Verizon iPhone 4 Suffers from 'Death Grip': Report

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2011-02-09 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Verizon iPhone 4 suffers from the same antenna ailments as its AT&T sibling, according to a report. The good news is that the solutions are the same.

The CDMA version of the Apple iPhone can now be ordered on the Verizon Wireless and Apple Web sites - though Apple says the phone, which officially goes on sale Feb. 10, won't begin shipping until Feb. 18. A shortage of devices, however, isn't the only issue facing Apple fans nearing the end of a years-long wait for a non-AT&T version of the iPhone. According to a Feb. 8 report from tech site iLounge, the Verizon iPhone 4, like its AT&T predecessor, suffers from "signal attenuation problems."

In other words: "death grip" strikes again.

While conducting its  "standard suite" of performance tests, reports iLounge, it discovered the same problem that launched what CEO Steve Jobs jokingly called "Antennagate": When the iPhone is held in a sort of hand bear hug, with the user's hand fully gripping both sides of the phone, it suffers from a loss of reception.

"What we've noticed is a dramatic, dramatic slowdown of the speed at which the phone is loading up pages over Verizon's network. We've also experienced the same thing when doing it over WiFi - at least depending on how the phone is gripped," says a reporter for the site in a video exemplifying what he's saying.

The quick fix - as Jobs so unpopularly also suggested after the launch of the AT&T iPhone 4 - is simply not to hold it that way. Given that the phone isn't a bit of magic unto itself but a device that needs to send and receive signals, whether WiFi or cellular, it makes sense that, gripped in a meaty maw, as the phone is in the video, it might have trouble communicating.

Nonetheless, in Apple's development of the CDMA-based Verizon iPhone 4 (versus its AT&T's GSM-based phone) it seemed to have taken steps to avoid a repeat of Antennagate. In a Feb. 7 report from analysis firm IHS iSuppli, which - like repair site iFixit - performed a teardown of the iPhone 4, the phone was found to feature changes to its antenna design. (Images of the iFixit teardown can be viewed here.)

"While Apple kept the fundamental integrated antenna and enclosure design, provisions were made to improve reception quality," IHS iSuppli analyst Wayne Lam wrote in a statement on the report. "The new CDMA version employs a dual-antenna design that takes advantage of antenna diversity to improve reception."

iFixit similarly noted in a report the same day that "change-up" from GSM technology to CDMA necessitated an "antenna overhaul," though only tell will tell "if this new antenna design helps combat the reception problems plaguing the GSM iPhone 4."

iLounge writes that the same "sanctioned" reviewers who originally failed to notice the GSM model's antenna failings, have claimed that the iPhone 4's antenna issue were fixed this time around.

So far the site's testing, however, "has found that the Verizon iPhone 4's issues appear in the same geographic location as the AT&T iPhone 4's, indoors with an average of three bars of signal strength," iLounge reported.

As was also the case with AT&T's iPhone4, the site adds, "Once again, use of a protective case appears to fix the antenna issue, and attenuation may not be noticeable in areas with stronger signal strength."

Problem solved.

 
 
 
 
 
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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