back to article Steve Jobs denies Judas Phone antenna problems

There's nothing wrong with the iPhone 4 that isn't wrong with any other phone, says Steve Jobs. However, because Jobs and company "love our users," Apple will provide a free case to any Judas Phone owner who wants one. "There is no Antennagate," Apple's CEO told a select group of reporters gathered Friday morning on the …


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  1. Richard 116

    My goodness...

    ...I know this will be comment #672 of 10,000 but I'm soooo looking forward to the El Reg Massive response! Roll on the mods sorting through this lot.

    And am I the only cynical bugger that thinks an announcement like this timed for a Friday is just so perfect for the Sith Lord?

  2. Anton Ivanov

    Never seen that problem on a Nokia E series

    In Nokia E series backplate is the WiFi antenna and probably other stuff - BT, GPS. You can hold it any way you like and it still works fine. It may not be shiny, but once you upgrade the firmware it "just works".

    1. Tippis

      E71 here...

      ...and I tried to duplicate this when the whole "oh, but it happens with every smartphone" spin first got out. And indeed, I *did* manage to get it to drop bars... more or less sitting on it. If I made sure that the only thing not covered in me (ok, just using my hands worked as well) was the part of the screen that showed the connectivity, I could indeed see how it would sloooowly start losing bars, but open up just a little bit and they'd start coming back.

      Sure, I suppose other phones could exhibit the same kind of sensitivity as the iPhone 4, but that doesn't mean that the iPhone is any good, only that a number of other phones are just as horrid as the iPhone is.

  3. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    The Next Lesson is taken from the Book of Job

    And it came to pass that Californian Job did return from the wilderness, with it's summits, slopes and valleys, speckled with glistening spires and shiny domes and called upon His faithful, and their trusted scribes, to gather at the Church of Apple and they did as they were bid.

    Job came before the gathered faithful and they were quieted. They were in awe of being in His presence.

    Oh faithful, He cried, I have wronged. I have held you in contempt, I have used you, I have led you to believe that which is not, is; and to doubt that what is, is not. I claimed I was stunned, when I was not. My heart was troubled, slightly.

    Ye faithful, Job spake, we are surrounded by the unbelievers, the smug, the ignorant, the indifferent and who are hostile to our cultural values. We were mocked by they of Richmond and of the Silicon Valley who stirred a mass who rose up and cried out aloud.

    You, brethren, and I, must be as one and as a token of your faith I give you a ring, a ring of many colours, a ring of rubber which you shall affix around your symbol of our faith. Go forth into the world and show your rings to the unbelievers and they shall be quieted.

    And, being simple naive folk, the faithful did so, their symbols of faith with the coloured rings displayed against their ears and they were at peace in their hearts and their alarm quieted, saying out loud, for all to hear, Hello?, Hello?, Hello?.

    And Californian Job was well pleased, too, knowing that His followers would return to buy the next symbol of their faith.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Jobs Halo

    "Antennagate has been predominantly a US thing."

    ...probably patented by Broadcomm.

  5. John Thorn

    Dry fingers

    I wonder if the air-conditioned offices of Apple meant all the testers had dry fingers that didn't 'short' the aerial??

    1. Lance 3

      Probably have to wear white gloves

      They probably have to wear white gloves as the cater to Jobs.

  6. nsld
    Paris Hilton

    See it isnt broken

    But we will fix it anyway.

    We come in peace, shoot to kill!!!!!!

    If your too stupid to hold it properly here is a rubber thing so you dont have to worry but its still your fault.

    New from Apple, the iBlame EOB

    Paris - she would believe it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Reg = haters


    Steve Jobs: "So we've worked the last 22 days on this trying to solve the problem. And we think we've gotten to the heart of the problem"

    It sounds to me like they've admitted the problem, albeit a problem that iPhone owners have found to be a non-issue (the figures speak for themselves). After another week of bad jokes, the stock price will recover, iPhone owners will continue to be overwhelmingly satisfied and Apple will continue to sell them faster then they can make them.

    1. Annihilator
      Jobs Horns

      Admitted, but denied

      Well, to paraphrase him, he's saying there isn't a real problem. Or actually, there is, but it's the same as other phones. And it's so much of a non-issue, we're giving away a rubber case to fix the problem that doesn't exist.. Or a refund that you'd be entitled to (in the UK) regardless of what Lord Steve deems appropriate, and a vague answer on what happens if you've bought via AT&T/O2 etc

      His claim that problem is due to not enough cases to fit the new design, shurely we'd have seen the same effect with the original iPhone and the 3G?

      One question though - what changes after 30th September that a free case is no longer required?...

      1. Chris Thomas Alpha

        you didn't listen

        he never said it wasn't a problem, just that the problem appears on ALL smartphones, I got my HTC hero to drop bars in the exact same way.

        he said that we have the SAME problem as everyone else, but we made it very easy to trigger by having a join between the two antennas in the same place as people put their hands, so making the problem a lot more obvious.

        he said that after the 30th, if the offer needs to continue, it will.

        you guys need to listen more carefully, how you passed basic english I dont know.....

        1. noboard

          The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

          Your HTC Hero drops bars when you cover the corner of your iPhone? Spooky

        2. Professor Tinklepants


          I'm on my 3rd Hero, Orange having given me replacements due to crappy signal reception. Despite this, I can only get it to drop bars when I completely smother it.

          If I hold it like a normal person, rather than a club-handed hillbilly, it works perfectly.

          The only thing that surprises me about this whole issue is that people seem genuinely taken aback that Apple\Jobs haven't put their hand up and taken the blame. I mean, this is the Cult of Jobs ferchrissake....what the feck did you think was going to happen?

    2. da_fish27

      Surely you meant...

      reg == haters.

      1. Asgard

        @"reg == haters"

        Maybe its not a comparison. Maybe it really is an assignment of hate, as us reg readers are being given a lot of hateful feelings from suffering all the two faced condescending Apple behaviour.

  8. Rolf Howarth

    Anechoic chamber

    ... can refer to blocking out sound *or* electromagnetic waves.

    1. Dave Mundt

      Anechoic Chambers and Antennas

      Greetings and salutations...

      Because there are no surfaces for the radio waves from the antenna to bounce off of, it is possible to map the undisturbed radiation pattern of the antenna. Useful to know what direction the antenna is pumping out that power, and, probably in this case, how that radiation pattern changes when the antenna gets touched.


      dave mundt

      1. JaitcH

        It.s crowded out there, RF speaking

        Frequently antenna radiation patterns can be performed in free space but dues the congested cell frequencies in all but the the less or sparsely populated areas of North America.

        Toronto, and a few other places in Canada, has adopted 2100Mhz - the now superseded (sort of) Nexus 1 not only had amazing user-facing software BUT also a remarkable frequency range that included UMTS bands (either 900/AWS/2100 MHz or 850/1900/2100 MHz).

  9. Mr Young
    Thumb Up

    Sounds like denial?

    But who am I to say?

  10. Steven Knox


    "We take this really personally," he said. "Maybe we should have a wall of PR people keeping us away from this stuff, but we don't, we take it really personally."

    Stevie's officially taken up use of the royal pronoun, then?

  11. TkH11


    I've now lost a lot of respect for Jobs.

    if he claims there is nothing wrong with the IPhone then why:

    1) is he spending so much money on recruiting post-graduate engineers with expertise in antenna design and building the infrastructure need to test antennas

    (they've been producing mobile phones for years)

    2) are they releasing a case to all IPhone users?

    Is Jobs really such an arrogant tw*t that he thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of literally millions of people?

    Unfortunately, I've seen a national news programme on television this evening where they've fallen for Job's bullshit.

    The reason why they don't want The Register in Job's media briefings is because the Register is staffed by technically intelligent people that know what they're talking about who would ask difficult questions when confronted with Jobs' bullshit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      > why is he spending so much money on recruiting post-graduate engineers with expertise in antenna design.....they've been producing mobile phones for years....

      But iPhone 4 is the first phone with an Apple designed antenna hence the schoolboy error - the reason they need help is obvious. Up until this phone they have used Nokia inspired compact designs. As a result Apple is being sued by Nokia and no-one, not even them, is expecting to win. The fine and damages would have been massively more if they continued to flout Nokia's Patents.

      >Is Jobs really such an arrogant tw*t that he thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of literally millions of people?

      Yes. Just watch it happen. Apple has always been about form, not function. Its kind of like women and shoes I've never understood that either.

      Just watched the video and I'm almost tempted to ask, What's the IT angle?

      1. aThingOrTwo

        Flouting Nokia's Patents…

        Apple's perfectly willing to pay up to Nokia and will eventually, but there are two sides to that story. Nokia must license its standards-related patents using fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

        1. Chris Thomas Alpha

          they do that already

          it's just that apple feels they deserve special attention as compared to motorola or samsung

    2. Nick Pettefar


      "The reason why they don't want The Register in Job's media briefings is because the Register is staffed by technically intelligent people that know what they're talking about who would ask difficult questions when confronted with Jobs' bullshit."

