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HARDWARE

iPhone 4: Officially a Hot Mess

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About that new iPhone, I smell gas! For starters, Apple is officially saying "uncle" for now regarding the widely reported antenna problems with the new iPhone 4.

Yes, there is an emergency software update (patch) coming out to address this. However, Gizmodo (quoting AppleCare operators who said the same thing on three different calls) is reporting that Apple's official partyline to customers is that the patch will not fix the antenna. What it will do is address the glitch in the software that's been giving us all a false reading of reception bars on the phone's interface all this time.

In other words, there's two problems with the iPhone's reception. One is a software problem that is purely cosmetic. The other is the hardware problem that speaks to a fundamental flaw in the iPhone 4's design with the wraparound antenna band on the outside of the phone.

The software problem is getting fixed. There is no fix for the hardware problem (the problem that is actually dropping calls).

Apple is offering the following advice to customers:

1. Get an iPhone case/bumper that will shield the antenna. They cost about $30. You're on your own to buy one yourself. See below for other potential problems from this solution.

2. Avoid gripping the phone on the lower left edge of the phone (the so-called "dead spot").

3. OR -  Return it and Apple will waive the restocking fee.

Now, that's just the antenna fiasco. But, wait there's more:

- New "proximity sensor" disconnecting calls: The "new" iPhone has a newly designed "proximity sensor". It is supposed to detect when your face is close to the phone for a call and turn off the touch screen. This is to prevent your cheek from bumping into an icon that will hang up the phone or put it on speaker (while against your ear - ouch!), etc. There is a robust thread of customer complaints about this one on the Apple site. This is likely a software glitch that can be fixed with an update.

- Upload speeds are too slow - Lay this one AT&T's feet, not Apple's (although don't they work together on these things?). There were widespread complaints over the holiday weekend that iPhone 4 users were experiencing a severe lag in upload speeds on AT&T's 3G Network. At first, there were rumors that AT&T was capping upload speeds on purpose. AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent put out a joint statement, however, claiming it's a software problem on their end and it's in the process of being fixed. The two companies neglected to mention how long it will take to roll-out that fix.

- Some iPhone 4 cases don't fit - So for those of you who choose to buy an iPhone 4 case (or bumper as they are sometimes called) as a RX for the faulty antenna, buyer beware. Apple refuses to share the specs (like the phone's size dimensions that would determine the size of the bumpers to go around it) in advance to the companies that make iPhone accessories. Subsequently, those accessory manufactorers are shooting in the dark creating products for launch day based on rumors and leaked prototypes and beta versions. Subsequently part two, some of the iPhone 4 cases currently on the market simply don't fit. Best advice: save your receipt.

- Android 2.2 Beats The Pants Off iPhone 4's OS: Ars Technica just published today the results of its benchmark testing comparing the speeds of the new Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system and iOS 4 (iPhone 4), specifically in javacript execution. Android was two to three times faster in a variety of tests. You can geek out more about that here, if you are so inclined.

Like I say, hot mess.

 

 

 

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Last updated: Jul 7, 2010




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