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Chuck Schumer, raising the bar. Nevermind that $42,000,000,000 trade deficit thing.
July 15, 2010 11:45 PM   Subscribe

iPhone 4's reception woes, wherein bridging the area where the metal bands meet (affectionately dubbed "the spot") results in a dramatic loss in signal strength, have been widely covered in the media over the past few weeks. Apple acknowledged the concerns publicly with a letter to customers where they concluded that the issue was not with the phone, but rather that they were being too generous in the way the software communicated signal quality as bars. After an update to iOS, the bars are in fact different but the problems persist. Most recently, Consumer Reports stated it was unable to recommend iPhone 4 because of the significant design flaw, despite listing it as the highest rated overall smartphone they've tested to date. The latest wrinkle in the story has been an open letter to Steve Jobs from Chuck Schumer, yes -- United States Senator from New York Chuck Schumer, in which he questions the adequacy and transparency of Apple's response to customer concerns. Apple will be holding a press conference at 10AM tomorrow in San Francisco to address the matter.

On the plus side, this issue has energized the Apple community to create sites like "Just avoid holding it that way" on Tumblr. Unfamiliar with the "Hold Different" movement? Find more here.
posted by cgomez (465 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I look forward to Apple stores providing twelve inches of duct tape free of charge with all iPhone 4 purchases.
posted by mullingitover at 11:55 PM on July 15, 2010


Gee, if only there were some other brand of phone that consumers could choose.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:01 AM on July 16, 2010 [24 favorites]


Has anyone lit the apple logo searchlight to shine into the night sky over Metafilteropolis?

What I never get about this sort of thing is that if there is a real problem, which there appears to be, why not admit it and fix it? It's not like this will break Apple, they're sitting on scads of cash, right? It's not like it's some super-critical shopping season or something. Surely the goodwill engendered would be worth whatever it took to fix it?

It's darned weird.
posted by maxwelton at 12:04 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just the latest in a long string of examples of Micro$oft screwing the customer. They don't care about the customer and they don't care about their product. This is why people pirate Micro$oft products.

What's that you say?

...

...

Never mind. Apple is awesome!
posted by Justinian at 12:04 AM on July 16, 2010 [18 favorites]


The HTC and Palm themed Adsense that you see on this page prior to logging in induced some chuckling in me.

Hee
posted by dubusadus at 12:11 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm high on Apples since before the Macintosh Classic was called the Macintosh Classic, but somehow I feel this could be a or maybe even THE tipping point, since Apple is also facing Neelie Kroes, the Cruella Deville of the European Commission.
Kroes has already fined Microsoft $1.4bn for lack of software openness, and is now focusing on whether smartphone vendors comply with new European interoperability rules. Kroes specifically named Apple's App Store as an example of a closed environment.
Yes, that's bn as in billion, folks. However, there is a (very) small possibility that Neelie Kroes will go back to Dutch politics, as she has been mentioned a few times as the next PM of a Dutch coalition cabinet.
No matter how this turns out, the coming press conference will be a walk in the park, compared to the interviews with Neelie Kroes.
posted by ouke at 12:21 AM on July 16, 2010


Missing the Firstworldproblem tag.
posted by chillmost at 12:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [15 favorites]


For me, the interesting part is the idea that this was a basic design flaw that was open and obvious and discovered immediately upon the phone's release—but apparently the reason Apple didn't discover it when they field-tested the product before release is that they were so concerned with secrecy that they manufactured "disguises" to make the new phones look like older models, disguises which inadvertently 'solved' the problem without it being discovered.

I think it's always instructive when secondary concerns lead to fundamental failures in primary objectives. Like how computerized cash registers turn something like ringing up a CD or a cup of coffee into a five-step process rather than something quick and simple, because of retail's obsession with tracking inventory.

At any rate. I have the phone. It's a bit annoying to feel paranoid that the signal will die if you hold it the wrong way (and I'm lefty), but so far I haven't actually encountered the signal-drop phenomenon except intentionally. One of the factors that led to upgrading was the fact that my two-year-old phone basically bricked with iOS 4: it became slow and unresponsive, it took up to 15 seconds even to swipe-unlock, applications began crashing, Safari couldn't read PDFs anymore, etc. For what it's worth, those problems are solved. The iPhone 4 is fast.
posted by cribcage at 12:34 AM on July 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


Why not wait until tomorrow's press conference to trash Apple?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:35 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Less than an hour for Blazecock Pileon to respond. That Apple Signal sure works fast round these parts.
posted by seanyboy at 12:37 AM on July 16, 2010 [28 favorites]


LEAVE APPLE ALONE!!!
posted by bardic at 12:42 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Cribcage, I think the idea that the 3G case "hid" the problem from them was debunked as the conspiracy theorists point to the glaring fact that up to this release, Apple has never sold a case for the iPhone through their own store, let alone had one available on day one for the low price of $29. I'm inclined to think they knew something was up and were too deep in to turn back, so they made sure they had a fall-back position that could at least mitigate the problem if it blew up into a full-blown shitstorm.

What's the bet that tomorrow's conference includes free bumpers for everyone?
posted by disillusioned at 12:49 AM on July 16, 2010


Hey all you unemployed! Saturday there will be Jobs!
posted by Cranberry at 12:57 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even though I own an iPhone, that for some reason does not preclude the Apple schadenfreude.

Strong winds are predicted for tomorrow, dissipating the smug that typically hangs above Cupertino.

Too bad I'll be in Portland.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:58 AM on July 16, 2010


Justinian: who mentioned Microsoft? Thanks for the early derail though.

Anyway, my favorite part of all of this is that Charles Schumer felt the need to weigh about a phone when one would think that he has, um, more pressing matters to focus his attention on. It's just so unnecessary.
posted by cgomez at 12:59 AM on July 16, 2010


I don't think the problem is with the iPhone 4. I think what we're seeing is Apple's charm wearing off. The Reality Distortion Field bubble is about to burst. Their run as the Exceptional Company is about to end. And they're going to be the last ones to figure it out. And it's going to be the ugliest shitstorm you've ever seen

Apple's Brewing Shitstorm
posted by LarryC at 1:04 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haters gotta hate.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:07 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


he iPhone 4’s signal-strength problem is a hardwire hardware glitch

FTFSCHUMER
posted by ryanrs at 1:14 AM on July 16, 2010


It took Microsoft nearly 2 months to admit to the Red Ring of Death problem with the Xbox 360. In the meantime, they kept claiming that failure rates were typical of consumer electronics.

By comparison, the iPhone 4 has been out for less than a month…

Just sayin' it's all down to how they handle it - which we won't know until tomorrow.

(And the continued reference to Apple's press conference "on Friday" is getting confusing for those of us in the 3/4 of the world where it will be Saturday by the time it happens…)
posted by Pinback at 1:17 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm a fan of Apple products. My household (of 2) owns an embarrassing # of Apple products. But I'm not a fanboy, and I'm not blind to their QA issues. And with the iPhone 4, they've got it BAD. Worse yet, because the iPhone and iPod have become the engine of profitability, their computers are *barely* better than PCs these days.

A MacBook Pro purchased less than 3 years ago for $2k+: the motherboard AND the hard drive melted down shortly after the 2 year warranty expired. To Apple's credit - and this is why I continue to buy them - they repaired the issue for free, because of "known issues" with that model.

Four months later, the display went. Not a big issue, because I normally plug it into a Cinema Display - but there's no taking that 3-year-old laptop to presentations anymore, unless I want to spend the $300+ to fix the display on an aging and - performance-wise - wheezing machine.

The MacBook Air? It's now displaying a blinking folder with a question mark on it. Can't seem to find its system software. It'll need to be taken to a "genius" to diagnose. It's less than 2 years old. That's unlikely to be free, though I paid a premium to have that sexy, slim, light-as-you-know-what piece of - well, let's say semi-solidware.

Style, YES. And, undeniably, the slickest software around is developed for the Mac. But substance: Apple's quality is as questionable as Steve Jobs' health: it can't even be dressed-up on stage, and it's beginning to become a concern, even for the faithful (though never, sadly, for the fanatical).
posted by mrkinla at 1:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


WTB Apple-free MeFi feed.

I'm an Apple fan and I'm already over both sides in this debate.
posted by Talez at 1:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon, you know we love ya.
posted by JHarris at 1:24 AM on July 16, 2010


Haters gotta hate.

And you gotta defend Apple's e-honor on the internets. Look, I worked at Apple for five years (great place to work btw), and I have tell you, even Steve Jobs finds your comments tiresome. Your comments defending Apple have gotten to be like Malor's gloomy economic predictions. Whenever I see them, I think "Dude, give it a rest. Even if you're right, please shut up."
posted by ryanrs at 1:26 AM on July 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


I will say that my Mac Mini, given to me by a friend who wasn't using it, might be one of the last PowerPC models they made, and it might not work with my USB wireless device without a kernel hack of questionable stability, but I still love it. It's despite all its flaws rather than because of, but still, there is something about it that is joyous to use. At the very least, they care about UI.
posted by JHarris at 1:29 AM on July 16, 2010


And you gotta defend Apple's e-honor on the internets.

Nah, it's just tiresome seeing the same tired whining about Apple on Metafilter every day. Can't we aspire to something better?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:30 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's tiring is knowing I'd see your name more than the Senator's before I even opened the thread.
posted by ryanrs at 1:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ugh. Give it a rest.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 AM on July 16, 2010


When a US Senator gets involved, it becomes slightly more than 'tired whining about Apple on Metafilter' in my opinion.

I say this as a person who has no particular love or hatred of Apple. I work with their products, but don't own them personally.

I genuinely hope that this press conference is about Apple making it right and not just an app that allows iPhone 4 users access to a cup of shut the fuck up.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:43 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Justinian: who mentioned Microsoft? Thanks for the early derail though.

I think you may want to get that jerking knee problem looked at. In other words; I think you missed the point of my comment.
posted by Justinian at 1:50 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I love how Steve Wozniak says "If you can afford it, carry a second Verizon phone for backup."
posted by moonshine at 1:53 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think what's most interesting about this (as someone who hasn't even seen an iPhone in the flesh, let alone owned an Apple product - no, I don't get out much) is how the cult of Apple, whereby the company and its products receive media attention that goes way beyond what market share or awesomnness of product might suggest, can just as easily work against that company. Positioning your products as some kind of epitome of elegance and infallibility probably doesn't help either when something like this crops up.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, great product placement with the Senator!
posted by ryanrs at 2:04 AM on July 16, 2010


When a US Senator gets involved...

I get the feeling that you don't really know how much of a camera-whoring douche Chuck Schumer is.
posted by milarepa at 2:07 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Not unlike Steve Jobs. What we're seeing here is tech support via dueling press conferences. It's a bit like a giraffe fight, I'm afraid.
posted by ryanrs at 2:14 AM on July 16, 2010


We're not talking about a phone that can't ever make phone calls here - the reception is much better than its predecessor, the 3GS. Even if you factor the antenna issue. But the press and bloggers are going berserk on this. They want Apple's blood. Well, sorry, it'll still sell like hotcakes, puzzlingly.
posted by Baldons at 2:23 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


That Apple Signal sure works fast round these parts.

Yes, but instead of a harsh beacon in the sky and the shrill buzzing of the Red Phone, it's a tiny robot that climbs out of a little brushed-steel box by your desk, makes a polite coughing sound, then gives you a little shoulder rub while saying "pardon me, sir, but there seems to be a problem on the Internet" in the perfectly modulated tones of Stephen Fry.
posted by Shepherd at 2:31 AM on July 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


Meh.

Yeah, I've got an iPhone. Yeah, if I wander around to a low-signal spot and then hold it just right I can make this happen. But when the same thing happened to the Nexus One it wasn't a front-page-headline shitstorm-brewing press-conference-requiring senatorial-letter-inspiring class-action-lawsuit-filing circus, and I don't see why it should be here aside from the fact that so many people get irrational or see potential to grab a bunch of pageviews just because it involves the name "Apple".
posted by ubernostrum at 2:34 AM on July 16, 2010 [15 favorites]


There are 3 of these phones in our office and non of them is subject to this apparent death grip. We just can't replicate it. Maybe our UK O2/Vodafone signals are just too awesome. Or maybe we wear cooler trousers. Regardless of our trousers, it does sorta look like a big hype and huh-ha about nothing to us.
posted by 13twelve at 2:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


it's a tiny robot that climbs out of a little brushed-steel box by your desk, makes a polite coughing sound, then gives you a little shoulder rub while saying "pardon me, sir, but there seems to be a problem on the Internet" in the perfectly modulated tones of Stephen Fry.

Dear Apple, if you make this product I will buy 80 of them and they will be my only friends.

Your Friend,

-TW
posted by The Whelk at 2:39 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Clearly this is just a plot by lefties to persecute right-handed people!
There are 3 of these phones in our office and non of them is subject to this apparent death grip. We just can't replicate it.
All phones have the problem, it's baked into the physical design of the phone. But you won't see it if you have a strong signal, you can think of it as having "seven bars" only the first five of which are visible.
When a US Senator gets involved, it becomes slightly more than 'tired whining about Apple on Metafilter' in my opinion.
These guys are the biggest media whores in the world.
posted by delmoi at 3:01 AM on July 16, 2010


Wow. this thread makes me want to squish kittens and puppies already. I am backing away slowly.
posted by cj_ at 3:08 AM on July 16, 2010


I just skimmed the post, it's something to do with a venue called The Spot where the metal bands meet. Cool. Rock on.
posted by Elmore at 3:12 AM on July 16, 2010 [23 favorites]


13twelve: There are 3 of these phones in our office and non of them is subject to this apparent death grip. We just can't replicate it.

A fellow employee that sits in a cubicle next to mine can easily replicate the iPhone 4 antenna problem, and he's a big Apple fanboi--so it's not like he's trying make the iPhone fail. I have no doubt that the problem is real. And for the record, our department's trousers are bewitching and beguiling as well. I've even heard "stunning" and "exquisite" in passing.
posted by belvidere at 3:15 AM on July 16, 2010


Never has so much noise been made about a problem you can solve with a half inch of sticky tape.
posted by rokusan at 3:15 AM on July 16, 2010


Anandtech has a good writeup on the actual issues, complete with physical testing.

Synopsis: the 'bar fix' doesn't change actual reception quality, but it does improve honesty quite a bit. Old version was relentlessly optimistic, very compressed into the '5 bar' range. The new version is better, slightly less compressed than even Android.

(interestingly, they had to do empirical tests with the iPhone, but they could just look at the Android's source code to see how it computed bar strength. Open source for the win -- it saved these guys hours.)

The iPhone 4 has a more sensitive radio stack than the earlier models did, and will maintain a call in poorer reception conditions. They were able to maintain about 1 minute of call time on the iPhone 3 at -115db, and seemed able to maintain call length indefinitely at about -120 with the iPhone 4.

However, the new antenna is indeed quite subject to interference from a hand, showing about 25db of signal loss in a tight grip. Insulating the stainless steel from your hand reduces this interference substantially, and using a case that moves your hand a short distance away from the frame improves it even more. The most common scenario, "holding naturally" on a bare phone, shows 19.8db of signal loss on an iPhone 4, and only 1.9 on an iPhone 3.

(to put that in perspective: 19db of signal loss is nearly 100 times less radiation getting into the phone -- each 10db is a 10x reduction.)

So, yes, it's a real problem. If you have the phone in a marginal service area (which is very, very common on AT&T), you're very likely to have issues with the 4 even when the 3 worked fine.

However, it you don't actually TOUCH the phone, the 4 will probably better than the 3 was. Putting it in a case shows 7.2 db of signal loss, as opposed to 3.2 on the 3GS, and the improved radio stack should more than make up the difference.

tl;dr version: It's a great phone, as long as you aren't so foolish as to touch it.
posted by Malor at 3:26 AM on July 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


their computers are *barely* better than PCs these days.

This is not new. I worked for Apple resellers and heavy Mac shops for much of the 90s. While Apple had some really nicely put together models that were a joy to work on from a hardware perspective, they made a lot - *a lot* - of sub-par hardware that were either crippled and brain-dead by design (32 and 64 bit processors with 16 or 32 bit data paths, flaming Macbooks, and so on and so forth).

Positioning your products as some kind of epitome of elegance and infallibility probably doesn't help either when something like this crops up.

Much as Toyota have enjoyed a harder hit than they would otherwise have with their recent problems.

Clearly this is just a plot by lefties to persecute right-handed people!

I think the weirdest thing about all this for me has been learning that many right-handed people use their cellphone in their right hand. WTF?

Never has so much noise been made about a problem you can solve with a half inch of sticky tape.

