“You’re holding it wrong,” is apparently the latest ‘advice’ from Apple’s Steve Jobs. When the iPhone 4 first came out, people noticed a lot of signal drops. To me, that would not be surprising because the iPhone requires the AT&T service, which, in Minnesota, totally sucks. There are vast areas of my own personal geography where AT&T has zero signal, and most of the rest of it ranges from acceptable to sucky.
But it turns out that the iPhone had low-bars to an extent beyond that expected. In early July, Apple explained this as a software problem. The signal was fine, but the software that set the bars was wrong making you think you had a bad signal when you really didn’t
That, dear reader, is absolutely remarkable because if true, it would be one of the most astounding examples of the Placebo Effect. You see, people were not only seeing low signal bars, but they were also losing the signal itself. So, according to Apple’s explanation, people’s phone calls were being cut off because they saw that the signal had low strength as indicated. This, then, caused the signal to actually become low, and sometimes the call to drop.
That is one incredibly strong Placebo Effect. If only we could come up with a form of sugar pill that would do that to cure cancer!!!11!!
In the mean time, iPhone users figured out that if you touched a certain part of the iPhone with your finger, the signal would reduce significantly. There’s a little gappy thing near one corner of the phone, and if you touch that you get a drop in signal strength. Sort of like if you take a sugar pill as a placebo but it is accidentally attached to some effective medicine. That could seriously boost the Placebo Effect!
But then, it turns out that when independent studies were done by Consumer Reports, it was true that the the iPhone’s signal problem is not a Placebo Effect at all. It’s a case, rather, of THIB. (The Hardware is Broken.)
It was about that time, according to some guy on the TV, that Steve Jobs suggested that the real problem was that iPhone users were holding the phone wrong. Which reminds me of a story
So this guy walks into a tailor and says he wants a new suit, but he is in a big hurry. The tailor takes a few measurements, and says “You know, it would take about ten days to make you a suit, but I have one on the rack that should fit you fine. Let’s try it.”
Eager to have is suit quickly, the customer agreed. But when the he donned the suit provided by the tailor, it did not fit quite as well has he had hoped.
“Look, the right sleeve … it’s longer than the left one.”
“Oh, just tuck a little of the cloth under your arm pit, keep your right arm near your body, and lift the shoulder a bit…”
“Oh, yea, that works,” the customer said, looking in the mirror. “That makes the sleeves look the same length. But now, the lapels are not lined up to each other.”
“Oh, no problem. Just bend at the waist about 11 degrees … there, that’s it. Now the lapels are fine.”
“Yeah, that works! But did you notice that this pocket on the right side is now bowed out. That does not look very good.”
“Oh, no problem. Just keep your left wrist in front of the pocket…. But wait, that causes the coat to ride up over here in the back. So keep your left wrist in front of the pocket, but raise your left elbow above shoulder level …. there… that’s it…”
And this went on for a few more minutes, until the suit was perfectly aligned, hung perfectly on the man’s frame, and demonstrated no flaws whatsoever, as long as the customer wearing the suit maintained extensive and intensive bodily contortions.
So the man paid for the suit, put it on, and made all the necessary bodily readjustments to make the suit fit perfectly, and left for his next errand, a couple of blocks down the avenue.
And as he walked along on the street, he walked by two guys sitting on a park bench feeding the pigeons.
One of them said to the other, “Look at that poor man. It must be hard to live a life with a skeletal-muscular disease as severe as that.”
The other man gazed at the suit-wearer for a moment, and replied, “True. But look at that suit: he has an amazingly talented tailor.”
And you, too, can look like a person with a problem in order to cover up a manufacturer’s flaw. It appears that you can either hold the iPhone exactly as Steve Jobs holds his iPhone, thusly not touching the Gap of Signal Death. Or, you can do this, and I promise you it works:
Get a piece of duct tape, and cover the gap with it. The gap, covered with duct tape, becomes a none issue for some reason. And, you now have a little piece of duct tape handy.
If I had an iPone 4, I’d go to the Apple Store every two or three days to get a fresh piece of duct tape.