Archive for July, 2010

Antennagate: Why Didn’t Apple Pick A Better Weak Spot?

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Like many people I’ve been following the iPhone 4 Antennagate issue with some interest, since I’m thinking about upgrading from my old iPhone 3G to the new iPhone 4 when it arrives here in Australia.

I can understand how the old signal strength bars could make people think that the attenuation was bigger than it really is (although 24dB is still a big drop, whichever way you look at it).

I can also appreciate that all phones have antenna weak spots, and although the iPhone 4 attenuation is worse than most, this is counterbalanced by the improved reception overall.

Drawing attention to the weak spot with a black bar – X marks the spot, as Steve Jobs put it – certainly doesn’t help matters.

However, what I don’t understand is is this: Why did Apple put the weak spot where most people would touch the phone when using it? This, to me, is a design flaw.

Look at Apple’s own comparison with other phones’ weak spots. All the other phones have the weak spot on the top or bottom. These areas aren’t normally touched when holding the phone, so the weak spots aren’t a problem. Common sense.

So why didn’t Apple put the weak spot on the top or bottom of the iPhone 4?

I also don’t understand the whole “don’t hold it that way” thing. Many people on the MacRumors forums seem to think that most people wouldn’t hold a phone with the ball of their thumb touching the bottom left hand corner – unless they’re left handed. I’m right handed, and this is the natural position that I hold my iPhone 3G in when using it (and when making calls):

How else are you supposed to hold it? Like this?

I don’t get it.

I have no problem with a phone’s signal attenuating when held – that is to be expected. What I don’t understand is why Apple put the weak spot in such a commonly-held place on the iPhone 4, then told people to change the way they hold the phone. Just seems like madness.

Maybe someone who knows more about antenna technology than me (not hard!) can explain…?