Around a week back, i wrote a piece on Apple iPhone 4 and the gist of the post was that no matter how *magical* iPhone 4 is, it bears a flawed antenna design.
And now, the very trustworthy Consumer Reports has put a big stamp on the flawed iPhone 4 claim. As a result, they have removed iPhone 4 from their list of recommended phones. And that’s really a BIG deal.
After rigorous lab testing of the iPhone 4, test engineers at Consumer Reports confirmed that iPhone 4 bears unusual levels of signal attenuation when held from the bottom, covering the lower right side of the phone, which is the most obvious position to hold any phone. Engineers also confirmed that the signal attenuation can deteriorate to a level where the voice/data communication may simply break off.
We all know Apple has done some remarkable innovations in the field of technology and immense success of iPod, iPhone and iPad undoubtedly validates this but that doesn’t guarantee that whatever innovations Apple brings to the table will be surely be groundbreaking and will be accepted without any objections.
In simpler words, anyone, no matter if that ‘anyone’ is as huge as Apple, can get wrong. It happened with Microsoft(Windows Vista), with Google(Wave) and has happened with any large-sized company in its history but the major difference here is that Apple is not willing to accept if any such problem really exists ?
As of now, all what Apple has to say about the Antenna flaw is that there is a problem with the way the signal bars are displayed on the phone and there is nothing wrong with the Antenna design or signal degradation when iPhone is held covering the right bottom side. With Apple’s claim that there isn’t any problem with iPhone 4 at all, Apple is only inviting more trouble than doing any good. Buyers are going furious and even Apple fanboys are not voicing in Apple’s favor.
As the problem is hardware based, the issue is likely to remain permanent and Apple will never be able to fix it by any software update. The only fix i can imagine now is Apple coming up with the next iPhone next year with the old, conventional antenna they used to have in earlier iPhones.
But whenever i think of this Antenna problem and how it could come into existence, it raises too many questions, all left unanswered.
With this new Antenna design, Apple introduced something that never existed before. In my opinion, any such hardware change must have called for heavy testing of phone’s signal performance and confirm if there’s any significant improvement with the new antenna design or not.
As of now, everyone(except Apple, of course) would agree that the new Antenna design did only bad rather than doing something good for Apple.
But at the same time, i can’t accept the fact that Apple tested, double tested, approved the new antenna design and went ahead with mass production and finally introduced (with full confidence) the iPhone 4 bearing new antenna design in front of the whole world ,without knowing about the Antenna flaw.
Apple “defending iPhone 4′s antenna issue after product release” sounds logical. If they won’t condemn media claims regarding flawed antenna design, they will soon see all their iPhone sales projections biting the dust.
But Apple “testing, approving and getting into mass production of iPhone 4 with a flawed design seems extremely unlikely to me. Were Apple’s engineers sleeping when prototype testing was happening ?
This is what could have possibly happened at the background !
- Apple engineers came up with an innovative antenna design, aiming to outclass every conventional mobile device ever produced.
- Apple’s engineering team went ahead with the prototype testing of the newly proposed antenna design.
- Apple’s engineers approved the new antenna design with flying colors, somehow.
- Apple gave green signal to iPhone 4′s mass production
- While demo trials and field testing of iPhone 4 were going on, Apple did realize ‘something’ wrong with their design, with regard to handling it in certain manner.
- As Apple couldn’t afford to back out due to heavy investment and deadline was hitting them hard too, so they came up with an alternative, offering “bumpers”, at a price of course.
- Apple went ahead with the flawed design, taking users for granted and underestimating worst consequences.
- Rest is all we know very well.
The only thing going in Apple’s favor here is that Apple’s product cycle isn’t too long to worry about. Since the arrival of iPhone in 2007, Apple has never missed the track and has consistently delivered an evolved iPhone to the market, year after year. This has kept the sales momentum going for Apple and Apple is most likely to continue so in the future.
Next year, Apple will most likely switch back to conventional antenna design in iPhone 5 and till then, Apple might choose to keep resisting any claims over Antenna reception, avoid any negative discussions and will try drifting attention of users over other highlights of iPhone 4 such as FaceTime and 720p video recording with glittering commercials, thereby minimizing harm caused due to negative publicity through various media channels around antenna flaws.