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iPhone 4 Reception Recall Ruckus Roundup 479

Readers today have been sending tons of stories about the iPhone 4, so here are a few of the highlights: Following the Consumers Reports announcement that the iPhone has antenna problems, Andy Patrizio asks if Apple can withstand the pressure to recall, while CNet estimates that a recall would cost them $1.5B. But that's just the latest on the iPhone 4 — the long running carrier exclusivity lawsuit rumors have been upgraded to Class Action status.
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iPhone 4 Reception Recall Ruckus Roundup

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  • by DWMorse ( 1816016 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:11AM (#32899880) Homepage

    How you like them Apples?

    I already returned my iPhone 4, barely got it out of the box before return shipping. Droid X looks like it'll be replacing my half-functional iPhone 3G tomorrow.

  • Recall? No way! (Score:4, Informative)

    by vvaduva ( 859950 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:14AM (#32899930)

    Jobs is too arrogant to allow a recall...they'll find a way to blame customers for this eventually, or weasel out of doing a full recall.

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Informative)

    by w00tsauce ( 1482311 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:16AM (#32899966)
    With all the Apple publicity they probably made an extra $1.5 billion. It's not like the iphone is gods gift, anyone ever been to europe/asia? They had phones like this five years ago.
  • by Haffner ( 1349071 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:32AM (#32900288)

    In 3 days Apple's stock has gone down a huge 5%

    Citation needed. Average price end of last week: 257. Average price today/yesterday: 251. 5% of 250 = 12.5. The local max (Thursday, 262) and the local min (Tuesday, 247) come out to 6%. And the max to the min means nothing, especially when they are as brief as they have been with AAPL.

    Not to say Apple's stock has not dropped, but it has not gone down a huge 5%. Source: google.com/finance

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

    by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:35AM (#32900340) Journal

    Yep, there's nothing new for Asia.

    Oh, wait. Whoops! [businessweek.com]
    And that was for the previous version of the iPhone.

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by progr ( 861248 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:39AM (#32900392)
    I live in Europe and 5 years ago I didn't see a phone nearly comparable to an iPhone 4.
  • by nicke999 ( 575910 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:39AM (#32900398)

    "the majority of those who trade stocks are still very emotional"

    Not true. The major owners in Apple, as any major company on the stock market, are mutual funds and institutional holders with 72% [yahoo.com] of the stocks. Maybe the majority of the small time investors are emotional, I don't know, but that is a completely different thing since they can only affect the stock price so much.

  • Re:The thing is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:55AM (#32900710) Journal

    Anandtech's review (which I believe is far more in-depth than the CR?) claims that the iPhone4 holds onto a call at -113dbm. There is no doubt there is a antenna gap bridging problem and that this DOES cause the signal to drop, but at the same time the overall antenna performance seems better versus ie the 3gs. Weird.

    From my day of testing, I've determined that the iPhone 4 performs much better than the 3GS in situations where signal is very low, at -113 dBm (1 bar). Previously, dropping this low all but guaranteed that calls would drop, fail to be placed, and data would no longer be transacted at all. I can honestly say that I've never held onto so many calls and data simultaneously on 1 bar at -113 dBm as I have with the iPhone 4, so it's readily apparent that the new baseband hardware is much more sensitive compared to what was in the 3GS. The difference is that reception is massively better on the iPhone 4 in actual use.

  • by InvisiBill ( 706958 ) <slashdot&invisibill,net> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:59AM (#32900796) Homepage
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3794/the-iphone-4-review/2 [anandtech.com]

    Anand found that gripping the iPhone 4 a certain way could indeed cause up to 24dB of signal drop. This was worst-case, with a sweaty deathgrip. Touching more lightly or with less moisture had less of an effect. Gripping other smartphones near their antennas also caused a drop in signal.

    The non-linear signal representation of the "bars" can also lead to some confusion related to this. The valid range is between -113dB (no signal) and -51dB (full signal). However, 5 bars represents the range of -51 to -91. 4 bars is -91 to -101. 3 bars is -101 to -103. 2 bars is -103 to -107. 1 bar is -107 to -113. If you have a full strength 5 bar connection, that 24dB drop won't even move you out of the 5th bar. If you've just barely got 5 bars, the same 24dB drop can put you down to 1 or 0 bars.

