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Apple engineer warned Steve Jobs about iPhone 4 reception last year

post #1 of 124
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An Apple engineer warned the company's executives last year that the design of the iPhone 4 could lead to reception problems, and a carrier partner also expressed concern about its external antenna before the June launch, according to a new report.

Citing an anonymous source, Bloomberg reported on Thursday that last year Ruben Caballero, a senior engineer and antenna expert with Apple, told management at Apple that the design of the iPhone 4 could cause reception problems. Specifically, it said that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs was warned of the issues during the design phase of the iPhone 4.

In addition, an unnamed carrier partner allegedly expressed concern to the company before the device's launch on June 24.

Apple declined to comment for the story, and would not make Caballero available for an interview. The media outlet also attempted to e-mail Caballero directly, but the engineer did not respond. The company also declined to reveal what it will discuss at a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific Time Friday.

The rumor casts doubt on speculation that Apple's secrecy may have caused the company to be oblivious to the issues experienced when the iPhone 4 is used without a case. A prototype device being tested by an Apple engineer that wound up being publicly disassembled was shielded by a case that made it look like a previous-generation iPhone 3GS.

"Apple's industrial design team, led by Jonathan Ive, submitted several iPhone designs before Jobs and other executives settled on the bezel antenna, said the person familiar with the companys design," the report said. "Caballero, the antenna expert, voiced concern in early planning meetings that it might lead to dropped calls and presented a serious engineering challenge, the person said."

Specifically, Caballero allegedly voiced concern that if a user used their hand to bridge the gap between the cellular and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS antennas on the exterior of the device, it could interfere with the signal. That's exactly what independent wireless experts and the nonprofit Consumer Reports have said occurs with the final product.

By covering the bottom left corner of the device, users can bridge the phone's two external antennas by using their skin as a conductive agent. Doing so can cause signal to drop by as much as 24.6dB, tests have shown, which could result in slower data speeds and dropped calls in areas with poor reception.
post #2 of 124
I am not at all surprised that Apple was totally unaware of this issue prior to releasing the phone. I'd be even more disappointed if they were. Really, the issue is as much marginal signals in some areas as it is a design flaw. While I can hold the phone and watch the signal fall to "No Signal" in some areas, in areas of good reception it will lose several bars but not drop a connection altogether.
post #3 of 124
Apple's prior-to-release knowledge of the issue is consistent with producing for the first time its own iPhone case (bumpers) and omitting Field Test Mode from iOS 4.
post #4 of 124
Quote:
which could result in slower data speeds and dropped calls in areas with poor reception.

Every area where AT&T has server is a poor reception area! lol

I love Apple and their products (and have a number of them, but no iPhone because I hate AT&T service), but I think Steve's ego is getting a bit large and his attitude towards us little people is getting out of hand. Back away from the God complex Steve.
post #5 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Apple's prior-to-release knowledge of the issue is consistent with producing for the first time its own iPhone case (bumpers) and omitting Field Test Mode from iOS 4.

Just validates the fact that Steve Jobs puts profits before anything else including the customers that keep his ass in mock-turtle neck sweaters. He has proven that he is no less a money grubbing scumbag like the rest of the corporate ignorati that play hard working customers for dummies. Signal bars my ass...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38260210...ence-wireless/
post #6 of 124
Probably true...hope they have a plan.
post #7 of 124
Pfffft. Clearly management knows more than silly engineers do.
post #8 of 124


P.S. Good thing, that LinkedIn shows named guy is approximately what we're urged to think he is...

We mean Apple no harm.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #9 of 124
I'm not surprised. As an engineer, I always voice my "concerns" to cover my ass. Anything could have happened after the initial "concerns": different material, different orientation, different design, different software.

Also a "visual feedback" sometimes causes more confusion than any actual problems. Will people still think there is a signal drop if the bars don't change?
post #10 of 124
Ok Apologists, line up to take your turn at discrediting the source.
post #11 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

An Apple engineer warned the company's executives last year that the design of the iPhone 4 could lead to reception problems, and a carrier partner also expressed concern about its external antenna before the June launch, according to a new report.

