History of Antennagate


Hey guys, it’s Greg with Apple Explained. And today we’re going to explore the history
of antennagate. Which was probably the first big controversy
that the iPhone line ever had. Now this topic was the third place winner
of last week’s voting poll, and if you didn’t get to vote, make sure you’re subscribed. That way the voting polls will show up right
in your mobile activity feed and you can let me know which video you’d like to see next. So if you aren’t familiar with the antennagate
debacle, let me give you a quick overview of what happened back in 2010 that caused
quite a bit of backlash in the tech community. The iPhone 4 had just been released and was
seeing record sales numbers, but there was one problem, and it had to do with its antenna
system. Gizmodo claimed that when the iPhone 4 was
gripped a certain way, its signal bars would drop and effect the phone’s reception. This became known as the ‘death grip.’ And after this behavior was replicated by
a few other tech news outlets, news of the phenomenon began to spread like wildfire. Even being covered by the national media online
and on television. Some people even went so far as to say Apple
should issue a mass recall of the iPhone 4. But other journalists just wanted answers
as to why the iPhone was experiencing what appeared to be a fatal hardware flaw. Because how can a user rely on their phone
to make calls if there’s a risk of reception dropping at any time? This eventually led to Apple holding a press
briefing where Steve Jobs acknowledged the issue, but didn’t handle things the way
most people expected. Now that you have an idea of what we’ll
be covering, let’s get into the details of this story beginning with the launch of
the iPhone 4 in 2010. One thing you have to understand about the
iPhone 4 was that, at that time, it was the most anticipated and hyped iPhone launch ever. Because if you think about it, Apple had only
released three iPhone models up to that point, the original iPhone in 2007, iPhone 3G in
2008, and iPhone 3GS in 2009, and the new iPhone 4 was expected to receive a huge design
overhaul and feature set that would blow everyone away. Now I should mention that part of the reason
why we knew the iPhone 4 would have a major redesign was because an iPhone 4 prototype
was accidentally left behind at a bar by an Apple engineer, and eventually landed in the
hands of Gizmodo. And if you want to hear the story behind that,
I’ll leave a link in the description to the video I made about the leaked iPhone 4
a couple months ago. Now you might think that because we all knew
what the iPhone 4 looked like, there wouldn’t be many surprising moments during its introduction,
but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, Steve Jobs actually said [clip] and
he was right. From the retina display to the front facing
camera, the iPhone 4 featured the biggest technological advancements since the original
model. Now one of the big changes that was originally
touted as an improvement, was the iPhone 4’s redesigned antenna system, which was integrated
into the device’s stainless steel frame. There were lines in the frame which divided
it into two antenna sections, with the left side serving as the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and
GPS antenna, and the right section acting as the antenna for GSM and UMTS connectivity. But little did Apple know that this design
decision would help contribute to one of the biggest iPhone controversies in history. Now when the iPhone 4 was finally released
to the public, it was met with some of the longest lines at Apple Stores across the globe. And this excitement led to Apple selling 1.7
million units in its first three days of availability. But that wasn’t the only notable thing that
happened, because several videos were posted just days after the iPhone 4’s release that
demonstrated its signal bars dropping while held a certain way. And many other iPhone 4 users confirmed this
behavior on various internet forums. One of the first journalists to comment on
the issue was Walt Mossberg, who worked for The Wall Street journal at the time. And he said, “…in some places where the
signal was relatively weak, the iPhone 4 showed no bars, or fewer bars than its predecessor. Apple says that this is a bug it plans to
fix, and that it has to do with the way the bars are presented, not the actual ability
to make a call… However, on at least six occasions during
my tests, the new iPhone was either reporting “no service” or searching for a network
while the old one, held in my other hand, was showing at least a couple of bars. Neither Apple nor AT&T could explain this.” Mossberg went on to say he couldn’t recommend
the iPhone 4 for people who already experience poor AT&T reception. So there appeared to be a real hardware problem
since the iPhone’s cellular connectivity was effected when its bars dropped. Although Apple never publicly verified this
at that time, instead claiming that the issue was with the iPhone’s inaccurate signal
bar algorithm and not with the antenna system itself. But many felt Apple wasn’t telling the whole
truth in order to avoid what they considered the worst case scenario, a recall of the millions
of iPhone 4 devices that had been sold since launch. Because that process would cost Apple hundreds
of millions of dollars and possibly delay the release of their future iPhone model the
following year. I should also mention that a journalist from
Gizmodo emailed Steve Jobs directly, asking if Apple had any plans to fix the iPhone 4’s
reception issue. And Jobs response caused quite a bit of controversy,