    Anand's testing also confirmed what sjonke said in the comment above. Even when it was showing the same signal strength, the iPhone 4 was better at not dropping calls compared to the 3GS. The page shows a screenshot of a 625/31 run on Speedtest.net during a call with only -113dB.

  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:00AM (#32900816) Homepage Journal

    Given that stock pricing has a lot to do with how many buy/sell orders get placed and not quite as much with how many shares get bought/sold, churn in that little 28% can have a huge effect on price considering they are probably 99% of the shareholders by headcount.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:19AM (#32901182)

    I have iphone, and i have a full body cover covering all the sides. When i hold the phone on he left side it suffers from the "death grip" even though no part of my palm is touching any metal

    You must either not own an IPHONE or generally have no idea what you're talking about....

    but thanks for playing...

  • Re:The thing is... (Score:4, Informative)

    by nwoolls ( 520606 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:28AM (#32901332) Homepage

    This is what almost every in-depth article on the situation is finding. Yes there is a "design flaw", but given the overall improvements in the iPhone 4, it is still performing (for most people) better than the 3G or 3GS. Think of it as two steps forward and one step back. To people upgrading from the 3G and 3GS, they still get a great phone with improvements across the board. This only really matters to those who want to demonstrate an issue.

    Basically, haters gotta be hatin.

  • Same problem as 3GS? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sububer ( 887134 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:28AM (#32901340)
    The 3G/3GS had what sounds to be the same problem with poor reception when you hold the phone while touching the metal edge around the screen.

    You can repeat this test as follows:

    1. Put your phone into "field test" mode by dialing *3001#12345#* (curiously discontinued with iPhone OS4).
    2. Note the signal strength when phone is sitting on a table.
    3. Note the signal strength when holding it normally or just touching the metal edge - it's way lower.
    4. Pinch the phone so that you are not touching the metal edge. Note that the strength returns to the level it was at while on the table.

    I have personally not been bothered by this limitation with the iPhone 3G in normal use. When signal strength is really poor, I avoid touching the metal edge, but aside from that, it's business as usual.

    I would be curious to know if the iPhone 4 is any worse than the iPhone 3G/3GS. Has anyone seen a comparison?
  • by BodeNGE ( 1664379 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:29AM (#32901350)
    Trying not to Troll, I do have 10+ years experience in designing radio networks and mobile phones. All the early phones the whip antennas were encased in plastic. That was why they were black and not silver. It is a very thin nonconductive layer. Not a lot, but all you need to make it work.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:00PM (#32901916) Homepage

    That's a good point. But Apple's classic users are "special people." They are FANS. Fans are not typical consumers. Fans vote with their dollars for their favorite things and they are committed.

    There are also striking similarities between Apple fans and religious fanatics. (But that said, it is only fair to mention that as a Linux user, I witness EXTREMELY religious fanatical tendencies among Linux users too so it's not like it's only Apple fans that get this way... hell, it's not even exclusive to computers... ever meet a Subaru fan?)

  • Not A Real Issue (Score:2, Informative)

    by rhkaloge ( 208983 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:16PM (#32902208)

    What has two thumbs and has no reception problems with his iPhone 4 whatsoever? This Guy!

    The solution to this is to offer to refund the full price of any iPhone 4 until the end of the year, no questions asked. I would be surprised if 5% of the phones came back.

  • by InvisiBill ( 706958 ) <slashdot&invisibill,net> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:29PM (#32902448) Homepage

    What happens if you touch it when you have 3 bars? Would that 24db put you at -125db ?

    I see your point, but your argument is flawed.

    Yes, that's exactly what would happen. It would drop you down below the -113dB threshold, and your phone would display "No Service". If you were on a call, it would drop.

  • Proof for you (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @01:12PM (#32903176)

    Link or lies! A 4bar drop to 0 has never happened to any of my phones no matter how I hold them.

    Let me google that for you (Nexus One) [keithbradnam.com]

    There were videos around for other phone if you simply do a search.

