AfterDawn: Tech news

Apple says users with iPhone reception problems are using it wrong

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 30 Jun 2010 14:17 User comments (40)

Apple says users with iPhone reception problems are using it wrong Since the introduction of their new iPhone 4, Apple has been getting complaints of reception problems related to users bridging a gap in the steel band around the phone's edge during normal use. Despite acknowledging that the issue exists, Apple has consistently defended their design and characterized the problem as a user issue.
The problem occurs when the device is cupped in the user's left hand in such a way that a gap in the steel band around the edge is bridged. Among other things, the band serves as a pair of antennas which are separated by this gap.

Holding the iPhone 4 in this way has been found to degrade or completely block phone and data service.





A number of people have reported getting email responses from Steve Jobs on the issue telling them to hold the phone differently. A recent statement from the company mirrored that sentiment.

“Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your Phone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”

As the Apple statement indicates, the use of a case resolves the problem by covering both antennas.

A document reportedly leaked from Apple to Boy Genius Report seems to indicate the company intends to continue making customers responsible for solving the problem.


  1. Keep all of the positioning statements in the BN handy – your tone when delivering this information is important.

    1. The iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. Our testing shows that iPhone 4’s overall antenna performance is better than iPhone 3GS.
    2. Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world.
    3. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 3GS, avoid covering the bottom-right side with your hand.
    4. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 4, avoid covering the black strip in the lower-left corner of the metal band.
    5. The use of a case or Bumper that is made out of rubber or plastic may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly covering these areas.

  2. Do not perform warranty service. Use the positioning above for any customer questions or concerns.

  3. Don’t forget YOU STILL NEED to probe and troubleshoot. If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held) it is not the metal band.

  4. ONLY escalate if the issue exists when the phone is not held AND you cannot resolve it.

  5. We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers.


Apple is certainly correct that antenna issues aren't unique to the iPhone 4. But the fact it occurs when the device is being used in a way their engineers should have anticipated and tested for still makes this a design flaw.

There are a variety of ways Apple could be handling this. Denying all responsibility for the problem seems like choosing the worst one in the long term to avoid spending money on a slight design modification or a relatively inexpensive fix for existing units in the form of free or discounted bumper covers.

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40 user comments

130.6.2010 14:56

as much as i love apple products and the style of the iphone 4

i must say that steve jobs is kind of a self centered no responsibility guy

our product is defective so it's YOUR FAULT CAUSE YOU HOLD IT WRONG
or with blu-ray steve doesn't like it so they won't use it in macs
or flash with iphone/ipod/ipad same thing he doesn't like it

also the way my mac is designed the mic is directly next to the fan so when the fan is on people barely hear me now tell me apple is that my fault for using it with the fan on or is it your fault for putting it there

so screw you steve take some responsibility just cause you think your ideas and thoughts are the best doesn't make them that listen to the consumers

and i support free bumpers for iPhone 4 although i dont have one

okay rant over

230.6.2010 15:13

wow, welcome to a week ago Afterdawn. Way to keep up on the news.

330.6.2010 15:42

Sorry, but i dont remember my Iphone 3g had that problem? and Even with my Evo 4g, i dont have that problem either.

430.6.2010 15:55

ya..I actually did hear about this a while back..tough week Andre? =\

530.6.2010 18:07

For a company that has based itself on the usability of it's products this is the stupidest thing they could possibly say.

USABILITY 101: Design a product the way your user will use it. Never never never never tell a user they are using it wrong. If the user uses your product wrong - you designed it incorrectly. This is why doors with vertacle handles are for pulling and horizontal bars are for pushing. It is also why you don't put an antenna where it will be cancelled out by a commonly used hand position.

Apple's fault, and wood for the Apple hate fire. They need to admit their mistake to put the fire out, it won't go away on it's own.

I should send them my copy: link

630.6.2010 18:55

This is why I hate Apple. I don't need to reiterate what the above have said but I hope more people will begint to see why Apple are selfish arseholes who really just care about gaining true and utter monopoly.squashing any idea they dislike and Steve Jobs is just spearheading that notion.

Remember the evolved iPods in the Simpson's episode where they enslaved humanity? I think Jobs watched that and thought "that could work". Idiot.

730.6.2010 20:08

Yup,thats Apple for ya..

81.7.2010 1:53

Excellent design fault Mr Jobs bit like a chocolate tea cup,looks good but does not serve its purpose.Lord Sugar said "your fired".

