How Apple lied to you about the BlackBerry

by Volker Weber


Apple has an antenna problem with the iPhone 4. And it's most likely blown out of proportion. I don't know about you, but the press conference last Friday made things much worse for me. They could have come clean and said: "yes, we have a problem, and we are going to fix it". What Apple did instead was mocking the press with a stupid video, praising themselves, and then started pointing their fingers at the competition. That wasn't only bad taste, that was also mostly a lie.

As the German saying goes "Lügen haben kurze Beine" (lies have short legs), you can prove them wrong if you have a BlackBerry. See the screenshot above. RIM does not give you "bars" and then finds out later that they lied to you for years. No, they give you an exact reading of the signal. -70 dBm. And then you can hold your phone in many different ways, wait a few seconds until you get the next reading. And then you can see how the signal changes.

In my case: I can hold the BlackBerry pretty much any way I want. And it will still show -70 dBm. And when I wrap both hands around the lower end of the device in a way that would not let me make a phone call, I can drive it down to -81 and then -89. As soon as I hold it like I would when actually using it, with one hand, with both hands, it will show -70 dBm.

Apple, why don't you include this feature in your iOS? You can hide it deep down in the settings and call it "Status". Just like RIM has done for many years.


They had a feature like that included, but it doesn't work on iOS 4 anymore ... there is no fieldtest app anymore :/

Sebastian Herp, 2010-07-19 11:06

Maybe someone will bring it back with a jailbreak.
BTW: There are some rumors about a new iPhone 4 revision (German content):

Karsten Lehmann, 2010-07-19 11:29

Ok, now with a proper link:
iPhone 4 Probleme: Apple Handy wird zum Garantiefall, inoffizielle Rückrufaktion gestartet?

Karsten Lehmann, 2010-07-19 11:30

kann es sein, dass sich das verhalten (zu dem von apple gezeigten) ändert wenn man sich in bereichen mit (sehr) schwachem empfang befindet? die beantwortung einer journalistenfrage im anschluss an die keynote deutet das an.

Lukas Praml, 2010-07-19 11:59

Apple clearly states that the demonstration videos were taken in an area with marginal signal.

If you test your Blackberry or iPhone4 in an area where there is strong signal, you can't make the bars go down.

If you are in a very marginal signal zone, every single phone(smart or not) will drop bars when applied the corresponding "death grip". Call it the "the law of physics".

For both cases, marginal signal and strong signal, there is video proof in youtube.

And yes, the iPhone 4 has a worse "weak spot" plus it shipped with a faulty signal bar indicator. Thats the problem.

What worries me, is that more people start calling names at Apple because things are taken out of context. Also, something will happend at sep-30, after more data from more carriers around the world, and more analisis from Apple engineers. Who knows, maybe it a US thing or maybe ATT will solve some issues too.

Oliver Schulze, 2010-07-19 19:06

I am not talking about "bars". I am talking about signal. You may not be able to bring down "bars", but of course you can impede the signal. On an iPhone you won't see this in "bars" unless you are in an area with bad coverage. On a phone with a signal readout in numbers you can. It's measured in dBm. The BlackBerry shows you that number in Status. Other phones have a diagnostic mode to show this data. On the iPhone that disappeared with iOS4. Pure coincidence, I have to assume.

Volker Weber, 2010-07-19 19:12

If you are in a very marginal signal zone, every single phone(smart or not) will drop bars when applied the corresponding "death grip". Call it the "the law of physics".
Sure, that's true. Problem is, the iPhone 4 does NOT require a death grip to drop 20 dBm. Numerous tests (an excellent one previously highlighted by vowe) demonstrate that simply holding the iPhone 4 naturally causes a hefty signal drop. No death grip required. Apple's ludicrous spin conveniently overlooks that fact.

Rod Stauffer, 2010-07-20 01:04

I was curious about this today.

My office is in a 3G dead zone (midtown Manhattan) where I usually get from -90 dBm down to -100 dBm. I was trying every possible grip on my 9700 and I just couldn't get the signal to dip.

Eric Hancock, 2010-07-20 02:45

If you don't want bars in your home screen, just type ALT + NMLL

Bilal Jaffery, 2010-07-20 05:19

I'd love to have the dBm loss as a number instead of bars, tucked into a menu or whatever.

That said, seeing as all I have to go on are two things (bars and calls dropped/signal lost), I can only get my iPhone 4 to drop one bar, especially since 4.01. And that is when slamming the meat of my palm up against the left bottom - a way I never hold the phone. And I haven't had the phone drop a call once. And I have service further into dead zones than my 3G did (like inside the Metro, where only Verizon has gotten the contracts to put towers underground). And the battery lasts longer doing it.

Kevan Emmott, 2010-07-20 14:40

@Bilal Jaffery: Cool!

Sven Richert, 2010-07-20 17:08

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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