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Study: 'death grip' hits all phones, cases don't always help

updated 06:50 pm EST, Tue March 1, 2011

U of Bristol says phone death grip common

The University of Bristol in a study issued Monday simultaneously supported and criticized Apple in arguments over the affects of the human hand on phone antenna. It saw a "100-fold" drop in the reception a signal on a test device's antenna when covered either by a thumb or by a material simulating the effect. Putting a plastic insulator such as a phone surface or a case didn't necessarily restore the signal, the discoverers Beach, Gibbins and Webb found.

They cautioned that phone makers could control how likely it was to happen. The position of the antenna could make obstruction more common.

The research helped support Apple's view that signal drops weren't limited to the iPhone 4. After receiving criticism on the AT&T launch, it attempted to minimize the impact by singling out phones like the Droid X that could suffer the same symptoms, even when their manufacturers claimed they were immune. Many users began looking for the problems themselves and found them in the HD7 and others.

Critics have noted that Apple's design is still an exception since it moves the antenna to the outer frame and has an easily blocked gap that bridges the cellular antenna with others, cutting off the signal much more rapidly. It only usually has an impact for those whose hold naturally covers the gap and who live in areas with low reception, where a tight grip could cut off data and voice altogether.

Doubts have existed over the exact reasons, but the iPhone antenna issue may have led to Mark Papermaster's ouster after the iPhone 4 design tarnished Apple's public image.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. MacAssemble

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Glad it has been independently confirmed...

    Apple's handling of this issue has been atrocious! Also, they know that it is difficult to reproduce the issue in high signal strength areas so they now have AT&T cell "towers/service" right in Apple retail stores! REALLY REALLY DIRTY BUSINESS PRACTICE!

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    gorilla grip

    Not to support the Verizon phone but the microphone is typically on the bottom so with that grip, how are you supposed to hold it to your ear/mouth and talk?

    I tried that grip and it's very difficult for me to hold it that way so I wouldn't. I never grab the phone by the top and keep my fingers away from the buttons.

    Can one of these study groups please look at the way people hold their phones and test them with that grip instead of finding the worst way to hold a phone?

  1. chas_m



    And with this ...

    ... Consumer Reports is OFFICIALLY consigned to the Mindlessly-Anti-Apple-Hackery dustbin of history.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. ilovestevejobs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    would find this independent report FUD

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    why don't you and wrenchy get a room and consummate your love, troll-style. Probably involves a lot of scat play so bring a tarp.

  1. B9bot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple already did this study

    Apple already did this study and found that all cell phones have this same issue. It announced those findings after the press made a big deal out of it. Many manufacturers have printed manuals that tell the customer how to hold there phones so this doesn't happen.

    Antenna's on ALL cell phones attenuate when held a certain way period!

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