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Comment: Re:too cheap to license good antenna design (Score 1) 507

by mk500 (#32939414) Attached to: Consumer Reports Can't Recommend iPhone 4

It's pretty obvious they didn't [improve] to almost everyone...

I respectfully disagree here. Most reviews put out before this "blew up" were rating reception better on the iPhone 4 than on previous iPhones and also several competitors. I have the same experience (much better reception). I think Apple showed some of their reception testing labs in the press conference. They put a lot of testing into this phone.

..it seems obvious to me that at these wavelengths touching one is not usually going to help it work

I agree. Don't touch the line. I get exceptional reception, and I don't touch the line. It's kind of a simple solution. I guess a case also helps, but I like my phone the way it is. There are places I don't touch on many of the RF devices I use. I don't put my hand on the antenna of my cordless phone either.

Yeah, Apple and cheapness are rarely used together, because if you're a customer, they aren't cheap at all. However, if you build things for them, they are as cheap as it gets.
Many Apple products have been torn down to see what they really cost to make, and they seem to have about the highest hardware profit margin there is in the business, and on just about everything they "make". Or more accurately, have made for them in places where the labor is cheaper.

This has me completely baffled. The CPU, RAM, screen, cameras, and pretty much everything on the iPhone 4 are cutting edge. Apple bill of goods on production is low because they are a company known for cutting good deals on large scale parts purchases. That's a good thing for them, and for consumers. Yes, they build where the labor is cheap; as does every other phone manufacturer. None of this has anything to do with an antenna they spent a great deal of money designing, and seems to work really well for the vast majority of their customers.

Comment: Re:too cheap to license good antenna design (Score 1) 507

by mk500 (#32890768) Attached to: Consumer Reports Can't Recommend iPhone 4

...has a patent on an internal antenna design that works fairly well

I'm sure there are lots of internal antennas that work "fairly well", as internal antennas have been the norm. Apple was going for an improvement over that. Isn't it a good idea to try to innovate? The iPhone 4 has much better reception than previous iPhones.

Dumb patents plus Apple cheapness --

Apple cheapness? Now there's two words I haven't seen together often :-) I can see Apple not buying the alternate antenna due to "not made here" syndrome, but unlikely cheapness.

Comment: Re:A lot of press about nothing (Score 1) 507

by mk500 (#32890590) Attached to: Consumer Reports Can't Recommend iPhone 4

Basics first.

If by "Basics first." you mean reception should be first priority for a phone, I think Apple scores really well with the iPhone 4. It has great overall reception when compared to the competition.

If by "Basics first." you mean they should assume I'm not smart enough to avoid holding the phone in ways that would reduce RF reception; I guess I'd rather they give me maximum reception and assume I'm smart. That's kind of a geeky thing, I guess. But with a 300+dpi screen, 512MB RAM, and UNIX under the hood; this is a phone that has a pretty high geek factor.

I guess I'm just really pleased that the reception issues that plagued my iPhone 3G and 3Gs are gone now; and don't feel like it's a big price to pay to avoid the crack. Maybe Apple could have engineered an antenna that gives this great reception and is also hidden; but that seems like a big maybe. The R&D budget for the iPhone4 had to be astronomical; and I would be surprised if a big chunk didn't go into the structural/antenna design.

Comment: Re:A lot of press about nothing (Score 1) 507

by mk500 (#32890364) Attached to: Consumer Reports Can't Recommend iPhone 4

Since then, I've not really had a phone that ever had poor reception issues.

You haven't had a phone with reception problems in 7 years? That's great! What carrier do you use?

I guess I should have also mentioned that I live in a very challenging area for RF communication. Between the hills, dense population, and extremely high percentage of tech savvy individuals; SF is kind of a worst case scenario for RF of any kind.

Comment: A lot of press about nothing (Score 5, Insightful) 507

by mk500 (#32881780) Attached to: Consumer Reports Can't Recommend iPhone 4

I've been using cell phones heavily since the bricks of the early 90's. We used to have exposed antennas. Then retracted antennas that we could extend. Then the manufacturers decided phones would look cooler (and in some cases be cheaper) if the antennas were internal. I definitely noticed a decrease in signal quality when this move happened. As a heavy cell phone user, I also have always noticed that phones with internal antennas can have big changes in reception performance based on how you hold the phone. I've been re-learning the "optimal holding position" for every Nokia, Motorolla, and Samsung I've owned. It's just basic RF. Move your hands around your HDTV antenna and see how reception changes.

Apple did something really innovative by using a structural component of the case as an antenna. They went a step further by using that component for multiple antennas to allow for better reception and transmission of Wifi and GPS. So finally we have external antennas again, and ones that are much larger than other phone's internal antennas. The reception improvement in my experience is significant. I can walk around on a long call in areas where I would regularly get dropped calls due to AT&T's poor coverage; and not drop. Yes, I hold my iPhone 4 differently than my previous phone; but this is nothing new. When I talk to my friends and co-workers who also have an iPhone 4, they report the same. Every review I've seen has said the iPhone 4 has better reception than any iPhone before. My guess is that it has better reception than most other AT&T phones.

It's fun to have controversy to talk about, and I guess that's why everyone is spamming the internet with this issue. I'm certain the article on Consumers Reports is getting a lot of hits, and they are probably getting new subscribers. But why is this a huge deal? The whole thing just makes no sense to me. I think it's illogical to not buy a phone that takes such leaps forward in so many ways because of an issue that is a fact of life for every RF device ever made. The fact that so many of my fellow geeks are getting so revved up about this makes me wonder what they are thinking.

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes

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