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#334589 - 29/06/2010 12:05 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: Dignan]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Weird, but I can't tell at all what your opinion on this is, Tom. Am I right in summarizing that you think all phones have this problem, yet the iPhone 4 has it particularly badly and in one single spot that significantly affects it?

I just think it's a bad design.

"this problem" is two different issues as others have been pointing out, so my opinion differs depending on what it is.

Any phone is going to have at least some minor signal loss if the antennas are covered up. That part I understand, and am fine with. Simple concept really, cover up the antenna, and it has worse reception. Some loss is to be expected, and most phones when held reasonably do just fine.

Some phones appear to have a design flaw that places the antennas in a spot that when held in a common, but not covering way results in a significant loss of signal. This includes the iPhone 4, and potentially the Nokia E71 based on the performance shown in one of those videos. My opinion on this is lines up more with you in that I find it's a bad design. Now, if the phone has multiple antennas, this may just be a firmware issue of the baseband software not switching properly when the signal degrades. I'm still highly skeptical that firmware is going to fix the iPhone 4 though.

Overall, even if it is a major flaw, it can be worked around with a case or other method. Being that no mobile phone is perfect, I'll take this flaw over other tradeoffs I'd have to deal with on another device. I'm already hooked on the screen, like the camera, and overall enjoy the other features of the iPhone 4. I have trust in the Apple support system that they aren't going to just completely ignore the issue, though it may take a little bit of time to address. At this point the phone isn't even a week old. If the worse case situation has to happen, there is still plenty of time to return it.
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#334594 - 29/06/2010 13:23 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Oh, I should add, this design flaw could be pretty serious considering it wasn't something my friend though about when he was trying to dial 911 last night. I had a very drunk or otherwise impaired driver nearly run us off the road. After I honked, he swerved back left, across 4 lanes of highway traffic, and was still a big hazard to other drivers. Took a good 30 seconds for my friend to realize the reason the emergency operator couldn't hear him was because he was touching the spot.
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#334595 - 29/06/2010 13:27 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12143
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: drakino
Overall, even if it is a major flaw, it can be worked around with a case or other method. Being that no mobile phone is perfect, I'll take this flaw over other tradeoffs I'd have to deal with on another device. I'm already hooked on the screen, like the camera, and overall enjoy the other features of the iPhone 4. I have trust in the Apple support system that they aren't going to just completely ignore the issue, though it may take a little bit of time to address. At this point the phone isn't even a week old. If the worse case situation has to happen, there is still plenty of time to return it.

Fair enough, and I'll agree with that reasonable response. I do have to wonder, though, why Apple chose this go-around to release a case, and hope that one of their solutions is to discount or give away a case to people with problems. There's no way on earth that those "bumper" cases cost anywhere near $30 to make. I'd imagine that if they sold them for $15 they'd still make a significant profit.

I won't say that's the way to do it, but it seems to me that the iPhone problem is more of a problem than it is with other phones, and they need to address their users with something better than "don't hold it that way" or "all phones do this to some extent."
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#334597 - 29/06/2010 13:41 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: Dignan]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
I guess you didn't see the rumors (or Steve Jobs' indication) about the firmware update coming down the pipe...

I find it very difficult to believe they would not have found the attenuation issues during product testing. This thing was in the field for months. I think that's another flag pointing to a firmware issue.


Edited by hybrid8 (29/06/2010 13:42)
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#334599 - 29/06/2010 14:38 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: hybrid8]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12143
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: hybrid8
I guess you didn't see the rumors (or Steve Jobs' indication) about the firmware update coming down the pipe...

I'm asking this because I honestly don't know, not because I'm bashing Apple or anything, but what can a software update do to fix this issue?
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#334600 - 29/06/2010 14:47 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: Dignan]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5790
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
The rumours went something like this:

- the phone has a choice of frequencies it can talk to the cell tower on
- when you touch the i-spot it effects some frequencies worse than others
- the phone should notice the drop in signal and switch frequency

Supposedly something in the timing of the frequency hopping is off and can supposedly be fixed. I have no idea whether any of this is true or not.

Interestingly one of the touted improvements by some bloggers before this problem was spotted was that the phone would be better at hopping to uncongested frequencies...
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#334601 - 29/06/2010 14:50 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: andy]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5790
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Given that I can't always reproduce the issue (even in a location I could earlier repro it in), it would seem that something like this software fix might be possible.
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#334602 - 29/06/2010 14:58 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: Dignan]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Originally Posted By: Dignan
There's no way on earth that those "bumper" cases cost anywhere near $30 to make. I'd imagine that if they sold them for $15 they'd still make a significant profit.