      The same ones that don't know what use an anechoic chamber would be, perhaps?

      The reason why I read El Reg is not because they are 100% technically savvy.

      BTW, my Nokia E71 signal strength display goes from full to minimal when I hold the telephone. I never looked before but I did exactly what Mr. Jobs showed and he is 100% correct.

      I hate my Nokia E71 - in comparison to my iPod Touch, for usability, it is rubbish - I will definitely be getting an iPhone (unlocked) as soon as I can find sufficient funds - sod the rent.

      1. TimeMaster T


        Ever use a magnifying glass? Know how to calculate the refraction based its index value?

        Just because someone knows what an antenna is does not mean they know how to build and test one.

        The reg is an IT site, not a site for Ham radio enthusiasts.

      2. Anton Ivanov
        Thumb Down

        Hmm... interesting...

        I just took my Nokia E71 off the desk... signal same, hold - signal same, hug - signal same, stuff where sun does not shine... guess not... too big for that, but probably signal will still be the same.

        The only way I have managed to reproduce the "Jobs problem" was to hold it in two hands so you wrap one hand around it and put another on its top.

        1. Matt_V
          Thumb Up

          @ anton

          same here with the HTC legend, have to cover the back and front (along with the mic)...

          1. Chris Thomas Alpha
            Thumb Up

            with HTC hero too

            but I have to just grip it tightly on both sides of the phone, I dont have to cover the top, bottom or screen, but I repeatedly got a signal drop from full bars to 1 and back again when I put it back on the table.

            so he's not lying, but the problem was nokia suing them over the antenna design so they had to change it and made a stupid error.

            the worst place to touch the antenna, just so happens to be the first place you put your hand. stupid mistake, but I can't understand why people here are saying they are not accepting there was a problem, unless you count that people here can't understand english correctly.

      3. Donn Bly

        @Nick Pettefar - I call your bluff

        I have an E71 in my hands - and no matter how I hold it, in either hand, gripping it lightly or with a death grip, I can't make it lower it's signal strength. I don't know what you are doing, but I can't duplicate it.

        And you hate your E71 as compared to your iPod touch? One is a phone with a 2-year-old design, the other is an media player and game platform. The E71 does what it was designed to do, is VERY durable, and does it reasonably well. Your iPod also does what it was designed to do reasonably well -- but they do two different things and are aimed at two totally different markets. At least the E71 can play MP3's, can the iPod make calls on a cellular network?

  12. Rolf Howarth


    The antenna song was quite funny...

  13. toocheeky

    and when the 4GS arrives?

    ......will these issues be fixed/upgraded? Monumentally contrived, blinkered and not really livingin the modern world - add to this the control freakiness of the App Store /locked phones and you wonder which planet we live on?

    Yes - it's sold 3m phones - 1m a week but all with antenna issues.... fail SJ!

    First mention I ever heard of Attennagate was at the Apple performance/press conference - how often will that be repeated in the media in the coming days?

    I have had 'mobile' phones for 15 years now - they tend to cope with being held - surely that's one of the key expectations of being a mobile phone - being held in your hand to make calls?

    Oh dear - the phone has an issue - admit it, account for it and move on - the posteuring is embarassing.

  14. Robert Hill

    Jobs can do whatever anyone asks...

    And still people will criticize him. Remove the problem by offering a case, refund cases purchased to date?!! Sure, we'll do that! Refund the phone in full?? Sure, we'll do that!!!

    Did all this happen within just a few weeks of launch? Yep, 22 days to learn of the problem and come up with a plan.

    Is that pretty good for ANY company? Sure it is...

    But people will lambaste Jobs makes them feel bigger, somehow...

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Read the response closer

      Despite the actions Apple will take to ensure end-users are happy, Steve Jobs still can't admit that the phone design is flawed as demonstrated by objective testing from multiple, respected, technical publications.

      I'm not generally a fan of Apple and I do ultimately think they are doing the right thing. But it's also unbelieveably self-absorbed and pompous to say that you'll rectify the situation and then, in the same breath, denounce that any situation exists at all. And there's no way to justify that, whether you're a hater or a fanboi.

      1. Chris Thomas Alpha

        your an idiot

        he plainly said that whilst the antenna design is truely remarkable (which may or may not be true) it DOES have a flaw, that the put the point that causes the most signal degradation at the location where almost everyone puts their hands.

        combine that with living in a low signal strength area, makes the problem occur more often than in places where the high signal strength hides the problem.

        you can't fucking understand spoken english or what? go back to school.......

    2. Bear Features

      no, no ,no

      The problem is how long did it take him to say the obvious?! LOL

      First we were told to hold it differently, then... the best bit... it was a software issue!?!?! You don't release anything until you're sure, this isn't Apple "thinking out loud"... this is Apple trying to smuggly cover the bullsh*t up. And when nobody bought it (they actually thought we would!!!) ... NOW Jobs speaks. There was never "22 days investigating". There was 22 days of "let's see if they buy the next line.

      So what happened to the software issue?

      That is the issue buddy, people don't take kindly to being shafted.

      Assume the position

    3. Anonymous Coward


      What are you basting the lamb with? Is it roast lamb (on a spit?) or is it lamb stew - in which case basting seems a bit redundant,

      Personally I think a touch of olive oil would go nicely

    4. Mike Kamermans

      You have invalidated your own argument

      Problems aren't solved by treating the symptoms, they are solved by solving the problem.

      A problem with a bad transceiver is not FIXED by a free case, or a refund, it's fixed by solving the transceiver. And that's not an Apple issue, that's an "any company that produces a product with a bad transceiver". Unless such a company solves the actual problem, anything else they do in mitigation is spending money on what isn't the correct solution.

      So, is offering money (or money-substitute products) instead of a solution "pretty good for ANY company"? No. No it is not.

      1. Robert Hill

        No idea of the real-world...

        If you knew ANYTHING about the real-world of FCC licensing, you would have a clue that it takes a great deal of time to get approval to changes of RF components, including antennas. By great deal, we are talking 6 - 12 months. The is no magic short cut, changing the antenna design invalidates FCC and EU approval.

        Now, back in the real world....your suggestion was to do what exactly? No, not one that involves time machines, and not one that says keep selling the inferior 3GS instead...

      2. TkH11

        @Mike Kammermans

        "A problem with a bad transceiver is not FIXED by a free case, or a refund, it's fixed by solving the transceiver."

        This statement is true but it is not the complete picture. You can provide a free case but the problem is still present..or is it? The defect is still present, that is, the defective transceiver and antenna system is still present, but if the actual cause of the problem is that the aerial is coming into contact with the user's fingers, then placing a rubber case does actually solve the problem.

        The defect can be fixed in a number of different ways. To suggest that the only way to fix the defective problem is to fix the transceiver is not right.

        It's a problem which needs a solution, and any engineering graduate will tell you, it's their job to decide how 'best' to fix it, given competing criteria: cost, performance, ease of manufacture, reputation.

        Apple, being a business whose purpose is to make profit, will solve the engineering issue in the cheapest way possible, which will be either: software update, or a cheap protective case, both of which are far, far cheaper for Apple than redesigning the IPhone, and carrying out a product recall.

    5. Someone Else Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      I asked His Royal Hiney to leave Lala alone

      ...but I don't see it anywhere on the I really don't think that he'll whatever anyone asks, unless the "anyone" happens to be his own reflection in a mirror somewhere.

  15. technome
    Jobs Halo

    If trolls ate soup...

    "Waiter, I don't like the soup. I want you to make it better."

    "This is the best we can make it. Perhaps we can offer you some salt."

    "I paid good money for this soup. It should taste good without salt."

    "I'm sorry. 99.5% of people love the soup but we want everyone to be happy so we'll give you a full refund on your meal."

    "I don't want a refund. I want a better soup."

    "We're trying the best we can and the soup is as good as it's going to get."

    "then I'll just sit in your restaurant and whine until I get the soup I want without salt."

    1. JamesR87

      I like this...

      ... It's certainly correct in many respects but there are two key problems.

      1) The waiter in your story is honest and up front about the problem realizing the limitations of the product and communicating it directly to the customer. Apple didn't do this, they lied and deceived and in many respects continue to do so. (Read 3)

      2) Soup that is "As good as we can make it" implies that they've done everything they can, but consider that in your story the soup is made using battery acid... Would you sympathise with the waiter still? The product is outright defective, not low on quality.

      And an added note...

      3) General signal interference (I.e. Putting your phone in a lead box/encasing it completely with your hands) is just how it works, all wireless devices suffer from this. The iPhone defect is a design flaw which leads to signal failure... Not all phones suffer from this, if anything this is product-unique.

      Please please please someone at The Reg write an article on the bloody difference because this "All Phones do it" spin is distracting us from the real problem at hand.

    2. Rob - Denmark

      Analogy fail!

      Can you tell the difference between soups that has had salt added during cooking and soups where it has been added after?

      Are you suggesting, that the bumper will magically disolve into the iPhone, making tast... ehm work like it should, but look no different?