Yes, because Apple's market niche is, "Phones held together with sellotape to work properly." That really encapsulates their brand values.

Nah, it's just tiresome seeing Apple on Metafilter every day.

True dat.
posted by rodgerd at 3:32 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Class action lawsuits over low signal strengths? Heh.

Wait until people start chipping the glass on the front or the back and possibly cutting up their faces. I've seen a few complaints about people turning the shiny front/back into a chipped obsidian knife after a mild drop.

Are they letting people onto planes with these things? You could turn it into a majorly large knife in a few seconds.
posted by loquacious at 3:37 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Another way of putting it: don't hold it like that. Don't hold it at all.
posted by Malor at 3:37 AM on July 16, 2010


I still plan to get one for my wife, mostly because all her previous mobile phones have been pieces of garbage, and the iPhone will sync nicely with her iMac, so no more sim card headaches.
posted by bwg at 3:38 AM on July 16, 2010


Here's a thought: this wouldn't have turned into a shitstorm had Jobs not responded by asking that dude to 'hold it different', and yes, if Apple didnt make a big deal about the antenna in its advertisement, heralding it as the Second Coming of Christ or something. In comparison, when Nokia came out with that circular antenna thing in 3310, they briefly mentioned it, but people bought the phone more for it's small size and less for the 'revolutionary' antenna; as a result, they were more tolerant to, say, the handset heating up at the top or something.

If there's anything the media loves, it is to take down apparent Goliath's. Actual problems aside, that email is at a level of PR fail that's comparable to Win 98 SE BSOD'ing on Bill Gates. People are going to talk about it forever in relation to iPhone 4.
posted by the cydonian at 3:50 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If there's anything the media loves, it is to take down apparent Goliath's ...

Actually, that's pretty much human nature. The Aussies and Brits call it "Tall Poppy Syndrome".
posted by bwg at 4:00 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate Chuckie Schumer more than I love swing corporate comeuppance. I'm amazed he got involved in an issue where he couldn't blame something on Enemies of Israel.

Who uses an iPhone without a case anyway?

Stupid non problem.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:09 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


My son LOVES his Droid.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:13 AM on July 16, 2010


Nah, it's just tiresome seeing the same tired whining about Apple on Metafilter every day.

Probably about as tiresome as it is for people with AskMes about viruses or crashes on their PCs being told "just get a Mac."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:15 AM on July 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


Malor wrote: "(to put that in perspective: 19db of signal loss is nearly 100 times less radiation getting into the phone -- each 10db is a 10x reduction.) "

But you're really "only" 15.9dBm down compared to a 3Gs, not 19.8 or whatever, thanks to the better radio. ;)

Yeah, the only reason this is an issue is because it can be caused by something other than an intentional "death grip." You don't have to cover the entire phone with flesh to get it to drop 6-8dBm like I used to on the phone I had 12 years ago. (I often had to do that to get the damn thing to roam on a different carrier in places where I could hardly make a call on my carrier)

I just can't believe they didn't bother to coat the antenna in the first place. That's like radio 101. You'd think the people Apple has engineering the damn things would have basic knowledge of how an antenna works. Regardless, Apple's new one seems somehow less impressive than the ones folks managed to stuff in the teensy tiny phones of the early-mid '00s that somehow managed to work just as well as stub antennas.

I mean, the iPhone 4's antenna is nice in a quasi-retro sort of way. I just don't know how much better the phone is due to the antenna itself, as opposed to the new radio, which is pretty damn impressive.
posted by wierdo at 4:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is Job's Katrina.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 4:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


STEVE JOBS DOESN'T CARE ABOUT MAC PEOPLE!
posted by cavalier at 4:31 AM on July 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


Wait a minute.
posted by cavalier at 4:31 AM on July 16, 2010


Jesus fucking christ, people still have a chip on their shoulder about Macs vs PCs in 2010?

We're talking about a phone. It has nothing to do with whether your Dell Optiplex 2200RN BIOS Rev 13a Pentium 3 sucks or not. It still sucks almost as bad as my Blueberry iMac and you still should have bought a Mac. Just kidding. Never owned a Blueberry iMac. And everyone knows either you run Linux on a box you built yourself from spare parts thrown out at the university or you're a fucking NOOB who doesn't deserve any computer.

Even Consumer Reports says it's the best phone out there despite this supposed problem (that no one I know can reproduce) that disappears when you do the only logical thing anyway and put a case on your $600 piece of scratches-if-you-look-at-it-funny metal and glass.

Or you know, buy a fucking Nokia like me.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Ever heard the joke, "The most dangerous place in Washington is between [insert name here] and a camera"? It's used a lot, but it was originally said by Bob Dole ... about Charles Schumer.
posted by pmurray63 at 4:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are 3 of these phones in our office and non of them is subject to this apparent death grip. We just can't replicate it. Maybe our UK O2/Vodafone signals are just too awesome. Or maybe we wear cooler trousers. Regardless of our trousers, it does sorta look like a big hype and huh-ha about nothing to us.

I've got a friend whose xbox 360 was fine, I dunno what the fuss is man
posted by Sebmojo at 4:39 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


One thing I just thought about while contorting myself to try and get a reaction out of death-gripping my N900: It would be interesting to see if the problem is as severe on 850MHz as it is on 1900MHz. Certainly when your skin isn't shorting out the antenna with another antenna it makes a big difference. I could only get my N900 to drop more than 1-2dB when it decided to switch over to a 1900MHz site. Then I could get an 8-12dB drop out of it depending on exactly how I held the phone.

Makes sense, since 850MHz has much less loss when passing through waterlogged objects like my hand.

I wonder whether Anand's 17.7dB loss on the Nexus One was at 850, 1900, or 1700/2100 (2100 being the downlink frequency in T-Mobile's case)..
posted by wierdo at 4:41 AM on July 16, 2010


So a problem that occurs in only a few phones out of thousands, and only in certain areas, and only if you hold it a certain way and not even every time these conditions are present... is proof the iPhone 4 sucks and that Apple has Major Problems.

Said it before: Geeeeek-centric. Some people need a dose of perspective.
posted by grubi at 4:47 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


the reason Apple didn't discover it when they field-tested the product before release is that they were so concerned with secrecy that they manufactured "disguises" to make the new phones look like older models, disguises which inadvertently 'solved' the problem without it being discovered.

Interesting, hadn't heard that before.
posted by mediareport at 4:50 AM on July 16, 2010


I've a theory that the signal loss will be exacerbated for people, who like me, have fat sweaty hands.

Which makes is even more of a first world problem, and also makes me wonder if this is yet another subtle "Job's Revenge" for all those people who questioned his health when he was dropping all that weight.

I'm betting that there was a point when he was looking forlornly at his bathroom scales and he thought... "That's it. Motherfucking fat people should not be allowed to use my phones. And Adobe. Fuck them too."
posted by seanyboy at 4:54 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I mused recently, seanyboy, that perhaps Jobs got an ethics transplant along with the liver.
posted by Malor at 4:58 AM on July 16, 2010


I wonder how this story would have played out if Apple had included a free bumper with every phone.
posted by new brand day at 5:04 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw a note in an article about this yesterday that said basically "these days, all phones have the antenna at the bottom..." What is the point of that? I used to have a phone that had a little aerial that you puled up from the top, pointing skyward. Seemed to make sense at the time. Is the 3G signal coming out of the ground?
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:04 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm going to fire up my IIe, my Classic, my TAM, my PB, and my MB and pretend none of you said nasty stuff about apple..

If you want to talk about it, call me on the droid...
posted by HuronBob at 5:05 AM on July 16, 2010


The antenna thing isn't bothering me, I was going to get a case anyway and this just expedited that purchase (seriously, there are people who don't get a case?).

What bugs me is that they changed something about the proximity sensing on the 4 in some way, and now I find myself cheeking the phone when I'm talking... often switching to speakerphone or muting myself or hanging up or trying to FaceTime the person.

According to the NYT, there is in fact a workaround for this problem: use a headset.

A.K.A. "just don't hold it that way".

><
posted by Riki tiki at 5:05 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Is the 3G signal coming out of the ground?"

that explains a lot...
posted by HuronBob at 5:06 AM on July 16, 2010


Makes sweet love to Evo 4G, lights cigarette, turns to Evo, "You know, iPhone 4G couldn't even go fifteen seconds without dropping its signal. And he's definitely not really 4G like you, baby."
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 5:06 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Listen, people this issue is Serious Business. I mean, I don't experience dropped calls with my new iPhone, but what I do experience is so much worse - every time I try to show off my latest $300 toy some overweight neanderthal in Bermuda shorts shambles up to me, waving their mitten-like hands in my face shouting "HAW HAW DETH GRIP! LOL!" It's all I can do to keep the globs of moist Cheeto flakes off my precious toy, let alone my svelte black turtleneck.

How the hell does Apple expect me to show off my status now? It's like someone stapling a dildo to your Coach bag. Yeah, everyone can see your expensive bag, but they'll only talk about the dildo.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:07 AM on July 16, 2010 [24 favorites]


I just hope the update will make my 3G usable again. It was so sluggish after the ios4 upgrade that it got virtually unusable.
posted by ts;dr at 5:12 AM on July 16, 2010


Then stop using the dildo with the airbrushed scifi scene on the sides, I told you people wouldn't understand!
posted by new brand day at 5:14 AM on July 16, 2010


The big shitstorm as far as I'm concerned should be about Apple's insistense on putting iOs4 on 3G devices, including the 2nd gen touch. "No, you can keep your old device! ... we'll just put software on it that makes it run like shit so you will upgrade anyway." That really pisses me off (and many of my 3G and 3Gs mates) to quite no end. My touch is much less useful now. I suspect I'll be rolling back.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


the fact that my two-year-old phone basically bricked with iOS 4
...
For what it's worth, those problems are solved. The iPhone 4 is fast.


So Apple broke your previously functional phone and you rewarded them by buying a new one?
posted by octothorpe at 5:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


I consider this to be a feature - now when a call goes on too long, I can hang up in mid-sentence and later blame the phone.
posted by pomegranate at 5:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Then stop using the dildo with the airbrushed scifi scene on the sides, I told you people wouldn't understand!

And risk getting linked on io9? I'd rather have the dildo.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:22 AM on July 16, 2010


It's a bit annoying to feel paranoid that the signal will die if you hold it the wrong way (and I'm lefty)

I've read/heard interviews with other folks who say "I'm a lefty, and when I hold the phone, blah blah blah" and it makes me curious, because I'm a righty, but I always hold my (not-an-iphone) phone in my left hand. I text mostly with my left hand. The phone goes in my left front pocket. I never thought about why, really - I guess, subconsciously, it's so I have my dominant hand free (to write something down, maybe) if I need it.
posted by rtha at 5:23 AM on July 16, 2010


Goddamn it Steve, I don't even had an iPhone 4 and I want a free bumper, just for having to hear all the hysteria in the media.
posted by new brand day at 5:23 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


robocop is bleeding. That's the funniest thing I've read all week.
posted by seanyboy at 5:25 AM on July 16, 2010


So this phone, is has a 3G-spot?

Has that joke been made yet? Where am I? I'm hungry.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 5:26 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I consider this to be a feature - now when a call goes on too long, I can hang up in mid-sentence and later blame the phone.

Ha! I totally used to do this with online conversations that went on too long. Back then I just blamed my "crappy dial up connection".

Man that was a long time ago.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:27 AM on July 16, 2010


The big shitstorm as far as I'm concerned should be about Apple's insistense on putting iOs4 on 3G devices, including the 2nd gen touch.

Yeah, I've heard complaints about the battery on those just draining overnight while its sitting on your nightstand.
posted by smackfu at 5:37 AM on July 16, 2010


Hildegarde: "I consider this to be a feature - now when a call goes on too long, I can hang up in mid-sentence and later blame the phone.

Ha! I totally used to do this with online conversations that went on too long. Back then I just blamed my "crappy dial up connection".

Man that was a long time ago.
"

*makes fake static noise with mouth*

"Who are you fooling with that phony radio bullshit? Jesus Christ, Frank, that went out three days after Marconi invented the fucking thing!"
posted by bwg at 5:41 AM on July 16, 2010


their computers are *barely* better than PCs these days.

HAHAHAHAHAHA.... no. Not even slightly.
posted by Malice at 5:50 AM on July 16, 2010


See, our phone bars used to go to 11. Now they only go to ten, but it's one quieter, isn't it?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:00 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple deleting mentions of Consumer Reports' iPhone 4 piece on forums, can't delete your thoughts
posted by kmz at 6:01 AM on July 16, 2010


Riki Tiki (in the tiki tiki tiki room, THANKS, that'll be in my head all morning), did you upgrade from a previous iPhone? I'm just taking an informal poll. This is my first iPhone and I don't appear to have a proximity issue, neither does my friend, but two other folks do and they were told to go into settings and reset their network settings to default. That says software, but one of them said the issue still existed afterwords. Just wondering if this really is just software or if there are defective sensors out there.

grubi, I think the antenna thing is pretty much universal. People who can't reproduce are usually so close to a strong tower signal that the interference doesn't kill it. The rationale, like in Apple's letter, is that they are reporting 5 bars when there are really only 2-3 bars, so in conditions where you have a average or weak signal, the interference is enough to kill it. Meanwhile if you're currently covered in radio waves, you'll still interfere, but it's not enough to kill it.
posted by cavalier at 6:04 AM on July 16, 2010


As an iphone 4 user, I'm not seeing the issue really. Sure the strength will go down if I palm that corner hard, but it's not a show-stopper...the phone still works fine. Partly I've been watching the coverage on this and can't help to think that it is somewhat, if not greatly exaggerated....as if certain media outlets are using this as an opportunity to get their advertisers a larger foothold in the smartphone market...I mean, they've been the underdog for a number of years now...

I'm sure some of the outrage is legitimate...perhaps some people are in areas with weaker signals than me, which makes it tougher with the added caveat of bad antenna placement. But overall...it's a decent device...still better than most of the competition (who would get no where near as much attention for their flaws). I'm not an Apple fanboy...in fact as a PC technician I'll often take jabs (jokingly) at our mac support tech...she appreciates it, as she knows Apple isn't perfect. But it's just as easy to turn around and look at HP, Dell, Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, etc....each with their own myriads of QA issues.

My point is. This is high-tech, bleeding edge stuff. The 1st gen iPhone, while my personal favorite design and feel, wasn't without issues either. But from this article, and this thread....it just seems a lot is being exaggerated, and even somewhat posturing...perhaps as an attempt to discourage potential customers from even a hands on verification of the issue. Either that or we've set the bar so high for Apple that we're expecting them to bring us into the space age of civilization by inventing faster than light speed travel. (ok that idea kinda frightens me actually..)
posted by samsara at 6:15 AM on July 16, 2010


discover it when they field-tested the product before release is that they were so concerned with secrecy.

Given the lengths that were gone to in order to steal and expose the phone you can't really blame them for being paranoid.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:16 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is the 3G signal coming out of the ground?

The iPhone 4 was based off of Tesla's original design.
posted by ryoshu at 6:18 AM on July 16, 2010


You'd think with all these complaints about the iPhone that Motorola would have made certain that their new phone, the DroidX, was absolutely perfect.

Instead they appear to have done what is now par for the course for Android, which is to ship dogshit and convince everyone they'll fix it later in software.

I'm not quite sure if the the problem in corporate America is too many businessmen making engineering decisions, or too many engineers making business decisions. But I think the time is right for some MFAs and English majors to dust off their Foucault and seize control. I bet lots of people would buy a phone called "Panopticon".
posted by Pastabagel at 6:26 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Given the lengths that were gone to in order to steal and expose the phone

Picking it up in a bar?
posted by smackfu at 6:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


samsara: That's the kind of thoughtful, evenhanded & sensible comment that is always going to ruin a AppleGooglePCMicrosoftAdobeAndroid shitfest. Why do you hate Metafilter so much?
posted by i_cola at 6:28 AM on July 16, 2010


My point is. This is high-tech, bleeding edge stuff.

Antenna design is easily the oldest and most flexible technology in these phones. Look how thin some of those motorola phones are and they have just as many antennas inside them, and they don't have this problem, which sort of gets to the heart of the matter.

When it comes to phones, Motorola is a hardware company, and Apple is a software company. Notice the problems each of them have when they venture outside their expertise.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:33 AM on July 16, 2010


(seriously, there are people who don't get a case?)

Yep. I don't use a case. My phone goes in my left pocket and metal objects like keys and change go in my right pocket. Despite being a klutz, I don't seem to be klutzy when it comes to my phone. I tried two different kinds of cases on my 3G. The silicone type sticks to the inside of my pocket and gets lint on it, and the hard shell kind just made the phone feel too bulky.

