July 2, 2010

Apple on the supposed problems with the new iPhone: "Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place."

So it's not a flaw in the new iPhone, it's something that was phony in all the phones all along. Hmmm. How convenient! Just when I was trying to decide if I should buy the new iPhone or stick with the old one while the bugs are getting ironed out of the new one.
Apple... said it will fix its signal strength formula to conform to other AT&T phones through a free software update for iPhone models 3G, 3Gs and 4 within a few weeks.

''We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see,'' Apple said.
Massaging our perceptions. Who knows if the reception is really bad or not? People are fixated on the way their bars look. So make the bars bigger.

35 comments:

Scott M said...

Despite this dust-up with the Apple 4, I'm still pining away for the day Verizon makes an Iphone available. I'm pretty heavily invested (both in time and treasure) in Itunes, so it makes sense to get an Iphone and drop one piece of gear to lug around.

I took a look at the Droid, but except for the ultra-cool see-through app (which I have to believe someone working on Iphone apps will duplicate in short order) it didn't seem all that special to me.

E.M. Davis said...

I've never had much of a reception problem with my 3GS.

I'm not upgrading until I have $200 laying around and, yes, they get the kinks all worked out.

Christoph said...

Ann,

The specific problem with the iPhone 4 -- otherwise a wonderful bit of engineering so far as its antennas are concerned (really) -- is that for some reason they never insulated the external antennas.

Just a tremendous oversight. I'm assuming cost and/or style must be the reason, but what a mistake.

Notice also how in the iPhone 4 and only in the iPhone 4, Apple removed a standard diagnostic tool for getting numeric values of signal strength (and correlating them to the visual bars as you point out).

Very strange behaviour, don't you think?

rhhardin said...

They use bars to avoid pascals.

If you used pascals, you'd need a hundred thousand of them for each bar.

That pretty much would take over the screen, even before the pinball machine effect that the ergonomics department puts in.

Quayle said...

Nokia is poised to launch a new competing phone in the American market.

(Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T want to sell you a low quality, new phone every year or two as incentive for you to sign a new contract. Nokia, the clear world leader in phones, has purposely run behind in the American market because they didn't want to build such a low level of crap for America only.)

Christoph said...

So basically what I'm saying, Ann et al., is Apple's explanation in the New York Times piece is true and it's bullshit all at the same time.

They're not going to be able to solve this with a software fix -- the problem is hardware. And someone should ask who at Apple made the decision to remove the standard industry tool from the iPhone 4 to get signal strength in numeric, precise terms, and why.

Regardless, Apple needs to insulate the damn antennas!

If only they'd stop being such Jews, I mean cheap.

/sarc (related to recent and somewhat overblown -- by his own admission -- accusations made by one Mr. Eric Boehlert)

Because I Said So said...

It's kind of like measuring things in centimeters, not inches. It sure sounds big!

Bill R said...

Isn't this what law schools have been doing with grades, turning them up to 11?

MadisonMan said...

I have the same thing with the wireless signal on my MacBook Pro -- it is initially always 4 bars -- and then it drops to what it really is.

Is there something inherently wrong with having to wait for a download? I'm not sure what it is.

Christoph said...

"Nokia, the clear world leader in phones, has purposely run behind in the American market because they didn't want to build such a low level of crap for America only."

Nonsense.

What are you their CEO or PR guy, or something? They got beat on the OS front.

And I love Nokia. Both as a former AT&T Wireless cell phone salesman and then customer service rep, I always recommended them and preferred them for my own use for years before.

But facts are facts, my boy.

Oh no! Althouse.Blogspot.com has been taken over by racists. (Actually, I made the sound in my head and typed it out because my dad would always say that sentence to me. I guess I could have gone all John McCain on you and called you my friend, but then I don't know ya.)

Scott M said...

It's kind of like measuring things in centimeters, not inches. It sure sounds big!

It occurs to me that someone with way too much time on their hands could cause a lot of trouble for the President by starting a campaign to get him to fully back switching to the metric system.

Regardless of the truth that it's a better system, Obama couldn't do more to link himself with Carter than to back a move to the metric system.

Said person with too much time should wring their hands together and practice their mwuahahaha's. And buy a bald cat.

edutcher said...

The bars were never real..., massaging perceptions..., "So it's not a flaw in the new iPhone, it's something that was phony in all the phones all along. "

Sounds like the old Microsoft wheeze, "It's not a bug, it's a feature".

WV "sodere" What you say to Alpha/Montagne/Freder when you shoot down one of their talking points and you have a cold.

Fred4Pres said...

I think that answers your question, keep the old one till this gets fixed.

Kevin R said...

Supposedly in days of yore, phones would have useless external antennas that the user could extend, to make them feel better about reception. The "antenna" was usually not even connected to anything. Making bars look bigger is the modern equivalent.

Christoph said...

For those that missed it, the metal bands on the outside edge of the iPhone are antennas.

Uninsulated antennas.

What do you think happens when you touch these with your hand?

You form part of the antenna.

Does this help radio reception?

Not very often. Quite the reverse.

Apple thinks it's going to "fix" this cheap with software?

Right.

Scott M said...

Supposedly in days of yore, phones would have useless external antennas that the user could extend, to make them feel better about reception.

This is 100% wrong. It was not to make one feel better about reception. It was for cleaning your ear (once the annoying ball on the end was properly broken off) while watching the Golden Age Of MTV.

Seriously...what are they teaching in schools these days?

Henry said...

A big drop in bars? What about coffee shops?

T J Sawyer said...