      Or should the user just hold the spoon in a different manner, to taste the salt?

  16. Philippe
    Thumb Up

    what about my BB9700?

    I ve tried to hold my BB9700 by the left hand corner and it lost 2 bars. (my iPhone 3G doesn't)

    Do you think Rim will get me a free bumper?

    Didn't think so..

    1. .stu


      I held my G1 in a the death grip, and it gained a bar :-p

    2. GarethJones

      Blackberry Bumper?!?

      I doubt whether it would fit the Blackberry?

    3. JamesR87

      You miss the point...

      Did it lose signal entirely? Was simply holding the phone in a way that is only reasonable cause the cell service to be completely disabled?

      No? Didn't think so either...

    4. Daniel B.

      Oh, the coincidences...

      ... I had bought a 9700 a week before the Jobs statement about the 9700.

      Before the death grip, I get -66. During the death grip, it goes down to -72 ... and then bounces back to -66, without me "ungripping" it. Not only is the dip in signal much lower than in the iPhone, the handset actually goes back to its original signal strength. Hell, the variation might have been even me moving the phone slightly when gripping it!

      Apple is lying on the matter, and they're being called out for that. RIM already spoke on the matter, I'd expect other makers to do the same.

      Oh ... and if it lost a couple of bars ... could it be that it had the same kind of "doctored" bar thresholds that the iPhone has? ;)

  17. url
    Thumb Up


    still laughing at Judas phone over here.


  18. pip25
    Jobs Halo

    I'm still pleasantly surprised...

    Honestly, I never expected Apple to do even this. Steve Jobs will never admit they've made a real mistake before hell freezes over, but the offer for a free case is respectable, and most importantly, will indeed solve the reception problem for the owners without additional cost. That's what matters for the average user. Of course, it would have been a lot more stylish to just do this without all the excuses, but that would have been almost too perfect. ;)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Haters will hate

    He must have got fedup with all the haters and the FUD.

    The bumpers should have been free or uber cheap in the first place to be honest.

    Everyone should be happy now.

    Haters can still hate (while trying to save battery on their HTC's), fanbois get their free bumpers and wannabes can take get a refund. Everyone's a winner!

    1. Chris Thomas Alpha
      Thumb Up

      I own a HTC and I'm not a hater

      I actually agree with his death grip, I can do it with my Hero, reliably and repeatedly, so I understand what he is saying.

      I also understand that it *IS* the location of the join between antennas that is in the worst possible place, where people put their hands whilst holding the phone.

      They changed the antenna design because of nokia suing them, everyone knows that, but they made a mistake, because apart from copying, they dont have any real experience.

      Perhaps they'll just change the location of the join, to be on the top of the phone instead? But I aint sure what they'll need to approve if perhaps they need a new licence from the FCC.

      I'm a HTC Hero owner and not a hater, but I think it should have been obvious if they had tested it properly, it seems a very odd mistake to make since finding the problem was so easy for lots of people. Dunno why they made it, but at least they owned up (and yes! they did own up, even though this page is full of people saying otherwise, learn english retards!)

  20. Eddy Ito

    Just here for the comedy

    "exactly how an anechoic chamber tests radio reception, he didn't say."

    Can you hear me no... oh, never mind, that's someone else.

    "Like Mark Twain's death, reports of the iPhone 4's reception problems have been greatly exaggerated, Jobs insisted."

    He is aware that Mark Twain is, in fact, dead?

  21. censored

    Let's get this straight...

    All phones suffer from this problem, it's inherent in mobiles and no-one has solved it yet. There isn't a design flaw in the device, the external antenna performs brilliantly and doesn't have any worse problem than any other phone.

    Yet at the same time, fitting a bumper case corrects the problem.

    Therefore, doesn't that make it a problem with the design? If the phone's chassis had the antenna inside an integral bumper then there'd be no problem.

    I'll bet you £5 that iPhone 5 is a minor upgrade, while iPhone 6 is a new design that doesn't have an external antenna.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Jobs Horns

      Let's get this straight...

      I go for an 'external' antenna protected by a thin layer of clear plastic that sits remarkably flush with the rest of the case.

      Whatever it is it's going to be external, even though it isn't. Jobs never admits he's wrong.

    2. DZ-Jay

      Re: Let's get this straight...

      Check out the video of the presentation. Jobs doesn't say that the bumper case corrects "the problem". He said something to the effect that, "some people are unhappy because they are experiencing reception problems. They say that a bumper case will fix their problems [he was most likely referring to AnandTech and Consumer Reports]. Great! Have a free bumper case and be happy."


    3. Chris Thomas Alpha
      Thumb Down

      no, you understood it wrong

      the antenna DOES perform brilliantly, but the problem is that it has an achilles heel which says if you touch the join, you short the antenna.

      he admitted this mistake many times, why doesn't anyone listen to what he says, I think they just watched the first 1 minute and then made up their own minds.....ridiculous!

  22. Jason Sheldon

    Lifetime Warranty?

    Are the free rubber bumpers going to be replaced free of charge when worn or damaged? Since we would expect the iPhone to last much longer than a rubber case, and the bumper is being supplied to remedy a design flaw with the iPhone, shouldn't we be entitled to a lifetime supply of the bumpers, for the life of the iPhone 4?

    1. Smokey Joe
      Jobs Horns


      You're supposed to buy the iPhone5 in twelve months time. Your bumper will outlive this year's fashion statement.

    2. Gene Poole

      Probably not...

      FWIW the snap-on case and screen protector on my iPhone 3G are almost unmarked after well over 12 months of use, so it shouldn't be an issue unless the free bumpers are much lower quality. Of course, those who treat their phones like ice hockey pucks should expect lower levels of durability.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Oh for goodness sake!

    Why it needed a press conference in the first place to state the obvious that any problems with iPhones are common to all phones I didn't know until I saw the inane questions from some of the (supposedly) tech audience at the end of the press conference. Having had the whole issue of signal degradation explained virtually in words of one syllable and demonstrated on a number of other phones (which we call all see ourselves on YouTube or experience first hand anyway), some of the audience (judging by their questions) still apparently didn't get it. I think therefore we now have to assume that the Apple bashers don't want to get it and this has gone way past any rational discussion.

    Whilst I haven't up until now been a rabid fan of Apple (though I am a satisfied user of an iPhone4 and some other Apple stuff) ,this issue has certainly driven me more towards the company. It is rapidly becoming apparent that the excellent service I have received as a user since I started looking at and buying their stuff is the norm and a load of the negative stuff that I have read I am now assuming comes from those who are not interested in facts but simply Apple bashing.

    I dare say that I will get flamed on the Reg for this but frankly I don't give a rats... I want products that work well and have good support and Apple provide them. Every day I meet more and more regular people who have bought into the Apple ecosystem and are delighted with the products. It may well be that Steve Jobs has his faults and I am sure that Apple are out to make money but that's fine by me, all I want is good products and stellar service and that's what they provide. After this (non)issue I can now see through the smokescreen of the Apple bashers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Hear hear. Very well said.

  24. Dan Paul

    Anechoic Chambers are required for Antenna Testing!!!!!!!

    A point of illumination to the author regarding anechoic chambers and RF antenna design.

    When one considers an anechoic chamber, one usually thinks about sound echoes. (like the author)

    The same echoes happen with radio frequency waves, only worse since they move a lot faster and travel farther.

    The RF anechoic chamber looks quite similar one designed for sound attenuation but is made of different materials designed to absorb and trap RF energy. In fact, anechoic materials designed for RF can attenuate both sound and RF.

    I have been in several large anechoic chambers designed for antenna/radio/radar signal testing throughout my career. They are an integral part of FCC part 15 and CE approval testing.

    Take note Mr. Jobs, the device being tested sits in a non conductive cradle in the middle of the room. Not a good way to test how it works in the "real world" or your hand.

    This is due to the high signal levels that are often being used and most technicians will not enter these spaces when the transmitter is live. Apparently, tinfoil hats and underwear don't work all that well. Most techs I've met seem to have an aversion to having their family jewels microwaved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You didn't see the photo on Apple's website of a man holding the iPhone 4 to his head within the anechoic chamber then?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Testing phones...

      Not quite true... yes, you use an anechoic chamber because you are trying to reproduce the effect of "free space" in a constrained environment - ie avoiding the impact of echoes (reflections for RF), diffusion and all those other wave phenomenon that happen in a room that is physically not "infinite" compared to the wavelength you're looking at.

      But... the phone does NOT "sit in a non-conductive cradle in the middle of the room". That's ONE test scenario. My employer, along with every other handset maker and mobile operator in the world that wants to test phones properly, ALSO tests with simulated hands (water bags, more or less), simulated heads (ditto with a mannekin), windows (glass sheets) and walls... at different angles, signal strengths etc etc.

      That's why you build a $100m. suite with 17 chambers - there's really quite a lot of testing to do...

