updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue August 12, 2008
Flawed 3G chip in iPhone?
Issues with the 3G reception on the iPhone -- currently the subject of a second major thread on Apple's support forums -- may be traceable back to the manufacturer of the chip, an analyst suggests. Richard Windsor of Nomura Securities argues that "these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack," and that the blame may lie with Infineon, makers of the 3G chipset. While Infineon is experienced, problems may in theory exist either with quality control or with adapting to the unique requirements of the iPhone.
Windsor notes that if problems can be traced to the chipset, they are unlikely to be solvable through a firmware update, which may force Apple to recall a portion of iPhones for fixing or replacement.
Complaints about 3G service are varied, including issues such as poor reception in general, and calls dropping with 3G on, but not when the technology is forcibly disabled. The 3G chip may in fact be causing interference, as some iPhone owners are are reporting automatic improvements in voice reception once 3G is off.