As soon as a cellphone manufacturer produces a phone that "do-s-t br--k -p" my calls into tiny pieces, I will consider buying one that has additional features.

Oh, and it would be nice if I didn't have to carry two phones using different technologies (GSM/CDMA) to stay in touch when traveling between golf courses and lakes in NW Wisconsin. But I don't expect to ever see that much progress in my lifetime.

Christoph said...

Remember this woman from the Harry Potter movies?

Her brother and father attacked and tried to kill her.

You'll never guess the religion of her brother and father. See? You can't guess. You just can't figure it out.

Christoph said...

Ah, darn. Posted that on the wrong thread. Apologies.

Beth said...

Scott M - is it just a rumor that Verizon will have iPhones in January? I'm waiting for that, too. AT&T is terrible.

Kevin said...

Ann,

Are you actually using your iPad?

Moose said...

Think different. Buy an iPhone.

Anyone see the humor in that?

Rialby said...

That's what he said.

Quayle said...

"Nonsense.

What are you their CEO or PR guy, or something? They got beat on the OS front.


No, no. Just 20 years in telecommunications.

It is a fact that Nokia dominates the GSM mobile phone market.

Yes, their OS here in America on the iPhone type market was crap.

But that was my point. Their new phone will contain the snapdragon chip and run Symbian OS, which has now gone open source.

It's all new.

(And the reason that Nokia stopped selling phones to Sprint was because Sprint wanted, basically, a throw away phone, and Nokia refused.)

Rialby said...

Christoph...

I bet they're some of them Mormons that my friend kept warning me about after he read his one book of the 2000s, "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer.

Quayle said...

"I bet they're some of them Mormons that my friend kept warning me about "

How did you know.

The religion that kills gets a complete pass in the lefty academies, our current administration, and among the elite movers and shakers.

The religion that organizes and votes its world view gets routinely criticized and a nasty movie (documentary?) made about it.

Christoph said...

Well, I have about 10 years in telecommunications, probably at a lower level (although I followed it much more than people at my level usually would) and this article published about half an hour ago pretty much sums up my thoughts on Nokia and it's misguided efforts to take Symbian to open source.

Maybe MeeGo (not Symbian) will take them where they need to go, but as the article says, the window is closing.

Smart phone market share and customer expectations (borrowing heavily from the article, but again, that is and was my position) are both moving away from Nokia.

Christoph said...

"The religion that kills gets a complete pass in the lefty academies, our current administration, and among the elite movers and shakers."

That's because it kills.

c3 said...

I've been using an iPhone for years.

Years?!

from Wikipedia:
The iPhone went on sale in the United States on June 29, 2007, at 6:00 pm local time,

OK, I guess three would be "years" but it seems that's more in the realm of
a couple of years or so

Triangle Man said...

@rhhardin

LOL!

lewsar said...

i too would love an iphone, but as was previously expressed at&t sucks. i recently got an lg ally running android 2.1 and it's pretty decent.

in other news, OS 4 for my ipod touch added the map application, which i think is cool for no reason i could possibly articulate.

wv: didisi, no officer i didn't see anything at all.

Glenn Howes said...

There is a. It of a contradiction here. On the one hand, Apple released a phone which has noticeably better call reliability and network throughput then the precious model. Just read all the reviews. On the other hand, you can hold it in such a way that it will drop down to about the performance of the previous model. So it is no worse and often better. Anecdotaly, I have been getting more reliable calling, and yet I can hold my phone to cover the FCC mandated bottom antenna and get much worse reception. A reasonable person would choose not to do that and move on with their happy use of the gadget. I do most of my calling on headset with the phone in my shirt pocket, so it is a nonissue for me.

Robert Cook said...

I have been a happy user of the iPhone 3G for two years and I plan to buy the new iPhone as soon as it is easily obtainable by store walk-ins, (a few weeks?).

I wonder how overblown this reception "problem" may really be. For one, we hear about people "all over the world" replicating the trick of holding the phone in such a way that the "bars drop." Well, how many of those people getting the bars to drop are seeing dropped calls or poorer call quality? All? Some? None? We're not really seeing this followup data.

Also, Apple reports selling 1.5 million (or thereabouts) of these devices in the first several days. (I'm not sure if that refers to physical units conveyed to purchasers, or merely "sold," as in: ordered to be delivered or reserved to be picked up when available.) Assuming that at minimum hundreds of thousands of users actually have the iPhone in use, let's ask ourselves this question: how often do we focus attention on the sales figures of new product releases? How often is a product release accompanied by such huge numbers of consumers lining up or camping out to buy the product on the first day? How often is media attention directed at the sales figures of any given new product on release day?

In other words, any product run of mass quantities will likely have a small percentage of individual units that are flawed in some manner. If any other product were released to the same consumer response and media attention as attends each iPhone, would we not also find immediate reports of "users finding xxxx wrong" with their particular widget?

So, I think we must await hard data showing how many actual users--what percentage of iPhones in use over a period of time--are experiencing call drops or degraded call quality that are unique to this iteration of the phone and can be directly explained only by the antenna issue--and quantifying the number of dropped calls and degree of degraded call quality--as compared with previous iPhones or other smartphones--before we say whether there is a real "there" there with this alleged problem.

damikesc said...

As somebody who works for VZW, I don't expect an iPhone soon. We turned them down 5 yrs ago for business reasons and I don't suspect that the issues we had are any lower now than they were yrs ago. Our execs also don't want a manufacturer to call all of the shots (phone release announcements for Verizon originate with Verizon).

Apple is stuck on a bad network that, quite honestly, is going to have huge problems when 4G rolls out in force.