On topic: Neither my wife nor myself can reproduce the problem. I guess we're covered in radio waves in ATL.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:36 AM on July 16, 2010


Instead they appear to have done what is now par for the course for Android, which is to ship dogshit and convince everyone they'll fix it later in software.

Holy crap, that's a scathing review.
posted by new brand day at 6:37 AM on July 16, 2010


grubi, I think the antenna thing is pretty much universal.

Any reports not intent on simply bashing Apple out of your standard contrarianism ("I hate popular things!") are saying otherwise. Most users appear to be *not* experiencing even the bar drop. Now, I suspect we don't have enough data to say if it's most users are *actually* having the problem or not, but so far, it doesn't appear to be anywhere near as widespread as people are making it out to be.

That doesn't diminish the fact that it empirically occurs, but just that the trend is less dramatic than the Geek Hordes1 tend to make such things out to be.





1 Oh, my dear people. We are a melodramatic lot, are we not?
posted by grubi at 6:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Funny NSFW video "comparing" iPhone and Evo...
posted by schyler523 at 6:40 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


they have just as many antennas inside them

Cool. The phone in question appears to have antennae on the outside. There may be a slightly different dynamic when people touch the antennae (ever played with a television aerial?).

But you keep going with your point, whatever it may be.
posted by grubi at 6:41 AM on July 16, 2010


(seriously, there are people who don't get a case?)

It seems silly to buy an awesome looking phone that is super-thin and excellently designed and throw a $30 case on it that doubles the thickness.
posted by smackfu at 6:43 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


It seems silly to buy an awesome looking phone that is super-thin and excellently designed and throw a $30 case on it that doubles the thickness.

I agree. But knowing how clumsy I am sometimes, I got a case for my 3GS that only adds one quarter the thickness! I am a god-damned genius.


oops. dropped my phone.
posted by grubi at 6:47 AM on July 16, 2010


One of the factors that led to upgrading was the fact that my two-year-old phone basically bricked with iOS 4

This has been the most interesting part of the story for me, actually. I've heard this complaint from more people than the Death Grip issue, and the universal answer seems to be - buy the new iPhone! Never having used an iPhone before Palm Pre 4 Life oh god I'm so lonely I am wondering if you can't just revert back to the old OS. It almost seems like Apple deliberately allowed a much more resource-intensive OS to be installed on hardware it knew wouldn't handle it. Didn't they prevent the original iPhone models from getting the last iOS iteration or something?

Anyway, seems pretty brilliant if they deliberately did this. "Man, this old phone is so old and old now that I put this newer, bloatier software on it. Time for a new one!" Granted, I'm guilty of doing this with my desktop computer, but I usually have the option to go back to older revisions if I need to.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:49 AM on July 16, 2010



IOS ??? That runs on Cisco hardware.

iPOS is what runs on Apple hardware.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:49 AM on July 16, 2010


Were they forced to put the antenna on the outside? I assume that was a design decision. Why isn't it fair to compare phone antennae wherever they are?
posted by kmz at 6:50 AM on July 16, 2010


Didn't they prevent the original iPhone models from getting the last iOS iteration or something?

Yes.
posted by new brand day at 6:50 AM on July 16, 2010


Actually, that's pretty much human nature. The Aussies and Brits call it "Tall Poppy Syndrome".


Schadenfreude
posted by zarq at 6:50 AM on July 16, 2010


I teach English in a computer classroom. A young blonde girl who didn't strike me as very nerdish came into the next class early and had an android and an iphone out on the desk. I asked her about both phones and she gave me a compelling argument about why she preferred the android over the iphone, but liked both. It really struck me that the fragile enclave of geekdom has been forever breached by smartphones.
posted by mecran01 at 6:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nah, it's just tiresome seeing the same tired whining about Apple on Metafilter every day. Can't we aspire to something better?

Microsoft is fair game for criticisms, but hands-off Apple?

I'm asking quite seriously.
posted by zarq at 6:56 AM on July 16, 2010


The most interesting thing about this how debacle is apparently no one has an objective way to measure phone call quality. We've got Apple's laughable "look, we changed the bar height!" software patch, which does nothing to address the actual signal reception problem. And we've got a couple of articles claiming to have done some testing but no one being able to say, concretely, "this phone has 20% better call quality than that phone".

I've owned iPhones in San Francisco for two+ years. I already know it's a piece of shit telephone, thanks in large part to AT&T. Still, it is sold as a telephone, and you'd think evaluating its telephone abilities would be an important part of reviewing the thing. Amazing no one can do it properly.

PC Magazine did do an excellent study of US mobile data quality. That's a good objective measure of data connections to phones, and the conclusion is AT&T is the fastest network but also by far the most unreliable. But I haven't seen numbers like that I believe for the voice side of the iPhone.
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


1 Oh, my dear people. We are a melodramatic lot, are we not?

You've been "fighting this battle" against some amorphous group of "geeks" you feel is wrong about some very specific things. The people who will listen to you have listened. The people who want to engage you in this "battle" have engaged (and how many minds changed, you might ask yourself?). The rest of it feels blustery and defensive. But don't take my word for it. Here it is from a former Apple employee. That's perspective.
posted by fake at 6:58 AM on July 16, 2010


Microsoft is fair game for criticisms, but hands-off Apple?

No, but repeated bashing gets to be a little odd.
posted by grubi at 6:59 AM on July 16, 2010



Given the lengths that were gone to in order to steal and expose the phone

Picking it up in a bar?


Stealing it in a bar, making up an elaborate fake story, pretending to try and return it, selling it knowing it is stolen property. Buying it knowing it is stolen property, taking it apart and breaking it, launching a massive self defense PR and legal campaign, etc.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:02 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


The most interesting thing about this how debacle is apparently no one has an objective way to measure phone call quality.

It's terribly easy for the phone to report the raw signal strength but Apple removed that feature from iOS4.
posted by smackfu at 7:03 AM on July 16, 2010


When it comes to phones, Motorola is a hardware company, and Apple is a software company. Notice the problems each of them have when they venture outside their expertise.

Oh definitely, you're absolutely right. I'm guessing Motorola also has a better way of handling PR when they do encounter mistakes in the areas in which they're not experts...which is undeniably a significant reason this is has become a big issue for Apple. Although they are still considered a hardware company by many, mostly on the premise that they've been designing their own proprietary systems for decades to run their MacOS. However admittedly, I had to think about it a little and feel a little dumb not understanding the exaggeration of the bad placement issue. I'm probably far behind the discussion on the attitude of Apple so far. But essentially, this isn't so much of a hardware issue as it is a customer PR one. if the PR wasn't so initially bad and dismissive from Apple I'm sure this wouldn't have gained nearly as much footing of attention...hopefully they can get their image under control today so we can go back to being mad at BP.
posted by samsara at 7:05 AM on July 16, 2010


some amorphous group of "geeks" you feel is wrong about some very specific things.

No, no, I'm not. I've been pointing out that we, as geeks, have a propensity because we have our noses in the tech world, day after day, and lose sight of the bigger picture, and as a result, tend to overdramatize the issue(s). I'm pretty sure there's a name for this sort of logical fallacy.

Yes, the phone has a design problem. Yes, it affect many people. Yes, they should be held responsible. For fuck's sake, is it really worth the Massive ideological Battle that people want to invoke?

The rest of it feels blustery and defensive. But don't take my word for it. Here it is from a former Apple employee. That's perspective.

I'm not trying to "protect" Apple. It's just that it appears there is a large contingent of people happy to get overly dramatic when something "goes wrong" at Apple.
posted by grubi at 7:07 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't use a case either. Or rather, I use a sleeve-type case when the phone is in my pocket, and I remove it for use. The case I have been using for two years is a $15 fabric sleeve that I bought at the AT&T store. I need a replacement (the iPhone 4 is slimmer) and I've been eyeing Hard Graft, which makes excellent albeit expensive products.

Given the lengths that were gone to in order to steal and expose the phone you can't really blame them for being paranoid.

The most surprising thing about that whole situation (the prototype's "theft") was that the finder gave it to a website for $5,000. The story was published in April and supposedly he had found it several weeks prior, which means we're talking at least two full months prior to the official release. Think about how much money he could have made if he had offered it to somebody who would have done something actually nefarious with it. A really good counterfeit would have hit the street before the genuine article. Instead, he called Apple and tried to give it back. (They promptly hung up on him.)

That's another thing that always surprises me—the honesty of people who are holding virtual lottery tickets. Like the police officer who arrested Senator Larry Craig in that airport bathroom. The moment Craig held out his business card, that officer must have recognized the opportunity. "I could be a federal marshal tomorrow." Instead, he took out his handcuffs.
posted by cribcage at 7:07 AM on July 16, 2010


Microsoft is fair game for criticisms, but hands-off Apple?

Of course not, but many of the recent criticisms of Apple seem boil down to philosophy differences (open vs closed) with a complete blinders approach to Apple tactics and unwillingness to understand where Apple is coming from, IMO.

There are decent questions to ask about why this defect was "caught" in production and if it was, why Apple didn't do something more to fix it and of course their response to the problem. But there seems to be soooo much baggage that creeps into these things. Seriously, it gets into fanboi and anti-boi reactions to things Apple did years ago (Hah, they made a one button mouse, AMIRITE).

Personally, I'm looking for good solid constructive criticism of Apple, which rises above the crap I can read anywhere on the web. Yet Metafilter doesn't seem to rise to that bar, hence the frustration.
posted by new brand day at 7:09 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Instead, he called Apple and tried to give it back. (They promptly hung up on him.)

That is not how it went down, he sold it knowing Apple wanted it back.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:15 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


When it comes to phones, Motorola is a hardware company, and Apple is a software company. Notice the problems each of them have when they venture outside their expertise.

It sucks that Moto apparently has hogged up the Droid X with their crappy interface extensions. The base Android 2.1 system works great and doesn't need any hardware company shovelware thrown on top of it. This is an area where Apple has the advantage in that they control the software and hardware and for better or worse, the iPhone is theirs alone. Google created a great phone OS but they can't prevent Moto or LG or HTC from adding their own stuff on top. This issue crops up during upgrades too since you get your OS upgrade from the manufacture through the provider so I have to wait for Motorola and Verizon to get around to releasing 2.2 on the Droid while my wife's Nexus has had 2.2 for a month now.
posted by octothorpe at 7:16 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


First world problems is right. Louis C.K. summed it up best: "It's going to SPACE! Can you give it a second to get back from space?"
posted by emelenjr at 7:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Chinese tech counterfeiters aren't listed in the yellow pages.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:17 AM on July 16, 2010


I haven't been able to complete a phone call since June 23. I've had three iphone4s in that time and I do have the bumper. It's not a death grip problem or an antenna problem, and tape isn't fixing it. The problem looks like a combination of a faulty proximity sensor and that the bit of code that manages the phone call process keeps crashing. Calls place, but hang up randomly regardless of which hand is used.

My expectation was buying something called a "phone" would work as a phone. Yes, it's screaming fast, and yes, it has a pretty display, but if I'd wanted a touch I would have bought a touch. That's not such an unreasonable demand from any company, let alone Apple.
posted by arabelladragon at 7:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Instead, he called Apple and tried to give it back. (They promptly hung up on him.)

No, he called Apple help line, spoke to a single person low on the totem , who clearly didn't know about the new phone, surprise, surprise. Sure he had the name, via Facebook, of the Apple engineer who lost the phone, who was frantically calling the bar where he lost it, to see if anyone had followed the universal bar human code of turning lost items in but he decided to sell property that wasn't he knew wasn't his.
posted by new brand day at 7:21 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like to crack wise about it, but I strangely find myself agreeing with Blazecock Pileon: this is really mountain-molehill stuff, and Chuck Schumer should have better things to do.*

The only reason this is an issue, to me, is that Apple handled the initial response poorly by denying there was a problem in the first place. This is why the CEO shouldn't be answering random public emails.

* I also find myself agreeing with St Alia in this thread. And there was an earthquake in DC last night. Clearly the end times are upon us.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:22 AM on July 16, 2010


Of course not, but many of the recent criticisms of Apple seem boil down to philosophy differences (open vs closed) with a complete blinders approach to Apple tactics and unwillingness to understand where Apple is coming from, IMO.

I suspect the open vs. closed philosophy (including a willingness to be receptive to criticism or voiced concerns from outside sources,) probably has a great deal to do with whether production-line mistakes are caught before devices are released into the wild.

I work on Mac desktops and iMacs at work. My work laptop is a Powerbook. The experience can be wonderful. Smooth and efficient. It can also be somewhat limited compared to that of my Ubuntu-running laptop at home. And Apple's unwillingness to be backwards compatible for older hardware and software can be frustrating. Their philosophy is somewhat paternalistic. I understand the mindset behind it: among other things, maintaining greater overall control over their products is a method of long-term QC.

If their philosophy may be contributing to the problem, isn't that worth discussing and not dismissing?

But there seems to be soooo much baggage that creeps into these things.

As with the endless criticism of Microsoft, yes. OMG, Windows 3.1 was TOTALLY stolen from Apple and Xerox!

Perhaps we'd both be a lot happier if people focused on the issue at hand without knee-jerk attacks?

Personally, I'm looking for good solid constructive criticism of Apple, which rises above the crap I can read anywhere on the web. Yet Metafilter doesn't seem to rise to that bar, hence the frustration.

I usually think it's possible to have a decent conversation about most topics around here by ignoring the one-off snarky comments.
posted by zarq at 7:25 AM on July 16, 2010


Except when I'm the one making the one-off snarky comments, of course.
posted by zarq at 7:25 AM on July 16, 2010


Much as Toyota have enjoyed a harder hit than they would otherwise have with their recent problems.

Is Apple The New Toyota?
"Over the last 10 to 15 years, Apple has done a remarkable job of creating cutting-edge devices that have won the hearts of their users. It forged a special bond with customers and investors that other companies want but don't have. It seemed to be bulletproof. Suddenly, Apple may have a chink in its armor."
posted by ericb at 7:28 AM on July 16, 2010


If their philosophy may be contributing to the problem, isn't that worth discussing and not dismissing?

Of course, but then the question becomes 'is their philosophy contributing to the problem and if so, how?' not OMG Apple sucks can't they won't allow Flash on it!!

I usually think it's possible to have a decent conversation about most topics around here by ignoring the one-off snarky comments.

But then how will I let the world know that it's wrong and I'm right?!
posted by new brand day at 7:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do wonder with this obvious defect and the Mac mini's oddly placed SD slot (in the back, of all places) along with raising the price of it (by $100) means Apple is focusing too much on looks as opposed to making extraordinarily well designed products. They seem to have an obsession with thinness these days, putting that above the actual usefulness of some of its products. I'm curious to see what this year's iPod Touch will look like (fingers crossed for a 3G chip like the iPad).
posted by new brand day at 7:33 AM on July 16, 2010


samsara: Either that or we've set the bar so high for Apple that we're expecting them to bring us into the space age of civilization by inventing faster than light speed travel.

"We have discovered the cause of this dramatic rise in bar height, and it is both simple and surprising. Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate the height of the bar is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly sets the bar higher than it should. For example, we sometimes lose prototypes in bars. Users observing a rise in expectations are most likely in an area with very high Reality Distortion Field, but they don't know it because we have erroneously set the bar too high. Any big drop in expectations is because the high bar was never real in the first place."
posted by oulipian at 7:35 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool. The phone in question appears to have antennae on the outside. There may be a slightly different dynamic when people touch the antennae (ever played with a television aerial?).

But you keep going with your point, whatever it may be.
posted by grubi at 9:41 AM on July 16


My point is that it isn't bleeding edge stuff. It's 2010, humans have been working with antennas since the 19th century. Anyone with any engineering sense at all, including anyone who has ever played with a TV aerial, knows not to put antennas on the outside of the device where they can be touched because the result is unpredictable.

But since you wanted to just snark, instead of consider what I wrote, I'll submit this. I bet you that apple design the antenna this way on purpose for precisely the reason you mentioned, namely that in the case of TV, touching the antenna often (but not always) improves the signal. So they thought they would be clever, and put the antenna outside the phone to take advantage of this.

But the reason the analogy to TV is a terrible one is because (a) the TV doesn't transmit back to the broadcast tower, (b) the broadcast tower is immensely powerful often with a transmit power in excess of a megawatt, and (c) the TV frequency is exclusive. By contrast, a cell tower transmits under a kilowatt, and covers a very small area (increasingly the likelihood that users are at the edge of a cell), and has to share frequencies with other towers.

