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Apple’s Antenna Design and Test Labs (apple.com)
197 points by ujeezy on July 16, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 148 comments

After getting called out for having an issue every cell phone has, Apple did a photo shoot of a testing facility that every other cell phone manufacturer also has and used it as marketing.

Your comment reminds me of the Mad Men episode where they create a Lucky Strike ad campaign. The ad team offers up the slogan "It's Toasted" and the Lucky team replies that all cigarettes are toasted.

"It's Toasted" became the Lucky Strike slogan despite their protests and was a huge success. This wasn't entirely fiction of course, it was based on a true story.


See also: David Ogilvy's Shell campaign


And Claude Hopkins' Schlitz campaign


We were talking about a similar thing at the Software Industry Conference today: apparently, telling people vacuously true things matters in some circumstances. For example, giving reasons using the word "because" causes compliance to requests: asking to cut in line at the copier works some of the time, asking to cut in line "because I'm in a rush" works more, but asking to cut in line at the copier "because I need to make copies" works almost as much (i.e. much better than having no explanation)!

This is why I have a love/hate relationship with marketing. It's somewhat fascinating, but dirty as hell.

And now if anyone else dares publicize these routine facilities it'll look like they're copying Apple.

(edit: simplified)

If anyone else "dares"? What, like Apple's whole plan was to make competitors look bad if they publicize their facilities, as opposed to just doing damage control for the ass-whupping they've been getting in the press?

Does Steve Jobs have a curly mustache and monocle I don't know about?

Yes, I intentionally exaggerated. Apple isn't ruling the market with an iron fist (or a monocle). They are however making confident, clever marketing moves to continue to build their brand in inventive ways nobody has really done before. This recent one is especially clever in light of the fact that what they're doing isn't particularly inventive in an engineering sense, so the innovation is purely in public image. It's not going to completely counter their recent tailspin, but it's a lot stronger than I can imagine most other companies attempting. The only other one that I would believe capable of this sort of play is Coca-Cola.

And so yes, if anyone else does dare try the "we have cool testing facilities" move, they'll be patently copying Apple's marketing — not that this hasn't happened before.

The only other companies I've seen try to spotlight their facilities as being really cool and beneficial to customers have been car companies with their automated assembly lines and Intel. It doesn't work in a lot of circumstances, but there is definitely a huge cultural significance in the amazement at technology (or if you're not amazed, it's just nerd porn).

Well uh, Apple markets its products as being beyond Earth technology, extraterrestrial, life-changing, as if God himself had bestowed it upon us mere mortals...

... So yes, I don't think that's a ridiculous word to use.

No, it's an incredibly ridiculous word to use. It's insane anybody here takes the idea seriously. Use Occam's Razor much?

Now I'm waiting for the Opera video that shows a guy on a cell phone wearing a metal bucket over his head.

It could backfire as marketing, because even with such a fancy lab, they still couldn't produce an iPhone with good reception...

I don't think it can just be the iPhones fault. Reception in the US seems really sketchy overall. Whatever phone you have (Just my experience).

I just tried holding my Nexus One (UK) in different ways. I was able to squeeze it from 4 bars down to 3, but nothing else :/

If you haven't been following, the design of the antenna makes is such that you can short-circuit the antenna if you hold wrong. Even in areas with good to great coverage, this can make you drop calls and have weak or no reception.

Poor reception by AT&T is another real problem, but not at issue here.

Edit: More to the point, the grip that causes perhaps the greatest attenuation of signal is one of the more comfortable, natural grips for the phone. The effectiveness of any phone's antenna can be reduced if you hold it right. Most phones are designed so that the comfortable, natural ways to hold the phone minimally interfere with the signal.

Sure. Apple don't seem to acknowledge that their design is stupid anywhere. People will hold phones how they want to hold phones. It's ridiculous for anyone to claim they're holding it 'wrong'. If they're holding it 'wrong' then apple designed it 'wrong'.

Who needs those photos as marketing? I've seen enough YouTube videos entitled "Free cases!". Apple know how to play their market, those photos are just for the interested technical people.

Brilliant, eh?

Yea, because apple actually did it. :) Where was google with their photos of their insanely cool lab? If you wana take a jab at them make sure to kick them while they are down or they might think of a good comeback.

Since when did Google make cell phones? They use third-party companies like Motorola and HTC for the hardware.

