Poll: Can you replicate Apple's reported "Bold 9700 antenna issues" on your device? I can't...

By Kevin Michaluk on 16 Jul 2010 04:35 pm EDT
 Apple Propaganda

* Update: Well, after a few thousand quick votes it seems some 86% of us BlackBerry Bold 9700 users think El Jobso's evidence is a big pile of BS. As for the 14% who think it may hold water, well, I'm sure some of those must be legit... but the numbers speak for themselves. Sorry Steve - it seems you became part of the media you like to beat up on with this one... making a story where one doesn't actually exist. *

If you're on the internet today anywhere near a tech website, you've probably heard and/or seen posts surrounding Apple's iPhone 4 press conference that focused on the hoopla surrounding the device's apparent antenna issues (check out TiPb.com's full coverage). According to Apple, well, there are none. Phones aren't perfect. And furthermore, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 they tested out apparently had antenna issues of its own too.

Apple's test? Go to an area where you have full bars while holding the phone gingerly, then change that loose grip to a bit more of a death grip. They show off a video where the Bold 9700's signal basically drops to one bar, until the death grip is released (click the image above to jump over to Apple.com and watch the whole video). 

Since seeing the press conference, I've been trying to duplicate their results and I simply cannot do it. My Bold 9700's antenna kicks ass from what I can tell (disclaimer: I'm not on AT&T, but rather Rogers, so maybe Rogers kick a bit of ass too for signal coverage). I either get no drop in coverage, or after realllllly covering up the phone i see a temporary drop of a couple of bars, but only for a second or two, and then the bars come back up to basically full. RIM has been building radios for a lonnnng time. I'm guessing it senses the sudden drop in signal strength and automatically ramps up the power to increase it to full bars again. I'm no engineer though, so I hope somebody smarter than me comes forward to shed more light on this (hopefully RIM does).

In the meantime, if you have a BlackBerry Bold 9700, put it to the test. Can you duplicate Apple's results? Or are you seeing what I'm seeing... no issues at all. Cast your vote and sound off in the comments. I'm sure this isn't the last we've heard of the new smartphone antenna debate.

Reader comments

Poll: Can you replicate Apple's reported "Bold 9700 antenna issues" on your device? I can't...


I didn't vote since I have a 9650 but when giving it the death grip and covering the bottom of the device as much as possible I did see a one bar drop but then it came back up if I continued to hold it that way. In holding it in every way that I would to actually use the device, I had absolutely no loss of signal at all.

On another note I have a house guest who happens to be an owner of an iphone4. I gave that thing the death grip as well as holding it in an actual usable position and there was absolutely no loss of signal either. A co worker on the other hand said different, that their Iphone4 dropped calls constantly and that just by holding the phone you could watch the bars go up to 4 bars and down to no bars depending on the grip.


My Tour does this when I hold it the way I normally do when carrying it. I hold the bottom of the phone in a relaxed grip and I go from four to one bars, everytime. Nice try, everyone saying he's wrong, but it only takes it happening on one phone to make him right. Also, you say 86 or so percent say it's BS? Doesn't that leave a higher percent saying it DOES happen than what Apple's dealing with? And who are you to judge what people vote? "I'm sure some of them have merit..." So, you take a poll and when the numbers aren't what you like you disregard the results... Nice. I'm sure you had just as many people say they can replicate it in support of Apple as you had say they can't without even TRYING because they support RIM. This website gets worse and more pathetic everyday...
So the iPhone has probs making calls... Well, it does everything else fantastic. My Tour? Okay at calls, stinks at web browsing, buggy OS, terrible music player, pathetic Mac support, bad battery... I think I'd rather have the iPhone that makes bad calls.

Granted, this is hardly a scientific study, but keep in mind that (1) this is a survey of people who are admittedly Blackberry fanboys, (2) since the conditions for reproducing this on an iPhone are fairly precise, it is unlikely that the majority of users here who responded were in a situation where iPhone attenuation becomes significant either. These two both serve to increase the "no problems here" response.

And YET, the "Yes, I can see attenuation here" responses are incredibly significant. In fact, more than iPhone users report (only 1.7% see it enough to complain about it; estimates I've seen center around 10% of users being in areas where they will be affected in any noticeable manner).

Please, fix your conclusions. You may conclude that the survey was flawed, or that a bunch of fanboys are properly convinced that their Blackberries rule the world, but you may NOT conclude that the 15% who report seeing attenuation are outliers and still conclude that there is any meaning whatsoever in the other 85%.