since he simply said, “Just avoid holding it in that way.” Essentially implying that it was the user’s
fault for their iPhone 4’s reception issue because they were holding it wrong. And this only fanned the flame of outrage
among users who were demanding Apple take some sort of action on this issue. But iPhone 4 users weren’t the only people
putting pressure on Apple, because the company’s competitors were using this misstep as a PR
opportunity. Motorola took out a full-page ad in the New
York Times saying that the Droid X’s antenna is the kind that allows you to hold the phone
any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls. Now Apple eventually published an open letter
on July 2nd, which was just eight days after the iPhone 4 went on sale. In the letter, Apple explained that gripping
almost any phone in certain ways will lower reception by one or more bars, although the
iPhone 4 did lose more bars than normal. And that led some to accuse the iPhone 4 of
having a faulty antenna design. But Apple had received hundreds of emails
from satisfied customers who claimed the reception on the iPhone 4 was better than their previous
3GS, and those claims matched Apple’s own experience and testing. So this left Apple wondering what could explain
the steeper drop in bars on the iPhone 4. And their answer was that the algorithm used
to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display was inaccurate. Causing the iPhone to display about two more
bars than it should in most circumstances. And when the iPhone 4 is gripped, its bars
drop more dramatically since the signal strength was never actually that high to begin with. So in order to remedy this problem, Apple
said they’d adopt the signal strength formula that AT&T recommended, rather than their own
proprietary algorithm. Now at this point, many people weren’t sure
what to believe. Was the antenna problem 100% software-based? Or was something wrong with the iPhone 4’s
hardware? So customers began looking to third parties
in order to prove or disprove Apple’s claims. On one hand, Spencer Webb, the president of
AntennaSys, claimed that the iPhone 4 was not any more sensitive to hand position than
was the first-generation iPhone or many other phones on the market. But an analysis by Consumer Reports contradicted
Webb. Since they tested three iPhone 4 devices in
their radio frequency isolation room and found significant reception problems when holding
the phone over its lower-left corner, especially when the signal was weak to begin with. And as a result, Consumer Reports did not
recommend buying an iPhone 4, advising instead to stick with the iPhone 3GS or look to other
brands. Now as you can imagine, Apple didn’t appreciate
what Consumer Reports had to say about the situation, so the company scheduled a last-minute
press briefing just two days later on July 16th, 2010. And immediately after the event was announced,
speculation about what Apple might do to solve the problem began to circulate. With most of the predictions centering around
a recall of the iPhone 4 and perhaps a new iPhone with a special coating to remedy the
death grip. But what actually happened on July 16th would
shock almost everyone in the tech community. Because when Steve Jobs took the stage at
the press briefing, he framed the antennagate issue in a way no one was expecting. Now I encourage you to watch the entire video
of this presentation if you haven’t already because I think it’s a masterclass in rhetoric
that’ll be studied by politicians and other executives for decades. Essentially, Jobs began the briefing by asserting
that the death grip was a problem with many smartphones, not just the iPhone 4. And this was proven with video demonstrations
provided by Apple. Jobs also claimed that just .55% of total
iPhone 4 owners called in to AppleCare complaining about antenna or reception issues. Which appeared to be a much smaller percentage
than reports suggested. Return rates of the iPhone 4 were also significantly
less than its predecessor, with a 1.7% rate of return. A big improvement over the iPhone 3GS’ 6%. Now Apple did admit that the iPhone 4 had
experienced more dropped calls than the iPhone 3GS, but Jobs gave the audience his theory
as to why that was. He said it’s probably because only 20% of
iPhone 4 customers left the store with a case, down from 80% with the iPhone 3GS. And this was likely due to the iPhone 4 featuring
a completely new design, so there weren’t many cases available for the device at launch. And in Jobs opinion, if more customers had
purchased cases, there would have been less dropped calls. And this theory led to Apple’s solution
to the antennagate problem. They would offer iPhone 4 customers free cases
until September 30th of that year. Which would prevent users from gripping the
phone’s antenna directly and therefore alleviate any reception issues. Now some people felt Apple didn’t go far
enough in fixing the problem they created, while others thought Apple did more than they
had to, since the updated signal bar algorithm already appeared to help substantially. Now antennagate may have been the iPhone’s
first encounter with industry backlash, but it certainly wasn’t the last. With bendgate and touch disease following
not too long after. And who knows what other scandals the iPhone
might experience going forward, the only thing we do know, is that at some point another
will surely come. So that is the history of antennagate, and
if you want to vote for the next video topic, don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next
time.