What other cellphones have an external antenna that can be short circuited if you hold the phone? I can't think of any...

FWIW, I think it's a lame response from Apple.

I think we've found the problem. The guy in the chair is only testing the phone with his right hand.

They certainly don't kid around when they finally decide to answer bad PR.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but so far this seems to be some excellent crisis communication.

I’m actually surprised by that. I always thought of Apple as a fairly undynamic one trick pony when it comes to PR. (The secrecy, suspense, big event and hype cycle.) I should have noticed something when they released their “Thoughts on Music” or “Thoughts on Flash” letters.

(— edit: wow. The top story right now on HN is not some article lamenting Apple’s reaction, it’s cool pictures of Apple’s testing facilities. This is fucking brilliant PR ;)

Will this be the next "intel inside" ploy? Except this time its "Apple's grab for your money inside"? Or "Steve Job's awesomeness inside"?

What was the quote? "The only thing worse than being talked about all the time, is not being talked about all the time". Because bad press can be turned into awesome press.

Yet I can't help but wonder if, by rewarding the behavior with a grand spectacle, they are somehow training the media and the public to pick on them.

Absolutely! They're even helping to memorize their failure by giving it a name (Antennagate).

They're sending a story:

Apple builds new product -> people have problems -> Apple solves problems.

Which inevitably will imply:

Competitors builds new product -> people have problems -> ..

There is no step 3! (badum-chunk!)

Maybe it's just me, but I'm guessing that the main thing that people will remember from this will be: "Wow, I bet Apple's competitors don't have a cool lab like that and that probably means their products aren't as advanced."

John Cage visits an anechoic chamber: 'Cage entered the chamber expecting to hear silence, but as he wrote later, he "heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation." Cage had gone to a place where he expected there to be no sound, and yet sound was nevertheless discernible. He stated "until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music."' - http://goo.gl/mFI5

Just as an FYI, an RF anechoic chamber is not the same as an acoustic anechoic chamber. One is designed for free-field testing of RF signals, the other for free-field testing of acoustic signals.

The one thing they never talked about is the difference between the iPhone 4's external antenna (exposed) and the internal antennas in most phones.

Testing a various websites shows that while most phones drop signal, the iPhone 4's signal dropped significantly more because the antenna is exposed and your skin comes in direct contact with the antenna rather than just in close proximity.

With the bumper "fixing" the problem, wouldn't putting the antenna inside the case essentially create the same fix by putting non-conductive material between the user and the antenna?

Dropped more (-24 dB vs -17 dB), and yet picks up signal in significantly more areas and is significantly more sensitive (-121 dB vs -113 db).

I like the innovative external antenna (Anandtech calls the design tradeoff "ballsy") and I like holding more calls in more places. I'm willing to hold it "right" in exchange.

Surely the solution though is to improve signal strength everywhere so it isn't an issue. Other (admittedly smaller) countries don't have any issues with cellphone coverage.

A solution with no tradeoffs...wonder why nobody thought of it before.

... because the US telecoms companies suck?

My questions is are those results due to the antenna being external or some other design feature of the antenna? Could they get similar performance with an internal antenna, or at least an antenna that had some insulation between the antenna and the user?

I like how the $100M testing labs include a rubber band and some sticks to hold the phone.

Yeah, I was thinking that too. Maybe Apple should make a $50M lab for designing parts for phone testing. That would work!

Fascinating. To my non-radio-engineer eyes the patterns look like acoustic dampers—is it an illusion that they resemble the foam wall inserts in a recording studio, and these are actually composed of a different material to affect megahertz radio waves?

Furthermore, how are they supposed to affect those waves, and to what end?

Same as in a recording studio--to eliminate signal echos.

Wavelengths at RF frequencies and sound frequencies aren't very different; sound travels about 1/300000 as fast as EM radiation, but typical frequencies differ by about the same ratio.

In the RF chamber the foam inserts are impregnated with conductive material, sort of like antistatic IC foam.

The surfaces are designed to present maximal absorption area to any wavefronts within the room, and they're made all spiky and angular to disperse the reflections that do occur, not unlike the way a Stealth aircraft works. The goal, again in both the acoustical and RF test chambers, is to eliminate standing waves to the greatest extent possible, across the whole frequency range of interest. If you have standing waves, the measurements you make will have unwanted dependencies on the physical location of the transmitting and receiving antennas.

