Tag Archives: antenna

How to Fix iPhone 4 Antenna Problems

How to Fix iPhone 4 Antenna Problems

Pixie’s still wearing her “cone of shame” today, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to see if she could boost my iPhone 4 antenna signal. Indeed, I’m now getting 5 bars where I usually only get 1!

All kidding aside, the antenna issue is a real doozy. All over the Internet, you’ll find stories of people who are losing signal and calls when holding the iPhone 4 in certain ways. While I have yet to experience this phenomena myself, I have no doubt of its validity. Hundreds of people – independent of each other – have thoroughly tested this device. The problem has been replicated over and over. What remains to be seen is what Apple intends to do about it.

What would you do if faced with this issue concerning a device you recently bought? Would you feel it’s a huge problem and demand your money back? Or are you more likely the type of person who finds a way to correct the trouble and continue on with your life? Duct tape may not be the correct answer, but there is one out there. You can buy a case for your phone – BAM! Problem solved. How many of you plan to run around with nothing covering/protecting that beautiful glass back, anyway? I have a feeling the vast majority of you will be using a case. Why, then, is it such an issue if something *might* happen to your phone’s signal when not using the case?

I’m definitely not making light of the issue. Apple messed up. I’m not debating that fact. The important thing is how they handle it. With their offering of Bumpers, I feel that the Cupertino company has more than redeemed themselves.

What are your thoughts? If a company such as Apple releases a product with real issues – large or small – easily corrected or not – should they recall the devices? Should they offer up other solutions, such as Apple has done with the Bumper?

This is a hot topic right now – online and off. It will be interesting to see how this plays out… not only in the press and blogs but also the stock market. Could something such as antenna issues cut off a company at the knees?

HTC, Motorola and Other Handset Companies Not Happy with Apple

During its already-infamous iPhone 4 conference on Friday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed that antenna issues are native to “most phones.” He went on to specifically point to phones made by HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia and RIM. It’s as though the tech giant is trying to make light of their design flaws by trying to paint a picture wherein all cellphones of the world have the same issues. According to the named manufacturers, though, this is NOT the case at all. These five companies all issued press releases today refuting the “facts” as Jobs outlined them.

Nokia wrote:

Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models. Nokia was the pioneer in internal antennas; the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was the first commercial phone with this feature.

Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on. As you would expect from a company focused on connecting people, we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.

In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.

“Studying the way people hold their phones out in the field” – isn’t that an interesting concept? Apple themselves should have thought of this. This is something that needed to be thoroughly tested. You cannot tell me that it was and that they “didn’t know” how much of an issue this is. If they did, then we have a serious case of “we’ll do it our way anyway, and you’ll go along with it because we’re Apple.”

Research in Motion states:

Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.

Let’s repeat a small part of RIMs statement again: “Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions.” I have to agree completely. If someone at Apple decided that we consumers wanted a thin phone rather than one whose antenna simply works, then they need to own up to that. If they believe they know what we want without asking us, they again need to step up to the plate.

The bottom line is that Apple needs to take ownership of this issue – and fast. People aren’t returning their iPhones in droves, no. However, by continuing this charade of “we didn’t do anything wrong,” they are starting to chip away at the sterling product reputation they once had. And, of course, they’re showing people that perhaps they really don’t care all that much when it comes to what we want and need.

Is the New iPhone 4 Newsworthy?

KING 5 News here in Seattle came knocking on my door this morning to get some live reactions to my new iPhone 4. After showing the long lines at the Apple store, they cut away to me standing in my front yard playing with my new toy. The reporter asked me how the new phone compares to previous versions before anything else.

The new iPhone 4 is faster, but the biggest difference is in the screen. While the two screens side-by-side may look the same, they definitely are not. There are four times as many pixels in the resolution of the iPhone 4 than in the 3GS model. That makes for crisp text and clear picture. Using FaceTime to talk to other iPhone 4 users is not only easy – it’s a beautiful experience thanks to this screen.

The biggest downside to the new phone is the display issue with the Retina display. Some phones that have yellow bands or spots on the screen will be replaced, according to Apple. There’s also a cosmetic defect on the phone… if you join your finger and bridge the gap between the two antenna your signal will drop to zero. Apple is reporting that this will be fixed with a software update. The entire perimeter of the iPhone 4 is an antenna. In the spot where there is a tiny gap, some type of short is made and your signal will simply fade to nothing in a snap.

This is my favorite phone by far. Apple controls the software and the hardware. How well the hardware works with the software is what makes something great. Even though other phones may have the same basic hardware, they don’t necessarily have the software to back it up. I will go back to that every single time. If the two don’t play nicely together, you’re going to have a horrible experience.

Thanks so much to the team at KING 5 for coming out to talk to me today.

How to Improve AM Radio Reception


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I still listen to AM radio, don’t you? I grew up listening to AM – and I used to host a show there back in the day. One of my favorite shows is only found on AM radio – Coast to Coast AM. However, the reception isn’t that great. The problem is that the quality is just poor – tons of static everywhere!

Luckily, I came across a Terk AM-1000 Advantage Passive AM Indoor Antenna. There are no wires or cables, and you only have to tune a dial to make the reception better and better.

So – does the Terk work? You bet it does! I took a station full of static and “noise”, and made it come in as clear as a bell. You be the judge – and then pick up one of these for yourself.

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How do you Deal with Old Technology?

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We talk about new technology quite a lot. While home visiting my parents at this time, I’ve noticed how much my parents are behind the times when it comes to tech. Here in my old bedroom, there’s actually a small television with an antenna on it. That’s right… no cable.


This little piece of technology, however, was considered to be state-of-the-art at the time it was bought. It has a port in the front of it that allows you to put in something called a VHS tape. I know, most of you are now heading to Google to see what a VHS tape is! Trust me, they were huge back in the day before DVDs. The movies resided on a magnetic strip within the rectangular case. These were played on a device called a VCR. If you wanted to watch part of the movie again, you had to rewind a little bit. If you wanted to watch the whole movie again, you had to rewind it to the beginning.


Is anyone else out there having to deal with old technology when you visit somewhere? How do you get through it? Do you have to smack your hand against the side of a tv to get any reception? What about dialing up to an Internet account from their house, and opening their Netscape browser?? How do you deal with this?!? Doesn’t it make you crazy?

Calgon… take me away.

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