Monday, July 19, 2010

Moblie Device Antennas

I'm neither a mobile device expert nor a wireless antenna expert, however I'm getting a bit tired of this iPhone 4 attenuation issue and am now ready to weigh in. In particular, I'm quite annoyed with Apple's dodge of the issue. Yes, all antennas have attenuation issues when they come into contact with a conductor (like a person's hand). However, despite all the manuals that have discussed this and the many phones that have had this issue in the past, it's never become a big deal until the iPhone 4.

The reason it's different in this case is Apple's innovative design that places the entire antenna on the outside edge of the phone.

I don't personally mind that they did this in terms of design -- Apple is great at design, everyone knows that. However, in this case the design bit them in the metaphorical ass and they're not willing to own up to it. Pointing out that all phones have the problem just shifts the blame; it reminds me of a mother's saying "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?"

Now Apple has managed to get all of their fan boys parroting out their phrases and trying to catch everyone else -- as if other people claimed that there were no attenuation issues in other phones.

I don't think Apple necessarily should have had a full recall for the phone -- but then, I didn't drop $500 on it either. I don't think the free bumpers were a "bad" solution, just the way the presented them. The honest response to the problem would have been to say: "The phone has a problem which will be addressed in the next revision of the phone. We feel that the best response for our customers and stockholders is to give out the rubber Apple bumpers or a full refund for unsatisfied customers." It's essentially exactly the same conclusion without the dishonest misdirection that has resulted from their response.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chris,

    In '07 or '08 I downloaded an official Apple firmware update for my Macbook's optical drive which caused the drive to stop reading disks. Apple's response was to pull the patch from their site and bury the complaints on their forum. It's now very difficult to find references to the situation on Apple's site. For those that called to see about a fix, Apple's response was to send them the laptops to get a new drive installed (not so great for those of us with expired warranties and not a lot of extra cash). Some people had rigged up solutions to flash the firmware (or something...), but none of them worked for me - oh well... At least I rarely need CDs.
    Apple is really talented, like you say, and I really like their products, but I think their string of success has made them too proud and impaired their ability to recover gracefully when they do encounter problems. ...I also think they like to maintain the image of their stuff "just working" (and reinforce the idea that other brands fail more often)

    -David

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