Steve Jobs is right, but Apple made a poor design decision

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Steve Jobs is right, but Apple made a poor design decision
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is absolutely correct. All smartphones do have a weak spot that when covered could lead to a drop in signal strength and cause calls to drop. But it has been pointed out that the exec also has made a serious mistake. After he showed videos of the BlackBerry Bold 9700,  HTC Droid Eris and Samsung Omnia losing signal strength after being held with the infamous "death-grip". Since the press conference, YouTube has been inundated with videos showing other handsets losing signal bars when held in the "death-grip". The problem is, none of those videos make any sense because not every handset has the antenna placed in the same location as the iPhone 4. So while a touch in the lower left corner does it for the Apple unit, the EVO 4G has its antenna placed on the top of the phone. And here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is where Mr. Jobs makes a faulty point. With the EVO 4G, you can hold it in the usual manner and not lose bars. Jobs didn't lie, because the handset-like any other-will lose bars if its weak area is touched, but most manufacturers have designed their handset so that the weakness is not exposed by merely holding the phone in the usual way. So to reiterate, all smartphones will lose bars if gripped tightly. But not all smartphones have their antenna located in the same spot as the iPhone 4 which means that most will allow you to hold them in the customary manner as tight as you want without a problem. What this means is that for Apple to eliminate the problem for good, future units will either need to have a coating around the offending gap in antennas, or the iPhone 4 will need to be redesigned to move the antennas so that the gap appears on a spot that is less likely to be squeezed. The rubber bumpers are a temporary solution which is why Consumer Reports remains unmoved by Apple's "generosity". Bottom line-HTC made a good design decision and Apple didn't. Simple enough.

Apple iPhone 4 Specifications | Review
HTC EVO 4G Specifications | Review

source: AndroidGuys

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61 Comments

62. wade1968

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 12, 2010

OH PLEASE. Nothing happens at apple without JOBS approve.

55. rfrapp

Posts: 77; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

I actually agree with a PhoneArena article about the Iphone 4. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! IS THIS 2012 EARLY????????

31. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Well said by the video creator. It was apples fault where they put the antenna. When you put it where people always hold the phone, yea you are going to have problems. I have tried several times to do the death grip with my droid x and i just can't find it. I always have a constant full bars. You'd have to really go out of your way to find the death grip with most other phones. Having a case for this issue is no different from putting a bandaid over a deep wound. It may cover it up, but its still an ugly bandaid. Most people buy cases so they can protect their phone from scratches or if it gets dropped its protected from damage. NOT so they can prevent losing their signal. I have never heard of that before until now.

37. NOVAinc

Posts: 99; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

I have heard that the newer iPhones are arriving with no issue. I have seen some newer iPhones with a more opaque antenna than the first wave in several apple stores. About the death grip, you need to have in mind two things: 1- It is not possible to recreate it on an iPhone 4 if your zone has a good spectrum of coverage of over -50/70db, because holding it by the antenna will drop 20db only, and as you may know the iPhone used to show 5 full bars from -50 to -90db which was somewhat tricky until the newer firmware. All those videos on the web were special cases of people living in zones with a signal of under -90db that caused a full five bars drop by holding it from the antenna. Right now, with the new update the phone shows the signal strength as it should have done from the very beginning and is not possible to drop five full bars anymore. 2- Unless you live in a weak signal area, you won't be able to recreate the death grip. And even if your phone shows full five bars, your real reception may be much lower, since I has come to us recently that most companies are a bit liar/tricky about the way they show the bars, some of them will take over a minute to update the bars on the screen to your current reception.

52. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

since theyve been lying to make the signal strength look better than it is, i expect this problem to get better, not worse once everyone gets the signal patch. the rumors of changed iphones were just that.. rumors. there are vids of new ones (checked by serial numbers) doing the exact same thing.

53. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

darn it.. i ment "i expect this problem to get worse, not better once everyone gets the signal patch" Because the bulk of people that dont pay attention to whats going on will assume they are just getting less signal all of asudden and not realize its just a lie being fixed.