But a cell phone (and a wifi device for that matter) does not receive signals like a TV. They establish radio links, in which the phone and the tower are in constant two way communication, measuring channel conditions, loss, noise, etc. and negotiating power levels and timings. Placing the antenna outside where the gigantic human capacitor can touch it and drastically and randomly alter the channel conditions, wreaking havoc with the link.

If the whole point of industrial design is for form to follow function, and if the function of a wireless radio communications device is to transmit and receive radio frequency signals sent through the air via an antenna, then it follows that design that interferes with this is bad design. Therefore, the iPhone 4 represents bad design. Remember, design is not how it looks, but how it enables function.

Furthermore this isn't the first time Apple's had antenna/transmission problems. When the first iphone came out, it created chaos on AT&T's network, because essentially in-use phones were screaming at maximum power to the tower, drowning out other phones and causing service disruptions. In the latest generation, the iphone has a gigantic metal plate covering the metal antennas inside, which also negatively affects reception.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Were they forced to put the antenna on the outside? I assume that was a design decision.

Report: Apple knew about iPhone 4 antenna problems long before its release
"Apple's image for consumer friendliness took another hit today: Bloomberg reports that at least two experts warned CEO Steve Jobs about the iPhone 4's antenna problems long before it was released.

The news service, citing an unnamed source, says that Apple senior engineer and antenna expert Ruben Caballero told executives early in the planning process that the design might lead to dropped calls. The metal antenna needs to be divided into sections that can pick up different wireless radio frequencies. But the iPhone 4's design makes it possible for users holding the phone to form an electronic bridge between the sections.

Bloomberg cites another unnamed source who says that one of Apple's carrier partners, which it didn't identify, discovered the reception problem before June 24 when the phone was released. The phone is served by AT&T in the US, and overseas by Vodafone Group, France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, and Softbank."
posted by ericb at 7:37 AM on July 16, 2010


The metal antenna needs to be divided into sections that can pick up different wireless radio frequencies. But the iPhone 4's design makes it possible for users holding the phone to form an electronic bridge between the sections.

For the sake of clarity, it means that there are multiple antennas. Some very clever things can be done with antennas in close proximity as well (many of them dreamed up by Motorola, incidentally). For example, if you put separate antennas close together (not touching!), and you give them simple fractal shapes, they can resonate with precisely and specifically the frequency they are designed to receive boosting reception. This is another reason people put these antennas inside the phone.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:51 AM on July 16, 2010


Oh look, it's this thread again.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:00 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gruber is betting on something biggish going down with Apple's press conference.

Personally, I'd love to see Jobs tearing his black turtleneck off and wrestling with any reporter who thinks this is a serious issue.
posted by new brand day at 8:05 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm amused each time someone unironically uses the phrase "raise the bar" here, given the issue of weak signal strength.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:05 AM on July 16, 2010


Suddenly, Apple may have a chink in its armor."

Fucking RACISTS.
posted by grubi at 8:08 AM on July 16, 2010


Fucking RACISTS.

I sincerely hope you're joking.
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


And even if you're joking grubi, with all the love in the world, maybe you need to take a deep breath and a stroll anytime we get an Apple thread. We already have a Blazecock Pileon (<3), no need for another fiersome Apple warrior on our Apple bashing threads.

(The last part was kid! Kid! I jokey!)
posted by cavalier at 8:19 AM on July 16, 2010


Personally, I'd love to see Jobs tearing his black turtleneck off and wrestling with any reporter who thinks this is a serious issue.

I agree, this antenna issue is totally overblown. Who uses their phone to listen to the radio, anyway ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:21 AM on July 16, 2010


I sincerely hope you're joking.

Of course.
posted by grubi at 8:24 AM on July 16, 2010


We already have a Blazecock Pileon (<3>

And Rory Marinich! :-)

posted by grubi at 8:24 AM on July 16, 2010


The speech we'd like Steve Jobs to give tomorrow.
posted by mazola at 8:25 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a piece of plastic, glass, and metal that will be toxic waste in a few years. I'm pretty sure that nobody will be proud of vehement feelings about Apple when they're on their deathbed. Take a breath.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:27 AM on July 16, 2010


This is a complicated matter...
posted by mazola at 8:30 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm pretty sure that nobody will be proud of vehement feelings about Apple when they're on their deathbed.

I dunno, I'm pretty stubborn.
posted by grubi at 8:33 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


grubi wrote: "I agree. But knowing how clumsy I am sometimes"

Why not buy a phone that doesn't break if you drop it?

Nelson wrote: "And we've got a couple of articles claiming to have done some testing but no one being able to say, concretely, "this phone has 20% better call quality than that phone"."

Actually, there is. That's what those dBm thingies are. Sadly, a lot of manufacturers make it difficult or impossible to get the exact reading from your phone. When they do, it can be a very handy tool, and not only for comparing phones, but for getting a better idea of your chosen network's coverage.
posted by wierdo at 8:51 AM on July 16, 2010


Translation From Apple’s Unique Dialect of PR-Speak to English of the ‘Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4’
posted by new brand day at 8:58 AM on July 16, 2010


iPhone 4 antenna: What we know
"In prepping for Apple's Friday press conference, CNET outlines what it knows about the antenna so far and what it expects to learn."
posted by ericb at 9:01 AM on July 16, 2010


Why not buy a phone that doesn't break if you drop it?

Oh, my friend, no phone is safe in my possession. Things happen.
posted by grubi at 9:09 AM on July 16, 2010


Oh, my friend, no phone is safe in my possession. Things happen.

I once dropped a Motorola Startac down a flight of concrete stairs in the NYC subway. Darn thing bounced all the way down. A tiny piece of plastic chipped, but it was otherwise ok.

Now if I tried that with my Blackberry....
posted by zarq at 9:15 AM on July 16, 2010


I never know what anyone is talking about when they complain about their iphones.

I had a 3gs that I dropped daily, and dropped once into water and once into whiskey. Nothing happened to it. Once, I bobbled it, tried to snatch it out of the air before it fell and ended up slamming it to the ground on a wood floor like a spiked football. I never had a case. The last phone I had that was that hearty was an old Samsung clamshell that lasted me from 1998 to 2005 under the same conditions.

I now have the phone in question (4), and I can't even make it do the signal thing if I hold it that way on purpose, which is what it seems like you'd have to do to bridge the gap. Unless you're Herman Munster. Not monster-ist.
posted by cmoj at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Now if I tried that with my Blackberry....

I had a 7250 that was pretty much indestructible. The newer 8900 that I carry around now, not so much.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2010


If I were worried about dropping and breaking a phone (Apple or not), I'd buy an OtterBox. The Defender series cost $50 and are pretty indestructible, but even the more casual ones are solid.
posted by cribcage at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2010


dBm is not a sufficient measure of call quality. It's a decent instantaneous measure of cell tower signal strength, but doesn't tell you anything about congestion, or coding quality, or dynamically negotiated bandwidth for the moment, or backhaul contention, or any of the other factors that make up call quality.
posted by Nelson at 9:22 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Motorola and Samsung phones are, in my personal experience, very sturdy as a rule. I've had a couple of StarTACs and a Nextel phone that I couldn't destroy. The Nextel phone was actually usable as a weapon, I think. I hurled it against a metal pipe from about 20 feet away, and it didn't hurt the phone a bit! (I really wanted that phone to break)

I have a Droid now, and while it's not as durable as that, I've dropped it dozens of time. It doesn't have a case. It doesn't need one. It's pretty sturdy.

HTC phones, on the other hand ... not quite so strong.

I've dropped my iPod Touch enough times with no damage either, though. And my incredibly destructive coworker didn't manage to break his 3GS, so it can't be that flimsy.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:23 AM on July 16, 2010


Chuck Schumer should have better things to do.

I liked this response in an Engadget thread:

"Just because the senator wrote a letter to Apple does not mean he is putting everything else on his desk on the back burner. He can multitask, you know. He's not an iPhone."

heh
posted by ekroh at 9:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


zarq wrote: "Now if I tried that with my Blackberry...."

My E62, which is/was pretty much the standard blackberry form factor (not small like the curve), just a little thinner flew off my bicycle at about 20mph once. It bounced off my front wheel, slammed into the ground on the corner, cartwheeled for literally 50 feet, then slid, face down, along the asphalt path for another 50-75 feet. It had a couple of pretty nasty scratches on a couple of the corners, but was otherwise fine, even though the battery didn't fly off. It was still connected to my BT GPS puck, happily logging its position.

I've had some nasty drops with phones over the years, but that one still makes me cringe. It did, however, give me the confidence that it wasn't unreasonably risky to forgo a case.

iPhone owners talk about them being fragile, and nearly everyone I know who owns one uses a case, so I presumed they knew what they were talking about.

Oh, and the point of the story was, zarq, that a phone with the BB form factor can indeed take significant abuse. ;)
posted by wierdo at 9:27 AM on July 16, 2010


This is a PR problem in my opinion. Apple haters and lovers ought to keep away from the religious wars and see whether Apple finally does the right thing (a la J&J on the Tylenol poisonings lo decades ago). Not a recall, mind you, but a way for everyone to not lose the fight.
If Apple doesn't come across with a solid, executable plan to mitigate the open issue, then they're taking on not a huge risk, but pernicious reputational damage made worse by Steve Jobs' cult of personality - I mean, who else besides Steve Cook can you name that runs Apple? Other misfires (Apple ///, Lisa, Newton, the Performa series) come to mind, but they were whole products, unsuccessful as they were, and easily explained: we thought there was a market and we were wrong. Easy to move on from.
This is different issue altogether - who knew what when, and how did Apple apparently sacrifice its sterling reputation as an innovator to market cap envy?
Full disclosure - I've been a PC person forever, though during the Punic wars I had a pre-production Mac in summer 1983 for some time for my then-company, McGraw-Hill, to evaluate. That was an eye-opener, and I've (grudgingly) admired Apple for its insouciance, design elan and brilliance in making a generation of Mac users from collegs students with its pourchase programs through universities.
I wish Apple the best, because its constant irritation of all things Windows was the real catalyst for Microsoft's transformation to a halfway decent software company.
posted by nj_subgenius at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2010


Interesting we would be using Toyota as an example.


When Toyota Priuses started speeding up on their own, causing accidents and other such mayhem, the Japanese auto company initially blamed its drivers. For this seemingly tone-deaf reaction it was widely mocked. But now, the Wall Street Journal says a new study suggests Toyota might have been right all along when it claimed it really was the drivers' fault.

The Department of Transportation analyzed dozens of data recorders -- a car's "black box" -- from Priuses accused of accelerating suddenly. And what the agency found was that, at the time of the crash, the throttles were open and the brakes weren't engaged. Meaning all those people who said they floored the brake actually had their foot on the gas.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2010


I had a much easier time parsing this post once I realized that the phrase "metal bands" referred to strips made of metal. And not Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, et al.
posted by ErikaB at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2010


Is Apple The New Toyota?

A leader in its field unfairly pillioried in the press? You betcha.

A company known for quality having severe quality issues? I haven't experienced any, can't really comment on it.

A company taking too long to respond to quality issues that may be causing people to die? You'd think so, the way people are carrying on.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nelson wrote: "dBm is not a sufficient measure of call quality. It's a decent instantaneous measure of cell tower signal strength, but doesn't tell you anything about congestion, or coding quality, or dynamically negotiated bandwidth for the moment, or backhaul contention, or any of the other factors that make up call quality."

Yes, but it allows you to compare reception, which was the complaint.

And what are you on about with backhaul "contention" having anything to do with call quality? Or are you conflating voice calls with data use? For voice, you've either got a backhaul channel or you don't, ignoring handovers, of course.

And your phone isn't going to have an effect on what codec the network is telling your phone to use, what amount of error correction the network has your phone use, or the SNR, for that matter (aside from minor variations in receiver noise in the case of SNR).

The fact of the matter is that if one phone reports -80dBm from a particular cell site and another simultaneously reports -90dBm from that same cell site, conclusions can be drawn from that fact alone.
posted by wierdo at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2010


PS: Mike Markkula would never have let this happen, God rest his soul.
posted by nj_subgenius at 9:37 AM on July 16, 2010


some threads reeeeaally need a "donate a quarter to charity before you *post comment*" button and they can usually be spotted with a ten-foot pole.
that being said...meh, all people do is complain about their phones...before that it was computers, and before that, cars. know what they used to complain about the quality of back-in-the-day? furniture. look around you. have you ever seen so much crappy, low-quality, pressed fiberboard furniture in your life? i for one think steve jobs should buy us all louis quatorze chairs.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think Steve is probably more of an Eames guy.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:43 AM on July 16, 2010


Press conference starts in five minutes. You can follow the liveblog at Engadget, if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:55 AM on July 16, 2010


Buy Finnish.
posted by L'OM at 9:57 AM on July 16, 2010


Oh, and the point of the story was, zarq, that a phone with the BB form factor can indeed take significant abuse. ;)

Awesome!!

*breaks out the hammers*
posted by zarq at 9:58 AM on July 16, 2010


I once dropped a Motorola Startac down a flight of concrete stairs in the NYC subway. Darn thing bounced all the way down. A tiny piece of plastic chipped, but it was otherwise ok.

Now if I tried that with my Blackberry....


Of course, Startacs don't allow me much access to dirty pictures. Trade off, I suppose.
posted by grubi at 9:59 AM on July 16, 2010


Of course, I've dropped my 3GS about eight different times (with and without a case) and have not had a single problem as a result (other than a scratch or two in the plastic). YMMV
posted by grubi at 10:02 AM on July 16, 2010


I had a much easier time parsing this post once I realized that the phrase "metal bands" referred to strips made of metal. And not Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, et al.

Indeed.
posted by kersplunk at 10:02 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just popping in to say I have one and have had no reception issues. But "Area Man Pretty Happy With New Phone" makes for a pretty unsensationalistic headline. Terrible for click-through revenue.
posted by sourwookie at 10:03 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Another liveblog at CNET.
posted by ericb at 10:03 AM on July 16, 2010


Steven just appeared on stage in flash of lighting. He's glowing.
posted by new brand day at 10:06 AM on July 16, 2010


"Area Man Pretty Happy With New Phone"

tl;dr
posted by grubi at 10:07 AM on July 16, 2010


This video opened the press conference.
posted by ericb at 10:08 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve (translation): I can't believe you made us show up for this shit, I thought you knew us.
posted by new brand day at 10:08 AM on July 16, 2010


Engadget are live blogging.
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: We've sold 3 million of them, you haters. Everyone loves us, so what's your problem?!
posted by new brand day at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: Ok, some of you are having problems, we got it, we've been working day and night looking into it, lay off, ok?!
posted by new brand day at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: Ok, losing the signal by gripping the phone sucks, but look other phones have problems too!
posted by new brand day at 10:11 AM on July 16, 2010


Ha. He said "butts."
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:11 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: See the Blackberry has issues too! We couldn't make a phone that could better than the market leader, so what's your issue? I don't see you guys going after them, WTF?!
posted by new brand day at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: "Now imagine if you had tinfoil hands! Just big old hands with tinfoil for skin filled with signal-blocking meat. No phone would work for you, you silly Hungry Man Dinner For One-handed freak!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:13 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Steve: HTC Droid? It has issues too, see?! Think on that haters!
posted by new brand day at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2010


Holy shit. I love my Apple products as much as the next not-quite-fanboy-but-they-work-well-for-me guy but is Jobs really doing the "but other phones have problems too!" thing?

Is he a MeFite?
posted by bondcliff at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steven: Samsung? yeah, we can't make phone better than them either on this issue, so seriously, pipe down in the peanut gallery, capiche?
posted by new brand day at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: I eat children and worship Satan!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: "But then again, if you have foil for hands and are just filled with meat, you wouldn't need a phone anyways. You would need a doctor. Or a coffin. Or a Droid, because let's be real here folks, Droid users smell funny."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: Ok, maybe we fucked up the physical design A LITTLE BIT.
posted by new brand day at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2010


"This was 22 days ago... we haven't had out head in the sand. We've been working on this presentation of excuses!"
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve: and we're stopped lying about the signal strength, so you'll see it's really not that bad.
posted by new brand day at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2010


"Phones aren't perfect"

You just know The Daily Show is going to find some clip of Jobs claiming the iPhone is perfect.
posted by bondcliff at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Did he really just suggest the gap between the metal bands is a "feature" to helpfully tell people where not to touch? Or am I just reading the liveblog wrong, like a game of Operator?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2010


Pff. Everyone knows that's Steve's bedroom.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2010


Quiet!

