back to article Phonemakers cry foul on Steve Jobs 'We're all alike' attack

Steve Jobs may have calmed some of the Antennagate ruckus with his spirited defense of the iPhone 4 on Friday, but he also stirred up a hornet's nest of response from other phone manufacturers, including RIM, Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, and HTC. In Jobs' Friday press conference, and on a new section of Apple website entitled " …


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  1. GeorgeTuk

    All very well...

    but how many people will watch just Jobs propaganda shot and be happy with the all phones have problems bit?

    I admit I have not seen an iPhone 4 so not had a chance to replicate the issue, however 10 years in IT managing mobile phone contracts and hundreds of Blackberries, Nokia's and SEs and have never had a single person report the issue.

    In fact going wider would have thought if there were any problems with others would have spotted it by now. Look at BB Storm, well known for being a bit crap. The Nokia N95 (as I remember) is well known for slow down and reboots. BUT none about antenna problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      FYI - N95 needs software upgrade

      The original software on the N95 is unusable. As far as antenna performance however it is absolutely rock solid. Ditto for E71, E65 and a number of other phones (smart and dumb) I have had for the last 10 years. In fact the only one I recall to have problems was an Ericsson flip I had circa 2000 with one of those sticking out antennas.

      So with all due respect to Holy Steve, but if a phone drops a call if you hold it anywhere short of where sun does not shine that phone has a problem.

    2. Richard Scratcher
      Jobs Halo

      "... the all phones have problems bit?"

      No, no, no! Lord Jobs did not refer to all phones in his sermon. He said all smart phones.

      If you're going to quote scripture, get it right!

      1. Mike Taylor


        I've tried doing pretty much anything to my N95 to make it drop a bar. Short of inserting it in a cow's jacksi. Doesn't drop a bar, never dropped a call either. And that is a smartphone.

    3. Dennis Price

      re: BB Storm

      Granted the first BB Storm had issues, I do know some with it that are pretty happy with them anyway.

      However the BB Storm2 is the best smartphone I've ever had - especially the touch-click input. No dropped calls and I now get a 3G signal in my bathroom. lol

      We may be quiet, but we're out there and just don't have anything to bitch about.

      But don't go around talking smack about our Blackberries.

      Just happy to be here and enjoying the popcorn...


  2. Basic

    Cue Denial

    I'm going to settle back and watch for the "It's only because Apple is so good that everyone wants to pick on them" comments.

    Nothing like a little entertainment while working late. Now if only I had a beer

    1. Hud Dunlap

      This is the real reason why apple is being attacked

      It would be funny if he weren't so damn serious.

      1. Adam Salisbury


        He doesn't have much of an agenda, or at least a hefty idiotic rant at 'liberals' does he?

  3. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    who'd have thought that something as boring as cellphones could turn into such a soap opera? All that's missing are the extramarital affairs, illegitimate children, and a shooting or two, and we'd be watching Dallas. There's certainly enough melodrama.

    1. Ian McNee

      I for one welcome...

      Perhaps the peculiar antenna is in fact an extra-terrestrial mind control probe and Steve Jobs is a pod person spearheading the forthcoming alien invasion!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Why I Bought an iPhone

    I only use my iPhone for playing music and watching videos and surfing the web. If I want to make a telephone call, I used my netbook.

    1. MrT
      Thumb Up


      That's the irony of it all - but TBH iPhone was always a phone third, after media player and web viewer. They do the games thing and the rest pretty well, but so does an iPod Touch - especially when a Wifi hotspot is within range.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @Why I Bought an iPhone

      That's why I bought an iPod touch, not an iPhone.

  5. Chad H.

    I find the HTC comment funny...

    Given that a) apple and you tube videos show a number of htc built devices experiencing death grip and b) dearing fireball's article showing a htc manual with a diagram of a phone demonstrating where not to touch; is this an admission by HTC that they do not give operators enough time to test their phones?

    1. FARfetched

      HTC vs. HTC

      A link to the referenced pic from the Daring Fireball article: — "… Contact with the antenna area may impair call quality and cause your device to operate at a higher power level than needed. …"

      And yes, I often hook my forefinger over the top of a phone while on a call.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Sorry (Again) Moderators

      Apologies to the moderators for bringing this up. Again. And arguing. Again.

      The difference, for you and everyone else's benefit one more time, is that the external nature of the iPhone's antenna means that bridging the magical line in Steve's pictures is enough to degrade the signal strength.

      On other phones you need to death grip it.