      FWIW, my guess is that the testing DOESN'T simulate the different levels of conductivity of the skin (ie some people "short" the external antennas more than others), which you wouldn't see at all in a phone with an antenna buried inside the case. Even if generally, the iPhone 4's external antenna gets a better signal than an internal one, salty sweaty people shorting the phone across the gap will have a bigger effect than they would just as acting as "bags of water" on an internal antenna.

      Equally, the SOFTWARE controls how the phone responds to signal changes. Anyone who says that RF physics means that no software update could "fix" the issue is just wrong. A software update can't increase the signal strength, but it can certainly change what you do with it. You could detect the "shorted" antenna and re-work the baseband signal processing on the fly based on new tuning parameters.... if you had to... It's not as if the only antenna that works is one that is some precise number of wavelengths long, after all...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We were told by Jobs that...

    The antenna design was an engineering marvel. Apple claimed this design was a step forward! This is why people have made such a big issue of this. Apple lied big time.

  26. Darryl

    Minor issue?

    "We have both an AT&T and Verizon cell site set up on our campus" and we have no problems with reception on our iPhones.

    It must be your fault for not having a cell site in your backyard.

  27. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Well, surely if you have access to all that cell testing technology you can rig a test of other phones?

    Hold the phone and then get someone else to turn down the cell transmit power?

    Not suggesting it was rigged, but it might be nice to see some other people repeat the test with those handsets.

  28. Nathan 13

    It affects all phones does it?

    I have NEVER in my life heard of anyone who had reception problems when holding their mobile phone before this I-Phone issue.

    So Apple are talking total and utter bollocks IMO.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      It's true, that holding phones can reduce signal. Both my HTC Magic and N1 do it. Neither of them, however, lose signal by pressing one finger against a specific (or in fact any) spot on the device.

  29. Simon Williams

    Two points

    Surely, having a phone with an external antenna which can be gripped directly with the hand will make it more susceptible to RF attenuation than one in which the antenna is internal and comes into no direct contact. Yes, there will be some attenuation when you put you hand around any phone, but designing one with the antenna on the outside is asking for trouble, isn't it?

    The other thing that puzzles me is why so many iPhone 4 customers *haven't* seen the problem. These millions of satisfied customers can't spend all their time in strong reception areas - they are *mobile* phones. Even if some customers are more sensitive to signal drop-off than others, it still suggests there might be a fault which only shows up on some examples of the iPhone 4.

    1. handle

      Why they haven't seen the problem

      Because the problem only manifests itself when the phone is held in a certain way, and also in a limited set of circumstances - over a limited range of signal strengths. As you say, those in strong signal areas will not see the problem, but neither will those in dead spots. It is only in marginal areas that you will see it and not many people spend enough time in those areas to notice the difference. If you rapidly pass through a marginal area (say, entering a building) then you'll be unlikely to notice that the phone conks out slightly earlier than you expect. If the normal place you sit is in one of these areas, however, then it's quite likely you will.

    2. michael porter

      michael porter

      I wonder if the variability in the problem could be down to something as basic as what sort of shoes the user is wearing (cue jokes about beards and sandals). I have certainly noticed when getting out of my car that I am guaranteed a belt of static with certain shoes but not others. Could static potential in the body have something to do with it?

      1. Gene Poole

        I don't know,

        but I've long wondered the same thing. I also find that different cars give different levels of shock with the same shoes. My Volvo used to give me a bolt from hell, whereas my E-class was less viscous. My current <don't all groan at once> vehicle has an aluminum body, and I haven't had a shock yet...

  30. Paul RND*1000
    Jobs Horns

    So, to sum up

    Steve doesn't see any problem.

    Well, I suppose it *is* hard to notice that your call has been dropped when you've got your fingers jammed firmly in your ears and are singing "LALALA LA LAAA!!" at the top of your voice to drown out the, like, totally unfair criticism and stuff.


    steve jobs

    sounds to me this idiot owner is trying to cover up the real problem with the antenna issue and making out its nothing. blaming the media for it er jobs the media dont make phones idiot they cover stories fool. and this is the best apple can do give cases and offer refunds god hes got to much money to the brain hes frightend his company will loose no1 spot to microsoft haha. god apple gets worse as goes on they cant be open and honest say look we need to have all the iphones recalled no thats to much for apple and there croanys and there idiot fanboys screw you apple il pick a phone thats reliable and keeps signal iphone is crap and shit anyway.

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge


      First, I'll ignore the almost complete lack of punctuation.

      Second, you are naive if you believe that the function of the media is to cover stories, It isn't. The function of the media is generally to get more readers/viewers/listeners, It doesn't make for an interestinf story that 95% of iphones pick up a good signal, so it's not really reported

  32. BritBloke


    All phones have the problem apparently.

    My nexus must be broken then as it seems to work brilliantly.

    1. JaitcH

      My 7-year old cell ....

      works in places most new cells don't. You can't beat a real antenna!

  33. Monty Burns

    Job's next project....

    His Jedi Levels of BS .... next project now the Ipad/Iphone are done - IBAG! :

    1. Danwold

      There's a problem here!

      I bought myself a torch yesterday and it too seems to be afflicted with the same problem. Hold it in a special way and it's fine, but give it the 'death grip' across the round glass patch and all the light is gone! This is a major design flaw, so I'll be sueing the manufacturer and demanding that all torches worldwide are recalled.

      Won't be doing that with my iPhone though, seems to work just fine for me.

      1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Apples != Oranges

        Ah so you bought a torch where the light is emitted from the part a user normally grasps? No? Not the same thing then is it.

        If this were an old style phone with the antenna poking out the top, people were holding the antenna and complaining then your analogy would be fair. If this were a regular style phone with an internal antenna and people were complaining of normal levels of signal loss then your analogy would be fair.

        This is not a normally designed phone. The antennas are on the outside where you not only cover them but touch them too. The human body is a damn good conductor as you can prove by touching the antenna socket on a TV or the aerial on a radio. So touch the antenna on a transmitter and the signal is not going to go where it is supposed to go. Fitting a case means you no longer touch the antennas, signal loss when the antennas are covered by a hand with the phone in a case is to be expected. What is not to be expected is a greater level of signal loss when the antennas are shorted together.

        The i4 has a sweet spot that causes maximum signal loss when touched and that sweet spot is just where the the hand of a right handed user naturally falls. If the sweet spot were elsewhere, middle of the top or bottom for example meaning you've got it in a strange grasp to touch it then this would not be an issue.

        To be fair having the antenna on the outside means that when the antennas are not shorted together you have better than normal signal levels. It's strength is also it's weakness.

        Jobs & Co have done the right thing by giving away covers. They have not done the right thing by denying their phone is any different to others on the market.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Never thunk it

    OK, I would have expected a pony show like that out of Balmer, but Jobs? I wonder what Woz’s opinion is on all this? Never thought I’d utter these words again, but I actually miss John Sculley.

    As for Apple’s $100 Million dollar “investment” in test chambers and PhD’s; well Steve, I think you totally pissed that money away.

    Maybe Paris buys your bullshit, but anybody with at least 2 functioning brain cells can see that you're essentially hoping if you ignore all the complaints long enough, the problem will just go away.

    Very sad, indeed.

  35. Matt Hawkins
    Jobs Horns

    Cool, Broken But Cool.

    What is funny is how Apple went to great lengths to point out how clever their new antenna was and how cool it looked. The fanbois ended up with wet patches in their pants just thinking about it.

    Now they've got the cool stainless steel "band" you've got to cover it up with a piece of rubber.

    And if you think that piece of rubber is worth £25+ and doesn't actually cost Apple 50p then you really need to visit a Chinese sweat shop more often.

    "Here we've sold you a phone with a design defect but we love you so much we're going to give you a 50p rubber to stick it in!" How cool is that !

    The cult of Apple rolls on. For the iPhone 5 they will merely take £400 out of your bank account and simply give you nothing in return. Millions of Apple fans will be grateful and enter into internet arguments to defend Steve Jobs.

    And as for this being a smartphone issue. BS. No one I've met with a smartphone can drop the connection to their provider with the tip of their little finger. Its design flaw with the iPhone. Its probably too late to save anyone who can't see that ...

  36. Paul

    not 1% more calls

    El Reg fell for the dropped calls spin. Apple say they do not know or cannot repeat what ATT say how many calls they drop, but the i4 drops less than 1 call per hundred more than the i3.

    Lets say it drops very nearly 1 call per 100 more.

    So, if the i3/i3gs etc drop 10 calls in 100, then the i4 is 10% worse than the i3.

    if the i3 drops 5 calls in 100, the i4 is 25% worse.

    if the i3 drops 1 call in 100, the i4 is twice as bad

    if the i3 drops 0.1 calls in 100, the i4 is ten times as bad.

    now, I'm not saying that Apple are making the numbers up, but they chose to use stats that sound good but are meaningless. Where is The Under Cover Economist when you need him to explain bad statistics!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah so it wasn't just me

      Who thought that was a very strange way to compare two phones. Especially after telling us that AT&T doesn't let on how many calls are dropped.