If true, Apple needs to face the consequences.

But hasn't anyone learned anything about putting their faith in unconfirmed rumors put forward by bloggers? Maybe if someone is willing to come forward and use their name, we might have a story here. Or maybe if Ruben or someone in a position to know confirms it?
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #12 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle76 View Post

I am not at all surprised that Apple was totally unaware of this issue prior to releasing the phone. I'd be even more disappointed if they were. Really, the issue is as much marginal signals in some areas as it is a design flaw. While I can hold the phone and watch the signal fall to "No Signal" in some areas, in areas of good reception it will lose several bars but not drop a connection altogether.

Totally agreed. I hate to sound like an Apple Apologist, but this article is complete bullshit. Actually both the Bloomberg and AI article are.

Quote:
It has also resulted in reception problems that led Consumer Reports to refrain from endorsing the iPhone 4, weighed on the companys shares and stepped up pressure on Apple to issue a fix.

That's quite an unproven allegation. "It" has not "resulted in reception problems." "It" has resulted in what is apparently a drop of a few bars in SOME phones. Millions of other users cannot reproduce the problem, including me.

The author doesn't have real confirmation of the engineer's supposed comments. They have an anonymous third party that claims this particular engineer told Jobs. How would this person know? The quote itself is not even direct. It's a interpretation:

Quote:
"Caballero, the antenna expert, voiced concern in early planning meetings that it might lead to dropped calls and presented a serious engineering challenge, the person said."

Then there is this bit, thrown in by AI itself:

Specifically, Caballero allegedly voiced concern that if a user used their hand to bridge the gap between the cellular and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS antennas on the exterior of the device, it could interfere with the signal. That's exactly what independent wireless experts and the nonprofit Consumer Reports have said occurs with the final product.[/quote]

Why does "Slash" need to frame the statement this way? Answer: To bolster the credibility of the highly suspect Consumer Reports. CR has been rife with problems over the years, from inadequate non-expert testing, to bias. And ooohh! They're NON-PROFIT!!! Why is that people hear the word "non-profit" and immediately go orgasmic? Newsflash: It's just a fucking tax-filing status. "Non-profit" is not synonymous with "moral, selfless, competent & uninterested in making money."
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #13 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

Ok Apologists, line up to take your turn at discrediting the source.

Yes, and someone with 166 posts, you are eminently qualified to judge who the apologists are here. Noob.
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post #14 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

But hasn't anyone learned anything about putting their faith in unconfirmed rumors put forward by bloggers? Maybe if someone is willing to come forward and use their name, we might have a story here. Or maybe if Ruben or someone in a position to know confirms it?

You mean like putting faith in your survey you presented that has no stated methodology and was from a financial company that has AAPL rated as a buy ?
post #15 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Yes, and someone with 166 posts, you are eminently qualified to judge who the apologists are here. Noob.

LOL, I love those "not enough posts" posts.

I didn't call anyone an Apple apologist, did I? Whom did I name? Your post makes zero sense. A little touchy, aren't you? Too close to home?

Guess I'm just pointing out the obvious. Any contrary article results in the assasination of the source by numerous posters. Will happen here as a well. You don't think so?
post #16 of 124
So it looks like Apple will be looking for one more engineer after they fire this guy.
post #17 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

Ok Apologists, line up to take your turn at discrediting the source.

Careful. You'll be -- you are - discredited.
post #18 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by SendMe View Post

That website is owned by Microsoft.

Not the source...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-0...enna-flaw.html
post #19 of 124
Bloomberg is basically a tabloid with all the random crap rumors the put out. People will cite to anything to get their point across.

Anyways all this will be rendered moot when 4.0.1 includes a SOFTWARE fix that solves everyone's problems. Then Apple will use the Friday press conference to declare victory.