      Or in the words of Jobs:

      There is no problem, but there is a problem shared by all smartphones, but only a small batch of them. And that problem which is not a problem, is certainly not a problem with our design. But if it were this image would show you where the problem which is not a problem may occur. But this doesn't matter because all these other smartphones have a problem too, look here are some photos of us holding various smart phones in various different ways. So if there were a problem, which there isn't, this would be how to cause it on other phones. People say it is different for the iPhone but it can't be because there isn't and our data shows it. But it doesn't. So it does.


      1. Chad H.

        Yeah, one question - Have you actually touched one?

        I've sadly not got an iPhone 4 yet, but I have had the chance to fondle 3. I've covered that area with my finger every which way I can think of, and guess what - No signal drop. I cannot replicate the problem.

        So, its not "Just briding the line" that does it - otherwise I'd have seen it too.

        I don't doubt its an issue, I just believe that it is completely overplayed and overhyped, simply because - its an apple product. That's why its getting all the press, but the other phones arent.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @Chad H.

          Shielding is not disputed.

          Watch the video:

          Yes thats ONE Finger. using the magic iTouch.

          Even if you can't do it thousands can.

          iPhone still the only phone that can be fixed by tape.

          1. Chad H.


            I didn't dispute it. I said clearly I don't doubt its not an issue. I note however that my question remains unanswered.

            The people making a big deal, it seems, generally don't own one.

        2. MonkeyBot

          3 or 4

          Well done, you've tested a different design and not found a problem so therefore there can't be a problem with this design.

          The reason you can't replicate the problem is that you haven't even tried.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Have I touched one personally?

            No, but would you like a full list of other things I haven't done personally but am happy to believe?

            I haven't personally written software that scales to millions of users, but I understand that it would be significantly more difficult than writing software for a handful.

            I haven't personally visited China but I know the government can be heavy handed.

            I haven't personally watched a child grow but I appreciate the experience would be life changing.

            I haven't personally tried heroin, but I imagine the effects are quite startling.

            I haven't personally touched an iPhone 4's special part. But I believe from my understanding of physics, the explanation of the design and the reports I have read that touching the special part would be bad.

            I haven't personally made love to Paris Hilton, but the videos I've seen make it seem less than enthralling.

            I haven't personally experienced several other design flaws. But I believe they happened: Pentium rounding bug and excel math errors for example.

            Because you know the magical thing about this world we live in. I am free to make an objective decision based on the evidence I see around me. And I see the press reports and the blog posts and (particularly) the consumer report as fairly compelling evidence compared to anecdotes from self confessed Apple Fans. You don't owe the company anything, I don't owe the company anything. And I am more than able to say there is a problem without having to go out and purchase the sodding thing first.

            1. It'sa Mea... Mario

              @ AC 09:28 GMT

              Indeed, its seems the one idea you are not able to conceive is the one about keeping your opinions - about something that has very little (if any) effect on yourself – to yourself.

              Don’t worry it’s clearly not just you.

              And El Reg are not helping the situation by constantly finding any old excuse to print another article on the same subject, yes Apple / Jobs’ handling of the situation has pretty poor but let’s be honest, if this was any other company in would maybe get a passing comment in an article or two but not many articles a day just to bring it up yet again.

              I am neither fanboi or anti, but even I can tell from comments and other info available that this issue is clearly not effecting all iPhone 4s or their users, however as has been alluded previously, it seems that for many Apple is a bit like Marmite (as in Love it or Hate it) however the haters seem louder by far and, as mentioned above, it seems they have trouble keeping their thoughts to themselves about products they are adamant they are not interested in. hmm.

              1. whiteafrican

                @It'sa Mea... Mario

                "Indeed, its seems the one idea you are not able to conceive is the one about keeping your opinions [...] to yourself."

                Umm. OK, radical suggestion, I know, but it seems that pretty much the entire point of the comments section on El Reg (or any other tech news site) is precisely to allow people to express their opinions... And (as if this needed a side-serving of irony) expressing your own opinions is also what you have done in your post.

                Epic. Fail.

                1. It'sa Mea... Mario


                  Yes it is indeed what forums/comments sections are for and yes I have given an opinion too. Well done.

                  The point I was making that you missed was that for all the talk of Apple Shills etc the Anti-Apple crowd are far more commonly found commenting (often the same thing in every thread even loosely related. It's almost Cult like - have Apple ever upset the Scientology set?) on the very things that they have themselves said that they would not be interesteded in buying.

                  El Reg love it, don't get me wrong, the more clicks and comments the more they can sell advert space for, else the one Apple article a day would do.

                  1. whiteafrican

                    @It'sa Mea... Mario

                    The problem is not that anyone missed your point. We get it. The problem is that your point, with its heavy-handed sarcasm, makes no sense.

                    The fact that a person doesn't want to buy a given product, that does not disqualify them from having a valid opinion about that product. In fact, the reason that many of us choose not to buy particular products is precisely *because* we have opinions about them.

