With the buildup for the iPhone 4 reaching
astronomical heights, it was almost inevitable that it couldn't live up
to all of its hype.
Having been on the development side of scores of
products, I've seen it time and time again. No matter how well you test
and retest products during their development, until they get into
thousands of customers' hands, you really don't know what will become
the big issues.
Apple Developers Conference in June, he passionately described the
details that Apple agonized over in glowing terms, from the double
glass enclosure to the antennas built into the stainless steel sides.
He implied how the company solved one of the flaws of earlier models,
the propensity for dropped calls, while never admitting that to be one
of the iPhone's major weaknesses.
major faults, the loss of signal strength when the phone is held near
the bottom left corner.
response, first suggesting users hold it differently and then blaming
it on the signal strength meter. Then it made the situation worse by
removing comments from its discussion forums. It seemed to be digging
deeper and deeper rather than offering a believable response.
it and assume it wouldn't be noticed? Its intense focus on privacy
may have contributed. The phones Apple used for testing in public were in a case
to disguise the actual product, which masked the problem.
said it could not recommend it, backtracking on its original praise for
the product. Considering the magazine has praised the earlier iPhones
with poorer overall call performance, I think they've changed their
standards or are just jumping on the media bandwagon.
product. But I've experienced similar antenna issues with other phones
as well, particularly as more features are packed into smaller volumes.
Designing antennas is as much an art as a science and compromises are
always made. I've been using an iPhone 4 since it came out and have
rarely experienced this problem, but I can make it happen.
unpredictable operation of the proximity sensor that turns the screen
off when you put the phone to your ear. On occasion the screen remains
active and my cheek triggers the mute or end call button. And in a nod
to this issue and to get out ahead of it, Apple said it was working on a fix.
compromises, as in the iPhone, and, even worse, deficiencies and
defects, often not obvious to the users. Companies ship products
knowing that some will fail prematurely, some will break if dropped a
certain way, and others will occasionally lock up and need to be reset.
That's the nature of tech products being much more complex and often
being rushed to beat a competitor without being thoroughly tested.
says. Examples? Amazon shipped Kindles with some displays that would
fade when in sunlight. Apple shipped products with defective hard
drives and power supplies subject to early failure. Dell shipped computers knowing a high number of motherboards would fail due to
their customers discover, and repair or replace products even
after the warranty expires. (Among the examples above, only Dell failed
to act responsibly, covered up its problem for years while it continued
to sell defective products.)
of the issue of dropped calls with all of the iPhones are related to
GSM vs. CDMA, and how much is due to AT&T vs. the iPhone?
Sprint that use CDMA technology. Are GSM phones more problematic for
them? Are iPhones more troublesome than other brands of GSM phones, and
is AT&T unfairly being blamed for the dropped calls when the cause
is Apple's equipment?
anecdotal evidence that's contradictory. I've rarely had GSM calls drop
using iPhones or Blackberries in Asia or Europe. I've had many fewer
dropped calls in the United States with Blackberries than with iPhones,
both on AT&T's network. Consumer Reports could perform a real service and conduct tests to answer some of these questions.
the problem and an offer to take back phones from those that are still not
satisfied. Considering that this issue is not as significant as some of
the press would have you believe, and the product excels in so may
other ways, I still think it's the best smartphone and recommend