Play a sinewave through your speakers and you'll probably find large variations in loudness as you move around the room. The whole idea behind these expensive test chambers is to avoid that effect. They are also usually shielded to keep external sounds/EM fields out, but this is actually a secondary consideration for most users.

Edit: another reason for shielding the room, obviously, is so the company can operate things like base-station emulators without running afoul of the law.

sound travels about 1/300000 as fast as EM radiation

Not going to nitpick about the wavelengths but you're off by a factor of about 3 here.

True; meters/sec versus feet/sec.

This is really quite interesting!

That should be 1/874000 :) (assuming sound traversing air at room temperature).

This looks like something out of a James Bond movie villian's hideout - all it needs is a self-destruct sequence announced over the PA system by some lackey with a monotone voice who inexplicably sits through the entire process while paitiently waiting to be engulfed in flames by the resulting explosion.

Sorry, I've had a lot of caffeine today.

A European pop band (Beborn Beton) had a track called 'Encounting', which they clearly mixed up with 'And counting', which is what those guys say in the movies.

"75 seconds ENcounting!"

They've certainly got the spike-pit nailed.

They need sharks.

100% high-tech except for the rubber bands to hold the phones to stuff.

Edit: point being that sometimes simple things are the best inventions.

I found the base antenna site (http://www.apple.com/antenna/) pretty enlightening.

Indeed, look at how they describe different phone models -- which of these are not like the others?:

  In our tests, iPhone 4 dropped from 3 bars to 1 bar
  In our tests, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 dropped from 5 bars to 1 bar
  In our tests, the HTC Droid Eris dropped from 4 bars to 0 bars
  In our tests, the Samsung Omnia II dropped from 4 bars to 1 bar
  In our tests, iPhone 3GS dropped from 3 bars to 1 bar
I noticed some time ago that they absolutely refuse to refer to their mobile devices using articles, and avoid personal possessives whenever possible. It's always "with iPhone, you can blah blah blah", never "with the iPhone", and rarely "with your iPhone". They exclusively refer to their product as if it were an abstract idea, never grounded in physical reality.

It was always something quietly infuriating before, but here they've intentionally tried to contrast themselves against their competitors.

Now, hold on a sec -- people refer to me without an article, and I consider myself quite firmly grounded in physical reality. The point being, they're looking to talk about these devices on a personal level... the way you talk about some_one_ in your life. This is likely just as distasteful as the scenario you describe, but I think it is more accurate.

So if this not just FUD. I wonder why all these companies obviously put the antenna in the wrong place. If your hand affects the signal strength through the case, you shouldn't put the antenna at the bottom of the phone, because that is where you hold it.

Also: "bars" is not a scientific unit.

It is due to regulations about radiation exposure to your head. With the antenna on the bottom, as all phones do these days, you don't get as much to your head, as if it was on the top of the phone.

Also: "bars" is not a scientific unit.

Well, sure it is, if you're measuring the pressure of hot air.

Doesn't have to be hot.

Funny how movies there show that iPhone loses bars after gently holding by the base but you have to grab HTC Droid Eris really high and squeeze it like mad to get the bars down.

Just tried it on my 8330 curve. The signal strength goes down a couple of bars too.

my 3gs stays at full signal strength even when i cover it with two hands as hard as i can.

I tried this on my 3GS at different places. Some places, the bars dropped from 5 --> 0. Others it went from 5 --> 3. In some other places, it didn't drop at all. It's pretty random, but the effect is certainly repeatable at the same location.

I noticed just now that my iOS 4.0.0 3G was at 4 bars. Lifting it slightly, I got up to 5. Holding the base, sandwiched between both hands, I managed to push it down to 2 bars (you have to wait for a bit, there seems to be a delay of five to twenty seconds between each step).

However, I have to wonder at this PR, changing the discussion from whether it is unusual to dropbars from how the phone is held, from whether it is unusually easy to miss-hold the iPhone 4.


hmm, quicktime plugin to view those videos, really steve?

So, from a scientific point of view, the conclusion is: their model of the real world is wrong.

It wouldn't suprise me, I've never seen so many blue spikes in one place ;)

How rigid and tough are those spikes? If you fell off the walkway while walking out to the test platform in the first picture, would it likely cause serious injury to you, or would it just crush a bunch of spikes and get you in trouble with your boss?