                    I am neither pro-Apple nor anti-Apple. I have owned two iPods and I loved them (though they are now gathering dust in a drawer somewhere...). However, I happen to find the iPhone too restricted for my purposes. That's not to say that the iPhone is a bad phone. But I won't buy one because, in my opinion, it would suit my needs better to have a phone that provides me with a file browser and the ability to install anything I like. For this reason, I have an opinion about the iPhone, but I won't buy one.

                    You may continue to complain about people holding this sort of opinion, but in all likelihood, nobody else will care.

                    1. It'sa Mea... Mario

                      @ whiteafrican again

                      Your right, you didn't so much miss my point as deliberately cut it out from your quote. I could quote you as saying all sorts of different things if I selectively cut your posts..

                      I do not have a problem with people having opinions or expressing them. My point which you are still choosing to ignore is that the Anti crowd are far more vocal than the Pro crowd, very often repetatively so.

                      Go to any Reg Apple thread (or one that just mentions Apple in passing) and you will see the same commenters spreading the same vitrol they spread in every other Apple related thread.

                      1. whiteafrican

                        @ It'sa Mea... Mario... again

                        I do not doubt your ability to quote selectively. In future, in order to avoid this perceived injustice, perhaps you should insist that people only quote the whole of everything you have ever written, in order to avoid leaving out anything that you felt was particularly pertinent.

                        Meanwhile, your point still makes no sense. You are complaining that the people criticising Apple are more vocal than those who are pro-Apple. But if (as you claimed in your original post) you're not a fanboi, then why do you care whether people bash Apple? Why does it matter to you? If you are genuinely concerned about the balance of fairness in the world, then I suggest to you that there are dozens of causes out there that are far more deserving of your attention than whether one of the world's largest companies is being unfairly criticised in internet chatrooms.

                        In any case, I am not ignoring the argument that the anti-Apple crowd are more vocal, I just don't see it as a problem. By way of example, I own two computers running Windows, and one running Ubuntu, but I have no particlar loyalty to either OS - they each serve a purpose. If people out there make valid criticisms of these products, I will pay attention. If they make criticisms that are irrelevant/unwarranted, then I will ignore them. But your approach (taking the criticisms you perceive to be irrelevant/unwarranted and whining about them) is absurd.

                        Hence your argument is, and remains, a nonsensical epic fail.

          2. Chad H.

            @ monkeybot

            No, I said I've had the chance to fondle 3 iPhone 4's - although I have been unable to purchase on of my own.

            I have tried.

            1. Ammaross Danan


              Perhaps your hands are just unusally dry? Skin oil (snake oil too?) has varying concentrations depending on the person. People in the vids may just have a hyperhydrosis issue (as one Apple fanboi that I'm friends with). However, I'm sure it affects pretty much all but the most dry of hands.

  6. Watashi

    Apple shares

    Looking at Apple share price, there was a steady increase from the February start of the serious build up to the iPad's March release up until the release of the iPhone 4. Share price went from $200 to $275. Since the iPhone 4 was released, share price has dropped back to $245... whether this is a blip or the mark of a declining share price is not yet clear. I guess we'll have to wait to see how many iPhone 4 owners return their device and whether or not iPhone 4 sales drop.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "Jobs' tactic could damage Apple's brand and depress its stock price."

    Jobs finally does something we can all get behind then.

    When you're paying £100 for a phone and £400 for a logo that logo better not represent incompetence, arrogance, denial and greed.

    I steer well clear of any product for which the brand commands a huge premium. I consider brands to be symbols and I leave symbols to the symbol minded </Carlin>.

    We're in this dire state of affairs where branding is worth considerably more than manufacturing. And it will continue to be this way until you and I decide that a brand is not worth more than the product it's attached to (and it bloody well is not). You're allowing yourself to pay huge premiums for... nothing. Absolutely fuck all.

  8. Dazed and Confused

    cue the lawyers

    Could be fun watching them duke it out

    1. Andrew the Invertebrate

      I was think in the same thing

      Apple lawyers vs

      the combine lawyers ofSamsung, Htc, Motorola, Rim, Nokia, Google & Microsoft

      Apple obviously haven't heard the expersion "Don't tug on Superman's cape". This is less tugging, more ripping off Superman's cape and setting fire to it whilst making improper suggestions about his mother.

      (How are Google & Microsoft involved, well it's Apple so when did they ever need a reason)

  9. BingBong

    @Which, of course, despite Jobs' "We love our users" assurances, is the bottom line.

    Jobs does not care about shareholders much and Apple don't make products to please shareholders either .. they want to make products that people love and if they make money, great.

    As far as the iPhone 4 is concerned, the only problem it really has is that they have made the shape too minimal (and its a shame as I normally love their minimalist designs) and removed the curvy back which makes it less attractive to women (so my wife thinks and a number of girls in the Apple store the other day when I went for a look 8-) and gives a sharper feel in the hand.

    I think they need to go back to a more rounded design which they could do by incorporating a plastic band all around it .. oh wait they are doing that by giving the bumpers away!

    1. Nexox Enigma


      """Jobs does not care about shareholders much and Apple don't make products to please shareholders either"""

      You'll find that Jobs probably cares about one share holder: himself. I think I found something that said Jobs owns 0.63% of AAPL shares, no idea how accurate that info is. In any case that comes out to something like $1.4B, so a tiny drop (1.73% today, for instance) comes out to a lot ($24M today - more than I expect to make in my life.)

      If a couple bad articles lost you tens of millions, I think you'd care quite a lot.

    2. Greg J Preece


      "Apple don't make products to please shareholders either .. they want to make products that people love and if they make money, great."




      Are you serious? Are you actually serious? Looking at your post history, you do appear to be serious. In which case, you are a comedy legend.

      Giant multinational corporation and billionaire CEO in "not interested in the money" shocker!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        re: Mr. Preece?

        "Are you serious? Are you actually serious? Looking at your post history, you do appear to be serious. In which case, you are a comedy legend."

        I started loosing control around the *wheeze*, but the moment I read the above line, diet soda shot through my nose at near hypersonic speeds, all over my keyboard. I'll spare you the horrific and graphic descriptions of what happens when carbonated water egresses the sinus cavity at high speed, but needless to say, neither my keyboard nor the three people who witnessed "the incident" will ever be the same (both functionally and psychologically).

        But, on a side note, Bravo!!!

    3. Anonymous Coward

      @ BingBong

      What are you smoking in that bong of yours? It would appear to be some seriously good shit!

  10. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    0.55% return rate.

    The iPhone 4's reception "problems"—which it clearly shares with other phones—obviously aren't the massive problem the media like to imply. (That amounts to 16K customers out of 3 million. Not a tiny number, but given that this includes customers who have reported *any* reception issues, it's fair to assume that spotty coverage problems are also included in this figure.)

    Frankly, I've never had decent reception from *any* of my smartphones in poor signal areas. (And I'm not just talking about my parents' place in Italy's countryside; there are still places in *London* with shocking coverage.)

    And Nokia can seriously STFU about their oh-so-superior approach to design, because NONE of the Nokia phones I've owned have ever been that great in the reception stakes—and their charge indicators are worse than useless too, sticking resolutely to "maximum" until the charge has dropped *way* down, often leaving me stranded with a dead phone. Good design my arse.

    Yes, the iPhone 4's signal degrades if you hold it a certain way. No, it's not a problem unique to the iPhone 4. Seriously: why the hell aren't Nokia, LG, Samsung and HTC being pilloried for this "problem" too? Could it be because it's now fashionable to 'bash' Apple and punish them for being pretty good at industrial design and marketing. Last time I checked, neither was a crime, and nobody's *forcing* you to buy their stuff.

    I do not own an iPhone myself, but I've seen no *concrete* evidence to suggest it'll give me any worse performance and reception than any of the others I've owned over the years. Just lots of hearsay, shoddy reporting, and incessant whining from a tiny, tiny minority who barely represent *half a percent* of all iPhone 4 customers. This is therefore only a "major, widespread problem" for incredibly small values of "major" and "widespread".

    Enough already! Apple has *actual* issues that are more worthy of criticism and debate; for a company so focused on design, iTunes and the increasingly fragmented "iStores" should be a massive embarrassment. The Apple TV has also performed poorly.

    And that's just Apple. What about Microsoft's seeming inability to capitalise on its mammoth resources and R&D? Is it becoming the next Xerox PARC?

    There's plenty of genuine news and analysis for the taking, but hardly anyone seems to be doing it.

    1. blackworx
      Paris Hilton


      Skip to the end

      1. DarK 3

        the end ?

        The end was jobs standing up and saying ... "If you don't want your iPhone, apple will fully refund it for you, no restock fee. Oh and just because we can, we are going to throw in a case for those that want it"

        You can look at this two ways ...

        Admittance of a fault?


        Brilliant PR from Jobs?

        Personally I look to the latter opinion. How many companies turn around, tell you about an (industry wide?) issue and say "we will refund these products fully even though we can see no real fault with the product".

        I can see the next keynote been one of hilarity as job stands up and says "We had x number of phones returned because of signal issues", and lets face it that number is going to be low.

        This is the whole mobile industry sh*tting them selves because apple has sold 3 million devices in 3 weeks ...

        Nothing like a good scandal eh?

    2. Neill Mitchell


      I think we'll now see the return rate go up. People were waiting to see what Apple would do. Now that the answer is arrogant bullshit a lot more people will probably vote with their feet.

      I for one would not like to encase my expensive sexy new phone in a crappy strip of plastic just so it can reliably make calls.

      You often see the argument "well, most people put their phones in cases" Yeah, slip cases that they take them out of to make calls and show their gadget off to their friends. The iPhone 4 bumper is effectively a permanent addition.

    3. Andrew the Invertebrate

      0.55% return rate

      Sean, could you change your handle to "Apostle of St. Steve", as it'll help out any newcomers to Vulture Central. 'kay thanks.

  11. NotTellinYou


    Not a single one denied anything! And in the case of Samsung they just used the same "we're not getting many reports of this issue" that Apple has been taken to task for. It's amazing the "free pass" these companies are being given here! Apple showed them loosing their signal when held a specific way...yet none have disputed that fact instead they talk around it. Shame!

  12. Martin Lyne

    What a tool

    "Just buy someone else's phone - not that big of a deal"

  13. Eponymous Howard

    Poor PR advice

    I'm stunned at the poor quality of PR advice these firms are getting.

    Jobs threw down some bait and they all snapped at it (while being very careful not to deny his claim) and made themselves part of the story. You can bet half the geeks of the world are busily testing every phone around and posting the YouTube vids now.

    iPhone 4 has a separate issue about bridging the two antennas that is so simple to avoid a 5 year old could do it (but apparently not Fandroids, or whatever they are called).

    @Watashi Apple's share price is to do with concerns about margins that Apple itself highlighted back in December, ahead of the iPad launch.

    1. Piers


      Sir, if that is an original coinage, I tip my hat to you. If it is not, well done for promulgating it further. It will henceforth be my favourite term of approbation or praise, as appropriate.

  14. pan2008
    Jobs Horns

    arrogance has no limits

    After first not admitting the issue, then saying that you are not holding the phone properly, then saying that for the last 3 years the problem existed with the software!!! now he says that all other phones suffer from the same problem. I use an htc and my friend has to borrow mine sometimes or use mine to lookup things, and that's a 3.0 not 4.0. Pathetic behaviour from apple.

  15. dct

    So are the apple videos fake?

    RIM et al don't like Apple's videos. Are they sugguesting they're faked? Apple have shown pretty convincing evidence that the other phones drop bars (and the one phone I tested dropped from 4 to 1 bar as Apple promised). Maybe the ip4 is worse, but Apple have made a good case that its not just their phone that you have to be carefull with.

    The competition have made big noise that they're not happy about it - of course they're not, but if they could actually disprove apples claims they'd be showing hard evidence to the courts, rather than making press releases.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      There are Two issues to understand! Steve is trying to confuse you.

      Shielding and Shorting..

      Shielding affects all devices and always has Steve is pretending this is the issue BUT it is NOT. The iPhone has a Shorting issue that can be fixed with tape, lacquer, bumper, rubber gloves, hand transplant, light sabre (see etc see the consumer reports video for a demonstration of shorting using a finger.

      NO other phones have this issue! Don't let Steve tell you otherwise he's trying to pull a 'fast one'.

      All phone will experience a slight degradation due to shielding. this cannot be avoided. however The degradation on the iPhone due to shorting is massive! (20dBm > 90% of signal power)

      1. Eponymous Howard


        ....don't short it. Something a 5 year old could work out. Is there an echo in hear?

        (In the press conference, Jobs drew specific attention to the supposed short location, with a big slide where it was was labelled "Weak spot".

        Sorry - what did you say Jobs was pretending?)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Eponymous Howard

          I said' Jobs claimed all smart phones have this problem, They do NOT have the shorting 'Weak spot' (as labelled) Jobs is telling porkies when he claims they all have the same problems. There are two problems! (shielding and shorting) Jobs is telling half truths about one common issue (shielding) to cover up the second iphone specific 'weak spot' issue (shorting).

          Is it really that hard to understand? jeeze no wonder they sell so many phones....

      2. Andrew the Invertebrate

        Re: Shielding and Shorting

        So to put it another way, they are trying to compare Apples & Oranges, or should that be Oranges & Lemons?

    2. Jah

      Apple started this

      Apple should provide the evidence not the other companies. Apple made the claim not the other companies. Apple were responding to the media not to Nokia et al. Looks like Apple's PR machine worked on you!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      not fake, just uninformative

      Apple's own software update demonstrates the futility of looking at the bars - they just changed the signal levels represented by each bar. Neither side has presented hard evidence of actual signal level, and we probably wouldn't trust them if they did as they have a vested interest in the outcome. I would be interested to see Anandtech repeat their tests with the phones shown, and get a measurement of the change in signal level. That will show whether the worst case reduction in signal level for the iPhone 4 is better or worse than that for those other phones.

      Regardless, Anandtech's testing clearly shows that insulating the exposed antenna makes a significant, measurable difference to signal attenuation. Denying this does Apple no credit. A clear lacquer would probably be sufficient to put the iPhone 4 on a par with the other phones measured so far, including the 3GS, but Apple didn't do it (yet...) Denial makes Apple incompetent or intentionally misleading.

      1. Eponymous Howard

        Who cares when... Anand states "There's no doubt in my mind this iPhone gets the best cellular reception yet, even though measured signal is lower than the 3GS."

        Anand argues for an insulating layer, but either way Apple has rarely shown interest in benchmarks, preferring performance in use as its metric.

  16. Chris 211

    function over style

    Maybe if people brought more functional phones instead of shallow logo's and style which lets be honest isn't worth anything in real terms. Then we would get the phones we deserve.

    I refuse to buy ANY apple equipment because of the control apple demands and the information apple demands of me and the over the top interest in style over function. Buy a phone, demand it works, learn how to use it and carry on. Stop pandering to pretty icons and pretty colours like a bunch of girls. Sadly most people are dumb morons...

  17. Oscar

    @ Chad H

    Well done on your skills! I've had about 5 people do it with my 3GS ... Let alone the 4 ...

  18. Another SteveO

    @Chris 211 - function over style

    What's it got to do with you what anyone buys? I'd argue you get the phones you deserve by buying the phones you want - it's your money.

    You refuse to buy "ANY apple equipment......." So what? Who cares?

    Seriously, buy Apple kit if you like it, don't if you don't! Simple really, I'm not going to change my views based on a few lines from a guy I've never met and clearly you aren't either, why would you?

    And whilst I'm at it, why don't all of you with an irrational hatred of anything that doesn't meet your own criteria stop wasting electrons and just live your own life?

  19. uhuznaa


    When this came up I immediately took up my good old puny Nokia 2630 and applied the grip of death to it. Four bars... three bars... two bars... one bar... Hey, it works! I often noticed that the thing had real trouble to hang onto a call cleanly when I had only one or two bars to begin with. Now I know -- I just held it wrong!

    By the way:

    Come on, judging from the very few sites that did real measurements (you know, if you have numbers it's a fact, everything else is just opinion) the iPhone has really good reception and sensitivity, except when you grip the lower left side with wet and salty hands in an area with a bad signal in which case it may be a bit worse than others. This is not the end of the world. Stick a piece of tape or an antenn-aid or a skin or a bumper or a case over it if you're panicky. Or just avoid touching that spot when the signal is weak. There are surely spots on my gf I don't dare to touch when the signal is weak, too.

    Another nice message is this:

    Some peope need to get this stamped onto their foreheads.

    I fully expect RIM to come with a BlackBerry with a 10" half-retractable rubber-coated antenna later this year. Function over form rules!

  20. Arctic fox

    Hardware and yet again hardware.

    My view is quite simple. I refuse to pay a minimum of 500 pounds for a piece of kit (regardless of which company we are talking about) where a fairly outrageous proportion of that price i brand/image markup. Had Jobs listened to his own chief engineer instead of overriding him on design/image grounds Apple would not be in this position. Get the engineering right first, design (important though it is) *second*. If that means that the product concerned will not look *quite* as pretty as you would like, hard luck. Or employ design people who *are* capable of producing something that looks good within the limits of the engineering. The moment the hardware design/construction becomes appearence led you are almost begging to end up in the position that Apple have ended up in, caused by an attitude at the top of the company towards the manufacture of their products that inevitably provokes such nick names as iPose. This time it did not "just work", they did not prioritise that part of the deal strongly enough. When I lay out half a k or more for something it better bloody just work or the company concerned gets back by return of post, end of story.

    1. blackworx
      Thumb Up


      "Get the engineering right first, design (important though it is) *second*. If that means that the product concerned will not look *quite* as pretty as you would like, hard luck."

      Besides, if they wanted a metal band round the outside so badly, they could have done that and just not used it as the antennae.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    "but other ones do it as weeeellllll!!!"

    i remember arguments of this caliber from school, along with such cunning and witty masterpieces as "your mum" and "im telling"

  22. Michael

    real measurements

    I don't have one of the phones Jobs' mentions, however, here are some real numbers for the HTC hero.

    Lying on desk signal strength -95dBm

    holding single handed (left or right) signal strength -101dBm

    completely shielded with both hands I eventually managed to drop it to -109 dBm.