    2. DZ-Jay

      Re: yes 1% more calls

      Let's, like you did, round the calls dropped by the i4 drops to just 1 more call per 100 than the i3GS:

      If i3GS drops 10 calls per 100 (10%), the i4 drops 11 calls per 100 (11%). That's 1% more.

      If i3GS drops 5 calls per 100 (5%), the i4 drops 6 calls per 100 (6%). That's 1% more.

      If i3GS drops 1 calls per 100 (1%), the i4 drops 2 calls per 100 (2%). That's 1% more.

      If the i3GS drops .1 calls per 100 (0.10%), the i4 drops 1.1 calls per 100 (1.10%). That's 1% more.


      1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge


        Not, it isn't. All of your examples are an additional percentage point, but are as the original poster stated, varying percentage increases from 10% to 1000%. If you can't understand basic maths, I'd suggest you refrain from commenting on maths posts.


      2. Anonymous Coward


        Wow your so clever, 1 in a hundred = 1% who'd a thunk it.

        talk about stating the obvious.

        As the original poster was implying this could be 1/10th as bad or 10 times as bad as the 3GS. A number without comparision is meaningless. Your post just reiterates the number, and is pointless.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How frustrating must it be to all the uncool kids to see that even with what is seen as a defect, a cool product will remain a cool product and that it will still oversell the competition... You may rant as much as you want but it will never validate your choices - as good as they may be. It is not about PR, it is not about marketing or stupidity of users as you would love it to be, but rather about how such a product has been able to grow to a cult status in such little time.

    It is not sorcery: the iPhone is a premium product with a relatively low cost that provides many people with a way to have access to a 'luxury' product. This is a very common business model: BMW, Louis Vuitton to name a few...

    Maybe it is time technologists or technophiles try to understand the dynamics of psychology and marketing before making comments that make them look like idiots. Try to look at the event of today in this light and you'll understand that it makes perfect business sense.

    1. JaitcH

      Museums are filled with ...

      cool products of their age.

      Apples telephones 'age of cool' appears to be one year.

      Maybe someone should write Apps emulating i4 for the HTC and other smartphones that actually work so Apple devotees can have a real working telephone with an 'Apple 4' user interface ... that would be really cool. Windows 95 can already run on Android!

      My favourite handphone is my Matsushita whose antenna is removable permitting a coax cable to be attached to really, really improve coverage range - great for camping in the wilds of Canada.

  38. Giles Jones Gold badge

    iPhone 3G

    I've just done the death grip on the iPhone 3G and it lost two bars.

    I think Jobsie is fairly correct that it's a pretty common occurrence.

    Who grabs the bottom of their phone and squeezes it tightly anyway?

  39. Anonymous Coward

    What is all the whingeing about -

    - a bit of clingfilm wrapped round the bloody thing would sort it. Or am I missing the point ?

    1. Eddie Johnson


      Yes, but since people buy these things more as a fashion statement than as a functional phone "a bit of clingfilm" would utterly destroy the aesthetics of the phone and thus destroy about 80% of its value. It's like wearing haute couture with a yellow raincoat over it.

  40. Ian McNee


    I thought: "I'll be fair to this Jobs character and his messianic phone: I'll check out his speech on the Apple website"

    Of course when I got to Apple's website it tells me that my already-Quicktime-capable browser needs the genuine Quicktime to see the messiah perform. The link takes me to downloads for Quicktime for Windows. Quicktime for Linux and Apple's website won't allow my OSS Quicktime plugin show me the messiah in Firefox.

    Ah fuck it then. I'll believe what everyone else is saying about the iPhone 4 if Apple won't let me view their content in the way I want to view it. I'll stick to my unattenuated Android phone. Fuck you Apple!

  41. K Price

    JabScreen 4 sales rate under half that of Android

    So they claim 3 million sales in 3 weeks. But they claimed 1.7 million sales in the first 3 days. So that means 1.3 million sales in 18 days, or 73,000 a day, which is under half the Android sales rate of 160,000 a day. Epic, epic fail.

  42. Grubby

    I tried it

    I have just held my Satio i the "death grip" and lost 2 bars. I agree most phones lose signal depending how you hold them but I did the same thing with an iPhone 4, in the same room on the same network, but obviously a different sim, and lost all my bars :( luckily the iPhone is my mates and not mine, unfortunately for me the Satio is mine...

    There does need to be some sort of standardized testing that all phone manufacturers have to pass to ensure a phone has a minimum signal quality in various positions, grips etc. Leaving it to the manufacturers has resulted in this problem which highlights all phone designers not just apple; although they get the lions share of sales and so, the lions share of abuse when things go wrong.

  43. YumDogfood

    This is the only way to hold it...

    Wonder if Steve is a Death Note fan?

  44. bruceld
    Jobs Halo


    I wonder his Steve's liver came with a warranty.

  45. Charles King
    Jobs Horns

    Misleading statistics - read what he actually said

    "Jobs did admit that the iPhone 4 does drop more calls than its predecessor, but by only a miniscule amount: fewer than one per cent more."

    That's NOT what he said.

    He said it was 'one call per hundred' more. So, if the 3GS dropped one call in every hundred, the 4 would be dropping 2 - a rise of 100%. If the 3GS was dropping 50 calls in every hundred, the 4 is dropping 51, a rise of only 2%. Somehow, I suspect the first case is what's happening, or something close, so the rise is dropped calls is probably highly significant.

    Apple massaged the stats in a way that hides the true rise in dropped calls and leads people to think they're insignificant - you're not the only suckers who've been taken in by Jobs' flim-flam.

    The stats Jobs quoted are pure Campbell-grade spin

    1. DZ-Jay

      Do you know what "percent" mean?

      1 call dropped per 100 = 1% drop rate.

      2 call dropped per 100 = 2% drop rate.

      One more call dropped per 100 than the previous generation means that the new phone has a drop rate 1% higher.

      Yes, 2% is twice as much than 1%, but it is still twice as much of a very low amount. Get some perspective.

      So, if the call drop rate of the previous phone is very low (say, 1% or less), then the call drop rate of the new phone is just a tad higher (2%). And if the call drop rate of the previous phone is very high (say, 50%), then the call drop rate of the new phone is just a tag higher (51%).

      It all means that the call drop rate of the iPhone 4 is not such a great deviation from the previous one. And even when it is (2% = twice as higher!) it is still pretty low.

      >> "Somehow, I suspect the first case is what's happening, or something close, so the rise is dropped calls is probably highly significant."

      Right. "I hate Apple so much that the worst case scenario must be the only possible one, even though I had no idea what the real numbers are."


      1. Anonymous Coward

        Fanboi Maths

        One might wonder which school you failed maths in.

        You fail to see the difference between a percentage adjustment (a 20% increase from 50km/h is 60km/h), and insist on using "percentage of total" just to make his holiness' failed statement ring true.

        How poor a life you must have.

      2. Charles King

        Have some cake, you need it

        I read quite a few gormless defences of Apple, but this takes the cake.

        If your new phone drops calls *twice as often* as the old one, then that's a rise of 100%. Trying to debate that is identical to trying to debate whether 1+1=2.

        Yes, I suspect that the rise is significant because I doubt that 50% of all calls are being dropped - that would be a failure rate sufficient to make the phone completely unusable. *Either* the rise in dropped calls is significant, *or* the iPhone was already an incredibly shit phone. You decide, you have to pick one of those, which do you prefer?

        If you're in an area with good signal strength then the iPhone 4 is perfectly usable, no-one's suggesting otherwise. The problems arise in areas with marginal strength where the loss from antenna bridging lowers the signal below a functional threshold. This is also why data concerning the total number of dropped calls (a binary event) is useless as a means of comparing phones. What you want to know is the percentage rise in dropped calls in areas with marginal reception (which are still very common). If you make 198 calls in an area with good strength and they all get through, then make 2 calls in an area on the margins and both fail, then you only have an overall failure rate of 1 call per hundred. But that's scant comfort if you really needed to make a call in the second area.

        Another useful statistic might be the average download speed actually achieved, since that's sensitive enough to track across a range of signal impairments.

  46. Kevin 6

    Well Steve sure knows how to spin numbers

    "A mere 0.55 per cent of iPhone 4 users have called AppleCare about reception problems, he said. Only 1.7 per cent have returned their phones, under a third of the six per cent returns of its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS."

    I will believe that only .55% called cause the rest probably couldn't make the call ;)

    Most of the people I know no longer have land lines and only have a cellphone. If their phone wouldn't make calls or drops calls while on hold how could they report it :D

  47. George 24

    Not a fault?

    Yes it is.

    If one can't design an external antenna that works properly, then one should keep the antenna internal.

    But all phone have that problem... Yes and everybody exceeds the speed limit, does not make it right.

    All new iPhones should have their antenna covered by a protective film.

  48. sage


    "There is no Antennagate," Apple's CEO told a select group of reporters... After all, Jobs noted: "Antennagate has been predominantly a US thing."

  49. Arctic fox

    Democracy contra business?

