updated 11:10 am EDT, Sat July 17, 2010
RIM CEOs accuse Apple of deflecting attention
RIM late Friday shot back at Apple's claim that its phones suffer from antenna problems as well. Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis said a demo of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 losing signal was just an attempt to draw RIM into Apple's "self-made debacle" and sidestepped the real issues caused by the iPhone 4's design. The two founders suggested they would have never used the frame as the antenna and that any BlackBerry doesn't need the same level of care Apple's phone does.
"Apple's claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public's understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple's difficult situation," Balsillie and Lazaridis said. "RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM's customers don't need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple."
Both sides have degrees of credibility behind their claims. It's possible to diminish the Bold 9700's signal through a tight or deliberate grip, but the phone in practice can be held in most casual grips without triggering the signal drops that have more frequently been in evidence with the iPhone 4. Apple's decision to effectively make the antenna external has made it more receptive when given a clear path but much more sensitive to drops than a conventional design.