What Steve Jobs should have said: Let them use duct tape

Summary:America’s Consumer Reports has lab-tested Apple’s iPhone 4 and now says it can’t recommend it because of the antenna issue. Basically, it’s defective as designed.

America’s Consumer Reports has lab-tested Apple’s iPhone 4 and now says it can’t recommend it because of the antenna issue. Basically, it’s defective as designed.

The lab adds: “Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4's signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that ‘mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength’.”

If you missed the saga, some unfortunate iPhone buyers complained that when they held the phone in their left hands, the signal dropped. Apple’s sublimely idiotic response was that the iPhone’s display was misleading people by exaggerating the signal strength, and they’d fix it via a software update that showed signal strength was much worse than the iPhone 4 had led users to believe. The fact that this didn’t have anything to do with the defective antenna design was simply ignored.

The defect should be fairly simple to fix by adding an insulating coat to prevent your hand from bridging the antennas provided for mobile and Wi-Fi signals. An alternative might be to fit a “bumper”, but these cost $29 and Apple is too cheap to give them away free. (Clearly, it is much more important to preserve the $40+ billion that Apple has in the bank.)

But Consumer Reports has another answer: “Cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material. It may not be pretty, but it works.”

To quote a spoof advert from Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion radio show: “Duct tape is more than a miracle adhesive, it's a balm for the soul of the unprepared and inept.”

Topics: Tech Industry

About

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first webs... Full Bio

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