Sorry Dylan, but I find this story to be very contradictory and misleading. The redesigned antenna is "not dramatically different" than on the AT&T version? In the Verizon version, it is actually two antennas with spatial diversity reception vs. only one antenna on the AT&T version. IHS iSuppli is referring to this as "an entirely new antenna design." I guess it all depends on one's definition of the word "dramatically."
You also state that there have been no reports yet of the kind of reception problems that plagued the AT&T version, yet you state that the "death grip" location of the antenna(s) hasn't changed. By that logic, wherever the antenna happens to be located -- on this or any other phone -- is now going to be referred to as the "death grip" location?
It's quite interesting to see this headline -- "New iPhone antenna has same 'death grip'" and another headline titled "Apple redesigns antenna for VZW iPhone" within the same morning news cycle.
I would have preferred to see test results from the breakdown rather than speculation. It may or may not work, it may be fine, not knowing what caused the "death grip" issue with the old unit it is hard to tell what "fix" was needed. I will wait until some real testing occurs and then decide.
Thanks for the comments and feedback as always. In the opinion of the analysts at UBM TechInsights who performed the teardown, the antennae design isn’t innovative or revolutionary, but they acknowledge that it is an improvement over the previous design. They say that both the AT&T and Verizon models still use two antennae, but because the Verizon is a CDMA version it gives them the ability to incorporate a Diversity/A-GPS style antenna.
As for the "death grip," that's just a colloquialism to refer to that particular area that many analysts thought was responsible for the dropped calls. But the UBM TechInsights analysts say they can speculate with some certainty that regardless of the "death grip," the choice of the Diversity Rx in CDMA has shown to improve signal integrity.
That said, I think that the UBM TechInsights analysts and I would agree with Robotics Developer, that we won't know with certainty that the new design improves on the performance of the former without some real testing.
Well, who's going to test? TechInsights? I'd appreciate if you provide a link once testing data is available.
Which would be better? CDMA or GSM?
Which will have the least amount of dropped calls? Actually, I haven't seen data to objectively know the antenna performance of the first At&t apple iPhone 4. Will there be any for this new CDMA breed? And after all... wasn't the problem solved with the firmware upgrade that Mr. Jobs announced :-)
No, I'm going to have to chime in with my agreement with what Frank says. The original article is misleading if diversity reception corrects symptoms, even if the Verizon phone has one antenna with the same "gap" as the AT&T phone. Even the UBM lab report you reference recognizes the value of diversity reception, but you had to have a "headline".
The re-design seems to be a good one. The nice thing is that Apple doesn't need to change the outlook of the phone and people basically won't aware of any change at all. Anyway, still would to like to wait for the field test result.
The teardown images of the iPhone are a tremendous advance over previous articles in the media about the "death grip" problem that causes the iPhone to drop calls. However, as other readers have mentioned, the article seems self contradictory regarding the antenna redesign and design issues. PLEASE take the last step and show all of us how and why this antenna design suffers from problems when the phone is held a particular way.
After the issue Apple had with the GSM version, I would be very surpised if they didn't do in depth testing before releasing the CDMA version. So the test data exists within Apple. It would be interesting to see independent test results, but I would expect the result to be acceptable.
I was one of the gents that was involved in the teardown of the iPhone 4. I think the wording of the article may have caused some confusion to you so here is my take:
The "death grip" antenna is still in the same location. If that was the only antenna change, the issue with dropped calls would most likely reoccur.
HOWEVER, the addition of the Diversity Rx antenna by it's very definition improves the quality of the reception. Whether or not Apple intended for this is what we don't know. My understanding (and I could be wrong here because by no means am I an antenna expert), because this is a CDMA phone, designers typically choose diverity receiving as a default.
My opinion is that Apple knew the reception was going to be improved regardless because this was a CDMA phone, so a drastic redesign of the antennae was unnecessary.
Though I am hearing rumors that in areas of questionable coverage, where the benefits of diversity Rx aren't possible, the death grip is causing dropped calls. I cannot confirm that though.
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