    Interesting that when Obamas folks tried to freeze out Fox News thay got hosed by all the mainstream media (quite rightly even though FN is a pile of dog turds). Funny that it is regarded as acceptable that Apple (or any other company for that matter) get to pick and choose who is permitted to attend a press conference without there being a general negative response to that type of behaviour.

  50. blackworx


    The entertainment value of the comments on this thread is pretty low I have to say. There's not nearly enough wailing and rending of garments. One could almost conclude, what with it now officially being le weekend, that the commentardship normally given to pouring forth on these matters with foam-mouthed abandon are not currently available seeing as they don't at this precise moment in time have something they really should be doing instead (i.e. gainful employment).

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Bumper not good enough for Consumer Reports

    They still won't recommend the iPhone4. CNN reports that Mike Gikas, senior editor for electronics and technology at Consumer Reports called the patch a good first step, but..

    "What we were hoping for was a concrete, this-is-it fix for the phone,"

    "The most important thing to remember is a problem was discovered with the phone and we can confirm it in a lab, and it was a significant problem," Gikas said.

    "And I don't think Apple fully admitted to it. They acknowledged it and they threw an interim solution at it. But everything spells fogginess about this thing."

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Grow a pair, grab them, admit you fked up, fix it.

    Not a big deal.

    Sent from my Android

    1. Anonymous Coward

      minor correction:


      Not that big of a deal.

  53. GeorgeTuk

    I know this shouldn't matter but....

    those jeans?!

    So much money, so little style.

    And it does matter a little bit as it just engenders the geek culture in people's mind. Gates tidied up when he became a major player so why not jobs whose company purports to be so cool?

    1. JaitcH
      Jobs Horns

      Jobs could also use ...

      a better hair stylist and a sharper razor.

      The Mansfield guy looked like he just came in from doing yard work but Job's stand-in (to his right) looked as if he had to dress down to match Job's appearance.

  54. Paul Landon

    Apple to Patent Untruths

    "Patently false," said Apple's iOS honcho, Scott Forstall

    That means that Apple will apply to patent untruths!

    Think of the royalties they can get from Microsoft.

  55. ColonelClaw


    Does anyone here own an iPhone4? And if so what's your actual experience of the issues?

    Would be interesting to hear the opinion of someone who isn't either an Apple PR person or rabid Apple-basher that jumps at any opportunity to have a go.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So much for beauty - Announcing the iDarkman

    I thought part of the appeal of the Iphone was that it looked pretty? So much for that, now that it has to be clad in a horrible rag like a police radio or other utility device. Or even Darkman. Yes, Darkman.

    Which - if looking like Darkman is perfectly fine in the eyes of the Apple beholder - does rather suggest they rate functionality significantly over aesthetics (much to all our suprise)... which leads one to ponder why they didn't just buy a normal phone that's just as functional with a bigger easily replaceable battery for a lot less money and no hideous lock-in.

    Is buying Apple products a 21st century form of flagellation for people cracking up under the pressure of the rat race?

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apples all over the place

    It's not Steve's Job to upset the apple kart...

  58. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    Slightly biased ?

    I've hung around El Reg for a few years, and I know the style of reporting that goes on here. But I feel that this article wasn't quite as fair as it could have been.

    Apple/Job admitted that:

    - for some people, there is an antenna/signal problem,

    - for most, however, it is not a problem.

    However, to reduce the impact of the problem, they'll give everyone a free case. I think that that is a reasonable solution by Apple.

    They also offered a full refund to anyone who wasn't happy too.

    I don't think that Apple/Jobs could have said or done anything that would have made El Reg happy. I know El Reg and Apply don't get on, but does that mean that journalistic integrity has to go out the window ? I'm not saying that El Reg should be kissing the ground that Jobs walks on, but try and keep the balance a bit better. Pretty Please ?

    1. JaitcH
      Black Helicopters

      The difference between El Reg and ...

      some other outlets is that is doesn't just reprint press releases rather it questions, probes and challenges suggesting it's readers should investigate further.

      If I wanted to read pro-Apple effluent I would visit Apples web site.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brilliant Press Conference all round.

    Here were my favourites:

    Starting with a video openly mocking customers who have the problem ("If bought one and you don't like it, bring it back ... but you know you won't")

    A few videos of the problem occurring on various other phones, while still missing the point. Yes all phones drop signal when you block the antenna - but you designed a phone that made that too easy to do. The droid hand hold looks particularly... painful.

    Meaningless statistics from apple. 0.55% of users phoned a support helpline to ask for help solving an issue they could find easy information about online? And that is still - when you consider the 3 million sold - 16 500 users or one complaint every two minutes since iPhone release day.

    "< 1 additional dropped call per hundred" this statistic is utterly misleading and communicates nothing at all. In the best case this means that the iPhone 4 is less than 1% worse than it's brother. But for this case to occur the iPhone 3GS would have to be dropping nearly 100 calls per 100 calls. In fact - the better the previous iPhone performed the more damning this statistic is. But it won't be reported like that. Because (As El Reg has shown) less than one per hundred sounds a lot like < 1%.

    "So we think it's affecting a small batch, but it has to do with inherent problems in smartphones" - Jobs discusses contradictions.

    " We love our users so much that we built 300 Apple retails stores for them to give them the best buying experience in the world" - Not sure how to describe this one...

    Expertly done almost exactly in line with this post from Fake Steve Jobs a few weeks ago.

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: Brilliant Press yadda yadda

      I keep reading these types of comments. Explain to me something, how is "less than one per hundred" different than "less than one percent"?

      Do you know that the "cent" in "per cent" means "hundred"?


      1. Anonymous Coward


        Fine by me.

        Assume 30 calls are dropped per hundred.

        A one percent increase takes the number of calls dropped per hundred to 30.3 (30 * 1.01).

        A one per hundred increase takes the number of dropped calls per hundred to 31 (30 + 1)

        The second case is actually a 3.3% ((31/30 * 100) - 100) increase.

        If it helps then imagine taxation. If you are paying 20% tax then for each pound (100p) you pay 20p if taxation increases to 40% then taxation has increased 100% and you now pay 40p per 100p.

        In this case taxation has raised 100% but you have increased payments by 20p per 100p.

        Does this make it any clearer?

        1. Doug Glass

          No, Not Actually

          1 percent is mathematically 1/100 or one part in 100 parts. Check it out on your computer's calculator: set the units to percent and divide 1 by 100 and see what you get. You can use Excel or even 123 ot Visicalc if you wish. The problem is often not the math, it's people poor application of what they think the math is and how to put it to words. You know, the old nemisis of word problems in math class where you actually had to think and not just repeat what you'd memorized.

          No matter how you call it, 1%, 1/100, one part in one hundred or whatatever. If the mathematics is 1/100 the the resultant is .01 which is the decimal equivalent of 1%.

          What has always made me laugh is the media insisting on saying, "One tenth of one percent". But I guess they have to since so many slept through third grade math. I guess, "One tenth percent" or "one one-thousanths" is just too abstract a concept. And we wonder why American generally do so poorly in the metric system which is very simple and based on pieces of 10. Unlike pirate gold which is "pieces of eight".

          1. Anonymous Coward


            You must be very confused when you hear of the number of graduates per hundred finding jobs dropping by 50%. Or crime statistics per hundred increasing by 100%

            If you can't understand the language behind a percentage and the meanings it conveys. And the connotations that take advantage of the inconsistencies then you will find the world of press releases very dazzling.

            I appreciate your maths lecture. But by your principle an increase of 1% is 0.01 giving a multiple by 1.01 to find your new value. An increase of 1% on a value given as "x per y" is therefore "x*1.01 per y" for any y.

            But the ambiguity you are noting shows exactly why these statistics are easy to spin. And exactly the point everyone in this thread is making.

            A phone twice as bad is definitively 100% worse than the previous phone. If this means a 1 per hundred increase then so be it. The phone is still twice as bad.

            But if you spin that statistic as the phone only being 1% worse it is no longer a big deal.

            You play a game with the numbers to get what you want. I'm sorry you can't see the ambiguity. And I'm sorry percentages are hard for you. But that's ok. I'm a sympathetic guy.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      "0.55% of users phoned a support helpline to ask for help"

      And the rest of them couldn't have their calls connected.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Inherent flaw...

    Someone in an earlier post hit the nail on the head with the basic issue here - no manufacturer in their right mind has put an antenna on the outside of a handset since my Nokia 6110 in the mid-90's! Antenna technology went through huge changes around then because someone bright (Nokia's engineers or a Finnish university at a guess) recognised that antennas can acquire wavelength properties through volume and not just length.

    This led to all the internal antennas we love to use today - no unsightly stick out blob at the top of the handset (which incidentally de-tuned quite nicely if you held it hard in the right place!). The problem is that internal antennas *need* to be a minimum distance from the detuning effects of the human hands which is why they're buried inside the case.

    It *is* a fundamental design flaw to place the conducting surface of an antenna on the outside of a case, where it can be touched. It will fail in weaker signal areas - it has to as the laws of physics apply, even to an iPhone! It is possible to detune any phone, smart or otherwise, by simply holding it very tightly (or putting it between your legs although I wouldn't recommend this!), we use this technique to prove to our customers that our handset signal measuring equipment works. Having said that, to make a real difference to the signal requires a concerted effort either to find the antennas sweet spot or by holding it so unnaturally tight that the cracking the case is a bigger problem... not something you're going to do by accident.