56. NOVAinc

Posts: 99; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

I'm not sure whether it's better to live on a lie or a sad truth. Certainly AT&T doesn't help any of those XD But guy, I recommend you to focus on phones and leave politics out of here, it's for your own good. As for the rumors, I've heard of people saying that the problems got fixed, why would their word worth less than the words of those who upload videos? I think only time will tell... As for me, I honesty don't care, since if I was going to get a phone that costs me that much, I'd definitely get a case for it anyway.

27. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

iPhone owners, we get it okay. You love your phones. That's great, no one says you shouldn't. So when people respond negatively with whatever Apple/Jobs says or does, it not a direct attack on you. And it not always by people who own Android devices, all kinds of people are not liking Apple nowadays. And for the people who think the ip4 is an "Epic Fail", think again. Motorola, HTC, Samsung or whoever, would love to have the numbers that Apple is putting up on this one device. Design blunder or not, its a great product. With all that said, it seems to me that the people here that are soooo defensive of Apple are missing the point. This whole thing isn't about how many ip4 they've sold, or what other phones have this same problem. Its about Apple admitting they messed up, not say "We're not perfect." and definitely not about RIM, HTC, Nokia or any other company that good ol Steve tried to drag into this. This is about Apple/Steve Jobs' unwillingness to say we made a mistake in our design choice. We should have placed the antenna in a different spot, heres what we can do to make up for that mistake. But instead the played children's games by calling out other companies, tell people to hold it right, or calling it a "DEATH Grip". WTF? Who sees an incoming call, picks up the phone in their left hand and squeezes as hard as they possibly can to answer the call? Well, Steve Jobs obviously but no one else does. So to squeeze the life out of an Eris and then say "See look, it lost a bar." is a weak attempt to cover up your poor choice. This problem was discovered by real ip4 users who couldn't use the phone the way people with other phones are able to. No conspiracy, no "apple haters" just people who like the ip4 just like you. This was a series of bad PR moves, and as a CEO of the #2 smartphone manufacture, he should have been on top of his PR game if he wants to become #1. Instead he chose to blame everyone else but himself. He even blamed the people who bought his damn phone. That backlash Apple is getting is well deserved, and you Apple fans can defend Apples bad press all you want. But this is the court of public opinion and no matter what device I or anyone else here owns, we can say whatever we want about. So if your easily offended by people saying that your phone, the guy who made it, or your network sucks. My advise is get use to it. We had to get use to your comments when Apple was the only new and fresh OS on the market. Now with all the new OS's, UI's and Apps that are available to the rest of us, your brand new ip4 is looking like the same old iP3GS and still plagued with same old issues and even a set of new issues you have to get use to. So again, just get use to it. Because there are a lot more of us non-iPhone users then there are of you.

29. arokingpin

Posts: 9; Member since: Jul 03, 2010

Amen... I see this as the beginning of the demise of Apple... It's a story repeated throughout history... Like the roman empire, the stock market before 2008... all great things must come to an end... everything that goes up, must come down... And like all great leaders who have lost sight of what drove them to the top. Jobs is lost in a self made universe he believes to revolve around him, his brand and his remaining loyal subjects. Take note, we're witnessing the death of an empire and the birth of another. LOL