I'm trying to listen to the presentation!
posted by mazola at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Steve: Now check out my chamber of death and despair!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: "Sen. Scott Brown's daughters are prostitutes."
posted by bondcliff at 10:18 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: Look, we have a lot of smart people on staff. We just didn't think that ya'll would bitch that much, 'cause hey MULTI-TASKING (in a way).
posted by new brand day at 10:18 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: "And here you see one of our 18 PhDs rallying the little blue gnome army that controls signal strength."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:18 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve: Hello ladies! We have the anechoic chamber your anechoic chamber could sound like!
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:18 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is a total non-apology apology.
posted by proj at 10:18 AM on July 16, 2010


U2 recorded their last album in that room.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on July 16, 2010


What cute photography! I WANT A ANECHOIC CHAMBER! TO POOP I.. errr...

Yeah. Definitely got his guns out on this.
posted by cavalier at 10:19 AM on July 16, 2010


Also "seeing bars drop" is not the same thing as "having a call drop."
posted by proj at 10:19 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: .55% have complained about this shit, so STFU about it already Gizmondo, you're not welcome here.
posted by new brand day at 10:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the Endgadget live blog:
"This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren't perfect. It's a challenge for the whole industry. Every phone has weak spots. ... Now we're not perfect. We made it very visible with a little help from our friends on websites. We put this little line here... 'here's where you touch it everybody!' ... We knew that you could see bars drop on the phone when you hold it in a certain way, it's a fact, phones aren't perfect. But people are reporting better reception with this antenna than they've ever seen before."
posted by ericb at 10:20 AM on July 16, 2010


Complainers get a sticker which always shows full bars.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: Ok, other phones can be deathgripped too, if you find some really bizarre position. Thaat our phone drops twice the dBm of other phones, and screws up every lefthanded user who's not living under a cell? Well, fuck them. They can go buy one of those other phones which are which are just as bad. Waaaah, waahhh wahhh.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:21 AM on July 16, 2010


He wants the one with the bigger GBs.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because you would have thought 'Jesus, it must be a lot of users complaining about this'

And all this time I've been calling him Steve.
posted by bondcliff at 10:22 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve: AT&T says only 1.7 are returning the phone, which is less than the 6 percent return rate of the 3GS, so STFU about this already!
posted by new brand day at 10:22 AM on July 16, 2010


You know, I called AT&T once to complain about my iPhone reception in San Francisco. They had the audacity to tell me they had no network problems in San Francisco, because no one ever called to complain.

"And one more thing.. look under your seats, everyone, free bumpers!"
posted by Nelson at 10:22 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haters hate numbers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:22 AM on July 16, 2010


[unfunny quip]
posted by entropicamericana at 10:23 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


People haven't been bringing them back because they're still stuck with the contract, and they thought you know, we might actually fix it? Well, that just shows there's no problem!
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:23 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Steve: Attack your cellphone's weak spots for massive damage!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:25 AM on July 16, 2010


"AT&T has a 'buyer's remorse' clause, you can return a phone no questions asked. Apple has the same thing."
posted by ericb at 10:25 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve: AT&T call drop rates? Ok, you got us there, the iPhone 4 drops more calls than the 3GS. But it's not by that much, so chill out otu this.
posted by new brand day at 10:25 AM on July 16, 2010


For gods sake Blazecock Pileon, give it up with the Reality Distortion Field. Putting up a bunch of bullshit charts 'they're worse than us!!!!' does not count as objective fucking numbers, nor does it count as dealing with the fucking problem.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:25 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


nor does it count as dealing with the fucking problem

He hasn't even finished speaking. Give it up with the Hatred Hate Field.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This just in:

Apple announces voluntary recall program.

Users can go to any Apple Store Genius bar and have their hands physically altered to prevent reception problems.

Does not cosmetically alter iPhone.

posted by mazola at 10:26 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


I like the part where they won't talk about the rate of dropped iPhone calls on AT&T vs, say, various Android phones on Verizon. The big joke about this whole antenna / bars display kerfuffle is it's totally ignoring the awful service AT&T / Apple have been providing for the past 3+ years.
posted by Nelson at 10:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Steve: We changed the look of the iPhone 4, not a lot cases available for it, which kinda points out how we fucked up in terms of not handling this better in the design stage.
posted by new brand day at 10:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about *you* wait till he finishes before setting up for the fanboi blowjob for him, and calling us all haters, mmmkay?
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, fanboys aren't perfect...
posted by Artw at 10:28 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: tl;dr: This is isn't a big issue, but for some of you it is, so after you've bitched for several weeks, we're gonna do something about that.
posted by new brand day at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2010


*gasp* Steve cares for me! This totally justifies the macaroni statue I'm building! Take that, Mom!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2010


How about *you* wait until he finishes before you froth at the mouth?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2010


How about you both wait and just shut up for now?
posted by proj at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: first: iOS update 4.0.1, where we start telling the truth about bar truth.
posted by new brand day at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2010


Yay, free bumpers for y'all!
posted by ericb at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2010


Sometimes I think Steve spends so much time checking his email, I wonder how he gets anything else done.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2010


Steven: second: everyone gets a fuckign free bumper. If you've already bought one, you can get a fucking refund.
posted by new brand day at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: but we cant' make bumpers fast enough, so you're going to have a choice. Starting next week, log into our site, pick a case, we'll send it to you. Now STFU and be happy.
posted by new brand day at 10:31 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve: "Bumpers for some, miniature American flags for others!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Free case or free refund if you want. Dude's a fuckin' salesman. Respect.
posted by cavalier at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: If you're still not happy, return the damn phone, you wont' have pay a restocking fee and you'll be out of our damn hair.
posted by new brand day at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2010


Fuck, I should be in the bumper business.
posted by wcfields at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2010


"Free case for every iPhone purchased through September 30."

Hmmm ... does that mean there might be some other "fix" coming down the pike?
posted by ericb at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2010


Free bumper or a full, unconditional refund, no restocking fee. Suck it, haters.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you guys don't stop fighting I'm going to turn this website around, head home, and nobody gets any free bumpers.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:33 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Way upthread: I think the idea that the 3G case "hid" the problem from them was debunked as the conspiracy theorists point to the glaring fact that up to this release, Apple has never sold a case for the iPhone through their own store, let alone had one available on day one for the low price of $29.

From Engadget's liveblog: "When the 3GS came out, we didn't change the design from the 3G. So there were already lots of cases out there for the phone. And more than 80% of new buyers left the store with a case. Now the new phone doesn't fit those cases, and we can't make these bumpers fast enough, so only 20% leave the store with a case... but we're going to figure it out."

That "glaring fact" seems to be, like so many conspiracy theories, entirely fabricated.
posted by malocchio at 10:33 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: other notes: yeah, we're having proximity sensor issues, we're looking into it. White iPhones shipping soon and we'll continue our domination of this plane of existence by bringing the iPhone to 17 more countries.
posted by new brand day at 10:33 AM on July 16, 2010


I'm sorry for you Blazecock Pileon, I really am. That you feel so personally persecuted because not everyone thinks Steve jobs is Jesus, and everything that comes out of apple is perfect in every way, and that everything he says is gospel truth - and anyone who doesn't think that is obviously a frothing irrational hater, determined to do down poor poor apple at any opportunity.

this is about you. this isn't about me. That you seem to be taking it very personally that some of us aren't impressed is your problem, not mine.

feel free to call me "a hater". It's a load of bollocks, you know that it's a load of bollocks, but it makes you happy, so what the hell. Everyone who thinks that apple isn't perfect regardless of evidence is a hater according to you, so yeah. What's the fecking point.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:34 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"We're tracking some problems with the proximity sensor and we're working on it."
posted by ericb at 10:34 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: Don't you know how much we love you? Why are you being mean to us?! It hurts us.
posted by new brand day at 10:34 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: Haven't we always been there for each other? Remember the '90s? We made it through that, we can make it through this!
posted by new brand day at 10:35 AM on July 16, 2010


Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.

posted by entropicamericana at 10:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Steve: Everything we've done, we've done FOR YOU. All we want is your love and credit card number on file.
posted by new brand day at 10:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was hoping Steve would have the CEO of Belkin come on stage to talk about their case offerings a-la how they circle-jerk over the new Apps during Keynotes.
posted by wcfields at 10:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


this is about you. this isn't about me

Don't invert things. You were frothing at the mouth. Think about your irrational overreaction here, so that you might not flip out next time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:37 AM on July 16, 2010


He really, really loves us!
posted by ericb at 10:37 AM on July 16, 2010


Oh, and your unconditional refund? doesn't apply in the UK. So piss off, fanboi.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:37 AM on July 16, 2010


so, am i getting my chair or not? how much to upgrade to a really nice writing desk?
posted by sexyrobot at 10:37 AM on July 16, 2010


I don't know how it feels to be loved by Steve Jobs.

*quietly puts iPhone in pocket*
posted by cavalier at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2010


"We love our users so much that we built 300 Apple retails stores for them to give them the best buying experience in the world... with Genius bars, and seminars."

And Target loves me, too!
posted by ericb at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Arkhan, take a cigarette break or take it to email.
posted by cavalier at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve's kinda potty-mouthed today. I mean, extremely mildly potty-mouthed, but more than I'm used to hearing at corporate press conferences. Maybe this is how he shows candidness. He's not His Holiness Steve right now, he's just Uncle Steve. Come get your free bumper and he'll throw in a hug and a brewski at no extra charge.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: I know I have trouble communicating with you, I like to think things through before I bring them up for discussion, but really, I do love you. And dammit, we made the best phone in the world. If you love us, really love us, you'd realize that and we could put this nasty episode behind us.
posted by new brand day at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2010


You know, a straight up admission that it's a design flaw wouldn't go amiss.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2010


Hmmm ... does that mean there might be some other "fix" coming down the pike?

Exactly, Now I'm wondering if I should just wait until October to upgrade my 3g and obtain my suprise and delight.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2010


No, people, don't you know the iPod Socks were created as a cover to prevent iPods from shattering into a million pieces from cold temperatures? APPLE HAS BEEN DOING THIS SORT OF THING ALL ALONG.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2010


THIS IS ADOBES FAULT!
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2010


In closing: "So the heart of the problem is, smartphones have issues, and we made it easy to exploit the issue by showing people where to hold the phone to cover the antenna. But the data supports the fact that the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone in the world, and there is no Antennagate... there is a challenge for the entire smartphone industry to improve its antenna technology so there are no weak spots. So today we're going to try and take care of our customers."
posted by ericb at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: "Well, that's it for me. I need to go reconnect with our beloved users." ~pulls out boombox, queues up "In Your Eyes", heads off into the mist~
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2010


BP, come on, man. We're pretty much on the same side here. Free bumpers is nice. But it ain't really enough.
posted by grubi at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2010


Play him off, fart piano...
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"We made it easy for you to fuck up your own calls."
posted by ericb at 10:40 AM on July 16, 2010


I didn't start this cavalier, nor was I the one that started throwing personal insults. But yeah, I'm done with dealing with BP for today. He can find someone else to troll.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve, dude. Just say "We goofed. And WE'RE SORRY." And then do whatever marketing shit you were planning (bumpers, etc).
posted by grubi at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, Arkhan. Just wow.
posted by sourwookie at 10:43 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It'll be interesting to see how many people return their phone in the next two weeks. Apple bumpers don't fix proximity sensors, and they don't sound like they're going to fix the proximity sensor before the preorderer 30 days are up.
posted by arabelladragon at 10:43 AM on July 16, 2010


Free bumpers is nice. But it ain't really enough.

Like I said in the other open Apple thread, if they give a full, no-questions-asked refund then that seems fair, and that's what they're doing if the case is insufficient. Apparently ~99.5% are happy enough with the phone that it's already a non-issue. What more can they do? Foot rubs? Personalized apologies?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


hello dearies...does your robot squeak like an old screen door?
posted by sexyrobot at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


10:09AM "This was 22 days ago... we haven't had out head in the sand. We've been working on this for just 22 days. We are an engineering company, and we want to find out what the real problem is. We've been working our butts off so we can come up with real solutions."

10:35AM "In ending, I'd like to talk about how we make decisions. We love our users, we love them. We try to surprise and delight them... and we work our asses off."

10:36AM "...We've worked the last 22 days on this trying to solve the problem. And we think we've gotten to the heart of the problem."

10:39AM "I'm doing fine, I was doing better earlier in the week when I was on vacation in Hawaii."
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:45 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Free bumper or a full, unconditional refund, no restocking fee.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

Somehow.
posted by sourwookie at 10:46 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a non-issue everybody! A non-issue! Here's some free stuff to fix the problem you can't be having, because it's not a design flaw!
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you guys realize you're fighting over a fucking phone and a computer company? I mean, really.

In all seriousness, I think he should have admitted to a design flaw rather than pointing the finger at all the other phones that also have problems. As a salesman, he should know better than to bring up the competition like that.

That said, I think he's correct that this whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. There is a problem but very few people have experienced the problem (unless they were specifically attempting to recreate it) and I think a lot of the complaints have mostly been from people who are just looking for any reason at all to attack Apple because, you know, they're Apple.

I like my iPhone. But, c'maan, it's just a goddamn phone. I'm about as attached to it as I'd be attached to a pet goldfish. If need be I'd flush it down the toilet in a second and move on with my life.

It's a fucking phone. It's nice. So are lots of other phones. But they're, ya know, phones.
posted by bondcliff at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


ArtW: First they're not doing enough and now they're doing too much?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


My thoughts: Steve still comes off as bit arrogant, but he has point, IMO, this doesn't seem as big of a deal and the press is often behaving more as a pack of wolves at times. Apple could have done more to appear contrite and garner a bit of good will, but on the flip they understandably don't want to set a precedent. and dammit, it's still a fine, fine device.
posted by new brand day at 10:49 AM on July 16, 2010


It's a non-issue everybody!

Wow. Just, wow.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2010


Actually, BP, I would love a foot rub, but who wouldn't?
posted by new brand day at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2010


It's a fucking phone. It's nice. So are lots of other phones. But they're, ya know, phones.

What the hell are you doing in this thread?
posted by mazola at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you guys realize you're fighting over a fucking phone and a computer company?

Agreed. And even more telling is the fact that the ones most angry and vocal about it are the people who don't even have one!

Sheesh. Are these the same people who want to legislate what others do in their bedrooms?
posted by sourwookie at 10:51 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


In an alternate universe where Steve hadn't gone after Gizmodo so hard I wonder if this whole thing would have blown over much quicker.
posted by aspo at 10:52 AM on July 16, 2010


So good on Apple for offering the refund. Presumably it doesn't get you out of the at&t contract, though?

That's really all one can ask for (presuming it applies in your region), although it would have been nice for them to have not fucked it up in the first place.
posted by wierdo at 10:52 AM on July 16, 2010


Steve: "Remember when you saw only one set of footprints? It was then that I carried you"
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:52 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


So good on Apple for offering the refund. Presumably it doesn't get you out of the at&t contract, though?

actually, they said they thought it would get a person out of the contract, but don't quote them on it, obviously.
posted by new brand day at 10:53 AM on July 16, 2010


Actually, BP, I would love a foot rub, but who wouldn't?

Seriously. No offer of a foot rub is pretty disappointing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:54 AM on July 16, 2010


What the hell are you doing in this thread?

I came in to find a lighthearted discussion about a minor flaw in a product that I use and enjoy but I seem to have stumbled into a holy war.

My mistake.
posted by bondcliff at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2010


And yes, I do not appreciate him spreading the falsehood that other phones have as drastic an issue as the iPhone 4, but whatever. At least it has some basis in reality, even if Apple's signal loss is 50 times worse than many others.
posted by wierdo at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems like AT&T contracts will be refunded:

10:48AM Q: Will there be refunds for AT&T contracts?
A: I believe so, yes.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2010


So this "free bumper" thing is kind of like how Nintendo gave out those cases for their Wii controllers after the controllers were slipping out of peoples hands and into their tvs?
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2010


Interesting. That implies an out if you're just done with the whole AT&T thing... (1) upgrade to iPhone4 (2) "ooh I don't like it." (3) LATER SUCKERS!
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on July 16, 2010


In an alternate universe where Steve hadn't gone after Gizmodo so hard I wonder if this whole thing would have blown over much quicker.

Nah. It would have happened without the Gizmodo theft. Apple fanboys make Apple easy to hate. (disclaimer, I own a Mac Pro, Macbook Pro, Macbook, iPod and iPhone. I like their products, I hate their religion.)
posted by eyeballkid at 10:58 AM on July 16, 2010


Why wouldn't AT&T just roll you back to the terms of your previous contract?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:58 AM on July 16, 2010


I think AT&T would probably have some sort of recourse on that, Artw. Optimism and all.
posted by cavalier at 10:58 AM on July 16, 2010


Do you guys realize you're fighting over a fucking phone and a computer company?