    I'm not an apple lover, but I admire their marketing and the fact that they've done for smartphones what Windows did for PC's but sometimes you have to take it on the chin and admit you screwed up. This is a bad design, and the fact that a bumper cures the problem (thus internalising the antenna) says a lot.

    Paris, because I bet she hits as many bars no matter where you hold her...

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      Regarding "Inherent Flaw"

      "I'm not an apple lover, but I admire their marketing and the fact that they've done for smartphones what Windows did for PC's but sometimes you have to take it on the chin and admit you screwed up. This is a bad design, and the fact that a bumper cures the problem (thus internalising the antenna) says a lot."

      Spot on post, could not agree more.

    2. alwarming
      Paris Hilton

      @the laws of physics apply, even to an iPhone!

      Liar, Liar, pants on fire.... Remember: This is no ordinary iphone - This is "heysoos".

      > Paris, because I bet she hits as many bars no matter where you hold her...

      Awesome, LOL! :-)

      Paris again, coz she can't recall as well.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Death grip or just a touch in the wrong place?

    Er..with the iPhone 4 just a simple touch in the wrong place can cause reduced signal and dropped calls. With other phones you need a complete hand grip around to have this effect and for most phones there is no dropped call! Wow this Jobs chap is good, should become a magician!

  62. John Tserkezis
    Thumb Up

    Two thumbs up!

    "The Reg, as is customary, was denied access,"

    Nice work. If you get this far, you know you're doing something right. :-)

  63. Martin 63


    Cor blimey. Maybe apple can fix vista for me.

    1. Arctic fox

      Apple can fix vista?

      Only if you obey the Illustrious Jobs and hold in the right way - though I have to admit that I do not think that even that would fix Vista. Though a rubber covered PC would at least have amusement value.

  64. Neil McAliece


    What a load of bollocks. How many of these rubber 'iphone condoms' hav they sent out I wonder...

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Incorrect Physics

    I have a PhD in physics, but not antenna physics, so please correct me if I'm worong....

    If the problem, as Jobs claims, is simply signal attenuation caused by placing a hand over the antenna, how would a "bumper case" help?

    By Jobs' definition the extra material would just add to the attenuation.....Therefore there must be a shorting between the two antennas caused by the hand's conductivity.

    I'd like to see the strictly controlled, repeatable, scientific conditions where the rest of the phones are tested and supposedly also fail....

  66. Prag Fest
    Jobs Halo

    Who are the real fools here?

    So, out of interest, i went hunting round for problems with the HTC Desire. Sure enough, there seems to be no shortage of issues and unsatisfied customers. Fair enough in my book, have nothing against the Desire, its a nice phone, all tech has problems, its the way it is.

    What I don't see are shock horror headlines on the tech websites and 100 plus article comments from Apple users, who have absolutely no vested interest in the product, demanding the HTC CEO admit they made mistakes.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A: You, and the rest of Steve Job's fluffers.

      Did HTC make an advert claiming "It just works"? I must have missed it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Interesting indeed.

      HTC don't have rabid history revisionist fanboi users though and they don't 'puff' their launches into world changing events like Apple do.

      What? You thought that the media did it all by themselves and Apple were just passive in all of this?

      There's an old maxim, live by the sword die by the sword. If you use the media to generate hysterical fanboi-ism for your product then don't be surprised when same media turns on you and siezes you by the balls when you fuck up.

      Plus it's enormous fun seeing the fanbois squirming on the hook when they're trying to defend their hero from an obvious corporate fuck up.

      Paris, she could sieze me whenever she wanted.

  67. Anomalous Cowturd

    Keep calm and carry on chaps.

    I've run out of popcorn. Talk amongst yourselves for a bit while I nip out for some more.


    Don't think I'll need a coat, it's nice out. Maybe a thin cardigan!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the cardigan

      Yes, decent weather, mostly. But surely a thunder storm is in the offing. Is that what the cardigan would be for? Kind of like a knitted Faraday Cage?

  68. Robert Forsyth

    Designed for right hand use

    many people hold it with their left hand against their left ear

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I am right handed, so i use my good hand for poking the screen, opening doors, writing, typing etc. This means i hold my phone in my left, against my left ear. this appears to be mixed though, a lot of right handed people do the opposite. Which is probably why the stats are so varied.

      The issue isn't just the external antenna though, it's the specific position of it, if it were at the top, it wouldn't be as much of a problem for most people, as you don't generally hold your phone there. You may, but it's not naturally where you have to have your hand for the thumb to be over the home button, or text, etc.

  69. Cunningly Linguistic

    Jobs is being very responsible

    After all if I was going to fuck so many people I'd want to use a condom too.

  70. tardigrade


    "It *is* a fundamental design flaw", "take it on the chin and admit you screwed up. This is a bad design", "with the iPhone 4 just a simple touch in the wrong place can cause reduced signal and dropped calls", etc.

    The problem I have with this is that my mate's got an iPhone4 and he has no issues with this at all. I tried it as well, put my thumb on the "death spot" and nothing happened. No loss of signal strength whatsoever, wherever we went. So maybe his Steveness is correct when he says that not all users have this problem. Maybe he's not lying and it is a comparatively small number of people that are experiencing this issue. Maybe the first batch of 100'000 / 200'000 had a glitch on the production line, because I've yet to meet anyone with the new iPhone that has the issue. But read the comment here and elsewhere and everyone thinks that it's a fundamental flaw that effects everyone. Weird no? Still a lot and still a problem, but it's not all encompassing issue that's being stirred up here.

    The one thing Apple are lying about is the 3 million sales figure. That's patently bullcrap. From the number of people on the Internets commenting on the issue authoritatively and thus indicating experience of the issue, its clear that Apple have sold at least 126 million iPhone4's. Otherwise that would indicate that a lot of people are complaining about a phone they have never used, and that would never happen, obviously.

  71. Anonymous Coward

    Found in the Grauniad:

    "Apple this week said that it had made a "simple and surprising" error in the software that displayed the strength of the signal, and on Thursday night issued a software update which changes how many bars are displayed when the signal becomes weaker" the rather than deal with the problem, we'll deal with the *perception* of the problem. By having your phone lie to you.


  72. QrazyQat

    So Jobs held a press conference

    to tell us the iPhone 3 has crappy reception too?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quid Quo Pro

    Will microsoft buy back this lorry load of Windoze mobile 6.5 boxes I've got sitting here?

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Jobs is a dictator.

    Interestingly enough, Steve Jobs always wears the same clothes - much like a uniform. Also interesting is that most dictators in the world wear uniforms - either military (Hitler, Mussolini, Castro), or simply a uniform of their design (Stalin, arguably Gaddafi). Coincidence? I think not.

    1. Loosewheel


      Is the Kim Jong il of the Occident.

  75. David McMahon

    I predict

    that the Iphone 5 will be released quicker, and who's betting it will have some kind of bumper either built in or a case will be standard?

  76. TkH11

    @Dan Paul - Tin Foil Hats

    if one were to extend the concept of the tin foil hat to cover the entire body - or even just to cove the family jewels you'd be creating a Faraday Cage, heck, you might even be able to comply with Military tempest regs...:)

    1. Dan Paul

      Only if the "Faraday Cage" was grounded!

      The Faraday Cage has to be grounded to direct the signal away from your body. It's difficult to do that and remain mobile. All the tinfoil does is reflect most of the signal, but some will conduct through the foil and into the body.

  77. TkH11


    I agree the issue almost certainly affects a minimal number of users, but I want to correct a point you made:

    "tried it as well, put my thumb on the "death spot" and nothing happened. No loss of signal strength whatsoever, wherever we went"

    No loss of signal strength? What you should have said "no indicated loss of signal strength".

    You then went on to use that as the basis to arrive at the conclusion that the problem must just afflict a one off production batch.

    Jobs has admitted there's a problem with the bar graph signal strength display.

    So we know that's not reporting the signal strength correctly, and further the resolution will be quite coarse.

    Whilst there may be no indicated change in signal strength, there IS a change in signal strength, which if you're in areas of strong signal to begin with, weakening the signal by holding the IPhone incorrectly, isn't going to make much difference, and may very well not see a reduction in the number of bars on the signal strength meter.

    I'm willing to bet, if that signal strength meter was showing the actual strength expressed in dBm, that it would show a reduction.

    Each Iphone is identical, so the problem will not as you suggest be limited to particular batch, it will affect all.

  78. Luke 11
    Jobs Horns


    I don't want a plastic or rubber bumber to get my fucking phone to work properly... I want to phone to work as it was sold to be, with the steel casing showing.

    Steve Jobs can stick this phone up his arse, I'm going to jailbreak the mofo as soon as possible and never pay for another ffing app ever again.