32. ilia1986 unregistered

Whateverman - I can see where you're coming from - but I have to tell you - I think that there is a possibility of Apple admitting a major flaw in their products followed by a public apology for the matter - and as a result losing much more in terms of public opinion - and possibly even sales - than the current situation. Apple markets their product as perfect ones. And even though Steve said that they are not perfect - they monstrous marketing machine from the tiny details of the design of the smallest and most insignificant product to their Black-and-white color usage to their interface in their products screams about perfection. This is one of the major reasons people buy and love Apple products so much. They are aware of their functionality - which is great - but that feeling of having something as close to perfect is what makes the difference imo. So, if Apple or Steve or anyone would admit to a major flaw inside their best-selling product - the entire image in the minds of consumers of a company which makes close-to-perfect products would collapse. I think that this could hurt Apple much much much more than a PR crisis over just one product - which to date continues to sell well. But let's go even further - Steve wants to make everyone happy, so he's giving everyone free bumpers for more than 2 months. Can you imagine how many iPhone 4s will be sold in 2 months? Can you imagine at what is the cost of handling for free about 2 million (and I'm being very very conservative here, considering the 3 million in 22 days) free bumpers? Even if the cost of production of each bumper was 1\10th of it's cost - 3$ - it's still 6 million US$ LOST. The cost of producing an iPhone 4 was said to be about 180$. So that means that Steve is giving out 33,333 iPhone 4's for free to everyone. So - supposedly Steve Admits failure and says he will fix the problem. How will he do so? I already addressed this on the first page, so I'll just quote: "Recall all the phones? Out of the question as it sells so hysterically. Redesign a new model with a different antenna? It would take too long, and by then the next gen iPhone will arrive anyway. Magically seal that X-spot on everyone's phones using little gnomes and fairies?" This product sells. From a business perspective - it's all that matters. Yes, all the media and internet is blowing hot air about all sorts of negative stuff about Apple, saying that Apple should have done this, or done that, and that Steve is an $@!$!, etc etc etc. But do you seriously believe that this whole issue will cause truly serious problems when it comes to PR for apple? I don't.

36. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

u said u didnt want to double post, but yet this sounds like the same thing uve said 3 times now.. lol. yea, they did an estimate of what it would "cost" a recall would be over a billion dollars in profit.. the bumpers at RETAIL would be about 170million... or about what apple makes in 1 day by real world numbers. It probably costs in the neighborhood of about 1-3 CENTS to make that $30 rubber skin they are giving away for free.. so in end, its less than one of steve job's bonus checks to hand out bumpers or include them in every iphone4 box for the 1 year life of the phone. adding some rubber at the factory would be a cheap fix as well.. see my previous post on how to handle that.. ol

39. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

+1 to ilia1986. But still, an apology, admission or any of that would not have been something people were looking for if he had just done the job right the first time. There was an engineer (Not the one that S.J. says never warned him) that predicted this whole thing happening a good six months before the iP4 was released. That would have been the time to research and come up with something to prevent this problem from ever occurring. A little extra time to develop a better antenna would not have lost Apple any share of the market. Lets even forget about the design choice and everything. If you see a problem coming, you should take care of it before it become a big deal. For instance, had he just admitted there was an issue with reception on the iP4 instead of telling people to hold it right, there would not have been the initial backlash of anger. Without the that anger there would have been no reason to point out other companies flaws. Without pointing out other companies flaws, there would be no second, third and fourth backlashes of anger from the general public. And no need for the press conference that angered all the other sleeping giants. A little civility goes a long way, and as I type this from my Mac computer and as I am a serious advocate of Apple computers over anything Windows. I feel confident in saying that if had SJ been straight with his very loyal fan base, we would have given him time. We would have bought those stupid covers without batting an eyelash, or just made ourselves aware that I can't hold my phone in my left hand. But instead he acted like the the Emperor from " The Emperor's New Suit" (It's a classic, I know). He didn't want to see what everyone else saw, and that was his real problem. The brand's is a lot stronger than any one flaw, but images can be built and also destroyed by word of mouth.

40. ilia1986 unregistered

Well I am obviously not an expert in PR, but I think that sometimes, maintaining the illusion is more important than a bunch of people who have lost faith in that very same illusion. For example - if you watch 24 and many other similar shows - at times of crisis, the White House Administration assures the public that everything is OK, while in reality it's far far from it. And should a member of said Administration hugely fail at something - they might just cover it up. Same here. Not everyone will believe that this is a bad design on Apple's part - some people just act on reassurance from Steve. Apparently a lot of people, judging from ongoing sales. Maybe you're right - and this improper response will trigger a lot more coverage than even before, and Apple's stocks will fall, and it's sales will get hurt, but I personally don't think so. This isn't Micro$oft - a company that almost anyone hates on one level or another. This is the "good ol' Apple". The company that sets up your new Mac, and provides technical advice on every product for free - on a personal basis. In short - people don't lose faith so quickly just because of one product with one major issue to which the company didn't respond appropriately. Just my opinion.

41. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

lol.. its not microsoft that everyone hates.. its good ol apple... think you just a little too biased for the arguement then? I dont hate MS. I dont hate apple. But ill never own an apple product. It is over priced, over hyped, and over controlled. Im too old for training wheels and to be told how to use my phone. If you like mommy steve telling you how to use ur equipment, power to you. Negative press lasts longer in the consumer's mind than positive press. You will remember Toyota's brake failures and their denials until it was too big to control, much longer than u will remember how reliable they used to be when u go to buy a new car. Its the same thing. And anyone that thinks any one company makes "perfect products" all the time is a moron and probably still thinks that Obama was a great choice for president. Its called having an opinion based on NO facts. LOL.

42. ilia1986 unregistered

Perhaps. But that is you. People tend to forget. And they WILL forget eventually. This is true for politics, as it is true for consumer products and for everything else. And if Apple will not issue any further response - which I'm pretty sure they won't - this whole "Antennagate" issue will be forgotten one way or another. So far - it still sells. Let's see if you're right - and it's sales will steadily decline over the upcoming months.

43. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

sales are going to decline regardless of this. There is always a huge surge at the initial release and then it becomes a steady number. Only Apple knows what their projections for sales really are and if its hurting them or not. My guess is they think like you and hope most people will forget. And while people are predominantly forgetful as a group, if you follow the rule of 9 that is preached in business alot (piss off 1 person, they tell 9 of their friends and you lose potential customers), i dont think this will be a "non issue" very soon if they dont at least fix the production of future units. ATT doesnt exactly have the best coverage and this only makes the situation worse. Most people dont live in a true full signal area with ATT and will therefor experience this issue until its truely fixed. Just because people stop reporting it doesnt mean people stop experiencing it. 2 years with a phone that constantly has issues will make many people switch. Ask Microsoft or Storm owners.

44. ilia1986 unregistered

Well - let's wait and see then. After all - if this improves the entire industry in the long term - I'm all for it.

45. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

No company makes perfect products, but Obama is much better president than McCain or Palin or Bush or any Republican that comes to mind would have been. This county could not survive another 4 nor 8 years of rich men cannibalizing the middle class. Didn't want to take it there but seems it always goes there no matter what. Now back to phones.

50. CRICKETownz

Posts: 980; Member since: Oct 24, 2009

Two battery pulls in 8 months with my Blackberry Storm...wouldn't exactly call that "constant" issues. Most of the "issues" reported with the Storm came about by those who shouldn't have a smartphone in the first place and weren't patient enough of handle the mechanics of the phone.

51. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

lol, you obviously know little about politics, so your right.. u shouldnt have taken it there. Bush steered us out of 2 recessions without spending 2 years blaming Clinton or terrorists after 9/11 and making false claims about jobs "created or saved" which is the biggest bunch of BS ive ever heard. If obama was doing something "good" for the country, the democrats wouldnt be so busy "exempting" themselves from every bill they create. If it was "good" wouldnt they want part in it? Obviously its not, and your brainwashed. I bet you own an iphone4. :) hows that for tying it back in to the discussion.. lol

57. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

First off, if I offended you with my comment, I sincerely do apologize, that was not my true intentions. But I think you saw that coming anyway, why else would you put it out there? I fall for the bait so, I have no one to blame but myself. But you didn't have to take it that far about my knowlege of politcis or say I was "brainwashed. So you obviously must have seen this coming as well. Don't you ever in you life presume that you know anything about me or that you have any idea of what I may or may not know. That's the best way to get your feelings hurt. If you want to know a little more about me, click on my name you'll see how respectful I try to be toward other peoples thoughts and ideas. Not always successful, especially when something that directly impacts my life comes up, like politics. But I try. Talking about politics with you seems to be a bad idea because the subject encourages you to attack and I honestly have nothing against you. I disagree with you, but I would never call you brainwashed because of who you voted for. So here is where we will leave this conversation, you can think whatever you want about me. Post whatever political rants about Obama you want and I promise not to respond to it. And you can THINK that I'm brainwashed or that I'm a communist, a socialist or any of the other scary things that keep you up at night. Just don't post that bullshit anywhere I can see it. Deal?