This is Apple. Everything has a healthy profit margin on it. Still not sure as to how dirt cheap these would be to make though. If you care about precision and good quality materials then the price shoots up and as we all know, Apple do really pay attention to these details.

Its like McDonalds making their Happy Meal toys so they're held together by screws. You'd think making it snap together would be cheaper than employing somebody to screw everything together but it turns out that making a plastic part with the necessary precision is more complicated and expensive.

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#334604 - 29/06/2010 15:16 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: tman]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Originally Posted By: tman
it turns out that making a plastic part with the necessary precision is more complicated and expensive.


May very well be. But in my manufacturing discussions, it's always been a bit more expensive for designs that used screws. Some designs use both of course. smile
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Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#334605 - 29/06/2010 15:38 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: hybrid8]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1391
Loc: MA but Irish born
Originally Posted By: hybrid8
Some designs use both of course. smile

One example of which is the packaging kids toys come in...

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#334606 - 29/06/2010 16:16 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: Phoenix42]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
The bumper cases from Apple do also have metal buttons in them, to fit over where the normal volume buttons are. That probably also adds to the cost of manufacturing a bit.
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#334607 - 29/06/2010 16:25 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5790
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Originally Posted By: drakino
The bumper cases from Apple do also have metal buttons in them, to fit over where the normal volume buttons are. That probably also adds to the cost of manufacturing a bit.

Especially as Steve makes each button on a lathe in his garden shed wink
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#334626 - 30/06/2010 04:36 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: andy]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5790
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
A good set of tests and write up of the issues around reception:

http://fscked.co.uk/post/751030001/more-on-the-iphone-4-signal-issue
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#334630 - 30/06/2010 10:38 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: andy]
maczrool
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/01/2002
Posts: 1648
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Anyone getting duplicate emails on their iPhone 4? Every email I get has one that appears normally with the subject and a preview of the message and then underneath I get the same message but without the preview. Both are identical once opened. It's not a problem with the email server because I only get one copy of the message on other devices.

Stu
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#334633 - 30/06/2010 12:00 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: andy]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5402
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
I would like to hear Ross Wellington's take on this iPhone 4 reception issue.

tanstaafl.
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#334636 - 30/06/2010 13:36 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: maczrool]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: maczrool
Anyone getting duplicate emails on their iPhone 4? Every email I get has one that appears normally with the subject and a preview of the message and then underneath I get the same message but without the preview. Both are identical once opened. It's not a problem with the email server because I only get one copy of the message on other devices.

What kind of e-mail server is it? POP, IMAP, Exchange (with or without push), etc... I haven't seen the duplicate e-mail issue you describe exactly. I have seen with my IMAP account a situation where it shows a new message with only the subject, then it disappears, and reappears shortly with the full content. It seems I catch it right at a time when it was checking messages and was in the middle of updating things in the background.
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#334638 - 30/06/2010 14:24 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Totally tangentially, what is the IMAP server that you're seeing that behavior on, Tom? Does it happen to be an Exchange server with a Blackberry server running against it?
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#334648 - 30/06/2010 17:23 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: wfaulk]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
I saw it against a dovecot IMAP server and betas of the iOS 4 builds. I haven't seen it recently though.
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#334651 - 30/06/2010 19:46 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: andy]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31267
Loc: Seattle, WA
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#334658 - 30/06/2010 20:41 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
maczrool
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/01/2002
Posts: 1648
Loc: Louisiana, USA
It's a regular POP box. Mine do not go away until I delete them. I can't seem to find anyone else that has experienced this moderately annoying issue.

Stu
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#334659 - 30/06/2010 20:49 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: tfabris]
andym
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3979
Loc: Manchester UK
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Heh.


I'm assuming Steve had the last lot sent to a Gulag somewhere.
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#334666 - 01/07/2010 05:53 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: andym]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4153
Loc: Cambridge, England
El Reg points out that this is the phone whose Wifi didn't work in its own keynote, and that while the official explanation about the Wifi smog in the room is certainly plausible, it's hard not to wonder whether Steve was holding it right...

Peter

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#334667 - 01/07/2010 05:59 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: peter]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5790
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
Steve had both phones sat on the desk when the wifi problems first occurred, so he wasn't holding it at all.
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#334670 - 01/07/2010 13:50 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: andy]
oliver
addict

Registered: 02/04/2002
Posts: 691
Originally Posted By: andy
Steve had both phones sat on the desk when the wifi problems first occurred, so he wasn't holding it at all.