91.7.2010 2:17

finally... He finally said what he really mean... "I dont Focking care"
btw with the new update on my EVO the battery life is awesome, now ifanbois have nothing to say.

101.7.2010 2:37

LEave it to Mr Jobs to Tell us how to hold a cell phone!! I'll bet he invented them too! :)

111.7.2010 3:02

Originally posted by wiimatrix:
Excellent design fault Mr Jobs bit like a chocolate tea cup,looks good but does not serve its purpose.Lord Sugar said "your fired".
You are using it wrong; you have to freeze the cup with liquid nitrogen, and then only drink chilled tea...and drink it fast!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 01 Jul 2010 @ 3:03

121.7.2010 7:57

Thats all a bunch of BS, I don't remember other phones having this problem!

131.7.2010 8:21

First I hate everything Apple.

BUT...Aside from that...I would expect any phone to work no matter how I hold it. I have never had a phone that worked any better or worse for the simple reason I was holding it in a certain way. In my mind they put out a lousy product (in that respect anyway) = FAIL...Blaming your loyal customers for your issue = EPIC FAIL...

The fanboys are willing to take a beating but c'mon!!!

141.7.2010 8:34
roy_e17
Inactive

The plural of antenna is antennae, not antennas.

151.7.2010 10:17

Told u guys not to buy this PIECE OF CRAP phone. Anything that apple sells is just HYPE and over priced. As you can see apple blames users not the design of the phone.

Good thing I have 7 days to return. Got it for the wife not for me. I have droid for myself . I'm sending it back straight to steve jobs AZZ.

161.7.2010 12:08

Hmmm, i guess it doesn't matter, people buy Apple stuff are willing to change their behavior accordingly anyway. Of course Steve Job is right about customers holding the phone wrong, after all, that's how Apple gadgets work.

By the way, i like the link to the design book on Amazon, very cute. Eh, probably not effective for Apple, since people with Apple products sort of losing common sense little by little over time...

171.7.2010 13:15

Both plural versions of antenna are correct:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/antenna

181.7.2010 13:50

i1der, edit your sig to conform to forum specs ASAP. yours is 191,075 bytes.
2. An image-only signature should be less than 50kb in size, and be at most 500 pixels wide and 200 pixels tall.

191.7.2010 14:35

Originally posted by roy_e17:
The plural of antenna is antennae, not antennas.

Antennae and antennas are both considered proper. I chose the one which would lead to the least confusion for the most people.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

201.7.2010 14:42

Jobs would have a expensive recall if he blamed thier design, it is no wonder that the users are at fault. If he would have clear coated the antenna, the metal frame, he might not have these issues.

This shouldn't be a problem for the Apple users as it is a feature for the phone and they can't be that bright to see through that? LOL

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 01 Jul 2010 @ 14:43

211.7.2010 16:19

Microsoft behaved the same way after the release of their XBOX360 and they too even turned to blaming their customers for attatching USB cooler fans which drew too much power from USB causing heat within Motherboards...not that the solder or component clamps were inferior...you left it in a confined space..etc...etc.

Quote:
It is too costly for a Corporation to admit fault,...Fault = Compensation Claims.


Obviously there were not enough field trials....as 1in10 people are left handed, and "The Ergonomic Design" encourages holding it in the palm of your hand...The design Surely is Flawed!!

221.7.2010 16:35

Originally posted by roy_e17:
The plural of antenna is antennae, not antennas.

Actually, both are quite correct; see this link. Latin is a dead language; we don't have to use Latin rules for plurals ^^ .

Edit --> LOL sorry, a few people beat me to it...
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 01 Jul 2010 @ 16:37

231.7.2010 19:35

I really don't know which is more retarded -

Making a phone such that using it left-handed (statistically 10% of any market) could cause a serious deterioration in reception, or trying your best to unashamedly blame the user when confronted about the problem.

Not really an Apple fan, and I prefer the Android models to the iPhone. But the scenario as it played out shows that there is a rotting core in Apple - RETARDED!!!!!

242.7.2010 0:43
roy_e17
Inactive

Originally posted by Bozobub:
Originally posted by roy_e17:
The plural of antenna is antennae, not antennas.

Actually, both are quite correct; see this link. Latin is a dead language; we don't have to use Latin rules for plurals ^^ .