    If you can't replicate the problem, then you are simply in the same boat as iPhone 4 owners who can't replicate the problem it's supposed to have either (I know a few iPhone 4 users that cannot get the signal to drop, and athough I've been able to reproduce it I can't get it to happen all the time).

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @01:45PM (#32903730) Homepage Journal

    Red_Flayer wrote: Interestingly, currency issues have been mentioned as a big reason why the US went into Iraq in the early 90s... Iraq was beating some drums about selling oil in Euros. That would have been *disastrous* for the US economy...

    AC's post is insightful? Actually, it's off topic. He is apparently addressing GP's claims about the invasion of Iraq IN THE EARLY '90'S, but throws in Dubya and Cheney. Wrong administration, wrong decade, wrong war, wrong enemy, wrong answer. One would expect that on a tech/geek/nerd forum that the moderators would at least be literate enough to have caught that.

  • by roadkill-maker ( 523041 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @02:15PM (#32904170)
    I can't find any Toshiba that only comes with a 90 day warranty. The cheapest laptops I can find on Toshiba's website [toshibadirect.com] come with at least a 1 year warrenty.

    Moreover, Toshiba has one of the smallest malfunction rates of their laptops. Link here. [toptenreviews.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:36PM (#32906894)

    great to have you shed some light on things guy - i just knew there would be an explanation for all this fuss over reception. its all imaginary isn't it!!!!! well why didn't i think of that. cheers for clearing that up.

    and who but node 3 to clue us up! another fantastic demonstration of how to take steve jobs' rotten little pecker into your mouth and yet still retain a sense of dignity and self respect!!

    its quite lucky that you are a pathetic consumer really, content to worship a corporation (albeit a lying and extortionate one.) if you had any kind of power or energy in your life then i'm sure the kind of delusional loyalty you're capable of blinding yourself with would make you quite dangerous.

    you probably know this and hold yourself back for that reason. stick with the softly glowing edges and titanium finish. its best for everyone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:39PM (#32906928)

    Errr you were also said the reason was that Iraq was considering selling oil in Euros. While this was true in the 2000s, it couldn't have been true for the early 90s as the Euro didn't exist then...

  • by Mikkeles ( 698461 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @06:05PM (#32907266)

    Gulf War 1990 [wikipedia.org].

  • I've had an iPhone 4 for a few weeks now, and largely it works 99% as promised. IMHO there are bigger bugs than the "don't touch here" antenna problem!

    1. Overheating shutdown... (I think). If the phone is in my pocket, sometimes I take it out and it's off... I'm guessing it is overheating (hot down here in Texas...)
    2. GSM unit crashes... I sometimes venture out into the boonies and sometimes the gsm system just stops working with spotty coverage in hilly areas. When I return to a city with a strong signal, the unit never comes back up and signal strength stays at 0-1 bars.
    3. Occasional app crashes... sometimes an app just crashes, usually one of the older apps like facebook, rope n'fly and a couple of other games. It's actually really rare, and I don't seem to loose anything, so it's minor at this point. These apps were rock solid on my 3gs phone, so that's why I mention it.

    Overall I'm pretty happy the experience though... it's a lot faster. The voice quality is much better. The screen is fantastic. If #1 and #2 can be fixed then it would be fantastic, otherwise I'll return it and wait for iPhone 4.1...

  • by Goeland86 ( 741690 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `68dnaleog'> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:05AM (#32909634) Homepage
    The suit asks the court to ban the sale of locked iPhones in the United States and also seeks a ban on Apple restricting what software users can install.

    Now I know you can interpret it a few different ways. But in all cases that means more control of the device for consumers. It's not an absurd lawsuit, it's about information control. Right now, with the iPhone (and to a slightly lesser extent Android phones) all of your data and what you can install on the phones can and is controlled by the company who sold you the phone. Apple controls the market so they have approval rights over what you can install, and also controls how to remove or remotely kill your phone. Google's terms of service for Android are essentially the same. That is what they're seeking to overturn. Return control of the hardware to the customer who purchased it, which is what it's supposed to be!

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky