Looking back at 2010's "Antennagate"

Looking back at 2010's
The summer of 2010 was one of Apple's most trying times pertaining to the iPhone. The Apple iPhone 4 featured a totally new look, which CEO Steve Jobs likened to a "beautiful old Leica camera." Even before the phone was unveiled, Apple had a major problem when a prototype of the phone was accidentally left behind in a bar.

On June 24th 2010, the day the phone was launched in the states, iPhone 4 buyers started complaining about calls dropping whenever they touched the lower left corner of the phone with their hand. At the same time, signal strength also dropped. Many blamed the phone's new design which had the antenna wrapped around the unit. The problem led Jobs to make his now infamous comment about consumers holding the iPhone 4 incorrectly. The day after the launch, Apple said that the so-called "left-handed death grip" was a phenomenon that affects all cell phones, and suggested that users employ a rubber case. Meanwhile, one story revealed how an Apple engineer supposedly told Steve Jobs early in the process of designing the phone, that there would be a problem with the antenna. Consumer Reports said the problem was real, and refused to rate the handset.

The whole problem was dubbed Antennagate and Apple tried to smooth things over by sending free rubber bumpers to iPhone 4 owners. The rubber in the case prevented the user's hand from causing the decline in signal strength. Those who passed on the bumper were allowed to take $15 of Apple's hard earned money thanks to a class action lawsuit.

Surely Steve Jobs was happy to see 2010 come to an end. But as the year was checking out, CNN called Antennagate the biggest tech failure of 2010. By the time the Apple iPhone 4s launched the next year, Apple had redesigned the antenna. And that allowed Consumer Reports to return the iPhone to its list of recommended phones for 2011.


Related phones

iPhone 4
  • Display 3.5" 640 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Apple A4, Single core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1420 mAh(7.00h 3G talk time)

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65 Comments

1. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

Obviously an overblown issue. Apple went on to become the most valuable and loved tech company, able to command a premium price for their premium products.

2. EC112987

Posts: 1216; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

As I agree the issue was overblown the rest of your comment is ridiculous lmaoooooo

29. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

The fact that Steve made a dedicated press conference to EXPLAIN the situation, means that wasn't overblown. It was a real issue with the first iPhone 4 units, corrected later in production. The fact how he compare iPhone, maybe for the first and last time, with other brands speaks for itself. And it wasn't necessary to hold it with whole hand, just to touch the spot with finger. Definitely - design problem.

32. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Exactly, it was a true glitch, not overblown.

47. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

I had the phone. Didn't realize it was an issue till I read it here. Tried to replicate and I could replicate it but only if I tried. Dumb controversy

59. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

You were lucky enough to live in an area with excellent signal, where losing half the strength wouldn't be noticeable. My sister in law had the iPhone 4, and she dropped calls constantly.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31598; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Even though in eccence, your post is true (for that time), I have to ask...are you trying to get a flame war going?

51. willard12 unregistered

The essence of this article is to create a flame war. We must all oblige PA wishes.

5. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It wasn't overblown. It was a design flaw that existed in every single iPhone 4 initially released. I've asked this question many times, and no one had ever been able to answer it. If the antenna issue wasn't unique to the iPhone 4, and was simply the same proximity interference all phones suffer, then why did it drop signal so much more drastically than any other phone, and why did a rubber bumper correct it?

8. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

dont say "design flaw", or some troll will bring note5 irreversible S-pen here, lol..

64. deviceguy2016

Posts: 826; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

That wouldn't be post # 15???? Naaa lol

15. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Pengate Gapgate Lollipopgate Stagefrightgate Android has had several 'gate issues, so don't act like it's exempt. It was a design flaw that Apple acknowledged. Honestly, Android fans can be big hypocrites at times.

19. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Apple, to this day, has not acknowledged it. Nice tries.

20. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Sounds like something Android fans like you do when issues pop up.

25. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

No, when they actually exist, we acknowledge them. Denial is more you're style, like with bending iPhone 6'es.

52. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Bull crap. Just look at any recent Samsung or Note article to see proof. You and your biased fanclub who +1 your comment 6 times.

60. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

If you're talking about the S7 Active, I absolutely acknowledged it, and stated that Samsung shouldn't be let off the hook. I'm talking about real issues, not the non existent scandals you keep trying to breathe life into, like gapgate our pengate.

28. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

It wasn't a legitimate issue though, iPhone users simply didn't know how to hold a phone correctly.

33. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Yeah, "because they are holding it wrong"! lulz.

50. Mxyzptlk unregistered

It was an overblown issue, stupid potshots aside.

65. deviceguy2016

Posts: 826; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

Like that post Scott... So true, I can't say how i think they do on here.. Maybe start a iOS troll war on here

48. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Apple acknowledged honestly??? You can not be serious! Apple's response was to put out a series of videos with some guy squeezing the lithim ion out of many other popular phones and saying, "See! Their's does it too." And that was after S. JoBS most famous quote, "You're holding it wrong." Android oems aren't perfect but the"gates" you listed didn't effect every single device. Damn, Steve blamed YOU for his screw up and you're still kissing his old dead a**? Come on man, just stop!

22. deviceguy2016

Posts: 826; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

Your 100% right it was a design flaw and Steve jobs knew it!! Like apple does is take your money

31. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I can agree that it was a flaw that Apple "should" have addressed properly. However, every company is out for your money, and you'd would be a fool to think otherwise. They aren't out to save damsels in distress, they are out to make bank. That goes for every OEM from Samsung to Xiaomi.

34. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

kiko007, there is a difference between earning comsumers' money versus ripping-off consumers' money. And the latter is AAPL's business strategy.

36. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

So, if I understand you correctly, you have no clue as to why Apple's products are highly regarded. They didn't magically earn a reputation for quality. They earned it offering good products for a demographic that craved them. Their support also happens to be best in class, and their ecosystem offers appealing benefits to it's users. No one is being "ripped off" because consumers have options. To not acknowledge these things because of personal bias is asinine.

39. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Apple's support is the best? Yeah, when you pay $9 for AppleCare! Right? And the continuosly buggy iOS updates, which you brag about. You aren't any better, bias-wise.

43. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Perhaps not. However, I am willing to acknowledge the feats of others instead of pretending a logo can brainwash people. Apple's support doesn't just extend to the warranty and you know that. You can WALK into an Apple store and get a replacement right then and there. Can you do that with your Sony/HTC/Samsung/Meizu/LG? I'm guessing not, since most of those don't have brick and mortar stores in the US or Europe. It's funny you mentioned "buggy OS updates" when you consider that 90% of Android devices would be lucky to get an update AT ALL. I'll take bugs to be obsolete and insecure thanks. Oh yeah, I own an HTC 10 and use it quite regularly. Just to let you know I suppose.

46. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Sony has a service which replaced my Xperia Z2 after an accident that cracked the screen, 2 weeks after my purchase. Sony gave me a new Z2, though the accident was my fault. Samsung SmartCare does the same and even more. See, you don't even know what you're talking about.

49. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

The key there is WEEKS not right then and there.

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