This is the internet. It doesn't even matter what the debate is. All that matter is that there is a debate, and there are people willing to argue on both sides, and its Friday afternoon in the middle of the summer.
posted by smackfu at 10:58 AM on July 16, 2010


It's a fucking phone. It's nice. So are lots of other phones. But they're, ya know, phones.

Cell phones are an integral part of life for many of us. They're often an essential part of our jobs and personal lives. Five billion texts are sent every month in the US.

So yes, it matters a great deal to some of us. Apple is a large cell phone manufacturer, who stands at the forefront of its industry in design, functionality and "firsts." Even if we don't own one of their products it stands to reason that others may follow their lead in the way they treat their own customers, just as Apple has let the way in other areas.
posted by zarq at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2010


...err, Tim Cook. So Sorry.
posted by nj_subgenius at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2010


And on not preview: Very good on them for getting at&t on board.

Also, the real reason for putting the antennas on the outside just occurred to me: it allows the phone to be thinner. I can't believe it took me that long to realize it. When you're looking for fractions of a millimeter, even the antennas get big.
posted by wierdo at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2010


And a hot fuckin' summer at that!
posted by ericb at 11:00 AM on July 16, 2010


And a hot fuckin' summer at that!

Oops. NOT-HEMISPHERE-IST!
posted by ericb at 11:03 AM on July 16, 2010


This is the internet. It doesn't even matter what the debate is.

YES IT DOES MATTER!
posted by bondcliff at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are these the same people who want to legislate what others do in their bedrooms?

Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by kmz at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


it allows the phone to be thinner.

and as Jobs said, leave more room for the battery. Yes, it sucks that this occurs, but if the fix is case or bumper, then that doesn't seem that big of an issue. In a perfect world, the problem wouldn't be there, sure and Apple could and should have done better on this issue and I expect them to do better in the future. But hey, the fix is really easy.
posted by new brand day at 11:05 AM on July 16, 2010


John Gruber: Do any of you use the cases? I don't.
Steve: Well I don't. And I get better reception, I hold it like this [death grip] and never see problems.


...and then they make out.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]



Are these the same people who want to legislate what others do in their bedrooms?

Are you fucking kidding me?


It was just an example of people getting angry and opinionated about something that has nothing to do with them. Perhaps I could have picked less of a "hot-button" example.
posted by sourwookie at 11:08 AM on July 16, 2010


Free bumpers is nice. But it ain't really enough.

I don't know. I won't be collecting a bumper because I don't like that style of case. But assuming Apple's numbers are right, it seems like a recall would be disproportionate. They could offer a rebate to everybody who has bought the phone, but that would look weasely and wouldn't fix anything. If the bumper fixes the problem, then (1) the problem is out in the open now, (2) prospective buyers can look at the statistics and decide to take their chances with or without a bumper, and (3) dissatisfied customers can get a refund. That doesn't seem unreasonable. What should Apple have done instead?
posted by cribcage at 11:09 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are these the same people who want to legislate what others do in their bedrooms?

Yes, I would like to legislate what goes on in your bedroom, especially if you're using a PC laptop.
posted by new brand day at 11:09 AM on July 16, 2010


I thought the 'buyers remorse' free refund already existed. Is he extending the period you can do that?

In the sub-universe of Apple Fanboy Customers, I can imagine a LOT of people not returning the phone because they were expecting Apple to actually FIX THE PROBLEM, so now that they know it won't, expect that .5% to turn into a lot bigger percentage.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


they were expecting Apple to actually FIX THE PROBLEM

I read responses like this and wonder exactly what the unrealistic expectation is. What more can they do? How can we go beyond foot rubs?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:16 AM on July 16, 2010


Plo chops.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Interesting comment from the Q&A going on:
To understand Apple, one of our biggest insights came about 8 years ago. We didn't want to get into any business where we didn't own or control the primary technology. Because if someone else owns it, they're going to beat you in the end. And in the computer business, we thought software was the most important tech. And we made our own OS. Our big insight 8 years ago was that for most areas of consumer electronics, it was going to shift from big displays or optical pickup heads for DVDs being important, or radios in cell phones, to software being the most important component. And we realized, we were pretty good at software. And so the iPod really proved that to ourselves, that we could do that, and we brought that to the phone business.
posted by new brand day at 11:22 AM on July 16, 2010


Are these the same people who want to legislate what others do in their bedrooms?

They also have a great deal to tell you about where that bedroom is, how close your nearest neighbor is, and if you use vegan condoms.
posted by nomisxid at 11:22 AM on July 16, 2010


...and then they make out.

The failure of logic in the quoted comment needs some explanation, if only because John Gruber is actually pretty objective when it comes to tech journalism. If Gruber says that he doesn't use a case and implies that most people would not want to use the case, Artw, that means he doesn't think the case is a good idea.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 AM on July 16, 2010


Closing comment from Jobs: "Well, thank you for coming this morning. Has this helped? Great. I wish we could have done it in the first 48 hours, but then you wouldn't have had so much to write about. Anyway, thank you."

Is it wrong to hear that translated as "Thanks for dragging me off vacation you buzzards, I hope you understand the full story now and will quit screaming like a bunch of children. Now fuck you, you've taken up too much of my day. You know where the door is."
posted by new brand day at 11:27 AM on July 16, 2010


Man, I liked Apple back in the 90's and early 00's when it was a scrappy little computer company.
posted by hellojed at 11:29 AM on July 16, 2010


holy fucking shit, metafilter. i know we always say hot topic issues here are declawing cats and apple, but shit. i mean, come on.

i'm not mad, i'm just disappointed.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:32 AM on July 16, 2010


Free bumpers and no questions asked refunds seems like a decent way to deal with this issue. I'm not sure what else they could do, a recall would be much use if it's a design issue.
posted by octothorpe at 11:33 AM on July 16, 2010


Well, yeah, good on them for that.


Pompous weaselry, unpologies and weird corporate passive aggression on the other hand invites, and gets, mockery.
posted by Artw at 11:47 AM on July 16, 2010


Goddamn, I'd rather listen to metafilter rant about Israel than Apple.
posted by boo_radley at 11:50 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pompous weaselry, unpologies and weird corporate passive aggression on the other hand invites, and gets, mockery.

Hee. I enjoyed mocking Steve, but really, IMO, they do have a point and I kinda admire them for making it. It does seem to be an exceptional device and they're not going to bow and scrape to demand forgiveness. Good on them, but the free bumpers should have been done much sooner.
posted by new brand day at 11:51 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Goddamn, I'd rather listen to metafilter rant about Israel than Apple.

Thanks for making the 327th comment in the thread!
posted by new brand day at 11:52 AM on July 16, 2010


Click 'favorite' if you think Apple did the right thing.
posted by mazola at 11:53 AM on July 16, 2010


Click 'favorite' if you think Apple did the wrong thing.
posted by mazola at 11:53 AM on July 16, 2010


Hrmph! Suddenly nobody cares.
posted by mazola at 11:56 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


*laughs*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:56 AM on July 16, 2010


new brand day: "Thanks for making the 327th comment in the thread!"

And thank you for liveblogging Apple's event!
posted by boo_radley at 11:58 AM on July 16, 2010


Click favorite if you think favorite click whoring is a despicable thing to do.
posted by seanyboy at 12:00 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we all get back to hating on AT*T? Seriously, where are they in this discussion?
posted by Nelson at 12:00 PM on July 16, 2010


if only because John Gruber is actually pretty objective when it comes to tech journalism

Eh, he has periods of objectiveness in what he writes. But he will never pass up a chance to link to a story that's negative on Microsoft or other Apple competitors.
posted by smackfu at 12:04 PM on July 16, 2010


Can we all get back to hating on AT*T?

Hating AT-ATs? What kind of monster are you?!

Now, them scout walkers can take a flying leap.
posted by grubi at 12:08 PM on July 16, 2010


Okay, let's just deal with the logic in that comment, then. Gruber's basically calling out three of Apple's top people in a room full of bloggers, for offering a case to people who for the most part, Gruber implies, do not want a case. This does not seem like rational behavior for a tech journalist who apparently makes out with Steve Jobs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:12 PM on July 16, 2010


Gruber is Apple's Paul Thurrott. He's a lot smarter than Thurrott, but the tone of his coverage is similarly obsequious.
posted by killdevil at 12:16 PM on July 16, 2010


ArkhanJG hit the trifecta:
    1. Called someone a fanboy. 2. Spelled it "fanboi." 3. Asserted that the "fanboi" was giving out (homosexual?) blowJobs.
If only he would've thrown "hipster" in there somehow!
posted by defenestration at 12:19 PM on July 16, 2010


This does not seem like rational behavior for a tech journalist who apparently makes out with Steve Jobs.

He would totally make out with Steve Jobs though.
posted by smackfu at 12:20 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


ArkhanJG hit the trifecta

Meh. Leave him alone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:21 PM on July 16, 2010


He would totally make out with Steve Jobs though

This is so much funnier if you read it with Anthony Michael Hall's voice from The Breakfast Club.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:26 PM on July 16, 2010


Press conference and consumer information.
posted by mazola at 12:28 PM on July 16, 2010


Gruber is Apple's Paul Thurrott. He's a lot smarter than Thurrott, but the tone of his coverage is similarly obsequious.

*jeez* He's just like Thurrott, except he's not as much of a kiss-ass, smarter, better informed, and actually willing to look critically at the company he covers...

...so he's nothing like Thurott.
posted by grubi at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Heh.
posted by bondcliff at 12:35 PM on July 16, 2010


This will play as an absolute homerun outside of all but the most dedicated tech communities and Apple hatred convocations. I've always thought these discussions are absurd. I have an iPhone 4 (see below) but I also use my Zune and am very happy with it, although people mock that too. I like subscription music model. *shrug*

They've sold 3 million of these phones, 2.9 million of those to people who don't live in tech forums. Most of those people don't know anything about the antenna situation except reading something vague about it on CNN in the past couple of days. Most people are not having trouble, despite the witchhunt and beating the bushes, driven primarily by the usual Apple anti-fans, and in this case by Gizmodo and their loyal fans and compatriots (note: I am a fan of Gizmodo).

This has absolutely, without question, been blown completely out of proportion. Apple and their shareholders should revel in this. This would be like Proctor Silex having to hold a press conference because less than 1% of its toasters cook the bread too dark. Sometimes. Could you imagine having this kind of world presence??? I'm willing as of this press conference today to call Apple the most influential company in the world.

Average Consumer: My phone is fine. I love it! What, some people had trouble, so Apple is offering me a free refund or a free case? Hey, thanks Apple! Those guys are super. I should maybe look at one of their laptops someday.

I have had no issues that I can tell with my iPhone 4 dropping calls any more than my previous 3G, but I use a headset a lot of the time. When using it handheld, I've not noticed more dropped calls, but I have had the proximity sensor act wonky, and accidentally mute calls on occasion.

Also, and most notably, the only complaint I've seen now of people not being satisfied is that Apple was not willing to more strongly denounce its own product and more viciously criticize its own competency and engineering. Who would do that?

You're going to hate Apple until Steve personally apologizes to each of you, most of whom doing the bitching don't even have iPhones since you are Apple haters?

Yes. Apple is the most influential company in the entire world.

[Note: Not an Apple fanboy, just a happy consumer of some of their products. I use PCs for work and for home, Windows even. I know, pity me. But I do use Chrome, so I'm kinda cool. Right?]
posted by discountfortunecookie at 12:41 PM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


You're going to hate Apple until Steve personally apologizes to each of you...

Well, there was talk of foot rubs...
posted by new brand day at 12:43 PM on July 16, 2010


Also, video of the press conference is up
posted by new brand day at 12:50 PM on July 16, 2010


Also apple has posted all the videos of signal loss on competitor phones, and some more about the spikey room.
posted by Artw at 1:00 PM on July 16, 2010


So, my opinions, for what they're worth: this was a pretty great press event. They really took control of the issue. Most important, they offered to make good for anyone who was unhappy with their iPhone. And all those stats were basically a big STFU to the tech journalists who had made a lot of noise over the issue.

What I found odd was that they basically admitted that the iPhone 4 dropped more calls than the 3G which directly contradicts a lot of anecdotal reports where people say how much better it is when it's not being death-gripped. Sort of a weak data point there.

But otherwise, man, this show is over. Gruber goes back to rubbing Jon Ive's toes just because he loves him.
posted by GuyZero at 1:06 PM on July 16, 2010


Also, $100M in antenna test facilities? HOLY SHIT. I knew Apple was serious but that's serious serious.

I'm gong to have my house lined with carbon-impregnated foam fingers.
posted by GuyZero at 1:11 PM on July 16, 2010


Oh, my friend, no phone is safe in my possession. Things happen.

Gorilla glass, that's what you need.

(Whether you also need a phone that will look like a giant tumour on the side of your head and run a really, really old version of Android is another matter.)

Full disclosure

The way this term has caught on is incredibly annoying. It used to be for people discussing an potential conflict of interest, usually pecuniary. There's something more than a trifle self-aggrandizing about it being whipped out as a precursor to rambling about one's PC choice.

How about *you* wait until he finishes before you froth at the mouth?

Free bumper or a full, unconditional refund, no restocking fee. Suck it, haters.

Don't invert things. You were frothing at the mouth. Think about your irrational overreaction here, so that you might not flip out next time.

I think you may actually need some sort of therapy. It's an electronics company with a faulty product, not someone depicting a major religious figure as a child molester.
posted by rodgerd at 1:12 PM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


I read a few people saying they were upset that they did not "explicitly" admit there was a design problem with the phone. I find this hard to grok. In terms of business salesmanship, Jobs did everything short of puling his pants down and say "OOPS ! OUR BAD!", but I guess his chest thumping and darn tootin' salesmanship of "We love you guys so much, we work so hard, we're gonna make this right", didn't sound enough like an admittance of fault. I tend to think these people don't understand how "business" works -- I agree with GuyZero, they totally controlled the issue. I was surprised with all the positioning statements that they would state they had more calls dropped than the 3GS, but I guess that was to dovetail into his "less than 1" statistic, which he thought was stronger. And yeah, it wasn't too bad.
posted by cavalier at 1:16 PM on July 16, 2010


And all those stats were basically a big STFU to the tech journalists who had made a lot of noise over the issue.

What I found odd was that they basically admitted that the iPhone 4 dropped more calls than the 3G which directly contradicts a lot of anecdotal reports where people say how much better it is when it's not being death-gripped. Sort of a weak data point there.


Those two sentances you've got? Yeah, that sums up the nub of the problems: there is one, and while the faithful will focus more on the snark and less on the whole "doesn't actually work as a phone" bit, well...
posted by rodgerd at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2010


To say that the iPhone 4 doesn't work as a phone is hyperbole at best. I'm sure more call hours get logged in Cupertino on iPhones than on landlines these days. My point was more that if the new antenna is so much better why are they saying it's only ever-so-slightly worse? I mean, is it better? Or is it worse?
posted by GuyZero at 1:23 PM on July 16, 2010


This will play as an absolute homerun outside of all but the most dedicated tech communities and Apple hatred convocations

Well, take a look at how the NY Times covers it in their front page story. "insisted", "said he had data to prove it, but did not display it at the news conference , "videos seeming to demonstrate "
posted by smackfu at 1:25 PM on July 16, 2010


To say that the iPhone 4 doesn't work as a phone is hyperbole at best.

It gets lots of page-clicks, though. That kind of blogging/"journalism" is good for ad revenue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:25 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the NYT is just being cagey about taking Apple's word at face value but among engineers I think it's reasonably well-known that teeny-tiny smartphone antennas are pretty easy to mess up. They're on par with the Space Shuttle IMO - it's really quite a miracle that they work at all. The Space Shuttle should simply explode in a fireball at every launch. And those 2 mm square smartphone path antennas shouldn't be able to pick up a nuclear EMP much less a few watts of radio waves. Also, letting the user's hand ground out the antenna is kinda of a rookie mistake regardless of how awesome the antenna itself is. Some shellac guys?
posted by GuyZero at 1:28 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Right. I just mean that any news story is going to have to use that kind of tone since it is really just a press conference by a vested interest. And I assume that most people are going to see the stuff in a news story.
posted by smackfu at 1:30 PM on July 16, 2010


I read a few people saying they were upset that they did not "explicitly" admit there was a design problem with the phone.

More than likely this was the legal department saying "OH HELL NO"

"But I'm Steve Jobs."

