-07-2010, 11:55 AM
@Billy - Apple were advertising for Antenna Engineers recently. Could be an opportunity for you to give them the benefit of your experience - I'm sure they'd pay well, since they desperately need to dig themselves out of their self-dug hole in a big hurry. :)

Chilling_Silence
07-07-2010, 03:08 PM
@Billy - Apple were advertising for Antenna Engineers recently.

Multiple antenna engineers if I remember rightly.

Go on johcar, join us on the dark side, we have cookies:
http://www.c2s.co.nz/blog/?p=375

johcar
07-07-2010, 03:19 PM
Do you recommend the spare battery?

Chilling_Silence
07-07-2010, 03:54 PM
Nup, but the Desktop dock is freakin cool, I kinda wish I'd ordered a 2nd. One for the nightstand, and one for the stereo system!

ubergeek85
08-07-2010, 02:01 AM
If anyone's interested, there's a full teardown here (http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPhone-4-Teardown/3130/1). There's a shot of the lower antenna in step 12, and the main antenna is in step 14.

Chilling_Silence
08-07-2010, 12:40 PM
I love the ifixit teardowns!

In other news, have a look at the field day that Ars have been having with the new iPhone:
http://arstechnica.com/apple/

So many stories, so many failures :p I like the iOS4 vs Android-2.2 performance comparison, considering the CPU's are identical as is the RAM, it should be a relatively unbiased performance review ;) Now to just get some cross-platform benchmarking apps, but alas, I digress...