    Jobs, you're such a douche bag (American speak so he can understand)

    1. Doug Glass

      A Little Dab'll Do Ya

      Clear nail polish on buddy's slot area seems to have fixed his problem three days into the nail polish job. Just gotta be non conductive which most (if not all) are in the USofA.

  79. Doug Glass

    The Sacred J


  80. Doug Glass

    This Just In

    Shooting buddy did what I suggested and swiped the slot area with some of wifey's clear nail polish. Have to look hard to see it and three days later his problems went away.

  81. Anonymous Coward

    Blown out of proportion. Isn't that the Apple way?

    "This has been blown so out of proportion, it's incredible," says Steve Jobs. Funny he's not saying that when the hype works in Apple's favour. What a hypocrite!

  82. Randy Hudson

    1% is huge

    typical dropped-call rates are < 0.25%. 1% sounds like a small number, but this means the iPhone 4 is 5 times more likely to drop a call!

  83. D. M

    Only Apple can get away from this crap

    I must say it is great fun to watch fanboi out in force. This is exactly what I'd expect from die hard religious mad.

    On the other hand, it is rather sad that Apple can get away from it. Not long ago, Toyota did similar F&ck up, watch what sort of problem they get themselves into. They had problem with their cars, they say "there is no problem with our cars what so ever", and people were pissed.

    Apple did the same, yet you still watch "people" love their lord and God Steve. NO ONE should get away from this sort of f&#% up.

    You know something is really wrong when a company acts like church.

  84. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Rule 1 of crisis management.. to avoid patently false statements. Epic fail, thus..

    "One thing I’ve learned is that when there's a successful organization, people want to tear it down," Jobs said.

    Well, one thing I learned when analysing crisis is that the BS thickens in a direct relation to the depth of the problem. Not that I needed it, but Jobs has just 100% confirmed that there IS an issue, and that they are far removed from sorted it.

    That is the problem with hype based sales: if you screw up, you screw up in large volumes. The amount of BS here indicates that Apple is absolutely desperate to avoid a recall, but I cannot see it solved any other way. Oh, and as for "few people calling in with a problem", well, yes, that IS kinda hard f the phone doesn't work, duh.

    I've seen some people say that the problem is present in all phones, that's BS too. I avoided the Motorola brick by buying a more slick and discrete NEC P3, but I have been using mobile phones pretty much since they no longer needed a carrying handle, and I have in those years never seen a similar pronounced problem. The 3GS has it to some degree, but you have to hold it in a weird way to kill reception, only the 4 takes no effort whatsoever. It is a problem specific to the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 4 only - any other statement is simply not consistent with the facts.

    As someone with a mechanics, electronics and computing background I'm impressed with what Apple has done with hardware over the last few years, it makes the disappointment with the way they handle this evident cock-up even greater.. It makes you wonder what else they haven't told you about..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      iDislike being lied to.

      I too have been using mobiles for longer than I care to remember too and there can be problems with reception in certain circumstances (in extreme circumstances and some very odd hand holds) although I have never experienced a phone as easy to disrupt as the iPhone 4 (yes, I have tried one, yes I am left handed and yes, it's a turd, although Apple do a good job of polishing it).

      It's fairly simple to understand though, as the size of phones has decreased the available space for antennae has been squeezed so reception is reliant on more and more clever designs. Making a phone with uninsulated exposed antenna that can be bridged with the wrong hand hold is plain stupidity though.

      Denying it and telling people that they're using it wrong is arrogant and shows a huge disrespect for customers.

      Jobs would have gained a little of my respect if he'd stood up and admitted there was a problem but no, Apple and their hype based marketing relies on BS, if you strip away all the BS you've got a vaguely competent MP3 player manufacturer (who've dropped the ball a little with the recent models) who make commodity hardware pretty and sell it to the style conscious.

      With a little luck their fortunes will start to wane again but hopefully this time uncle Bill won't bail them out with a gift of several million dollars.

      Paris, very receptive if held in the right way.

  85. Joey
    Jobs Halo


    Yeh, I bought a bumper just after getting my iPhone 4. Nothing to do with reception whatsoever. I haven't had any reception problems that I can attribute to the phone at all - note, all those people that haven't actually tried. My problem is that I keep my iPhone in my shirt pocket. Several times, with my iPhone 3, I have leaned over to pick something up and the phone has slid out and fallen on the floor. Eventually, the glass broke and I had to have it fixed. £40! So I bought a rubber case which would have softened the fall but hey, the rubber case stopped the phone falling out of my pocket in the first place. Hence, the bumper with my new phone. The slippery iPhone no longer falls out of my pocket. So, the real 'design fault' is fixed with the bumper too!

  86. chipkost

    I would beware of apple if I was a developer for their products

    If Jobs denies anything is wrong with the iphone 4, what is he likely to pull in the future. Developers BEWARE! Maybe now is a good time to take care of yourselves and send Jobs a message.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The biggest issue

    is the breathtaking arrogance of Apple in the first instance, the leaked customer services monkey sheet and the high and mighty Jobs basically holding every icrap user in contempt. **

    If they had just said yep, we fucked up but we are looking into a solution they would have been respected more and this would have been a non issue.

    **He is not related to Oleary of Ryanair by any chance?

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Jobs talking Bollox

    We have about 30 Bold 9700's in the company, never have we had a dropped call problem like I am hearing from users who have bought personal iPox4's.

  89. Anonymous Coward

    Haters out in force

    Gahd, it's like a wet dream for them...

    What would actually happen if Saint Jobs was actually telling the truth...that there is no "Antennagate", and that the vast majority of '4' users have no problems at all?

    Certainly the 5 '4' users in our office are wondering what all the fuss is about - theirs have been utterly reliable, pre and post 4.0.1. Which they also had no problems installing btw.

    If he does turn out to be right, and this *is* a storm in a teacup, you're gonna look like a bunch of credibility-challenged whingers.

    Perhaps we should wait until someone does a proper impartial test using the same competitor phones Jobs quoted, before the mud slinging?

    Typed (slowly) on my Samsung Galaxy (which has it's own problems btw), but that won't stop the hating downvoters who will consider my stance "pro apple", simply by virtue of not being "100% anti-apple".

  90. alwarming
    Paris Hilton


    Apple has reached stage 2: Denial. Anger should follow soon.

    (Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).

    Paris, cos she broke the cycle went to Party after Shock.

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      Anger and bargaining

      I think they went through denial, anger, and bargaining all in one go in His Jobsness's press conference. Anger was lashing out at other manufacturers, bargaining the attempts to buy off the unbelievers with rubber bands. So, depression next?


  91. Paul 191
    Jobs Horns

    Taking it personally?

    Wow so no wall of people, its big Steve deleting all the threads on the Apple forum, who knew!

  92. Dark Apple

    Why apple never knew of the Apple-tenna issue.....

    As we all know all apple employees are Jedi of some form or another hence they use the force to levitate their iphones. Hence, they didnt / dont and wont acknowledge or acknowledge their acknowledgement of the issue. They have never used "hands" to hold the iphone.

    My 2 pence worth anyway..

  93. Dark Apple

    Steve Jobs is deleting threads on this forum too....

    Sith powers dont you know....

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barf !

    If crApple spin this any harder I'm going to throw up.

  95. Neill Mitchell


    It will be interesting to see if the number of returns now shoots up. Jobs was saying there can't be a problem because they have had a tiny number of returns. This could simply be down to the fact that people were waiting to see what Apple would do.

    Now customers realise the "fix" is bullshit, the return rate will probably shoot up. I can also see people getting upset because they can't have the official Apple condom instead of the 3rd party one being offered when the stock rapidly runs out (if it hasn't already).

    1. Rolf Howarth

      Number of returns

      That will indeed be very interesting. There's obviously a huge furore about this antenna issue, but one suspects most of it is from people who don't like Apple, rather than from users actually experiencing any problems. Assuming what was said at the press conference was true, Apple have an awfully long way to go to catch up if their return rate is 1.5% versus an industry average of 30%.

      As that annoyingly catchy song says, "If you don't want an iPhone, don't buy it. If you bought one and you don't like it, bring it back."

  96. Arclight

    And she said

    "One thing I’ve learned is that when there's a successful organization, people want to tear it down," Jobs said.

    Hmm, isn't that kind of what Jobs has been trying to do with Microsoft for the last umpteen years.

    "We're the good guys in white, fighting the eebil microsoft"

  97. Chris Byers
    Jobs Horns

    Alternative compensation

    As regards to the free giveaway of the bumpers. There is a parcularity of the US legal system whereby 'compensation' may be offered without the guilty party ever having to admit liability. This compensation, once accepted, whether cash, gift or otherwise is then classed as having closed the matter and no case can then be brought. This happened to my company where a large US based publisher was (as far as our research pointed) at fault over a particular matter. We were then offered a quite attractive proposition as 'compensation', which we took as it was good for both parties. It was only later when it was explained to me why we got such a deal that the penny dropped. The actual act of offering this 'compensation' is, to my mind a way of them offloading their legal worries, as long as people take it up en-mass.

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