Apple's bumper case improves antenna performance

Mike Halsey MVP
Sep 12, 2010
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Apple, Companies

After the Antennagate affair of a few months ago where it was revealed that if you held the new iPhone 4 a certain way the signal would drop out, and the resulting storm that hit the international media when Apple supremo Steve Jobs reported sent an angry customer an email telling him not to hold it that way, it would appear that the free bumpers Apple has shipped to consumers are having quite the opposite effect for the handsets.

In research conducted by NeoWin they have discovered that iPhone 4 signal performance actually increases slightly with the bumpers on.

None of this should come as any great surprise as a Human hand can be used as a conductor and as a medium that can both disrupt and absorb radio and electrical signals.  Placing a non-conductive material between a person's hand and the phone would negate any negative effects cause by this.

The benefits are marginal as I've said but they do highlight that sometimes a case of any description can help improve the signal quality of a phone, in addition to protecting it and prolonging its life.  This is something that mobile handset manufacturers seem to be letting slip during the design and development process for new handsets, as the pressure is on to make them ever thinner and lighter.

Research such as this, however unscientific it may have been and however handset manufacturers may refute it, is an excellent example of how they can and should look again at the development of new handsets to try and negate signal drop out and other problems, through simple changes and amendments to a mobile phone's design.  It's very likely that comsumers would happily accept a phone that was a little bit thicker in exchange for this type of performance improvement.


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  1. Anonymous said on September 13, 2010 at 7:54 am

    No surprise ol’ Mike is also an Apple Fan-boi,,, Probably full of inaccuracies like his article on ubuntu 10.10… Why Bother…

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