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Steve Jobs teases iPhone 4 antenna fix: "stay tuned"

updated 11:00 am EDT, Sun June 27, 2010

Jobs says iPhone 4 issue isn't reception

Apple chief Steve Jobs may have confirmed a firmware-based solution to the iPhone 4's supposed reception problems through an e-mail to a fan. The executive told the reader that "there is no reception issue" but to "stay tuned" for more. The update contrasts against earlier responses to others, where Jobs simply repeated the official views about having to change one's grip.

If related to the pulled Apple support discussion, it should see Apple fix the iPhone 4 simply by improving the response time of the baseband to switching to its best available signal. Much early speculation had assumed that the flaw was an inherent part of the phone design and that Apple might have to offer a hardware fix. Unconfirmed reports from the UK have suggested that some customers were even getting free bumper cases as a stopgap fix.

Doubts have been cast on this, however, as owners of earlier iPhones using iOS 4 have said they could replicate the problem.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. pcolvin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007

    +1

    iPhone 4 Antenna problem

    The problem with the antenna is that same problem that occurs with portable FM radios or TVs with rabbit ears. The antenna structure on an iPhone 4 is a that of a dipole antenna and, like the FM radio, responds to body capacitance and the reception will change depending on how much is added. Haven't you ever moved toward a set of rabbit ears and have the reception change? Or adjusted them for perfect reception only to have the reception go to pot when you move away?

    The problem here is that some bodies can short both antennas together if a hand is placed wrong. The answer, don't place your hand wrong! Get a case. Stop the whining. Everyone has complained about lousy reception from the phones for years, and the only way to get better reception is to increase the size of the antennas. This is what Apple did, so now you have to find something else to complain about. Get over it!. Spend the extra $30.00 and buy the bumpers or buy a case, which will keep your body capacitance from interfering with reception, and become a happy iPhone 4 user!

  1. charlituna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    +3

    this is not an issue with just the iphone 4

    many of the folks reporting this 'major design flaw' has occurred to them also dropped the 411 that it happened with their previous iphones and even non iphone cell phones. Backing up Jobs and Apples comments that all cell phones have the potential to have this issue.

    Plus many folks reporting this 'serious problem' admitted, upon probing, that while their bars dropped down one or two, it didn't affect their ability to make a call. It was only the folks where they all dropped that couldn't. and that could be due to a glitch in the software falsely reading that there's no signal (because static, moisture etc was s******* with the sensors) and not even trying to make the call.

    so in the end the 'fix' could be an adjustment in the sensors, so that it doesn't falsely report no signal.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +5

    Bloggers are just going wild over this antenna

    reception issue just to draw hits. Most of the negative comments made are probably Android users or people that don't even own an iPhone 4. I could be darn sure if I had the problem I would change my grip in an instant without even giving it a second's thought. Over the years I had portable AM/FM radios and those things were b****** to keep stations tuned into. I'd do all sorts of "fixes" to get good reception. If it had been something like don't touch a certain area to get good reception, I'd have wrapped my finger in tape. If Steve says the problem can be fixed with software, then good for iPhone users. When that antenna problem is solved, the bloggers will move on to the yellow spots on the display. I doubt if there is a product in the world where millions of devices are made and there isn't at least some small problem. Cars are being recalled all the time and they're fairly expensive.

    BP is practically polluting most of the southern U.S. with that humongous oil spill and it's not getting the press coverage of the iPhone 4 antenna problem. These complaining fools need to put some perspective on what's really important.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009

    -17

    Design Flaw


    Looking at all the videos on iP4 lost reception, it is quite dramatic. So much more than any other phone I have ever seen. This is clearly a design flaw that Apple engineers should have realized. Every other phone manufacturer has clear packing labels on their phones that show where the radiating elements on the phone are and to avoid touching them during a call (to avoid signal loss). But they have the common sense to place the elements where they are least likely to be touched (top of the phone). So where does Apple place the antenna? Right where you are most likely to hold the phone - exposed and likely to short with the wi-fi antenna when held with your left hand.

    I congratulate Apple for pushing the design limits for their hardware but for God sakes, not at the expense of performance. And worst of all, don't blame your loyal subjects for "holding the phone wrong". Have the stones to admit you screwed up and are working on the issue.

    Apple fanbois here (guys like slappy) love to bad mouth Android (and Windows) devices when flaws appear, blaming the POS software/hardware... It appears that Apple is not perfect, are they?

  1. pcolvin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007

    -2

    Design Flaw

    So, "Every other phone manufacturer has clear packing labels on their phones that show where the radiating elements on the phone are and to avoid touching them during a call" is okay for other manufacturers but not for Apple? Apple's already told people where to "avoid touching them during a call". So, why all the noise then?

    Apple placed the antennas in a number of places over the various versions of iPhones, including eliminating the metal back and going to plastic, and still had reception issues, so they took the most logical approach: 'big honking antennas". I, for one, am sick and tired of the number of dropouts I get during a call. It now seems that I don't have a successful call unless I have at least 3 drops. If this solves my problem (and I live in a metropolitan area), then I'll be happy to v4, buy the case (which I do religiously anyway), and go on with my life. So many other problems with our lives these days, don't you think?

  1. sailin74

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2002

    -3

    Fix

    Make the signal meter less sensitive, problem solved or add a delay for a small signal change.

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Feb 2009

    +13

    @ wrenchy

    I'm afraid your analysis is quite wrong. Every other phone manufacturer *doesn't* actually have stickers telling you what part of the phone not to hold, and every other phone manufacturer *doesn't* place the antenna at the top.

    It's actually the *law* in the USA and most of Europe to have the antenna at the *bottom* of the phone (where the iPhone's is), because it has to be as far away from the brain as possible. So it's far from "common sense" to place the antenna at the top and if yours is so placed, then it's a cheap, illegal foreign-manufactured (to the USA) phone.

    Like a lot of folks on Internet forums, you're just making a bunch of stuff up and hoping it makes sense.

  1. Wingsy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    +4

    Ain't Just The Bars That Go Away, So Does Service!

    To anyone who thinks it's NOT a problem, I'd like to show you something.
    http://gallery.me.com/wingsy#100071

    Picture on the left - It's me, holding the iPhone the same way I have always held an iPhone (3G and 3GS) while using it in all ways other than making a call or playing a game. Not only do my bars go away but so does my service. I won't be receiving any calls while surfing, no sir-ree. I doubt if any of these people will either, if they're not in a strong signal area:
    http://iphonehold.tumblr.com/

    When in a call I hold the phone in my right hand but my fingers just naturally cover the antenna gap in the lower left. It's not at all an abnormal way to hold a rectangular object to talk into. The thing is, I've never had a problem with reception in my house (2-4 bars of Edge) with the 6 previous iPhones that have been used here, but ALL THREE of my iPhone 4s will drop data AND voice if held "the wrong way".

    I've been a Mac fan since Steve & Steve met each other and I still am, and will continue to be. But to say this issue doesn't exist is burying your head in the sand.

  1. facebook_Boyd

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2010

    +1

    I duplicated it on my 3gs

    I covered the bottom of my phone on my 3gs and saw reception go from full to zero. May have been there all along-never tried or perhaps it's a software issue.

  1. @okli

    Banned

    Joined: Apr 2010

    0

    thanks Gazoobee

    for saving my time... nice coment...dude
    but i guess in wrenchy's case, it doesn't
    realy matter how far is the antenna...
    from "his fcktup brain"... anyway


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