    Is this unacceptable or unexpected. Not really, there isn't much that can be done if you have an antenna internal to the phone and someone picks it up. Fortunately, I rarely use my phone with both hands wrapped completely around it to answer/make calls.

    The iPhone 4 I tried at the weekend immediately dropped ~22dBm when I placed one finger over the link between the antenna. Add that to the problem of shielding and signal reception degrades beyond use very quickly. Other smart phones share the problem of shielding, some are better at coping with this than others. The iPhone is the one that is incompetently designed because it looks better. Style over substance as per usual.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPhone4 will sort the wheat from the chav's

    It's obvious to every one. Apple chose style over function to appease the weak and feeble minded.

    Being seen with an iPhone is bad enough, but if you’re seen with an iPhone 4 you may as well wear a big sign proclaiming just how much of a flake you are.

    Apples’ insistence that this issue affects all smart phones is quite frankly ludicrous. My work phone is an Omnia Pro and I’ve never encountered this issue, no matter where or how I hold the phone. The competition should start legal action against them for the slur.

    Face it fan(ny)bois, the one item that made you feel interesting is now making you fool foolish (no matter how good the device looks)

    1. Rolf Howarth

      Style over function

      I thought it was the other way round. Personally, I think the aerial on the outside looks ugly, but it was put there to increase the room inside the case for a battery, which is why the iPhone 4 has by far the longest battey life of any phone in its class. In other words, designing it that way was a victory for function over style.

      1. Arctic fox
        Jobs Horns

        Function, really?

        Which function are we talking about, extended battery life or the ability to ring someone up - iPHONE remember? The extended battery life becomes somewhat mot if the kit needs to be remained the iCantPHone.

  24. Drefsab

    Missing the point

    I love steves response, it just confirms to me why I will not buy Apple products. The gist of what he said is "our customer's are complaining about this issue, but it's ok guys seriously, other phones have this flaw so is perfectly fine for us to have the same problem!, thats right guys come on you didnt seriously expect better quality from our product's did you?".

    That said I have HTC phones and have never had such problems myself.

  25. Anonymous Coward


    I have a HTC HD2, double hand grip shielding as much as I can, it goes 4, 3, 2, 1 bars.

    My friend has a iP4, same network provider, double hand grip shielding as much as I can, don't bridge the antenae, it goes 4, 3, 2, 1 bars.

    Lick your finger and bridge the antenae (with the wet finger), bars nosedive, not fade, but just from 4 to 2.

    Not scientific, but I could imagine a sweaty hand shielding and bridging could kill the signal. Sort out the bridging and it would only have the shielding problem the same as other smart phones.

    Smiley, because despite WinMob, the HD2 is a reliable phone.

  26. Code Monkey


    You're in a hole. Stop digging.

    1. Eponymous Howard

      Or, in the alternative..

  27. Tigra 07


    He still can't admit the phone has a design flaw

    I look forward to the headline: "Jobs loses job"

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict"

    Yeah, that's why nokia's smartphones look like the bastard offspring of a digital camera and a tinopener. (you know which one I mean).

    1. Neill Mitchell


      Handy if you're stuck on a desert island with a tin of beans though...

    2. Code Monkey


      Would that be the one that you can, y'know, use to make phonecalls?

  29. ratfox
    Jobs Halo

    experts... pah

    I would be extremely careful before saying Jobs is wrong on PR. Apple controls its PR to insane levels, and people usually beg for it (remember the iPad wait?)

  30. Phil Standen
    Jobs Halo

    Smart Phones

    Steve thinks that the iPhone 4 is the smartest phone on the planet.

    You would have to be dumb not to buy the smartest.

    Therefore the iPhone 4 is the only Smart Phone, it has problems, therefore ALL Smart Phones have problems.

    Problem solved

    1. NotTellinYou

      It is!

      Read the Consumer Reports article!

  31. Neill Mitchell

    No lame car analogy yet?

    Come on, par for the course and all that. Don't let this thread down! I'll kick off.

    Some people buy Bugatti Veyron's because they like the craftsmanship that has gone into it. Is is a practical car - no, but boy is it damn sexy! Or you could buy a Ford Fiesta.

    There. Pointless enough to stop further ones? Good.

  32. NotTellinYou
    Thumb Down


    At least Forbes got it right!

  33. Daniel Harris 1


    My Blackberry Bold 9700 doesn't lose signal when I try to replicate what was on the apple site, but when I tried my friends iPhone 4 the other week, holding it in the way shown didn't cause it to drop signal for some reason.