I bet the mount / clamp they used to hold the phones to the desk was also holding the phones wrong and shorting out the antenna.
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#334671 - 01/07/2010 15:04 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: oliver]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
The iPhone 4 apparently doesn't shoot HD video... At least according to this douche bag... http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-29/googles-new-droid-x-blows-away-the-iphone/
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Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#334672 - 01/07/2010 16:14 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: hybrid8]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Went to the local Apple Store last night and talked to a genius about the situation. Very friendly guy, and he logged a case for me, and pretty much said that at this point they have nothing they can do as they are waiting on word from engineering. Conveniently, I was there right when a worker was restocking the shelves with more bumpers, so for now I bought one.

Not really happy with the bumper though, as it's back to the iPhone 1 problem of very few 1/8th inch headphone plugs will seat fully. And of course, Apple again forgot to make even their own case work with docks much like on the iPad. I'll be returning it if some future firmware somehow resolves the issue of touching the bottom left.

Anandtech did a nice writeup with actual db signal numbers from the iPhone 4, 3GS and Nexus One (AT&T version).
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3794/the-iphone-4-review/2
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#334675 - 02/07/2010 12:32 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
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#334677 - 02/07/2010 13:38 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5402
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: drakino


Uhhh... yeah?

tanstaafl.
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#334678 - 02/07/2010 13:42 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
And a good PR speak translation from Gruber.

I think Apple's formal PR response is just going to make the situation worse, by basically saying "Oh, it's just an issue of how the bars display, we are going to change them instead of addressing the actual problem of people dropping calls or having way slower data service because they held the phone normally."

2010 is shaping up to be the year of smartphone signal issues.
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#334682 - 02/07/2010 14:37 Re: iPhone 4 [Re: drakino]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5790
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I'd been hoping that there was going to be a real fix to this. As such I had been avoiding testing the issue too much.

I've just done some proper testing of it, comparing my 4 vs my 3G. I did it in a reasonable 3G signal, both phones (when sat by themselves without me holding them) holding 5 bars for long periods, occasionally dropping to 4 bars.

Either Apple's press release is complete bollocks or my iPhone 4 is faulty.

With both phones sat without being touched the download speed, using a couple of different test tools, varies between 1,500k to 2,800k. It does vary quite a bit, which you would think would make testing difficult.

And it would, if there wasn't such a dramatic drop in performance when the problem is triggered. When I just lightly touch the iSpot (can't believe that isn't want Gizmodo et al are calling it) the download performance drops to 50k-200k.

I get no such drops when I touch, hold or cup my 3G. Any drop that you get is well within the general variability of what you get when not handling either phone.

I really don't give a toss what the signal bars indicate, it is the data throughput that matters and with my iSpot covered it is a ~10th of what it should be on my iPhone 4. For those that are curious when the spot is covered the bars quickly drop to minimum and it typically drops from 3G to GPRS.

And as to "hold it differently" ! I am a right handed person, but despite what the various reports seem to suggest, that doesn't mean I hold my phone in my right hand. When I make calls I hold it in the left hand, when I am using the screen with two hands I hold it in my left and tap with my right. Only when I am using it one handed and using the screen do I hold it right handed.

When held right handed I can avoid touching the iSpot (though it is more natural for me to hold it touching the spot). When I am holding it left handed I can see no way, that I personally, can sensibly avoid touching the iSpot. I want to nestle the left hand corner down in the crease of my palm because it is the most comfortable and secure way that it fits in my hand. Even if I don't tuck the phone into the crease of my palm, I find it very hard to hold the phone securely without touching the spot.

I find it bizarre that this issue was missed and also that Apple don't seem to think that it is something worth fixing. Unless my phone is somehow atypical and that they don't all behave the same way ?

So I guess I am destined for a Genius bar appointment, where I require the outcome to either* be that they demonstrate that my phone is faulty and replace it or give me a free Bumper.

Assuming my phone is not atypical (which at this point seems unlikely), this is such a shame because other than this (very key) issue my iPhone 4 is just a stunning bit of kit.

I'm not angry about this, just very puzzled, again assuming that my phone is "normal".

* there is I guess a third option of me rejecting the phone as not fit for purpose, but I really don't want to consider that option at the moment frown

http://blog.norman.cx/2010/07/02/is-my-iphone-4-faulty-or-is-apples-pr-complete-bollocks/


Edited by andy (02/07/2010 14:57)
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