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100 thoughts on “History of Antennagate

  1. Without Steve jobs apple is not apple apple should be all genuine apple product I can't believe that apple is buy a screen from its competitor compile steve jobs was here still alive Ik for a fact he would've created the BEST SCREEN 100x better once Jony Ive came into apple I swear it's not worth to buy an iPhone I MISS U STEVEY Y THE FUCK DID U HAVE TO GO

  2. They say the iphone 4's antenna problem was the worst.

    Imagine spending over 1,000 dollars for a phone that doesnt charge. the iphone XS max

  3. Are you guys gonna address the new issue apple is facing? I'm currently saving up for a XS and don't wanna waste my funds. However, I've been android all this time and ready to embrace the crossover!

  4. Job at his worst and his best trick, iPhone 4 is very important to apple history. I did almost buy iphone 4 but then I passed since there are so many new phone coming out.
    That glass back as meaningless. Nowadays you need it for wireless charging.

  5. This channel is becoming more of a source of excuses for apple products. This is coming from someone with a iPhone Xs max.

  6. The “ hold your phone in a different way” was sent to Gizmodo who stole the iPhone. Gizmodo refused to give the found iPhone back when Apple wanted to get the lost prototype back.
    Seriously, did they expect some kind words after that?

  7. I remember seeing all these mishaps with the iPhone 4 as they were happening; seeing a little documentary like this is almost like reliving my childhood XD

  8. The timing of this video is just amazing. At the end you show a picture of the new iPhone Xs and Xs max and say "Who knows what other scandals the iPhone might experience going forward." Stay tuned for charge-gate, hitting the news as we speak.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_lRJuQtBmc

  9. I find it funny how Steve Jobs just said "Stop holding it that way" The way he handled things was way more different than modern apple

  10. People like to hype up Jobs, but honestly, he sucked too and Apple products would still suck hard if he were still in charge.

  11. the only good thing about this case is that Steveo made the effort to make another stage appearance and tell you the issue and what ever and then they later fixed this issue with the 4s. something Tim Cook would never do and then fix it swiftly as if nothing happened like the bend-gate and other gate issues

  12. How do I have antenna gate on my iPod touch 6th generation? I drop one bar of WiFi when covering the antenna with my finger. Oh yeah, Antenna Gate 2: The sequel exists with iPhone XS.

  13. I had an iPhone 4 back in 2010, I remember trying to recreate the bars dropping. If I squeezed hard enough, like a “death grip” I could get one to two bars to drop. However I never had any problems holding it normally, with a normal grip.

  14. Antennagate wasn't unique to mobile phone with the price of iPhone 4.
    Something similar with the chargegate of iPhone XS max. It is unacceptable for 1500€ to be unable to charge easily.

  15. Now we have almost stopped bendígate but move on to chargegate!

    But wait for it,
    iOS 12.1 beta 2 fixed it BOI. We have no things to deal with now. It’s gud now xddddd

  16. I never had any dropped calls with my iPhone 4. I'm not saying that the problem did not exist, but I never had a problem. I went almost 2 weeks without a case.

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  18. The GizModo was a PR Stunt by Apple to hype the iPhone 4. No engineer ever left the iPhone at the Bar and only idiots fell for that Hype PR Stunt.

  19. When I had my iPhone 4, I didn’t experience any issues with Antennagate but on the plus side, I got a free case!

  20. Thank you, Greg. I used your video here to do a presentation myself about products being badly engineered. I didn't know that Apple just sweep this under the rug though. They did change the antennae on the Verizon iPhone 4, thus I never had problems with my old iPhone 4. (:

  21. I think that the problem is easy to see, there are two antennas, when a person holds the phone touching both antennas, they must be closing a circuit between both and then the signal of one basically scrambles the signal in the other. I think that this may be proven by using a plastic cover for the phone.

  22. Just put a piece of tape over the antenna gaps and you won't lose signal. I have tryed it and it works.

  23. Uno I dont hate apple but to tell people that thier holding thier phone wrong is wrong when thier is clearly something wrong

  24. This was total garbage, what has it got to do with the iPhone's antenna other phone users phones would break if treated as the iPhone 4 was as others had issues with reception

  25. I always held my 4 in a certain way. I had my finger where the power button on an iPhone X would be. But when I would reach up to press the power button, it would lose connection.

  26. I remember I downloaded the iPhone bumper app to get it for free. I got the black one and kept it through out the life of my iPhone 4. I used a leather skin to cover the back before dbrand was existing. I never had antenna issues with my iPhone 4 and I got it 2 days before launch fedex delivered it early. And I loved it.

  27. You send your armed private security to storm a Gizmondo journalist's home AFTER you retrieved your lost prototype iphone 4, you unleash your legal hounds against the poor guy who found it and sold it for some extra cash aaand BAM: when released on retail it doesn't work properly. Ain't karma a motherf****r.

  28. The iPhones with no “s” were plagued with scandals. iPhone 4 antennagate, iPhone 5 “scuffgate” iPhone 6 “bendgate” and a little one I call for the iPhone 7, “headphonejackgate”

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