Folks, denying that radio signals attenuate by body placement and density (how tightly a hand grips it affects the relative moisture content of the hand) is like denying the earth revolves around the sun. It doesn't change the facts. Take a basic course in physics or talk to any RF engineer; EVERY CELL PHONE ON THE PLANET WILL ATTENUATE. The question is the degree of attenuation, and, again, scientifically it has been proven that the iPhone is differently susceptible to attenuation (in that there is a galvanic coupling factor around the antenna which is generally not the case with other phones), but not *more* susceptible (the actual signal loss numbers are pretty similar between a galvanically-coupled attenuation situation on an iPhone and a dense hand enclosure on a Blackberry Bold).

All this having been said, I don't have a Bold; I have a Tour. But, I can say without a doubt that attenuation on a Tour, on Verizon's CDMA network, is easily reproducible *in the same places my friend with an iPhone 4 sees galvanic attenuation to be a problem*, and to a higher degree (I was able to get my Blackberry to drop calls far more readily than his iPhone 4). Worse, while galvanic attenuation can be easily solved by the consumer (put it in a case) or the company (provide a coating over the metal surfaces), dense-body attenuation is something you just have to live with. And, impressively, the iPhone 4 with a "bumper" case on it far outshines my Blackberry Tour when it comes to dense body attenuation, hardly showing any drop-off in signal strength at all and becoming VERY difficult to make a call drop.

Folks, I get it that you love Blackberry and are scared that BB and RIM are going the way of the dodo. But denying straightforward science in an attempt to score media points is just plain silly. Personally, any company which is able to put out a press release and with a straight face deny that their cell phones attenuate is a company no longer in touch with its engineers. It is a marketing-driven company, and not one that I would invest any energy in supporting.

This is yet another reason why my next phone will absolutely NOT be a Blackberry.

The long winded whitewash by Jobs about the iPhone problem was filled with denial and foolish accusations against other products. His is arrogance is consistent with goose-stepping Mac zombies who use juvenile condescension to lash out at everyone outside their elitist bubble.

Apple fanatics are ignorant blowhards who, like their overpriced hardware and Soviet-style restrictive OS, are totally overrated.

Apple is renowned for overrated gimmicky products that control its users by goofy proprietary schemes and deliberately designed incompatibility with other platforms, which are the vast majority. Collective ignorance and creepy fanaticism have propped up this underhanded company.

I’ve worked on both PC and Mac platforms for over 25 years but have never liked Apple because of its constrictions and lack of versatility. The fever-pitch of hysteria in support of this corrupt outfit needs to be answered with facts.

Despite all the Apple propaganda:
1. PCs outsold Macs nine to one last year
2. Most worldwide computer artists ARE NOT Mac-based
3. Apple is pushed by media idiots on its payroll
4. Mac conversions are being forced into businesses
5. The iPhone debacle proves Apple is not fit to lead.

It's time for Windows/Linux users to declare war on this incestuous iCult. Jobs and his legion of buffoons are a technological equivalent of the village witch doctor clinging to his voodoo beads and rattles. These clowns should be publicly humiliated at every opportunity.

Wow, "iLie2All," this is quite a tiresome screed, but you are to be congratulated on hitting pretty much every one of the low points in the "debate" skill set (not that you are alone on any of the "sides" on issues like this)...

Glad you have such broad and deep experience working with "both PC and Mac platforms for over 25 years," (so your experience with Macs started within a year and a half of their introduction, as did mine (6502 and 8088 aside)). Strange though that your "points" are so heavily dependent on raw ad hominem (not to mention that you think "Apple fanatics [...] are totally overrated"... who is rating them?).

So, where has Apple propagandized that "Macs" outsold "PCs" (meaning what?) last year?

Where has Apple propagandized on how many "computer artists" (whatever that means) are Mac-based?

Your later "points" are hardly worth the electrons and keystroke ergs to comment upon. Were you drunk when spewing this out, or what?

You call for a revolt? I can assure you that you are... weeeellllll.. OK, let's not go there.

But I have to ask: why spew toxic iVenom like this? Who do you think you are "benefiting?"....... Oh. Now I get it. I didn't notice your handle, "iLie2All"... that explains a lot.......

So my boss comes up to me last week and says hes switching my company phone to ATT. I have my choice of the Iphone 4 or a BB bold 9700..i love my 9700 nuff said!