"I don't care if you're God with open source DNA, you are not going to explicit say 'We're sorry' or 'There's problem' and open us to law suits, got it"

"ok"

"Good, now leave me alone, my afternoon snack of puppies and kittens is here."
posted by new brand day at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2010


Unless the story was by Mossberg or Gruber in which case words like "incontrovertible" or "unassailable" or "I love you Steve" would have been used.
posted by GuyZero at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2010


I read a few people saying they were upset that they did not "explicitly" admit there was a design problem with the phone.

By that logic they should apologize for OS 9 because it wasn't OS X.
posted by GuyZero at 1:33 PM on July 16, 2010


Also, why has the developer of "Oregon Trail" not held a press conference apologizing for all those times I died of dysentery?
posted by GuyZero at 1:36 PM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, video of the press conference is up

Woah, it turns out I have quicktime installed on my PC. When the hell did that happen?

I have no idea why I'm watching a press conference about an antenna; help?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:40 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we issue some "corporate apologist icons" to go next to user names? That way when you're in an askme thread about MS and see all sorts of BS misinformation you can just look for the little apple logo next to the name, and vice versa, of course, on Apple questions. Likewise, you can skip the fanboy stuff, too, threads in the blue about Apple and MS. (Even better would be a choice to hide comments based on the corporate fealty of the user.)
posted by maxwelton at 1:49 PM on July 16, 2010


maxwelton, the true armchair general cares not who wins or loses but who makes the most mistakes for him to complain about.
posted by GuyZero at 1:55 PM on July 16, 2010


Sounds good, as long as we can get one for the open source zealots.
(It took all my strength not to use the eight-letter F-word.)
posted by entropicamericana at 1:57 PM on July 16, 2010


Huh. I was surprised to find myself kind of on Jobs' side, watching that. He wasn't being as much of a heinous twat as this thread lead me to believe.

disclaimer: I do not own an iphone so I'm not pre-frustrated about having my phone hang up on me, and I haven't accidentally deleted my contacts with my ear.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:00 PM on July 16, 2010


go away for dinner and threads fuck each other senseless into a gazillion comments

anyway on applegaga

Apple deleting mentions of Consumer Reports' iPhone 4 piece on forums, can't delete your thoughts

maybe they'll delete this thread too?
posted by infini at 2:03 PM on July 16, 2010


C= AMIGA FOREVER!
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]



Apple deleting mentions of Consumer Reports' iPhone 4 piece on forums

And now no one can find it!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:06 PM on July 16, 2010


I wonder why the antenna gap isn't on the top side of the phone, where you'd never touch it.
posted by bonaldi at 2:09 PM on July 16, 2010


I wonder why the antenna gap isn't on the top side of the phone, where you'd never touch it.

It might be to keep the antenna further away from your brain during calls, since that's when the antenna runs at full power.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2010


And now no one can find it!

Bing found it
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2010


Also, Pastabagel, I'm pretty sure the guys who built this testing lab didn't stick the antenna on the outside because they thought "it works like TV".

It might be to keep the antenna further away from your brain during calls, since that's when the antenna runs at full power.
Ah, yeah, maybe. Is that a real issue, or still just consumer-scare stuff? I suppose they could have put it next to the dock connector -- rarely cover that, either.
posted by bonaldi at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2010


I think you may actually need some sort of therapy.

By asking people to leave ArkhanJG alone, I was taking the high road and trying to put an end to it there. Congratulations, you just took the low road.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2010


When Steve heard of it, he departed thence to One Infinite Loop: and when the users had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

And Steve went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he played some smooth smooth jazz and a YouTube video.

And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, It must be a lot of users complaining about this.

But Steve said unto them, So what percentage have called AppleCare? 0.55%. Just one half of one percent. This is not a large number. The iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 than the 3GS. Less than one. Now, even less than one is too much for us. We want to find out why. But this does put it in perspective. So I have my own pet theory. We have no proof of it, but I'm going to give it to you.

And they say unto him, We have here but full refunds, and not enough bumpers.

He said, Bring them hither to me.

And he commanded the multitude to apply on the website, and took the refunds, and the bumpers, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the refunds to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

And they did all make applications, and were refunded: and the white iPhone would start shipping at the end of the month.

And Steve had built about three hundred Apple retail stores, beside Genius bars, and seminars.
posted by oulipian at 2:21 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I somehow missed this: to say a bumper is not a fix is simply wrong. The antenna gets grounded when people touch it. Seemingly easy to avoid in the design phase, but whatever. As long as the antenna is electrically isolated from the user, everything is great. cases do that. QED.

What kind of argument can possibly be made for saying a case is not a fix?
posted by GuyZero at 2:23 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


A little iPhone Easter egg for those that have not already seen it: Look up "1 Infinite Loop, CA" in the iPhone maps App. Then take a look at it's icon.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


(It took all my strength not to use the eight-letter F-word.)

Now I'm really curious what word you're talking about.
posted by kmz at 2:29 PM on July 16, 2010


Fedora is only 6!
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on July 16, 2010


fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu is way more than 8.
posted by GuyZero at 2:37 PM on July 16, 2010


In related news: San Mateo D.A. Withdraws Controversial Gizmodo iPhone Warrant
posted by mullingitover at 2:49 PM on July 16, 2010


I love how Steve Wozniak says "If you can afford it, carry a second Verizon phone for backup."

He also says "Another option is to 'carry a MiFi and rely on Skype on your iPhone'"

That's what I've been claiming is the future all along. There's no need for phone service. Just get a MiFi or other portable network access point and use a netbook/Internet device/iPod Touch (I guess ...)

If I were worried about dropping and breaking a phone (Apple or not), I'd buy an OtterBox. The Defender series cost $50 and are pretty indestructible

Ugh, I thought you were talking about a phone. $50 for a case?!? Yikes. My Nokia 6230 is still trucking but I am looking for an affordable replacement one day... maybe even with a camera.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:50 PM on July 16, 2010


Apple has 'Verizon cell sites on campus,' Heavily testing Verizon iPhone?
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on July 16, 2010


No, Apple employees just carry a second Verizon phone to make phone calls with, per Woz's instructions.
posted by GuyZero at 2:59 PM on July 16, 2010


What kind of argument can possibly be made for saying a case is not a fix?

The fact that it changes the product. Half of Apple's appeal is its sleek design. The phone as designed is slim and lightweight, and adding a plastic bumper onto it might remedy the antenna problem but you end up with a different product. A "fix," the argument might go, would solve the problem without fundamentally changing the product.

Not to say that's my argument, but you asked what kind of argument can be made and I think there is one. Personally, I have only experienced the antenna drop when I deliberately put my finger on the indicated spot—but if I did find that my iPhone was experiencing severe reception issues, and adding a bumper was the only way to fix it? I might check out a Droid instead. I carry my phone in my pocket and for me, slim and lightweight are important.
posted by cribcage at 3:13 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heavily testing Verizon iPhone?

Of course, they'd be insane not have a working Verizon iPhone in the R&D labs.
posted by new brand day at 3:14 PM on July 16, 2010


I don't think the Verizon tower is proof of anything, other than that Apple's campus has a lot of Verizon phones on it (iPhone ATT exclusivity notwithstanding) and both Apple and Verizon wants to keep them happy. I strongly suspect the Verizon antenna went up before the iPhone even launched.
posted by mullingitover at 3:22 PM on July 16, 2010


Nokia: 'we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict'
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on July 16, 2010


And, as the comments say, expect more to come.
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on July 16, 2010


Nokia E71 Reception Problems
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:29 PM on July 16, 2010


Steve and Bill
posted by Artw at 3:38 PM on July 16, 2010


iPhone 4 woe is Apple's 'Vista moment', says Microsoft executive.
posted by ericb at 5:00 PM on July 16, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: " Nokia E71 Reception Problems"

Oh jesus, you're going to make me get out my E71 and install Net Monitor on it, aren't you? The E71 loses about 6dBm when you cover the entire bottom of the phone. It also has some of the best dropped call performance of any phone I've ever used, even in an area where most phones don't even get a signal at all.

That was a strong example of overblown reception issues.

Oh, and if you read the guy's latest comment on his YouTube video, it was his MicroCell. ;)
posted by wierdo at 6:24 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best thing to come out of Antennagate? Apple's "antenna testing chamber" porn.
posted by homunculus at 6:25 PM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh, and I failed to mention that the E71's antenna location is documented in the manual, on page 14, which states "...avoid touching the antenna area unnecessarily while the antenna is transmitting or receiving. Contact with such antenna affects the communication quality and may cause the device to operate at a higher power level than otherwise needed and may reduce the battery life."
posted by wierdo at 6:35 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What kind of argument can possibly be made for saying a case is not a fix?

It ISN'T a fix, it's a bandaid, and it's one that changes the supposed slim profile of the phone quite dramatically. It makes the iPhone much less pocketable.
posted by Malor at 6:38 PM on July 16, 2010


I've seen an iPhone 3GS go from one bar to full signal by switching off 3G. That might be an artifact of San Francisco cell coverage.


ts;dr: I just hope the update will make my 3G usable again. It was so sluggish after the ios4 upgrade that it got virtually unusable.

Restoring the phone might help with this. Upgrading otherwise seems to introduce some lagginess, sometimes.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:35 PM on July 16, 2010


Not to surprised. Apple is just like every other tech company that manufactures electronic components that have can occasionally have problems, major or minor. They are also just like many other companies in denying there are problems while simultaneously working to correct the non problem. They are mocked nor more or less than any other company that does exactly the same thing. In the end it comes to what you personally experience. I've never had a problem with Windows, Mac, or Ubuntu, or the Amiga for that matter, that has frustrated me so much into becoming a platformist or making platformist statements.

Nah, it's just tiresome seeing the same tired whining about Apple on Metafilter every day. Can't we aspire to something better?

Indeed. For starters it would be nice to see less of this "haters" bullshit. I guess leading by example isn't in your MO. Don't do as I do, do as I say. We're all guilty of that.

I think you may actually need some sort of therapy.

Going through multiple usernames and hilarious bouts of Net outrage isn't yet recognized outside the virtual world. Perhaps iZac will help.
posted by juiceCake at 8:44 PM on July 16, 2010


ts;dr: Good news. I had the same problem upgrading my iPhone 3G to 4.0 -- it slowed down to the point of being unusable. The 4.0.1 update fixed it and it seems to be running at its old speed again (so far). I also notice fewer bars of signal strength, changing more often, which I can only assume is the new algorithm displaying them more accurately now. The funniest part to me is that they made the bars taller in a not-so-subtle attempt to make fewer bars look better. The slope from one bar to full bars used to be linear but is now an exponential curve. The smallest bar is now about half the height of the biggest one.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:31 PM on July 16, 2010


Well, judging by the statement that was just released, Research in Motion's CEOs are pissed... posted by cgomez at 10:34 PM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


I failed to mention that the E71's antenna location is documented in the manual

I'm not sure documentation changes E71's design flaw, as far as it only underscores how Nokia apparently doesn't always ship perfect phones, despite its claims about testing.

For starters it would be nice to see less of this "haters" bullshit

Stop hating, then.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:50 PM on July 16, 2010


Still taking the high road, then.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:20 AM on July 17, 2010


Nokia is the local equivalent of the hindu prayer - you are our father, our mother, our everything, you give us food, shelter and hope, you pay the taxes that makes the whole city sing etc but like the greeks, we understand our gods are not perfect
posted by infini at 5:56 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stop hating, then.

Never started. You're ability to frivolously cast other members of this site as haters without any merit to the accusation is just so fucking charming. Congrats.
posted by juiceCake at 7:35 AM on July 17, 2010


Oh come off it, BP was accused of being a fanboy in this thread after the one and only comment in the thread of, "Why not wait for the actual press conference?"

There are fanboys and there are haters, and the haters out number the fanboys here so you can drop the faux outrage at being called out.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:40 AM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love the headline to Farhad Manjoo's piece on the press conference:

"Here's Your Free Case, Jerk!"
posted by Trochanter at 10:21 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh. That seems to about sum it up.
posted by Artw at 10:28 AM on July 17, 2010


Still taking the high road, then.

I still don't regret asking people to not pick on you, yes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 AM on July 17, 2010


Farhad Manjoo's piece on the press conference

Wow, what a whiny little child. Is he really that bitter over not being invited to the press conference to behave so immaturely, inventing fake quotes like that? If bloggers want to be treated like journalists, that's the wrong way to go about it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 AM on July 17, 2010


Aaron Swartz makes a reasonable point: even after a talk supposedly about “hard data,” Apple still hasn’t once shown us a real dBm number on any phone! Gruber responds.
posted by Nelson at 10:51 AM on July 17, 2010


I don't think something is a design flaw if it's documented in the manual. Or it may be, but it's not as egregious as trying to claim that there's no problem at all.

Moreover, unlike the iPhone 4, it will in fact work in an area with poor signal even when you're touching the area covering the antenna. That's because they put it on the inside, where it can't get shorted out by your hand.

If I can figure out where the hell I put it, I'll take some concrete measurements and report back. (I know where my E75, 5800, and E62 are, but fuck all if I can remember where I put the E71)
posted by wierdo at 11:50 AM on July 17, 2010


Oh come off it, BP was accused of being a fanboy in this thread after the one and only comment in the thread of, "Why not wait for the actual press conference?"

Actually, I called him a fanboy because he had called everyone in the thread who disagreed with him a hater, repeatedly. I stand by that assessment I made at the time, as he has failed to stop doing it.

I still don't regret asking people to not pick on you, yes.

I can look after myself, but thanks for your concern. Really taking the high road would be in fact not be insulting the intelligence of myself and many others here, as you have done repeatedly.

You've been asked several times, both politely and impolitely, to stop calling people who disagree with you, "haters". I'm going to do it again. It is disrespectful to us. You are blatantly saying that people who are unhapppy with Apple's corporate stance on this are blindly hateful of the company and its products; that we are unreasoning, unintelligent and incapable of coming to our own judgement, that the only reason we hold the position and opinion that we do is because we are blindly mired in a dislike of anything Steve related.

It is a childish tack, and it raises ire in those here who are reasoning, intelligent people. So I'm going to ask you again, bluntly, to stop calling us "haters". We do not appreciate the label, and it is poisonous to reasoned discourse when you keep using it. You used it right at the start of the thread, and it's been your leitmotif since.

If you wish to have any respect - if you actually want to take the high road, instead of just falsely claiming it, If you want to act like a mefite rather than a blind fanboi, you'll engage us adults and equals, instead of bluntly dismissing us as "haters".
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:39 PM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aaron Swartz makes a reasonable point: even after a talk supposedly about “hard data,” Apple still hasn’t once shown us a real dBm number on any phone!

Curious, has any cell phone maker and if so, which ones? Links please!
posted by new brand day at 12:48 PM on July 17, 2010


"Not much of an apology from Jobs; and he's simply wrong about other phones being comparable. A little humility would serve him well." - Martin Cooper, designer of the first mobile phone.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on July 17, 2010


Also, and most notably, the only complaint I've seen now of people not being satisfied is that Apple was not willing to more strongly denounce its own product and more viciously criticize its own competency and engineering. Who would do that?

Ok, let me try a few.

1) The no-questions-asked refund only applies in the US, and to AT&T. UK carriers do not have this policy - once the phone is activated with the contract, that is considered acceptance of the terms, and neither phone nor contract can be refunded under the distance selling regulations. If you buy it in a shop, you have no right of return, UNLESS:

1a) the phone is faulty. Having apple publically admit a fault, which they have not done, would make it much, much easier to return the phone under the sale of goods act. Even assuming you do return the phone to the carrier under their conditions, you will have to pay shipping and restocking fee unless you can *prove* the phone is faulty. Yes, you can take them to court over it, but it's long drawn out and awkward process. It didn't have to be, but apple have made no provisions here to change that.

1b) even returning the phone, you'll still be stuck with an expensive contract (iphone contracts here are usually two years, and it's either £200+ up front and a £30/40 a month contract, or a £50 a month contract. If you took that contract specifically to get an iphone, and you return it, you're only entitled to get a different phone, as the phone company is not at fault - you can only cancel the contract if they can't provide coverage in your location. That you paid over the odds for a contract you no longer need purely to get an iphone 4, and the iphone 4 turns out to be faulty, you're still stuffed. Apple again could address this, but have not.

2) The free bumper is a work around, not a fix. All smartphones do suffer signal drop off when held, that is certainly true. What is different is the amount of drop off. 24dBm is a huge drop when the aerials are bridged - given it is a log scale, that's less than 1/100th of the power when not bridged. Compared to the 5-15dBm other phones with internal aerials suffer when held badly, - including the iphone 3gs, it's literally 10 times as bad (log scale, again).

