Originally Posted by ghostface147
I understand that the media is overhyping the attenuation factor, but I am still curious why the other phones they tested don't have the same amount of degradation.
To answer the second part of your post first, it's quite simple, other phones don't let you contact the metal antenna directly. Go stick your finger in a light socket if anyone doesn't think human flesh can affect the flow of an electrical signal. All phones will suffer signal degradation if something, like flesh, is blocking
the electromagnetic (radio) signal from reaching the antenna in the first place. The iPhone 4 has the additional challenge of letting contact with the antenna interfere with the flow of the electrical signal in the antenna itself. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that a case helps alleviate the problem. A thin case won't do anything to prevent the radio signal "blocking", but it does prevent the electrical signal interference. Just like wearing insulated gloves will save your life when you stick your finger in a light socket. (Please don't actually stick your finger in a light socket. I don't want get sued by your survivors!
I think CR is making two critical mistakes in their conclusions. First, the problem is not significant enough to warrant not including the iPhone on their recommended list, for either ATT or Verizon. Every device has flaws, pros and cons. To suggest that this flaw is so much worse than other usabilty flaws on other phones is silly.
Second, they are comparing the iPhone 4 to, well, the iPhone 4. And it's all relative. They don't list the actual signal strengths other phones were receiving or how sensitive their receivers are. Only that the iPhone lost more signal. But what if the iPhone had better reception to begin with? For example, supposed the iPhone was twice as good at signal reception as another phone. But then it lost 25% effectiveness due to this flaw. Do the math, and the iPhone is still
50% better than that other phone. Getting the antenna farther from the noisy EM environment inside the case may well outweight this minor issue. So, overall better performance in exchange for a rarely experienced nuisance.
People who claim this issue doesn't exist at all also need to take a step back. There have been enough 1st-person, customer reported experiences to confirm there is an issue. But like all things related to cell phones, your experience may vary. Just because you can't confirm the issue yourself doesn't mean it doesn't exist for some people.
Originally Posted by bulk001
IF they are correct, it is surprising that Apple did not correct this issue. That said, I have the ATT model and it has not been a real issue for me.
Ask any consumer products liability lawyer why Apple didn't change their product design. It's not a big enough issue that there was any threat of recall. Apple never promised a specified level of reception performance that they failed to deliver on. The carrier's own coverage maps are so unreliable that you'd never have a case against Apple for something this minor.
But if they had significantly redesigned the Verizon iPhone, many people, and their lawyers, would look at it as an admission of guilt and start filing class action lawsuits. Even if Apple was confident they'd win every case, they would still have to invest a lot of time, money, and marketing muscle to fight the accusations.
But I bet you won't be able to directly contact the metal antenna of the iPhone 5.