Spikes in RF labs are generally a soft foam, so you would probably just crush a bunch of spikes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anechoic_chamber for more information about these kinds of rooms

I have been on a tour of a chamber like that recently, and the blue material in the spikes has roughly the rigidity of cardboard. The material is reinforced by metal wires, however. Even though the wires are not very thick (you could bend them with your hands easily), I would imagine you would hurt yourself quite badly if you fell onto them.

In fact, the whole chamber is shaped like a cube, and the measurements must be made in the middle of the cube. In the chamber I visited, the "floor" was made of a wire mesh suspended at mid-height inside the cube, so there it was impossible to fall.

This will happen: http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/1/17166/757587-yowch1_sup... (for some reason, I immediately thought about Prince of Persia)

You also thought it was like Prince of Persia? I visualized something like: http://bit.ly/dzScOQ

I have an HTC Hero and it also drops quite a few calls, but somehow I've just learned to live with it.

that's because HTC Hero is not some incredibly magical life changing device!

In other words, this is where Jobs generates and amplifies his reality distortion field.

Ho ho ho. This chamber is a mere shadow of the facility that they test "The Field" in. Enter "The Pit" and you are standing in a three dimensional cross section of a high level, multi-dimensional reality disorter. Foam covered rotating tesseracts line the constantly phasing containment vessel. What ever you do, never approach the perimeter when in operation lest you be turned inside out in the most horrible manner imaginable and your quarks redistributed evenly throughout the cosmos as a slight fluctuation in the universal gravitational constant...

Better title: "Apple's insanely cool PR response"

My first reaction when I saw these pictures was "Holy crap! Apple went and built a danger room![1]"

I can't be the only person who had this thought.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_Room

I was in one of the cell network provider's testing lab a few times. They also do things like RF testing before putting the device on sale, but their lab doesn't look any similar to that. They have a bunch of Faraday cages (think of labs with sheet metal walls) and lots of RF emulation equipment - phone's getting connected through the RF port on the back; RF emulators take care of simulating any bad RF conditions that you could possibly imagine. So, their labs don't look that fancy at all. Still they manage to have devices that could be held any way you want.

I don't see how this helps their situation. This just adds weight to the idea that they willfully ignored the problem and shipped the phone with full knowledge of the antenna problems.

See Anandtech's followup article from yesterday. Apple innovated on the antenna, trading possible (and typical) attenuation for more sensitivity.

Anandtech feels they "willfully" went for more sensitivity for most situations, at the price of variability depending on certain rarer signal situations. He calls the design choice "ballsy".


Not necessarily. As they've shown, lots of phones do this. They shipped the phone with the problems because that's what everybody else does.

I hardly call it problems. It's just how the devices work.

Does anyone know what material is used in making those cone-like pokey things? My immediate guess would be that its some form of dense foam to damp waves; but what exactly are they?

The video said something about carbon-infused foam.

Before clicking the link I was about to post a pedantic "please change to a headline that doesn't editorialize", but after a second of looking at the pictures...holy crap! That is (objectively) insanely cool! :)

Feature: Antenna tested in state of the art lab Benefit: The antenna works

That is an alien-looking world.

It gets more exciting if you mute it and put on Liberi Fatali in the background.

I bet you the money in my pocket that this lab was not called "Antenna design and test lab" prior to the press conference; part of the brilliance in this deflection of attention is most certainly found it the naming itself of this awesome place.

It was probably just called the 'anechoic chamber', which is the correct technical term.

What do you think it would have been called? Conference Room K7?

Do the people with this problem have different physiological properties in their hands? Such as more conductivity..

No matter how I hold any of my iPhones, reported signal strength is the same.

Anyone else experiencing this?

How can they make such a massive investment in this type of thing and end up with such a big 'oops'? It must be heartbreaking for the antenna engineers.

What would it take to convince you that it isn't a "Big 'oops'"? [Serious question]

I just checked my EVO manual and it specifically says where not to touch the phone (upper left). The difference seems to be that people learned where not to touch the iPhone and then made a huge deal about it as if it was something new.

HTC EVO manual: http://support.sprint.com/global/pdf/user_guides/htc/evo/htc...