Edit --> LOL sorry, a few people beat me to it...
Hmmm...Seems like another case of American English v British English.

252.7.2010 8:41

i actually saw the fault in the iphone 4 on youtube about 2 weeks ago.theres no such thing as holding a phone wrong.apple made a dodgy product which was probably made/assembled by underpaid workers in taiwan and now they try to blame it on the users.what a joke.


custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

262.7.2010 13:05

Lol, sucks for them. Next time wait till the damn thing gets reviewed instead of just buying it at launch because they can't live one second without an Apple product.

272.7.2010 22:57
blgblades
Inactive

If 1 in 10 are left handed, there will be 1 in 10 holding the phone in there left hand. That would be the right handed people. Then they could use their right hand for jotting msgs or texting or whatever else takes co-ordination. Don't ya think?

282.7.2010 23:10
blgblades
Inactive

I have learned to live without either, apple or droid. What I use still works just great! It is obvious to all normal humans that apple is flawed. Lesson learned. First test the water or suffer the conseqence. Caveat Emptor

292.7.2010 23:31

im right handed and alot of the time i hold my phone in my left hand.WHY???because im using my right hand to do other things that require co-ordination.


custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

303.7.2010 0:00

Originally posted by roy_e17:
Originally posted by Bozobub:
Originally posted by roy_e17:
The plural of antenna is antennae, not antennas.

Actually, both are quite correct; see this link. Latin is a dead language; we don't have to use Latin rules for plurals ^^ .

Edit --> LOL sorry, a few people beat me to it...
Hmmm...Seems like another case of American English v British English.
According to Wiktionary, it depends on what type of antenna you're talking about. Only radio-frequency devices use antennas as the plural form, which is certainly the case here.

313.7.2010 14:51
blgblades
Inactive

Originally posted by xboxdvl2:
im right handed and alot of the time i hold my phone in my left hand.WHY???because im using my right hand to do other things that require co-ordination.
Brilliant!! Why didn't I think of that?...........SEE above!!

323.7.2010 14:59

Am following the iPad and iPhone4 'bug' stories just to see how far the Apple faithful will go when making excuses for their beloved brand. I always find it amusing (in a strange kind of way) how much money these people will lavish on these gadgets, how long they queue for the things on release day, and (like KillerBug posted in on of these Apple news articles) how some of the buyers don't even know or care what new gadgets are being thought up by the demonic-looking Mr Jobs, they just have to have them. I find it particularly amusing when people go all-out to defend their purchases, especially when it's to defend the downright laughable bugs with the devices (never mind the downright laughable codswallop ie excuses that Apple are coming out with of late).
This devout Apple non-buyer has nothing to offer to this news article of a constructive nature other than to offer my heartfelt sympathy to those who part with so much money so readily, only to find them fail in ever more comical ways. And if you believe i am not being sarcastic i have a bridge for sale.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Jul 2010 @ 15:06



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333.7.2010 22:41

creaky, i agree with you, but (there's always a "but" lol)...

People buy Apple products for look, life style, brand name recognition, chick/dude magnetic, "cool" people-wanna-be... Also, most importantly, easy interface. It's like the Wii in a way, you don't need to press many buttons or configure this and that. The damn thing (iPhone, iPad etc) is pretty much idiot proof.


Peace!

343.7.2010 22:52

The iPhone requires you to hold it in a certain way you may not be accustomed to, and the iPad won't work on any website that requires flash. Exactly how is that idiot-proof?

Apple users love to say "it just works" - no, it doesn't!

354.7.2010 15:18
blgblades
Inactive

That is proof that Idiots buy it. Ergo, it is "Idiot Proof"!

367.7.2010 10:50

I have a Samsung phone that has never lost reception no matter how I hold it. This is because it is designed correctly.
Forcing the customer to change what would seem to be a normal habit just so the iPhone is able to work correctly is totally wrong and bad business. It will take the millions of iAppleFolk to break themselves of the spell and realize the evil of the Apple management before Apple changes their stance on this.

377.7.2010 16:51

When are people gonna get wise?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Jul 2010 @ 16:55

388.7.2010 11:46

Omg I can't believe this!
I did notice this problem with my phone! I'm very disappointed.

3912.7.2010 17:26

This is an interesting article. This goes beyond a simple software issue.

http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshop...mmend-iphone-4/

4013.7.2010 0:57

most part, i agree with u

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