Yes, a case reduces it to what, 7 dBm drop off? a similar drop off of other phones when in cases. That's fair. But the much higher drop when bridged by holding it normally in the left hand is substantially higher, and apple should have admitted what independent testing has proven - that bridging the aerials on the iphone 4 has a much bigger effect than normal drop off on smartphones.

3) A real fix would be a recall, to either coat the bridge point with some sort of non-conductive material, or to fit the shunt that is supposedly being used in ones now on the assembly line. This would be so that people who use a pouch case, a hip case, or their pocket, can protect the phone when not in use, and still use it naked in their left hand without signifcant voice and data signal loss. Yes it doesn't affect plenty of people in high signal areas, where a 24dBm drop off doesn't matter much. Nor I'm sure do plenty of people even notice it, because they're not techies, and just assume that's how it's supposed to work.

4) waving lack of return rates - so far - and showing us marketing porn of testing chambers is not addressing the issue, it's fluff to cloud the issue.

In many respects, the iphone 4 is an excellent smartphone that drives competition in the market place. I don't own one, but a friend of mine does, and given we live in the boondocks, it is affecting him = he can repeat the problem. And he can't return it without suffering significant financial loss, as we're in the UK. He was hoping apple would in fact fix the problem. A free case that he doesn't want to use because it doesn't fit with his actual use of the phone, is not a fix.

I have a couple of macs. They're perfectly fine computers. I don't love them, I don't hate them. I don't love or hate apple. I just think they need to go a lot further to address the actual problem, and actually fix it.

I do have a samsung galaxy S. It loses about 6dBm when held with no case.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:58 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and when applecare have been specifically told to deny there is a problem is it any surprise the people gave up on reporting it?

This is the letter that was circulated:

"1. Keep all of the positioning statements in the BN handy – your tone when delivering this information is important.

* a. The iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. Our testing shows that iPhone 4’s overall antenna performance is better than iPhone 3GS.
* b. Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world.
* c. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 3GS, avoid covering the bottom-right side with your hand.
* d. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 4, avoid covering the black strip in the lower-left corner of the metal band.
* e. The use of a case or Bumper that is made out of rubber or plastic may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly covering these areas.

2. Do not perform warranty service. Use the positioning above for any customer questions or concerns.
3. Don’t forget YOU STILL NEED to probe and troubleshoot. If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held) it is not the metal band.
4. ONLY escalate if the issue exists when the phone is not held AND you cannot resolve it.
5. We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers."

It does not exactly inspire confidence that apple do in fact have their customers best service at heart. Par for the course for many companies, but apple is supposedly better than this.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:03 PM on July 17, 2010


It does not exactly inspire confidence that apple do in fact have their customers best service at heart. Par for the course for many companies, but apple is supposedly better than this.

I disagree about supposedly better, they are not any better or worse than any major tech company in my opinion. I'm not at all surprised to see their response and indeed find it infinitely amusing and sad at the same time. They produce great software and hardware, as do many other companies, but like many others, when presented with significant issue for some reason don't admit to it and fix it but jump through hoops like clowns.

Wow, what a whiny little child.

Admitting the truth about yourself helps one heal. Good luck.
posted by juiceCake at 1:46 PM on July 17, 2010


I'll be glad when this blows over so we can get back to bitching about iTunes, and the App Store, which is the real evil empire part of the story.
posted by Trochanter at 2:48 PM on July 17, 2010


iTunes, don't be a hater.
posted by new brand day at 2:56 PM on July 17, 2010


This is the purported letter that was circulated:

I hate the stupid "Fixed that" bit, but really, that came from a Mac rumor site. We don't know if it's legitimate.
posted by cavalier at 5:15 PM on July 17, 2010


You know, it just struck me that the new antenna must actually be somewhere between terrible and "not any better" compared to the one in the 3Gs.

The 3Gs' chipset reportedly can hold a call down to -113dBm. The iPhone 4's chipset can reportedly hold a call down to -121dBm. That's an 8dB improvement in the chipset (not the antenna!). It should, by all reports, have utterly fantastic reception compared to most, if not all, other phones. Even the people who claim not to have the problem don't say that.
posted by wierdo at 5:23 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, I called him a fanboy because he had called everyone in the thread who disagreed with him a hater, repeatedly. I stand by that assessment I made at the time, as he has failed to stop doing it.

I'm talking about the thread in general. BP was called out as a fanboy first for NOTHING, and at that point you started no crusade to call that unfair like you are doing against BP for doing the same.

Why? Because you don't care about unfair characterizations in general, you are just supporting your side.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:49 PM on July 17, 2010


furiousxgeorge wrote: "BP was called out as a fanboy first for NOTHING"

Oh, it wasn't nothing, it was just nothing in this thread. BP has been fighty about Apple for quite some time now. Not that people should bring that baggage into new threads, but that is what happened. It's not as if seanyboy's post was particularly argumentative or offensive.
posted by wierdo at 6:39 PM on July 17, 2010


Nor, for that matter, did it use the word "fanboy."
posted by wierdo at 6:40 PM on July 17, 2010


Not that people should bring that baggage into new threads, but that is what happened.


Yup, it did.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:49 PM on July 17, 2010


new brand day, I'm assuming your question is in good faith and not snark. Most cell phones have a field test mode that displays the signal strength in dBm. A quick Google turns up this comprehensive list. The iPhone had a field test mode that includes translating the meaningless bars to meaningful dBm. Unfortunately Apple disabled that mode in iOS4, right before releasing their phone with the antenna design flaw. Whether that's coincidence or conspiracy is up to the reader to decide, but either way Apple is clearly not interested in talking about signal quality in objectively measurable terms.

Jobs stood up and compared signal strength drop on different phones. He compared it with a largely meaningless measurement, "bars". He himself knows well how meaningless that measurement is, since Apple just the week before arbitrarily altered their own reported bars. It's certain that in their fancy testing operation they have exact numbers of signal strength, it's disappointing they won't share them or any way for a user to do their own test. I've argued above that dBm alone isn't a good measure of call quality, but it's a better place to start than "bars".
posted by Nelson at 7:07 PM on July 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nelson wrote: "I've argued above that dBm alone isn't a good measure of call quality"

It's not a good measure of call quality, but it is a good measure of the usability of a signal in the absence of Ec/No. End-to-end quality of the call is affected by many things the phone simply doesn't know and can't display to you even with engineering test firmware, although the more useful field test modes will show you Ec/No, RSSI, transmit power, and the cell info (MCC-MNC, LAC, cell id, neighbor cells, and so on)

Signal strength and Ec/No (and transmit power, if you're lucky enough to get it and know where the serving cell is) are the best we can do when you're on a call. If you're not on a call, dBm is really the only option.

That's one of the reasons why many phones will display 4 or 5 bars, but then immediately drop to one or two when a call is placed, even when a handover is not made when the call is established. When idling, the phone uses dBm to derive the bar display. When in a call or data transfer, they often switch to Ec/No (for CDMA air interfaces, including UMTS), since it takes into account coding gain and any interference from other users.
posted by wierdo at 8:01 PM on July 17, 2010


Curious, has any cell phone maker [shown us real dBm] and if so, which ones? Links please!

HTC/Google Nexus One, running stock Android 2.2:

From the home screen: Settings / About Phone / Status / Signal strength.

Sitting on my desk, it reads: -85dBm 14asu

Holding it in my hand like I normally do when talking on the phone: -101 dBm 6 asu

(these numbers, of course, vary wildly depending on orientation of the phone)

It should be noted that the Nexus One, at least on T-Mobile, has a known issue with signal quality, and that fully cupping the bottom of the phone will dramatically reduce the signal quality. Also, both the bars measurement and the dBm are relative to the type of signal, i.e., when the 3G signal drops below zero bars, it turns to EDGE, and both bars and dBm rise.

Is there any way to get similar numbers from the iPhone without voiding the warranty (I ask out of curiosity, not to slam Apple, Mr. Pileon)?
posted by dirigibleman at 11:37 PM on July 17, 2010


dirigibleman wrote: "It should be noted that the Nexus One, at least on T-Mobile"

Yeah, that's the 2100MHz 3G downlink frequency getting you. Lower frequencies, like 850MHz easily pass through your hand, leaves, and that sort of thing with relatively little attenuation. 1900MHz and 2100MHz, not so much. There's a huge difference in the drop in strength on dual band carriers like at&t and Verizon between 850 and 1900. At 850, you might see 3-6dB of loss from your hand. At 1900, you're more likely to see 10-12.

It annoys me to no end that some companies get better spectrum than others. I understand why, but it would have been nice if there had been some extra lower frequency space set aside for future expansion so that the later-to-arrive PCS carriers didn't get screwed.
posted by wierdo at 11:55 PM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and on old TDMA and CDMA Nokias, you could just dial *3001#12345# and it would activate field test mode. The newer dumbphones require special firmware, although it can be flashed by some shops for a smallish fee.

There is also a leaked "FTD" app for S60, but AFAIK there isn't one that works on the touchscreen models, and you have to be able to sign the application yourself (or hack your phone to allow installation of unsigned packages).
posted by wierdo at 11:59 PM on July 17, 2010


I'm talking about the thread in general. BP was called out as a fanboy first for NOTHING, and at that point you started no crusade to call that unfair like you are doing against BP for doing the same.

Why? Because you don't care about unfair characterizations in general, you are just supporting your side.


The first person that called him a fanboi, was me, here. I did that because of:
"Haters gotta hate."
"Haters hate numbers."
"Give it up with the Hatred Hate Field."

No matter how many times you claim otherwise, he was "called out as a fanboy" because he persistently IN THIS THREAD insulted everyone who disagreed with him. That he does it every single apple thread does also count, but there's plenty of evidence of it in this one alone.

In you'd like to point out where he was "called out as a fanboy" - you know, using the word fanboy, or the equivalent - without cause in this thread, please do so.

If you're referring to some other post - I honestly don't know - then refer to that one, and use the words that he was actually accused of being, instead of making them up and putting them in someone's mouth before you get all outraged over something they didn't in fact, say.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:25 AM on July 18, 2010


The iPhone had a field test mode that includes translating the meaningless bars to meaningful dBm.

Oh cool, I didn't know that, thanks Nelson!
posted by new brand day at 5:36 AM on July 18, 2010


Mmm, still can't wait to pick up my iPhone 4 when it gets launched in Canada at the end of the month. Not really much competition in the smartphone market up here unfortunately, and our network is MUCH better than AT&T's so I'm not too worried about the antenna problem. :) The proximity sensor, on the other hand, concerns me more
posted by antifuse at 11:35 AM on July 18, 2010


How Apple Took The Fun Out of Owning an iPhone
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on July 20, 2010


Secunia ranks Apple first in software insecurity, Safari said to have AutoFill vulnerability
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on July 22, 2010


The Varieties of Religious Experience: How Apple Stays Divine
posted by homunculus at 10:38 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple iMac line gets speedbumped, low-end gets a Core i3
posted by homunculus at 9:27 AM on July 27, 2010


Homunculus what does that link have to do with Apple's iPhone 4 antenna woes? I know Recent Activity link spam is yr thing, but really.
posted by bonaldi at 2:20 PM on July 27, 2010


It's more revelant than your complaining. Take it to meta if you really think it's an issue.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on July 27, 2010


Yeah, going nuclear right off the bat is always best, you're right.
posted by bonaldi at 2:51 PM on July 27, 2010


Obviously Apple threads must never be allowed to die. "That is not dead which can eternal lie," etc.
posted by GuyZero at 2:54 PM on July 27, 2010


I'm always glad to see humunculus' follow ups. "Spam" is way harsh.
posted by Trochanter at 3:09 PM on July 27, 2010


Homunculus what does that link have to do with Apple's iPhone 4 antenna woes?

Just that Apple is forging ahead with new product releases. The last batch of iMacs had problems too, so I'm interested to see if they got them right this time, especially in light of all the negative attention from the problem with the iPhone.
posted by homunculus at 3:27 PM on July 27, 2010


Also, i3's? Really, Apple? Kind of gutless, no? How hard would it be to get a real i5 in anything past the $999 model? No wireless, less space than a Nomad, lame.
posted by GuyZero at 3:33 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's more revelant than your complaining.

Revelant is the new refudiate!

I keed. I keed.
posted by ericb at 3:38 PM on July 27, 2010


TBH I’m a bit surprised to learn that some Mac users might like the trackpad so much that they prefer it to a mouse in the desktop setting, but that’s because I’m not a Mac user I guess.
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on July 27, 2010


It's the multi-finger gestures where the standalone trackpad has an advantage over the mouse. Pinch! Twist! Two-finger page down! 4-finger horizontal swipe! You can't do all that with a mouse.
posted by GuyZero at 4:29 PM on July 27, 2010


Artw: "TBH I’m a bit surprised to learn that some Mac users might like the trackpad so much that they prefer it to a mouse in the desktop setting, but that’s because I’m not a Mac user I guess."

*raises hand*

I'm one of those people. I've tried all the Apple mice, and hate every one of them like the hater I am. However, the trackpads in their laptops mop the floor with the competition, then go out drinking, puke on the floor, and mop the floor with them again. Making a standalone version of their laptop trackpads for desktops is genius. Maybe now they can gracefully exit the mouse game altogether.
posted by mullingitover at 4:33 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going to put it down with trackballs as yet another interface preference I'll never get.
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on July 27, 2010


*sheepishly hides trackball*
posted by mullingitover at 4:48 PM on July 27, 2010


Hey, whatever works for you.
posted by Artw at 4:50 PM on July 27, 2010


The crazy kensington trackball is pretty nice to use. I still prefer the trackpoint. (aka eraser head)

I never have to remove my fingers from the keyboard to operate my computer unless I want to use my wacom tablet, which is pretty rare.

I can definitely see the advantage of a multitouch trackpad on computers that don't have a trackpoint, though. That way you get scroll, zoom, and whatever other gestures without having to go back to the keyboard.
posted by wierdo at 6:41 PM on July 27, 2010


I SO loves the Mac trackpad, and wish that there was a Windows driver for it that didn't require Bootcamp. :(

But I also loved me some trackballs, back in the day (haven't used one in years, tough, due to working mostly on laptops at home).
posted by antifuse at 9:30 AM on July 28, 2010


It's the multi-finger gestures where the standalone trackpad has an advantage over the mouse. Pinch! Twist! Two-finger page down! 4-finger horizontal swipe! You can't do all that with a mouse.

Hm. I guess I'm not seeing many use cases where that functionality might be useful... I have to assume this will mostly be used by designers/artists? I can understand the appeal of multitouch control *eventually* but are there any apps/sites where it's actually useful *now*?

I can definitely see the advantage of a multitouch trackpad on computers that don't have a trackpoint, though. That way you get scroll, zoom, and whatever other gestures without having to go back to the keyboard.

I'm honestly not being snarky: which of those things can't you do with a standard $10 PC mouse with 3 buttons (left, right, scrollwheel) ... and maybe an FF extension or two?

Anyway, like I said, I can see the appeal of multitouch control eventually, but I don't see any point for it yet.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:25 AM on July 28, 2010


Apple Safari Update Activates New Browser Extensions (And It's Pretty Sweet)
posted by homunculus at 11:40 AM on July 28, 2010


if you own a Macbook you use the multi-touch gestures every day. They're awesome. Even for normal stuff like navigating documents. And it's so easy that it becomes second nature quickly, like two-finger+thumb for right-click, etc. I will be accused of being a fanboy but it's really great. Gestures here.
posted by GuyZero at 11:43 AM on July 28, 2010


Apple Purges Erotic Stories From Book Store Bestseller List
posted by homunculus at 11:51 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


if you own a Macbook you use the multi-touch gestures every day.

Agreed. My wife actually own 3 Macbooks (maybe 1 is an iBook, which *doesn't* have the multitouch) and one powers our media connections (TV input, stereo). I use the two-finger right-click and scroll, etc. on it all the time.

... but the only reason I really use them is because it doesn't have a regular mouse!

My point is: you can do all the same things with a PC mouse, no? I prefer a mouse because the reaction to input seems to be more consistent, i.e. I have better knowledge of when I've clicked, right-clicked, or scrolled.

My wife has an iPhone too, and I use it plenty (mostly for maps when she is driving and gets lost). I would MUCH prefer a scroll wheel for zooming as opposed to pinching/spreading. Even with practice, pinching can lead to touching, which leads to clicking and visiting, and god the iPhone is so slow I want to shoot myself when I click something accidentally...
posted by mrgrimm at 12:40 PM on July 28, 2010


Apple's Overheating Problem Boils Over
posted by homunculus at 9:36 AM on July 29, 2010


Apple: Puerto Ricans Aren't Americans And Can't Have Free iPhone 4 Cases
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on July 31, 2010


Apple quietly pulls attack page
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on August 1, 2010


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