iPhone 4 Antennagate: A case of losing perspective

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There’s seems to be a lot of rant, opinions, news, blogs and anything else you can think of on the iPhone 4 ‘Antennagate’ issue. Well, here’s my rant too.

To summarize the outcome of Apple’s press conference on this issue, all iPhone 4 users would be getting a free Bumper case. If you’re already bought the bumper, you’d get a refund. If you’re still not too happy with the iPhone 4, return it with no questions asked.

Seriously, what more can you ask of Apple?

To all naysayers out there still, it’s my opinion that this is a case of lost perspective.

For one, the people in US has taken for granted how great consumerism is over there. Not every part of the world offers such protection to it’s consumers, what more from the product manufacturer themselves. If you are hoping to return goods you’ve bought here in my part of the world, well, heh, Fat hopes. Claims of return policies are subjected to lines and lines of fine prints.

But that’s not the main point. My thoughts? Well for one, we’ve been trying to kill the messenger.

This problem is largely attributed to a couple of issues.

Ooops, I’ve got it wrong all along!

Firstly, it’s now known that Apple’s has gotten it wrong all this while on how they should calculate and display the signal strength (the little bars) on the iPhone. This was quickly fixed with the recently released iOS 4.0.1 update. But perhaps this made it seemed rather scary when you see signals dropping multiple bars at times.

But here’s the thing. The iPhone is merely just telling us what the actual signal strength is in any particular area. If the signal strength is weak, is it the phone’s fault? Perhaps a little, but by large, it’s a problem that’s originating from the service provider! Telcos are known to ‘discriminate’ areas with lesser customer density to save infrastructure cost. Why set up multiple towers in areas where I only have a few hundred customers?

It also seems that AT&T does provide sub-par service compared to what I’m used to here in Malaysia when I was over at San Francisco, California for a about 2 week about a year ago. I never thought I’d see 2 bars only on my iPhone 3G during my stay in Redwood Shores when I was roaming on AT&T. ANd there were times when I’d lose signal entirely and had to roam on T-Mobile instead. So much for good service. And that’s smack in the middle of where most tech companies are HQed at.

Back home? I’d get 2 bars too of course, but most of the time, that’s me driving through tunnels, or am in underground locations. And I used to think our local telco provides sucks. Gosh. Well, they still do from the service packages perspective. :p

I’ve also heard some guys using the iPhone 4 here that they’ve bought it from the states. Seems that while the signal drops a little, there was no degradation of service whatsoever. So, obviously signal strength here is strong enough to overcome the attenuation problem.

Lost of perspective on this point? Humans tends to side David versus Goliath. In this case, Apple’s is Goliath. Death be to it! Perhaps they should be, but only because of the exclusivity they hold with AT&T.

Over exposure

Apple’s always good at squeezing as much as possible into the little space that they had. They could have easily decided to increase the size of the iPhone 4 to allow them more flexibility, but instead, they made is smaller. Show me another manufacturer that does more for less every time. (OK, discount all those chip makers that always seems to defy the law of physics and built smaller chips with more transistors each time!)

In a bid to design a better antenna, Apple has this time decided to merge design and functionality, this time, using the steel band as the antenna as well. From the academical point of view, this was a brilliant idea. So, if I don’t have space inside the phone to fit my antenna, I’ll just bloody use the case itself!

Unfortunately, they might have missed the point where was the best location to set the iPhone 4’s ‘Achilles heel’ (that’s the black strip separating the two antennas). Had it been at the bottom, or perhaps a corner where we’ll be less likely to grip it upon, then this matter might not have surfaced this badly at all. Apple might also had coated the steel band with non-conductive polymer coating of some sort to prevent accidental shorting of the two antennas. For some reason, this wasn’t the case. Let’s face it. No one’s perfect. Not even Apple with it’s iPod and iPhone phenomenon. I don’t even want to talk about other phone manufacturers and their countless far worse bloopers.

Is there a simple solution to this antennagate issue? Yes, there is. Is Apple providing the solution for free? Yes they are. So why continue complaining?

The antenna problem is really a small problem compared to what else it can do for you. And let’s face it. How many people do you know uses the iPhone WITHOUT a case? For me, I know perhaps just one person who do that, everyone else I know uses a case, and that includes yours truly and his lovely wife. Would I use a case when I get my iPhone 4, you betcha I would. Would everyone I know use a case too? I’ve asked and they all say yes. So, it would never be a problem to us users with cases to go along with it.

Lost of perspective? Totally. It seems that we just love to complain and see someone fall from grace. It’s such a bad trait and sad note of how negative the human race can sometimes be. So what if the iPhone 4 allows you to take HD videos and edit it all within the phone. So what if it has a great LCD display that you can hardly notice the pixelations. So what if it would give me countless hours of entertainment. So what if the phone plays videos for 3 hours and only uses 5% of my battery life. Seriously, “so what”?

So what?

To me, so what if there’s the antenna problem? I’d take the antenna problem any day and solve it by just paying for a case (even if Apple didn’t give those free bumpers) and enjoy the awesomeness that the new iPhone 4 offers. I don’t need a phone that gives me 5 bars everytime, I want a phone that puts the power of computing to practical and good use and allows me to be connected. And today, that just happens to be the iPhone 4 (at least till September at my part of the world)

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