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post #20 of 124
So no camera on iPad, yet clearly there appears to be a "mount" for it from tear down photos.

There is no camera because they could not get it to function properly - at all.
Fired the engineer in charge of camera.

Brought in new Engineer who within 1 week said the problem was with the Industrial Design:
- the mounting needed to change
- the material coating was causing reflections in to camera and needed to change as well

Apparently that was not well received and he was almost fired as well.
But apparently they came to their senses and realized he was right.
post #21 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Careful. You'll be -- you are - discredited.

No doubt. No big deal.
post #22 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddych View Post

Bloomberg is basically a tabloid with all the random crap rumors the put out. People will cite to anything to get their point across.

Exhibit One.
post #23 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by SendMe View Post

That website is owned by Microsoft.

Yeah, and Business Week is owned by Bloomberg, who as Mayor of the Big Apple has always held a grudge against the company that stole his city's name.

/sarcasm.

Get a grip (or go spend your time searching for the bogeyman under your bed or that alien in your tooth-filling).
post #24 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Just validates the fact that Steve Jobs puts profits before anything else including the customers that keep his ass in mock-turtle neck sweaters. He has proven that he is no less a money grubbing scumbag like the rest of the corporate ignorati that play hard working customers for dummies. Signal bars my ass...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38260210...ence-wireless/


Profits before anything else? are you kidding me? He runs a business a business that is built on profits. What else is he supposed to care about?

If the customer has a problem he can either A) Not buy it B) If he bought one and has a problem return it or C) Shut up.
post #25 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by stst0001 View Post

So no camera on iPad, yet clearly there appears to be a "mount" for it from tear down photos.

There is no camera because they could not get it to function properly - at all.
Fired the engineer in charge of camera.

Brought in new Engineer who within 1 week said the problem was with the Industrial Design:
- the mounting needed to change
- the material coating was causing reflections in to camera and needed to change as well

Apparently that was not well received and he was almost fired as well.
But apparently they came to their senses and realized he was right.

And your source is? Some Android fanboi?

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iPhone 5 32 GB

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iPad2 16 GB
iPhone 5 32 GB

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post #26 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddych View Post

Bloomberg is basically a tabloid with all the random crap rumors the put out. People will cite to anything to get their point across.

Anyways all this will be rendered moot when 4.0.1 includes a SOFTWARE fix that solves everyone's problems. Then Apple will use the Friday press conference to declare victory.

What other 'crap rumors' do they put out?

Btw, do you realize you are on a rumor site?

StLBluesFan was right..... Dr. Pavlov, meet dog...
post #27 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

LOL, I love those "not enough posts" posts.

I didn't call anyone an Apple apologist, did I? Whom did I name? Your post makes zero sense. A little touchy, aren't you? Too close to home?

Guess I'm just pointing out the obvious. Any contrary article results in the assasination of the source by numerous posters. Will happen here as a well. You don't think so?

Sometimes I think we would be better off without the internet...
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post #28 of 124
Why, give that man a promotion!
post #29 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by SendMe View Post

That website is owned by Microsoft.

Not quite:

Quote:
Although the website msnbc.com and the cable channel MSNBC were launched together in 1996, they have always maintained separate corporate structures and news operations. NBC and Microsoft remain 50-50 partners in msnbc.com, but Microsoft has divested its stake in the television network. Msnbc.com is also editorially and financially separate from MSN, the portal site and online service operated by Microsoft, although msnbc.com acts as MSN's primary news provider.

MS at best owns 50 percent of MSNBC.com. They are partners with NBC.
post #30 of 124
Steve Jobs is being impractical, how else can you hold a phone.
post #31 of 124
What about the people who were fixing their reception problems by re-inserting the SIM card? What if the fix is something as simple as that?

There have also been reports that people buying iPhone 4's later in the production that are noticing that the issue has cleared up for them.

I know that I'm not about to buy another one until I know that the problem is solved.
post #32 of 124
Sometimes an engineer's job is to communicate the business / ops reason why his or her finding is important.

