Furor over the iPhone 4 antenna…

July 14, 2010 | Rants and Raves | By: Mark VandeWettering

Honestly folks, I don’t get it.

A lot of people think that a recall of iPhones will be inevitable now, because (to their way of thinking) Apple shipped a phone with a known defect.

I’m wondering what phones they’ve been buying up until now: these defect-free phones from those manufacturers who are so careful that they only release absolutely rock solid equipment to the consumers. If you were satisfied with your previous phone and its freedom from defects, then why did you bother switching to the iPhone at all?

“My god, it could drop calls!” It’s a cell phone. We’ve accepted crappy performance from them for years, sometimes caused by cell phone deficiencies, sometimes caused by network deficiencies, and yet we continue to pay our bills.

“I’m annoyed that I have to buy a case for my iPhone.” I bought one for my first iPhone, because it was so slippery I kept juggling it out of my pockets. I delayed getting one for my second iPhone, with the net result that I put a scratch in the front bezel two weeks in. I didn’t call that a “design flaw” and ask for a recall: I bought a case. Get over it.

I’m not really that much of an Apple fan boy, I just think that the Apple iPhone remains significantly (at least for me) than anything else on the market when taken as a whole. If you like your EVO better, then fine, I won’t whine when it drops your call after using it for just five hours and its battery runs out. I also won’t file a class action lawsuit about it.


Comment from davechen
Time 7/14/2010 at 8:02 am

Yeah, I’m with you. After dropping two iPhones and cracking their screens, there’s no way I’d use an iPhone without a case.

What percentage of users have naked iPhones? I’d guess it’d be pretty small.

Comment from Jeff, Ke9v
Time 7/14/2010 at 8:53 am

You cannot be serious.

The antenna design flaw iis tiny; Apple’s response to it has been earth shattering.

First blaming it on weak ATT signals and suggesting that the algorythm for calculating it was to blame. That bigger bars would help customers see that their ATT coverage really sucked to begin with and that was the root cause of the drop outs.

Today there are reports that Pple is deleting all comments in their own forums related to the Consumer Reports article.

This isn’t what we expect of a world class organization.

The design flaw can apparently be fixed with a rubber band but this is the least of the problem. In this fiasco Apple has exposed it’s Achilles heel – it simply cannot admit that it made a mistake, and it refuses to accept feedback from anyone, including it’s own customers.

I suspect this is because Jobs spent a full twenty minutes of a two hour WWDC Keynote extolling the genius of this new antenna design…

Your mention of the class action suit in this context is a bit of a red herring as it was in the works before the iPhone 4 hit the market.

Sent from my iPad…

73, Jeff

Comment from Mark VandeWettering
Time 7/14/2010 at 9:08 pm

Why yes, I am serious. Look, if your phone drops calls, return it if they can’t fix it to your satisfaction. if it is because of your AT&T service, if it is a design flaw, if it is your astrological sign: just return it. I wouldn’t live with a phone I’m not happy with, I wonder why anyone else does. There are all sorts of products on the market that individuals may choose to hate: as far as I can tell, nobody is forced to buy them.

It’s not surprising to me that bridging two parts of an antenna with an “insulator” (your hand) which may have a resistance of only a few hundred ohms (in humid climates) might dramatically cause a drop in antenna performance. Me? I wrap my current GS in a nice rubber cocoon, and can’t imagine I wouldn’t do the same with the iPhone 4, given that BOTH sides of it are glass. I suppose I could get irate about having to do that, but I’m far more irate that AT&T wants to extend my contract by two years, has a $300 dollar early cancellation fee, and charges me $18 for upgrading.

And while we are at it, where is the outrage about the EVO’s claimed 4 hour talk time, which is more like 2 hour? Or my wife’s T-Mobile G1, which is still running Android 1.6 which is a year out out of date, with no hint (or hope) frankly of an update. Apple isn’t perfect. The iPhone isn’t perfect. But antenna issues included, it is far and away one of the best consumer products on the market.

I like my iPad too.

Comment from Kevin
Time 7/14/2010 at 9:32 pm

It’s hard to tell what will annoy Mark, and what will not annoy Mark. Did he rant somewhere around here about his anger over Apple Developers EULA? I guess having been an ATT customer for so long means he has gotten used to dropped calls.

Hmmm…. I’m guessing it’s because he already bought a case, which he regrets not doing sooner.

It is rather ironic that the new antenna design was supposed to be a feature and ended up being a class action lawsuit.

It does seem kinda sue happy to launch a bunch of lawsuits over something that can be fixed with a piece of tape. Let’s face it. Your phone should have a case anyway. Leather smells good.

Comment from Jeff, KE9V
Time 7/15/2010 at 3:24 am


You seem to be missing the point that this is much less a cell phone problem. Yes, each electronic device has its own quirks and features. Some are better than others, the iPhone is the best of breed.

But unfortunately it’s being sold by a company that apparently has no respect for its customers.

This problem was first noted just hours after the product release. The now infamous email to Jobs about it yielded his arrogant response: “don’t hold the phone that way” and that the customer should “buy a case”.

This was quickly followed by Apple’s “stunning” software problem that over-inflated signal quality…but shortly thereafter, AppleCare started advising customers that any forthcoming software fixes wouldn’t fix the hardware-based antenna problem.

And then there was the customer service script leak that advised tech support to tell customers that, in fact, the antenna is awesome, but even so, don’t hold it that way, maybe buy a case, and no, AppleCare is not to give out a free case, offer any kind of warranty repair, or deal with the problem in any satisfactory manner at all.

And now that Consumer Reports won’t recommend it, the first iPhone that they haven’t recommended so they certainly aren’t Apple bashers, Apple is deleting mentions of the Consumer Report findings on its support forums, as it frequently seems to do when problems crop up that it doesn’t want to acknowledge.

I don’t think this is going to stop the iPhone momentum because frankly I think that most consumers just want an iPhone and don’t give a crap if it has problems or not.

But longer term I wonder about Apple’s ability to thrive given that they have abandoned the computer market and thrust themselves into the consumer market despite the fact that they obviously believe that consumers are idiots who will purchase anything that they lay on the table and if there are problems, just deny, deny, deny it and screw ’em!

Not a world class company, not a world class act…

On a side note, I’m standing in line today to buy a Droid X. But not because of the iPhone antenna design flaw, but because of AT&T…

Jeff, KE9V

Comment from Tom
Time 7/15/2010 at 7:21 am

As one who does not own a cell phone (and has no current plans to own one), I find the emotional angst generated on both sides of Apple’s antenna issues somewhat amusing.

Comment from suwat82
Time 7/15/2010 at 7:42 am

Nowaday cell phone is a important part of our daily life already. But I wonder 100 years ago why people can live without phone.

Comment from Kevin
Time 7/19/2010 at 10:00 am

Is a cell phone really an important part of your daily life? I don’t own one and I don’t miss it.