Are iPhone 4 Reception Issues Software-related?

Poll: Are iPhone 4 Reception Issues Software-related?
Total Votes: 14
Yes
6
No
8
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    Posted: 02 July 2010 12:08 PM

    Apple issued a statement claiming that signal strength issues iPhone 4 owners are experiencing are the result of a software formula that incorrectly reports cell signal strength. What do you think?

         
  • Posted: 02 July 2010 12:40 PM #1

    Apples claim of the fault being a software issue are pretty ‘convenient’. At least they’re offering users a refund.

         
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    Posted: 02 July 2010 01:00 PM #2

    I said Yes because in a device such as the iPhone software and hardware are siamese twins. If there is a hardware issue it is related to software. If the problem is software then the software was written with the hardware in mind. You can’t think of one without the other.

    IMO there should have been a “Partially” option in the poll.

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    Posted: 02 July 2010 01:15 PM #3

    Jeff,

    Your poll question is inane. What any of us think is besides the point. We have two pieces of evidence.

    One is countless video demonstrations of people holding the phone with the gap covered by moist hands that attenuates the signal dramatically and can be remedied by either unbridging the gap (“hold different”) or installing an insulating cover to protect the gap. Position of the rest of the hand doesn’t seem to be an issue.

    The second piece of evidence is Apple’s admission that they were calculating the bars in a way that would mislead users, especially those noticing this effect when bridging the gap with conductive hands.

    But at root, you really have a customer support issue. If Apple would simply ask each affected customer if the customer feels a bumper would help and then give them a voucher for one, there is no short term problem here at all. None. And insulating the gap can be addressed in the next few months at Apple’s leisure. No lawyers, no bloggers, no Bosco’s piling on because this is tremendously compelling entertainment.

    Your poll should have been about customer support.

         
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    Posted: 02 July 2010 01:33 PM #4

    I vote yes because Apple claims that the effect (dropping more than 1 bar) occurs in areas where you really did have low signal strength in the first place.  I can confirm that this is exactly when I’ve observed the effect.  My workplace is in a building where my iPhone 3G usually had low signal.  The iPhone 4 reports a higher signal there, and by holding my finger across the black strip for a few seconds I see the drop.  I just tried the same thing at home where I have good signal and did not observe the large drop.  Therefore I have confirmed in a simple test what Apple claims, so I believe it.

         
  • Posted: 02 July 2010 04:39 PM #5

    I applied the Death Grip at the Apple Store. When all the bars disappeared, I called my iPhone 3G and it rang and connected. We need more people actually trying it to see.

         
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    Posted: 02 July 2010 08:42 PM #6

    Bosco (Brad Hutchings) - 02 July 2010 04:15 PM

    Jeff,

    Your poll question is inane. What any of us think is besides the point. We have two pieces of evidence.

    One is countless video demonstrations of people holding the phone with the gap covered by moist hands that attenuates the signal dramatically and can be remedied by either unbridging the gap (“hold different”) or installing an insulating cover to protect the gap. Position of the rest of the hand doesn’t seem to be an issue.

    The second piece of evidence is Apple’s admission that they were calculating the bars in a way that would mislead users, especially those noticing this effect when bridging the gap with conductive hands.

    But at root, you really have a customer support issue. If Apple would simply ask each affected customer if the customer feels a bumper would help and then give them a voucher for one, there is no short term problem here at all. None. And insulating the gap can be addressed in the next few months at Apple’s leisure. No lawyers, no bloggers, no Bosco’s piling on because this is tremendously compelling entertainment.

    Your poll should have been about customer support.

    Bosco, your reply is inane. This is a poll of people that are quite capable of making up their own minds about whether or not they should bother to offer their opinion in said poll. If you think the poll is inane, ignore it and walk on. It seems like you hang around TMO (and God knows where else) just to moan, gripe and laugh, ad nauseum, about any little mistake, perceived or real, that Apple might make.

    I believe that neither the general public nor even hard-core Apple fans have enough information to really know whether or not Apple is telling the truth in this matter. However, I think it’s obvious to everybody but you that Brian is asking whether or not we believe the story Apple is offering, not whether or not we know it to be definitively true or false.

    Also, “countless”? Really? There are doubtless quite a few, but I sincerely hope that you can count higher than that.

    All that being said, I will agree with you on one point - this is definitely a customer relations fiasco, and Apple seems to be getting worse about this kind of thing as time goes on. I’m thinking that, behind the scenes it’s playing out like this:

    Management: “We have a massive antenna issue?! Why didn’t QA tell us about this before we shipped?!”
    Legal: “Don’t admit to anything we can’t fix or we’re screwed!”
    Management: “Can this be fixed without diving into a pool of hot legal death?!”
    Engineering: “Uhhh… Maybe…”
    Engineering: “We found a plausible sounding solution, but it isn’t going to make everybody happy.”
    Management: “Just do it? and we’ll make it sound as harmless as possible.”

    As far as whether or not this is a software issue, I totally agree with geoduck. Yes, there definitely is a design issue that causes signal attenuation when the two antennae are bridged, but it is up to the software to see that condition and decide whether that equates to low signal or no signal and act accordingly. I can guaranty that just bridging two antennae with your fingers could not actually cause all signal to disappear. Likely, what Apple will do is create a patch that will cause the iPhone to recognize that condition and work around it.

    Now, I’m a big Apple fan, but I’m not blind. It’s very well possible that Apple intentionally fudged the signal bars since the beginning, to make AT&T’s network look more reliable. Also, it’s quite possible that Apple found out about the antenna issue before the phone shipped, but didn’t have enough time to find a fix for it before the big release of the iPhone, so they decided to do what virtually all tech companies do - release the product with ‘known issues’, with the full intent to fix the problem ASAP after launch.

    Lastly, considering that many other mobile phones suffer from this same problem, to some extent or another, it goes to show how Apple is getting unfairly reamed for anything that they are even accused of doing wrong. Do they make mistakes? Absolutely! Do they normally fix those mistakes? Yes!

    [ Edited: 02 July 2010 08:58 PM by MOSiX Man ]

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  • Posted: 11 July 2010 05:48 PM #7

    I didn’t vote because IANAE (I Am Not An Engineer… of phones, antennas, mobile software, or anything else.) I don’t have any way to know the correct answer besides putting my faith in one news story or another. If I had to guess I’d say the truth is probably a combination of imperfect hardware design and imperfect software design.

    Could Apple have designed it to preclude the “death grip” from being an issue in this exact way? Probably. But with any phone that has an internal antenna (rather than one that pops up), it’s possible to cause some level of interference by holding it one way or another.

    Even if I knew the correct answer I’m not sure I would be that concerned. Having never experienced a dropped call on my iPhone 4, it currently has a flawless track record. And that’s more than I can say for my iPhone 3G.

    [ Edited: 11 July 2010 05:53 PM by David Nelson ]