When Shuttle Columbia blew up, an engineer was "concerned" but failed at communication.

When New Orleans flooded, engineers knew it would flood but they failed to communicate.

If this guy thinks he is impressing anybody, he isn't. Blame the iCEO? Unprofessional. Next time, do it right and don't hash out internal grudges in the press.
post #33 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Apple's prior-to-release knowledge of the issue is consistent with producing for the first time its own iPhone case (bumpers) and omitting Field Test Mode from iOS 4.

Consistent with? I think you mean "I would like to subscribe to a conspiracy theory regarding them offering bumpers and omitting FTM from iOS4. I have nothing other than coincidence to support my claims, but that's what I think anyway."



Quote:
Originally Posted by Masteric View Post

Every area where AT&T has server is a poor reception area! lol

I love Apple and their products (and have a number of them, but no iPhone because I hate AT&T service), but I think Steve's ego is getting a bit large and his attitude towards us little people is getting out of hand. Backup away from the God complex Steve.

Oh boy, here comes the Freudian psychoanalysis. Put down your copy of "On Narcissism" and realize that Steve's ego has nothing to do with this. There is some loss of signal on certain phones, coupled with an issue with the signal reporting system. Jobs "ego." Shit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Just validates the fact that Steve Jobs puts profits before anything else including the customers that keep his ass in mock-turtle neck sweaters. He has proven that he is no less a money grubbing scumbag like the rest of the corporate ignorati that play hard working customers for dummies. Signal bars my ass...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38260210...ence-wireless/

Dude. A money-grubbing scumbag? So that's how he's rebuilt Apple and delivered fantastic new products over the past 13 years--by giving a big "FUCK YOU" to Apple's customers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

If true, Apple needs to face the consequences.

Whaa...what the hell do you mean.."consequences?" I think we should stone them! Seriously, the worst case scenario is they tweak the design (probably already done) and give away free thirty-nine cent bumpers. The whole thing will cost them less than a month's fuel for the Gulfstream V.

Quote:

But hasn't anyone learned anything about putting their faith in unconfirmed rumors put forward by bloggers? Maybe if someone is willing to come forward and use their name, we might have a story here. Or maybe if Ruben or someone in a position to know confirms it?

Now, there we agree. The voice of reason, at last.
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post #34 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

Sometimes I think we would be better off without the internet...

I know what you mean. Most all of us are probably likeable folks and would get along swimmingly in a social situation. On an internet forum, not so much.
post #35 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masteric View Post

Every area where AT&T has server is a poor reception area! lol

I love Apple and their products (and have a number of them, but no iPhone because I hate AT&T service), but I think Steve's ego is getting a bit large and his attitude towards us little people is getting out of hand. Backup away from the God complex Steve.

You must be a Verizon person, Well then like my son you must say Fu**ing Verizon a lot, because Verizon Stinks compared to AT&T.
post #36 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddych View Post

And your source is? Some Android fanboi?

Sorry to burst your bubble. But it is a fact.
Demonstrates the approach. Steve - Industrial Design - Product Design - everyone else.
Challenging Industrial Design is not a good career move.
post #37 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

Ok Apologists, line up to take your turn at discrediting the source.

The engineer is a communist working for Obama to destroy our country.
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post #38 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

Sometimes an engineer's job is to communicate the business / ops reason why his or her finding is important.

When Shuttle Columbia blew up, an engineer was "concerned" but failed at communication.

When New Orleans flooded, engineers knew it would flood but they failed to communicate.

If this guy thinks he is impressing anybody, he isn't. Blame the iCEO? Unprofessional. Next time, do it right and don't hash out internal grudges in the press.

Are you for real?
post #39 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

I know what you mean. Most all of us are probably likeable folks and would get along swimmingly in a social situation. On an internet forum, not so much.

Ain't it the truth.

Humming "Mayberry" by Rascal Flatts
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post #40 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by StLBluesFan View Post

Exhibit One.

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