Page 169:

"To assure optimal phone performance and ensure human exposure to RF energy is within the guidelines set forth in the relevant standards, always use your device only in its normal-use position. Contact with the antenna area may impair call quality and cause your device to operate at a higher power level than needed. Avoiding contact with the antenna area when the phone is IN USE optimizes the antenna performance and the battery life. "

I'd be convinced if I actually held one in my hand and could either reproduce or not reproduce the problem.

I find it crazy how many people leap to either attack or defend Apple without having ever used one of the things.

A co-worker just showed me his new iPhone 4 this afternoon. I joked with him that he had interesting timing, and tried to show him the antenna issue. I've never used an iPhone 4, so I figured it would be easy to replicate the issue. It wasn't, and the reception at my office is terrible. I was able to drop a bar off by cupping most of the phone in both hands, but couldn't kill the signal completely. I think my co-worker installed the software update already, so perhaps this is partially why.

I have an iPhone 3GS and have put off upgrading because of the signal issue. I figured there was some media hype, but wouldn't have figured I'd be unable to replicate the issue.

would you be able to scan that page? seriously that would be great to see.

I can't scan as I don't have a scanner, but here is the manual on scribd. Page 169 of the actual manual or page 179 of scribed.


thank you very much.

I had to laugh - I figured no one would actually read the manual :)

Generally I would agree with that. Except that location on the iPhone 4 is rather unfortunately placed. And even more so, when Consumer Reports weighed in. I tend to respect CR quite highly. If they say there is a problem, I tend to believe them.

I felt the same way about Consumer Reports until they kept releasing new 'reports' about things that generally looked like link-bait to me. They did their whole initial review of the unit without noticing the problem, i.e. it worked as they expected it to work. It wasn't until it was brought to their attention that you could touch the spot and change the signal that they did the followup report. Then they released something about duct-tape working. Then posted something else about bumpers working, etc. It makes it very hard for me to have confidence in their testing after that.

The antenna engineers don't have the ultimate say... There's a reason why Apple's products are so stylish.

If the antenna engineers had the final say your iPhone would look more like this: http://imgur.com/GnRL5.jpg

Is that a real product?

Yes http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&Pro...

(that's actually a more recent model)

It's a 2-meter handy-talkie for amateur radio operators. It operates at about 1/6 to 1/12 the frequency of a cell phone, so the antenna needs to be commensurately larger.

Why can't they leave the Blackberry and all the other mobile phones out of the game?

You think that they could use something other than rubber bands to hold the phones!

:) This reminds me of the million-dollar zero gravity pens vs. just using a pencil.

Is it just me or the video is really out of focus?

It looks like they used a low DoF lens (or similar post-processing effect) for most of the shots.

That's what I thought - and the cinematography, IMO, is pretty bad. Half of the time the subjects seem to be blurry.

I guess it would be cool if they recorded it with an iPhone4

Seeing a giant 10-story, foam-padded test facility doesn't exactly seem like real world use to me, but then again I know nothing about proper cell phone testing procedures.

This is like equating the use of a wind-tunnel in airplane design to not 'real-world' use. Should all airplanes be tested by being built and then just taken for a flight?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2zqTYgcpfg Why build them first. // I've never understood that ad - it always screams "we don't take proper care" to me..

I don't necessarily think it's a good ad, but I can understand it. EDS became the name on my dad's check for several years at Canadian National Railways, when they did their large windows 98 rollouts, y2k fixes and certification, and windows 2000 rollouts. I can see the metaphor of building/repairing the plane in flight.

Too bad they tested iPhone 4 while wearing their rubber lab gloves.

No "wall of PR", my ass.

why didn't they just test it out in public...where it would normally be used.

"Testing performance in the field.

Apple engineers tested iPhone 4 in a variety of scenarios, environments, and conditions in order to gauge performance. They spent thousands of hours in cities in the U.S. and throughout the world testing iPhone 4 call quality, dropped-call performance, call origination and termination, and in-service time. They tested iPhone 4 while stationary, at high and low speeds, and in urban, dense urban, and highway environments. In low-coverage areas and good-coverage areas, during peak and off-peak hours iPhone 4 was field-tested in nearly every possible coverage scenario across different vendor and carrier equipment all over the world."

They did, but even so that is hardly a scientific test, or an optimal way to evaluate all the various designs that they also tried.

-- Here's where Professor Steve sits down in his wheelchair and uses this helmet that amplifies his reality distortion abilities. We call it "Manzana".

The cake is a lie

Apple's insanely cool - but useless - antenna testing lab.

