Quick Facts from Apple’s iPhone 4 “Antennagate” Press Conference

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Apple gave the public a lot of information Friday in its iPhone 4 press conference to address the so-called “Antennagate” controversy over signal strength in the iPhone 4. We’ve covered the most important aspects from the press conference in standalone coverage, but we also felt there were several pieces of otherwise isolated information that warranted collecting in this “Quick Facts” article.

Accordingly (links are to articles with full coverage of that topic):

  • Customers who ordered an iPhone will be given a free case - customers who already ordered a bumper case from Apple will be given a refund
  • iPhone 4 customers who are unsatisfied with their device can get a full refund — AT&T will cancel associated contracts for those who do
  • iPhone 4 coming to 17 countries on July 30th, as promised, save for South Korea due to local government approval delays
  • White iPhones will ship at the end of July
  • Less than one extra calls are dropped per 100 on the iPhone 4 compared to iPhone 3GS, according to AT&T data given to Apple
  • Steve Jobs returned from his Hawaiian vacation early to host this press conference
  • AT&T has seen 1.7% of its iPhone 4 sales returned in the first few weeks of availability, compared to 6% for 3GS over a similar time period
  • Apple has had 0.55% of its iPhone 4 customers call in to AppleCare to complain about issues relating to signal strength or the antenna
  • Three million iPhone 4 units were sold in first three weeks
  • Apple has spent some $100 million in developing and building its Antenna Design & Testing Labs
  • The company has 18 PhD scientists and engineers working on antenna design
  • A fix for a problem with the proximity sensor in the iPhone 4 is in the works

If you noticed any other quick facts we should include in the press conference, post them in the comments below, and we’ll add them to our list.

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13 Comments Leave Your Own

don

Folks need to be aware of the integrity of the Consumer Reports findings.  If they found the antenna error on the iPhone but not on the other phones the Jobs showed today, how good are their recommendations based on THEIR tests?  Seems to me there is an integrity issue here.

b9bot

Totally agree with you Don. Consumer Reports is not viable and they chose to stomp on Apple without any facts to back there claims and stupid recommendation or not. They proved what I have always thought about them, biased.
If you have a subscription to Consumer Reports, I suggest you cancel it right away. You are not getting real facts, just opinions that anyone can do. Worthless like the paper that it was printed on.
And that’s my recommendation!

xmattingly

Don makes an excellent point. If CR has reviewed some of the smart phones Apple pointed out today in particular and had nothing to say about their antenna issues, then you have to wonder if they’re just bagging on the biggest target to generate some hype. And then you have to REALLY question their credibility as an “independent” consumer advocate.

Michael S

Come on fanboys.  CR constantly gives Apple the best reviews on computers, customer care, etc.  Why have they turned on them?
They don’t pile on the big guy.  They destroyed Suzuki in the late 80s with their report on the Samarai.  Was Suzuki the “biggest target”?  Don’t think so.
Maybe the bogus info is coming from Apple.
You guys are like parents called to school because your kid did something wrong, “it couldn’t be my child’s fault”.
RIM says that Apple’s comparison is bunk.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/business/blackberry-maker-dismisses-apples-response-on-reception-issue-465833.html
Maybe that is why CR didn’t see any problem with other smart phones.

Lee Dronick

I wonder into how many blogs the unregistered slamboy pasted that comment.

xmattingly

I wonder into how many blogs the unregistered slamboy pasted that comment.

Yeah, there is a word for that, and it doesn’t rhyme with vagina.

The iPhone 4 isn’t the only fairly recent smart phone Consumer Reports has reviewed; that is a given. But in my mind, if they haven’t had anything to say about antenna issues with other big name phones, then I think it’s only fair to question what their motivation is.

Michael S

I am not a slamboy.
I own, 2 MacBooks, iPod, 2 iPhones, 1 iPod Nano, 1 iPad and a i7 Hackintosh.
I am not a fan boy either.
Apple handled this horribly, CR is not to blame, you are shooting the messenger.
And I have posted this a grand total of ONE time, google it in a day or so.

