Tour of Apple's Black Room shows desire to get things right

Tour of Apple's Black Room shows desire to get things right
During Friday's press conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs referred to his company's wireless lab. According to the exec, over the last 5 years, Apple has spent more than $100 million in antenna design testing. After the press conference, Apple allowed journalists to go where most people never get a chance to tread-Apple's wireless test lab. To protect the secrecy of ongoing projects, desktops were covered with a black cloth. Inside the large test facility is 17 anechoic chambers that the Cupertino based firm uses to test devices like the iPhone in controlled conditions. Each chamber is made up of a different number and levels of foam pyramids, like Mr. Jobs showed pictures of during his talk with the press yesterday, to prevent signals and sounds from leaving the chamber. The first chamber-called "a Beak"-holds a device in isolation from human contact to see how it acts without the human touch. Another chamber adds moving panels and a cellular transmitter. To test how a device interacts with humans, a device is placed against water filled plastic hands, heads and feet. This is done to simulate the interference that comes naturally from the human body. One of the most important of the 17 chambers is called Stargate because of its ring shaped signal detector. A real human sits in the middle of the ring and uses a device, like the iPhone, as realistically as possible and checks detectors to see if a signal is blocked.  Outside of the lab, Apple places the device in a van equipped with the water filled plastic body parts and a real living and breathing engineer which allows Apple to test real-world conditions without requiring a case on the device. The company even uses CT scanners to check the inside of a product without having to be invasive with the product. Even after a product is released, it continues to get tested for wireless performance. During the tour,an iPad was being tested in "the beak". This helps test the effects of any firmware updates or to check why a unit was defective and needed to be returned. The reason for the tour was to ensure the public that Apple does test the iPhone and other products for wireless issues before a product is shipped.

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source: electronista




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