    One thing I did notice was that two friends with the iPhone 3GS had full 3G signal with their phones just lying on the table, where as the the friend with the iPhone4 had EDGE only rather than 3G at all. Same networks (all o2)

    My Blackberry had full 3G signal, but is on Vodafone.

    Doesn't seem as big of an issue as it's being made out to be, although i've seen plenty of videos showing it's possible to replicate, on this occasion it didn't happen.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Don't be silly

      Of course it isn't a big issue, we just like to jump up and down on Apple at every chance we get. Having a real problem to beat them up about is just an added bonus.

  34. Bob Sanders

    Back to Future Past

    When the iPv4 was released and Jobs was having problems connecting to the AT & T network, why didn't he realize he was holding the phone wrong?

    Since he claims every phone has this problem, including then all previous versions of the iphone, he should have shown the right and wrong ways to hold the phone.

    One thing as well from the release show, the iPv4 must not work well in large crowds … if the majority of the surrounding users are using wifi, would that issue also apply to the iPad too?

    Sorry there Steve you're starting to sound like Bill Clinton and that beeping sound from you backing up is getting louder.

  35. NogginTheNog
    Thumb Down

    Who cares?

    Every twat txts nowadays anyway :-\

  36. Rolf Howarth

    Good grief

    Good grief, what is all the fuss about? It seems the iPhone 4 has three separate problems, two of which are trivially fixable and one affects all phones.

    1. Shorting out the two aerials causes a drop in reception. Avoid holding it that way, paint some lacquer on it, or stick it in a case. Problem solved, next?

    2. The levels at which the different bars are displayed was incorrect, exacerbating the perceived loss in signal. Fixed with a firmware update, next?

    3. Gripping the phone tightly all round even if you don't short it out may cause a drop in reception. All phones have the same issue and it's not a problem for most people. Next?

    "If you don't like the iPhone, don't buy it". Problem solved. Can we move on now? This is all getting rather tedious.

  37. Stephen Channell
    Jobs Halo

    the love of an iPhone4 on a train

    A fanboi was sitting opposite on a train, ostentatiously fondling his new iPhone, flipping like a ADHD suffer from watching a movie, to playing a game, to listening to music whilst checking his diary.. love was in full bloom, and you could believe that truly it was sent from heaven to enrich the lives of mortals.. then.. then.. then it rang!

    First the gentle caress to unlock, then the one handed slide to hold next to an ear, clutching the firm metal ring at the base.. then a soft then rising hello, Hello, HELLO

    ...finally.. finally the hand into a pocket to pull out a blackberry to call back the person cut off.. with an explanation that “phones don’t work on trains…”

    1. Eponymous Howard

      The Transworld Publishing Fiction Department...

      ...has asked me to tell you not to bother in future.

  38. Haku

    How to fake a signal loss video

    It should be relatively easy to fake a signal loss video without the need to doctor the video with CGI, all you need to do is have your other hand (or someone else) out of shot turn up the strength dial on a cellphone jammer at the appropriate time....

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Motorola's co-CEO Sanjay Jha

    ... won't enjoy himself if I ever meet him. My last Motorola dropped signal all the time, my friends would have 3 bars reception, I'd have none. (On every other phone I've owned, I've had better reception than them!)

  40. Anonymous Coward

    What's all the fuss about?

    As far as I can tell, only one reader of El Reg owns an iPhone4 anyway!

    The rest of you should be ashamed of yourselves, stop wasting your employers time on this web site and get back to work!

    1. Code Monkey

      Back to work

      Are you new here?

      (reading while compiling : )

  41. Doug Glass

    Smoke And Mirrors

    A typical conman's tactic, draw attention away from himself in order to carry out his scam.

    1. Eponymous Howard

      And yet oddly...

      ....those he mentioned seem remarkably reluctant to deny the charge.

  42. AlexS


    "and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple."

    Blackberry 9700 has the same issue - FACT - I have one. I never knew it until the Apple story dropped and then I tried it myself.

    Is it a real problem?

    It's about as much problem as moving your radio when it picks up interference. If you have interference with your radio do you run straight back to the shops asking for your money back?

    As a company I'm not big on Apple, however this time around they are in the right... this story is pathetic. Although 'm glad the story has broken from my perspective as at least I know if there's a problem all I need to do is move my hands around.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sean Timarco Baggely


    —and their charge indicators are worse than useless too, sticking resolutely to "maximum" until the charge has dropped *way* down, often leaving me stranded with a dead phone

    Methinks you misunderstand batteries. Alkaline batteries will gradually reduce voltage over the life of the charge. A nickel cadmium rechargeable, and I suspect also NiMh and lithium ion, will maintain stable voltage until the end of the charge and then drop suddenly. Gives you better performance over the the charge but makes it more difficult to measure the life of the charge.

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