Michael S

Oh, I forgot my 2GB Time Capsule and Airport Express.
I have been described by co-workers as praying at the alter of Steve Jobs before.
So when their hubris (iPhone leak computer seizure, Steve’s non-apology press conference, etc.) turns someone like me off, they really do have a problem.

Dr. Fyzziks

There may indeed be a real issue with the iPhone 4 and there may not. I live in Canada so I haven’t had the chance to test one out yet. However, as a physicist with more than a little knowledge of antenna theory, I can unequivocally confirm that *ALL* antennas will attenuate signal if you wrap your hand around them. Jobs was right in saying that it was basic physics.

It doesn’t matter if your phone is made by RIM, Nokia, Apple, or Sony. It’ll happen to anything with an antenna on it.

That said, the degree of attenuation is going to depend on a number of things including antenna size/position/gain, distance to the cell tower, the composition of your body, type of case on the phone, etc.

Concerning Apple’s tests with other phones, I’d be very curious to know just how far away those phones were from a cell tower. I live on a mountaintop and there are several cell towers nearby. I could probably still get a good signal if I replaced my phone’s antenna with a paperclip. I’d also like more data from Consumer Reports regarding their testing setup - something about their testing bugs me, but I can’t place my finger on it.

In general though, the various mobile phone manufacturers’ marketing departments and members of the media could use a few basic Physics courses. I’m getting pretty sick of reading “authoritative” articles by laypeople with no knowledge of the subject at hand.

xmattingly

We’ve heard that argument a thousand times. Disagreeing with Apple policy and claiming to own a bunch of Apple stuff does not make one any more objective, or any less of a “fanboy”.

Show us a Consumer Report review that gives a poor grade on antenna reliability for ANY other smart phone in the past year or two, and I would agree that Consumer Reports is an objective source, wholeheartedly. Until then, “Michael S”‘s self-styled objectivity is a self-serving crock of shit. Note that the article pointed to earlier offered ZERO technical reasons why RIM disagrees with the reception issue. So… CR’s motivation is highly questionable.

And a troll is a troll by any other name.

b9bot

Consumer Reports has ZERO integrity. How did they perform there tests?
Did they use a 100 million dollar facility like Apple’s? Highly unlikely.
Some dude in a closet, the same one that after Apple’s press conference apparently sleeping there still couldn’t recommend Apple’s iPhone even though it is the best smart phone on the market. DId they really test any other phones, apparently not as Apple and users on You Tube were able to duplicate the issue on other smart phones just as easily.

jeey

hmm, I read the news “Live from Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference”.
Dude. I’m 99% sure there will be no recalls or h/w fixes. Like some dude called it, they’ll say
1) 99% phones are okay
2) 1% suffer from that issue, which still makes us the best and greatest
3) we’re giving you free/discounted bumpers so worship us forever
While I love their products, of course I do hope Apple steps up on the iPhone 4 improving as soon.
The iPhone 4 tempting features, HD Video Recording and lovely pictures you’re surprised:
A Review of Apple iPhone 4 in iFunia iPhone coloumn

Voice

Folks need to be aware of the integrity of the Consumer Reports findings.  If they found the antenna error on the iPhone but not on the other phones the Jobs showed today, how good are their recommendations based on THEIR tests?  Seems to me there is an integrity issue here.

CR didn’t *find* any antenna errors on the iPhone 4.  They went back after their initial ratings, in response to the hullabaloo on the web, and did an additional test on the iPhone 4.

Interestingly, HTC’s denial that their phones don’t suffer the same problem (even the Eris which they called out in particular) looks a bit shakey, when you see this page from the Eris user manual.

http://daringfireball.net/misc/2010/07/eris-antenna.png

See how they explicitly tell the user not to touch the antenna area?  In fact, they tell the user not to touch the entire top zone of the phone where the antenna is located.  That’s a much bigger area than the ‘death touch’ zone on the iPhone 4.

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