iPhone-maker Apple held a press event late last week to share its stance on the current iPhone 4 antenna drama, a.k.a., “Antennagate.”
To concisely sum up a rather lengthy discussion, Apple more-or-less admitted that the external, iPhone 4 antenna design is less than perfect, and offered all current iPhone 4 owners free “bumper” cases that supposedly alleviate the issue of reduced signal strength when the device is cradled tightly in a user’s hand.
However, the company also attempted to lessen the negative attention surrounding its brand new smartphone by telling attendees—and everyone else following the event via the Web–that almost all modern smartphones suffer from the exact same antenna-related challenges. Apple even called out specific device manufacturers, including BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM), and showed a video clip of RIM’s popular BlackBerry Bold 9700 seemingly experiencing wireless signal decreases when placed in the “iPhone 4 Death Grip.” (Read RIM’s response to the accusations here.)
I plan to write up another, more in depth piece on Antennagate, and more importantly, Apple’s “interesting” strategy for managing the situation. But first I thought I’d perform my own Antennagate test on my personal BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone to see if the outcome was the same as Apple’s video.
The conclusion: Sure. You can squeeze the Bold 9700 to block the wireless signal; Apple is correct in that assertion. However, you have to purposely cradle the device and try to lessen the signal strength to actually see any sort of significant reduction. That does not appear to be the case with the iPhone 4; many users report antenna- and signal-related issue when holding the device normally, some while purposely attempting to avoid the iPhone 4 “weak spot” and particularly in areas with poor AT&T service. Check out the video below to see the results of my test.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.