Apple reframes "Touch of Death" as "Gorilla Grip of Death"

Summary:It's disingenuous of Apple to reframe the "Touch of Death" antenna issue with the iPhone 4 as an industry-wide "Gorilla Grip of Death" problem.

It's disingenuous of Apple to reframe the "Touch of Death" antenna issue with the iPhone 4 as an industry-wide "Gorilla Grip of Death" problem.

See, the issue affecting the iPhone 4 is pretty specific. Touch the gap between the chassis bands on the side of the handset with the buttons, and the signal collapses (the scale of the collapse depends on the signal strength to begin with). Apple acknowledges that this issue exists:

OK, fine. That's all pretty clear. But where it gets interesting is how Apple is turning something which to me seems like a design flaw (that this, the gap is exposed and can be touched) into an industry-wide issue by redefining the problem. What Apple wants to do is turn the "Touch of Death" that affects the iPhone 4 into a "Gorilla Grip of Death" where it shows the lifeforce bars being squeezed out of a variety of handsets by other makers when held is odd ways.

 

 

See, there's quite a difference between attenuation of the signal experienced when your finger brushes against a point of the chassis (a stop that just happens to coincide with where people normally place their fingers, especially when holding the handset in their right hand), to the "problems" you see when gripping the handset. To me, the two issues are very different, as different as finding a touch spot on the case that makes the display switch off and trying to compare that to the "problem" of not being able to see the screen when cupping your hand over it.

See, in many ways Apple is right. The following statement is 100% correct:

Every smartphone has a cellular antenna. And nearly every smartphone can lose signal strength if you hold it in a certain way.

Problem is when the "certain way" that causes signal loss also happens to be a "normal way" to hold the device. That's what makes the iPhone 4 problem so special. While manufacturers such as Nokia and Samsung can pop a note into their instruction manual telling people not to cover the antenna when it's somewhere out of the way, it's pretty hard for Apple to not tell people to touch the side of the handset where ... well ... people normally hold the handset.

Apple, I give your attempt at reframing this problem a C+ ... bullish, but transparent.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Mobility

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.