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iPhone 4 received well but receives unconvincingly

iPhone 4Even before the iPhone 4 was available it stunned the world with its record sellout stats, long lines and waiting spots which became a tradable commodity in some cities. In the few days since its retail launch however, its reception has literally been more lukewarm for some.

Fairly consistent reports are filtering through the media about iPhone 4 reception issues, most notably when the phone is held in the left hand with the user’s palm covering the lower left corner of the side antenna. It seems that while Apple tried to do the right thing by being creative to improve the reception issues of the iPhone 3GS, the new design is a problem for many who like to hold the iPhone 4 in their left hand.

Apple has suggested that to alleviate this problem people should hold the iPhone 4 differently which, while being a valid suggestion, doesn’t really get to the root of the issue which seems to be a design problem. Apple did used to suffer from design issues plaguing first generation products but that reputation has recently been set aside with the largely successful designs of recent products with the exception of some overheating issues.

I would love to say this is just a temporary problem for the iPhone 4, but since the antenna is a specific hardware design feature it is unlikely to be fixable through an OS update. Will it hurt sales? I would say almost certainly not. The original iPhone, the iPhone 3G and 3GS all suffered from reception issues and Apple still managed to sell enough of those! It’s probably worth a trip to your local store to make a test call before you hand over your hard earned cash though, just in case your handiwork drops you into the reception dead zone and you can’t bear to change your style.

Rumors are circulating of a forthcoming iOS update that will fix the problem, I think we need to see that in reality as I’m intrigued as to how this could be fully resolved through software.  More likely we may see an updated design same time next year, with the antenna placement shifted somewhat.  A good testing cycle should identify errors such as these, so if anyone notices a sudden uptick in job specs for Apple testers we could infer that either the department is being beefed-up, or the unfortunate folks who missed this gaffe  have left the building.

Neil Berman

facebook.com/theonbutton

theonbutton.com

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Jun 25, 2010 - Posted by | Apple, Mobile | , , , ,

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