58. ilia1986 unregistered

Guys guys, lets calm down here. This is Phone Arena - we talk about phones and other cool stuff - not about politics. Leave politics to the fat bureaucrats who still enjoy using the the old smartphones with Windows Mobile 5.0, as it's sluggishness and slowness reminds them about themselves.

59. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Nobody is upset here. We were just coming to an understanding that's all. I'm sure remixfa isn't angry either.

61. Templer16

Posts: 20; Member since: Apr 09, 2009

"Bush steered us out of 2 recessions..." Yep steered us out of a recession and straight into a near global drepression, THANKS BUSH! Hahaha Looks like I took the bate too = )

26. deejh

Posts: 34; Member since: Apr 14, 2010

I dont have this problem with my evo :)

35. NOVAinc

Posts: 99; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

You don't EXPERIENCE it :P I can't experience it on my motorola c115

20. lilbranbran

Posts: 21; Member since: Jul 14, 2010

Apple should have stuck with the old design , or thought of another design that they knew wouldn't cause a mass panic ! Lol

24. NOVAinc

Posts: 99; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

I don't think they knew this.

19. rmac

Posts: 13; Member since: Jan 04, 2010

Just as the iMac was the desktop that reinvented the wheel for Apple, the iPhone is the flagship that is paving their current future. Just as a user foreign to Mac OS X would see different versions of the operating system as relatively the same, the point is ease of use and simplicity. When you set your best foot forward in designing a product, all aspects must be considered. This includes time developing the concept, design, window for release, etc. I fully understand that Apple wanted to get the iPhone 4 out to the masses at roughly the same time as its counterpart is about to release a massive competetor in the Droid Incredible, but with the priority of ease of use and simplicity behind their company, delaying the release of a new iPhone in an already saturated market probably wouldn't have affected sales as much as this design flaw. Take for example, the iPad. The hype of an Apple Tablet PC had been speculated for years before the idea was even conceived, and was drawn out to properly capitalize, and although several reviewers acclaim that the iPad is just a glorified iPhone, sales and demand still remain strong, even if only for the novelty. Apple could have drawn even further speculation of the iPhone 4, and I believe most people who were even remotely interested would have waited for its release before taking on any new smartphone. I'm sure if it could be done over again, Apple would've taken all of this into consideration, instead of alienate potential new customers by bringing such negative publicity. From a personal standpoint, its only a matter of time before Apple will need to reinvent the wheel another time to take back the edge from an expanding open source Android marketplace.

15. NOVAinc

Posts: 99; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

Guys, I've got my own theory about this, it's based on common sense and some facts. Please if you're not willing to think just SKIP THIS POST. Having said this, I'll proceed. To me, it makes much more sense that this is not a design thing, it's a production problem. Foxconn didn't assemble the phone as they were supposed to. I'd say that it was because of the huge pressure and the hurry. It's IMPOSSIBLE that it was a design thing, it's a problem that you can't ignore, and after one year of testing it's NOT possible that they didn't note it. Remember the yellow spots? They disappeared within some days, but they were the clear evidence of the hurry in the production... And how about the wrong placed volume buttons? It makes sense that they step the coating or changed the material that they were supposed to use. Also, note that the newer iPhones are working properly and their design remain the same, just that these units are coated. Haven't you hear of the propel who got their phones replaced? Well, today USA received a new load but these phones have been manufactured as they should have been from the very beginning. This explains many things... Also the limit of the bumpers giveaway. If they are gonna replace the units without coating the coat... I don know it, nobody knows. Ok so if you want to reply to argue anything please feel free to do so. If you want to say something like "u dumb ass fuck you, me android better you more worse" or "Steve is the devil, I'm telling you!" please refer to gsmarena.com

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