Big hopes for new iPhone antenna

Tue, 06/08/2010 - 8:05am
Andrew Berg, Wireless Week

The antenna on the iPhone 4 is novel enough that Apple CEO Steve Jobs felt comfortable saying it’s “never been done before.” Many are hoping the new antenna, which is actually woven into the new stainless steel metal band that wraps around the iPhone 4, will alleviate poor call quality and dropped calls on the Apple smartphone.

Jobs was guarded when he talked last week at the All Things Digital conference about the number of dropped calls iPhone users suffered on AT&T’s network. He was vague about who was to blame and how the problem would be solved. To be sure, he leaned toward putting the problem on the network and not on Apple’s technology.

"I am told that a lot of places are getting a lot better, certainly by the end of this summer. And I believe the people that are telling me that, truly believe it, and they're high-competency people," Jobs said in a video of the interview posted on the All Things Digital website.

Interviewer Kara Swisher followed that answer up with: "And if they don't?" To which Jobs scratched his head and threw up his hands. "Then they won't," he said.

There are murmurs around the Web today suggesting that Jobs had an ace up his sleeve in the form of the iPhone’s new antenna.

Kevin Burden, vice president and practice director of mobile devices at ABI Research, says that it certainly seems like the new antenna might help with the iPhone’s infamous ability for dropping calls.

Burden says that antenna placement is incredibly important when designing a smartphone. “The fact that they’ve got this thing zipping all around the phone, you have to assume it has some sort of marked improvement on how well it does. How well it continues to hold a call, well, I don’t know,” he says.

Burden agrees that the very fact that Apple even brought up the antenna in a high-profile keynote was at least an implied comment that Apple recognizes the problem and is trying to fix it.

More Broadband Direct 6/08/10:
•  CED Blog: Time Warner Cable groups digital channels by genres
•  Comcast adds 70 HD channels in Denver, other areas of Colo.
•  DirecTV debuts whole-home DVR
•  SMPTE sets 3-D TV conference
•  BigBand signs European reseller
•  Portuguese cable operator picks Sigma Systems' OSS platform
•  Comcast appoints 2 execs to national customer operations
•  Big hopes for new iPhone antenna
•  Verizon launches group communications service



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