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Apple should out hand free iPhone 4 antenna bumpers, readers say

o John Cox
16.07.2010 kl 15:47 | Network World (US)

As of early Friday morning, about 58% of our poll respondents think Apple CEO Steve Jobs should pass out for free those rubber-like wrap-around bumpers for the iPhone 4, so everyone can get back to the rest of their lives.

 

As of early Friday morning, about 58% of our poll respondents think Apple CEO Steve Jobs should pass out for free those rubber-like wrap-around bumpers for the iPhone 4, so everyone can get back to the rest of their lives.

At 1 p.m. EST Friday, Apple is holding a press conference at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters about the iPhone 4. The company is widely expected to address a storm of complaints around the smartphone's reception problems, caused by placing the antenna's outside the phone, in a steel band around the edge, where it's customarily gripped by users.

First look at Apple's iPhone 4  

The Network World poll asked "What should Steve Jobs say at the iPhone 4 press conference on Friday?"  

Most of the 200-plus respondents so far clearly think Apple should announce it will offer the bumpers for free, presumably with a credit or refund for those who have already paid for the $29 Apple accessory.

Some antenna experts are urging users not to wait. "Get a bumper and learn the Vulcan iPhone Pinch [a grip that holds the phone between thumb and first two fingers]. And enjoy the phone," urges Spencer Webb, president of an antenna design and consulting company, AntennaSys, Pelham, N.H. (We talked to Webb this week about the iPhone 4 antenna issues.)  

But three groups of poll respondents, about 11% each, think Jobs should say something else (in order):

"You're still holding the phone WRONG!"

"Buy a bumper for it. And stop whining."

"We're recalling all the iPhone 4s. Even though we can't fix the stupid antenna."

Finally, slightly less than 3% think Jobs should announce: "The heck with this: I quit."

About 5% of respondents added their own Jobsian declarations, among them:

"We've told you what the issue is. If you don't like, get a Droid."

"Full refund compensation."

"We're sorry. We'll make this right."

"Take that, Windows Vista."

All phones experience some signal loss (attenuation) when gripped. But for iPhone 4, the effect is worsened by directly touching the antenna, a well-known phenomenon called detuning, which affects the amount of energy the phone can squirt into the desired wireless frequency.

Some of the best, and most lucid, commentary on the issues involved is by AntennaSys' Webb. Earlier this week, he posted results of a series of tests  to measure the impact of different hand grips on the iPhone 4 data rates.

The tests show that without bumpers, the phone suffers big drops in upload and download rates, though the drops may not be apparent in lost calls, for example; the bumpers completely correct that. Webb also found that iPhone 4 data rates are much higher, uploading and downloading, compared to those of the iPhone 3G.

Follow John Cox on Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-Malware section.

Keywords: Consumer Electronics  
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