The Same Old Story, My Thoughts On iPhone 4

Okay, I just want to start by being clear, I haven’t actually used the iPhone 4 yet. Older models of iPhone I’ve gotten a chance to get hands on with for a short time thanks to friends and in-store demos. But due to the fact the iPhone 4 was just released a matter of weeks ago I haven’t had a chance to test it out yet.

However I doubt a lot has changed, we’re talking Apple here, any changes they make consist primarily of making things slightly prettier or two microns thinner and adding features other products have had for several years, while simultaneously ignoring problems they refuse to acknowledge, which is most of them.

So because of that, this post is probably going to be shorter than normal. Which I’m happy about because I’m sick of spending several days writing thousand-or-two-thousand-word blog posts.

Anyway, the iPhone 4. From what I know it’s the same as the iPhone 3Gs with a few changes in design. New features include a front facing camera, perfect for video conferencing or even vlogging…you know…if you’re into that sort of thing; and a higher resolution display, you know, if you like watching video while the display is resting on your face. I assume the processor’s faster because that’s always the way of things, and you know, the design, I like it, it looks good, I might buy it if they ship it in iTouch form and I got $200 to burn, which I don’t because I’m poor.

Finally, one important feature of the iPhone 4, if you touch the outer edge on the lower left corner, you will lose your connection.

AH Yes! The Pink Elephant in Apple headquarters. The iPhone’s antenna problems. You see, as part of the new design, the outer edge of the iPhone features a metal band which is, in actuality, the iPhone antenna. Look closely and you will see a gap in it.

iPhone antenna

There’s quite a few of these gaps to separate the various antennae for the various wireless protocols used in the iPhone, and when the human hand touches the gap in the bottom left corner, it causes two of the antennae to join, which in turn causes the signal to tank.

I’m not an expert on antennae so I don’t know exactly why this is happening, but from what I do know, antennae are generally tuned to a specific frequency based on the length of the antenna. I don’t know why or what the correlation is, all I know is, you change the length of the antennae, you change the frequency it’s set to. Which causes problems.

Now in true Apple form, they have acknowleged this problem and are issuing a recall for all iPhones so they can fix it…HA! I’m just messing with you. Their response so far has been to deny it’s a problem. They’ve started by advising users to hold the phone differently or get a case, then saying it’s a software problem, which actually doesn’t make sense because it’s basically saying the problem isn’t real, which people at Engadget and engineers at Consumer Reports have confirmed is not the case.

Now, a recall may be coming, because Apple is staging a press conference tomorrow. But I’d like to focus on the tragic irony of this whole situation.

This dilemma comes as no surprise to me, because as I’ve said in the past, Apple is a company who believes aesthetics are much more important than functionality, and this design for the iPhone was chosen because it was thinner and lighter, in spite of the possible antenna problems…which they were warned about.

To misquote Benjamin Franklin, “he who sacrifices appearance for functionality deserves neither.”

But I’d like to underline the irony of selecting a design that would be thinner, only to have it require the use of a case to operate. They would have been better off selecting a thicker design.

I wish it would come a time when Apple pulled it’s head out of it’s collective asses and realized there are some things more important than physical appearance. Like, for example, a phone being able to make phone calls.

Also, their PR department seems to be out to lunch during this whole event, what with Apple refusing to offer free cases, even though that would fix the problem instantly, and then trying to cover up the whole problem by deleting all reference to the issue on it’s support forums.

Finally, this whole situation could have been avoided if they tested the phone to make sure they wouldn’t experience problems like this. Oh, wait, they did. An iPhone was found in the wild several months ago. They were obviously testing it. So why didn’t they catch this problem? OH! It was in a case that disguised it as a 3GS, and a case is what fixes the problem. Nice one.

Thank god I don’t do business with Apple. Because I have a feeling this won’t be the last fuck-up by the company that seemingly can do no good.

But you know, it could be this whole fiasco was intentional. I mean they were warned something like this could happen, and the one way to test it, they avoided, so it would only make sense they intended to do this, or simply didn’t care and thought they could get away with it.

I imagine Steve Jobs going, “well we could go with a more reliable design…but we all know our fan-base will buy millions of these no matter what we do, so let’s go with the shittier design.” Like it’s a fucking test to the faithful.

I would not put it past the man that’s for damn sure. I’m sick of Steve and his bullshit. As I’ve said before Apple appears to be the only company people let get away with this shit. I just hope this is the last straw for his user-base and we never hear about this kind of shit again.

But in the interim, I hope for the sake of all iPhone users, Steve will announce a recall tomorrow and save his own sorry ass.

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