The Case of a Free Case – Is it Enough?

It seems the answer to the above question brings a mixed bag from people. The way I see it there are two camps: those that think Apple needs to do more, and those that think Apple has reached a resolution. What is more telling though is exactly who is saying what.

The Apple Should Do More Crowd

This crowd is made up of people that are experiencing dropped calls due to the ‘weak spot’ on the iPhone. They are not satisfied with Apple’s free case solution and yet are not willing to return the phone. These people also are getting terrible coverage with AT&T and just didn’t know it before due to the screwy algorithm that Apple was using.

This crowd wants a real solution where no matter how they hold or use the phone they experience no problems. This is not unreasonable on the surface, but it is far from possible at this point.

Apple Has Resolved It

This group may or may not be able to make the weak spot drop bars, and are rarely experiencing dropped calls outside of the normal ‘I-am-on-a-major-highway-in-Seattle-and-the-call-dropped-while-I-was-on-Bluetooth’ calls. Further they couldn’t be happier with their iPhone 4 and a free case is just icing on the cake.

The Real Problem

It has become apparent to me that the real problem is not the iPhone 4 it is actually AT&T (and every other cellphone provider). You see every other major smartphone on the market suffers the same fate of the iPhone 4 if held in certain ways (you can argue if you want that the iPhone 4 is more prone due to the manner that you hold it, but it is irrelevant). If the only way to solve this problem (at least that I have heard about from antenna engineers) is to go back to external antennas that you have to pull out on the phone, or the nubs at the top – then I think we can all agree it is a solution that none of us want.

So the only solution then would be to improve the cell network coverage of all the major carriers. This means that if I touch the ‘weak spot’ on the iPhone 4 I only lose one bar instead of two, which means there is no dropped call (assuming the better network gives us all full bars).

We should all be pissed at the cell carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile. It is they who have failed us, not the smartphone manufacturers. It may take AT&T 3-years to get a new cell tower in downtown San Francisco as Steve Jobs stated, but how long does it take to roll out free Femtocells to customers with poor reception? Shouldn’t AT&T just be giving these away – why would you charge for one, they are far less costly to install than a regular cell tower and guess what: they can be installed in days.

Even better AT&T keeps charging you for the bandwidth used on these devices even though you are the one paying for the internet connection. Femtocells is not the end solution to the entire problem – better network coverage is – but they are certainly a great stopgap. They are a stopgap that AT&T just may need to use to stop an exodus to other carriers if/when the iPhone goes to them.

Originally posted for members on: July 20, 2010
Follow along on RSS,, or Twitter.
~I would appreciate it if you considered becoming a member.~