Ah. So where did you get your degree in electrical engineering or physics? I just want to know where you get such a degree without ever having learned about anechoic chambers.


"huge antenna lab" + "antenna sucks" = "lab is useless"

just basic math, no degree needed (although I have one ;))

most of the time i can see only robots holding the iphone.

The fact that Apple is giving free cases (http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/16/apple-to-give-away-free-b...) means that the iPhone antenna has a bad design.

So they spent million of $ to improve the antenna and forgot this little detail? Where are the testers?

I'm not taking sides on whether or not this is a design flaw, but once you have a PR debacle you pretty much have to take some action to deal with it. Imagine if Toyota was just saying "actually no, the 'acceleration problem' with our cars is not statistically significant in comparison to other cars after controlling for demographic variables like the age of the driver".

And it was certainly curious how the "in depth" LA Times article (saying the Toyota problem was real) neglected to mention that all the cases they covered in the article--and listed ages for right in the article--were senior citizens...

No it doesn't. It is a relatively cheap way for Apple to show they "care" and appease the people who have issues with the design.

I'm not saying if the design is good or bad, but there are tons of instances in history of companies doing things to alleviate minor issues that had the potential to turn into massive PR cases and create much greater losses over the long-term.

> Where are the testers?

He was sitting in the chair, didn't you see him? ;)

Wait... what? The fact that they thoroughly tested it and still had as big a problem as they did is supposed to make us think they're more competent?

Well, whatever the critics say about apple,their products are very reliable unlike other.

Wow...that is so impressive (not) I have seen tons of these anechoic chambers used by antenna manufacturers...Apple and their amazing marketing gimmics...

Here's a screenshot in case they remove it: http://imgur.com/bc5FO.png

This lab looks really cool....but the timing of this page being seeded makes me believe its little more than a PR stunt! :) kudos apple fr givin us the iphone 3g/3gs/4...but the antennae problem was just too embarrassing for u guys!

This was a triumph. I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. It's hard to overstate my satisfaction. Apple Computer We do what we must because we can.

No offense, but could we leave the tangential joke and meme-reference comments to reddit?

No offense, but I find the humor in this reference far more insightful than the majority of the other offhand comments in this thread (that have many up-votes). The satire here is relevant and appropriate in my opinion, not tangential. I understand HN tends to frown on offhand comments (as it generally should), but knee-jerk downvoting humor without considering the context will make HN a dull boy. Voting up or down shouldn't be based on whether you agree or disagree with the comment, but whether the comment has merit. downvotes welcome

This is so silly. There's a feynman quote where he was talking about how at MIT they had this really fancy test facility, but it never produced any results, because the people running the tests were in another room an never saw anything happen.

Then at Princeton, where they were in the same room, the machine (which was much less fancy) produced much more information because people saw what was going on as it was running.

Seems to me that this could easily be something of the case. Fancy test facility with no grounding in anything.

Furthermore isn't it kinda more embarrassing when, instead of admitting there was a problem, they just say that the phone was tested. It seems to imply that the issue is intentional.

The difference here is that the guys at Princeton weren't clueless linkbaiters, or folks who think that the fundamental unit of RF signal strength is "the bar". The Princeton physicists were physicists. They did science. They took actual data, made actual scientific arguments backed by that data, and published them.

The subtext of Apple's PR here is: You want to have an argument about RF engineering and the complexities and tradeoffs involved? Bring it. Apple's engineering team stands by its work. But you better be prepared to argue like an engineer, not a gossip columnist.

I think you missed my point.

First off what I'm saying is that while fancy pictures of high end lab equipment might look impressive, it doesn't mean that it is the best way to design things, even when the people doing it are really good.

Secondly, while I understand that the intent of this is to tell people something along the lines of, "We didn't give you a defective device, we really did a great job testing it first, look at our facility", it can easily be spun as, "well you can't have done that good a job because even with all this fancy equipment you still released a product that has a design issue"

Of course, then Apple responded like the PR specialists they are, presenting everything in The Bar (even going as far as to directly compare different manufacturers' bars!) rather than using a proper unit and risk confusing people with scary numbers.

I was half-hoping they wouldn't, but alas.

But what percentage of iPhone users and potential iPhone customers who might have heard "iPhone has an antenna problem" will understand that all that fancy equipment might mean nothing?

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