Enough About The iPhone 4 Antenna, More About AT&T’s Bad Network

The iPhone 4 antenna issue perhaps jumped the shark when Consumer Reports declared this week that it did special testing to prove that the “death grip” really can lead to a loss of signal. Hey, Consumer Reports? Where was your special investigation into how just being on AT&T’s network can lead to a loss of signal?

It’s The Network, Stupid

Seriously, it’s the antenna woes that caused CR to withhold a “recommended” status for the iPhone 4?

Look, I can take two iPhones, put them on my desk side-by-side, not touch either one of them, and yet one might show signal degradation for no reason.

More important, I can be holding my iPhone (iPhone 3G or iPhone 4) with a FULL signal (whether you believe the bars or not) and not be able to hear someone clearly or send or receive data.

How About A Bumper Case For AT&T?

But yeah, let’s waste more time investigating the antenna. And then let’s waste even more time testing that putting a case around it will help. Yeah, we knew that. Apple told us that.

You know what the case doesn’t solve? The far more common issue of AT&T’s network still giving iPhone owners grief in general, case or not.

Warning: iPhone Ownership Produces Self-Loathing

By the way, I’m living a living case study of how Apple’s latest phone might indeed be its Windows Vista, a meme that’s making the news today.

I begrudgingly upgraded, hating myself for staying with AT&T but still preferring the iPhone’s interface over Android and wanting a fresh new phone after my last one two years ago. But in the past few weeks, I find myself even more angry than in the past any time my spanking new iPhone fails to work as advertised due to AT&T.

You know, it’s the little things. I can’t send or receive data. Phone calls sound like they’re underwater. I can’t get the screen to turn on during a call by hovering with my finger, as in the past — and yet somehow it often senses my ear and puts a call on mute, by mistake.

Android Paralyzation

Suddenly, Android is looking much more attractive to me. I think the EVO and the Droid X are still too big in size for me, too PDAish, and I have a future post on that. But if the Droid Incredible’s screen resolution is better than that of the Nexus One — and looks somewhat as sharp as the iPhone 4 — that might push me over the edge.

But that’s also Android’s weakness, in another way. There are so many bigger and better Android phones coming around the corner every few weeks that I almost feel paralyzed from making a move. That I might hang on with the iPhone a bit longer than I really want to, waiting for the next best thing.

I Left Vista; I Could Leave The iPhone

Still, I might make the jump, which brings me back to the “Is the iPhone Apple’s Vista” meme.

Vista was so bad that two years ago that it drove me to the Mac, where I continued to run Windows XP and Mac software side-by-side. I skipped Vista entirely. I got back to Windows only because my Mac died, and the repair took so long that I upgraded an old laptop to Windows 7 and discovered, hmm, things have gotten better.

Earlier this year, I loved my iPhone way more than Android. Now my iPhone “upgrade” has me hating it more each day, a PR issue that both Dave Winer and Rex Hammond write about today.

Maybe I’ll switch to Android and wait things out until the iPhone 5 fixes the Vistaness of the iPhone 4. Or maybe I’ll go Android and perhaps be as done with the iPhone as I was with Windows Mobile, when I left that behind.

Then again, maybe I’ll go Kin :)

Some past posts from me on iPhone and Android:


  1. says

    Hi Danny.

    Try out the Droid Incredible. Ive been using it the last few months and love it. :)

    I had a iPhone 3G for 1 year, but couldn’t take all the dropped calls and dropped texts.


  2. says

    I thought I threw out the iPhone Vista moniker early on 😉

    You stated earlier the main iPhone feature for you is the UX which I think overall it still has the edge over Android, so hopefully with the WebOS UI (argued better than iOS) designer now at Android that gap can filled as UX experience & cohesion is the main focus of Android 3.0 this Fall.

    While currently the Samsung Galaxy S Android phone is soon to be available on all 4 of the major US mobile networks & the ONLY decent Android phone on AT&T (Called Captivate) – It also has a screen that can be argued as better overall than the iPhone 4 plus its a mid frame screen of 4 inches vs the 4.3″ of the Evo & Droid X might be the sweet spot for you in overall size.

  3. says


    I have the HTC Incredible myself. I waited to get this phone after reading about it long before it was officially announced. I had a Blackberry Curve before that.

    I have to say that I really do love the HTC Incredible and Android in general. I got my 56 year old father to switch from the BB Curve to the Motorola Droid. At first, he was beyond furious with the phone, but as time went on, he really started to like it. Today, he loves it.

    As you said in the past, Android does have a while to go before it can be hailed the best mobile operating system. I have yet to receive the Android Froyo 2.2 update, but I have only heard awesome things about it. It is supposed to increase the overall speed of the phone tremendously. I myself cannot wait for the Froyo 2.2 update to hit the HTC Incredible.

    If you still have the Nexus One, I believe it has already received the over the air update to Android 2.2. Maybe you should give that a try.

  4. says

    Ugh! You are breaking my heart! I hacked my past iPhones just to avoid the AT&T drama, but when iPhone 4 came out, I was slightly depressed with the “I must have it, bug”. I was still on the bench with AT&T and wasn’t sure I wanted to switch so I went with an HTC HD2 with T-Mobile (my current carrier) to hold me over. Sigh… windows mobile made me really sick and I called T-mobile with my complaints at how bad the phone and software was, they sent me a free GarminFone packed with Android – and so far (in the past 30 minutes), it’s 99% better than the HD2 and definitely not annoying like WinMobile. It’s as easy to use as the iPhone – and syncing with Google was a breeze. I was considering holding onto the Garmin until I could get my hands on the iphone4 but after reading this, I’m not so sure I want to go back. The Garmin’s curviness is not as sexy as the iPhone 4’s latest design – but in order to go with the 4 I have to go with AT&T – and that alone is my biggest issue.

    In any case, I have a free Smartphone and GPS system combined, and a 3G network that works 100% of the time, so no matter which way I choose to go, I’m still ahead of the game.

  5. df says

    You know Consumer Reports actually has evaluated wireless carriers (based on surveying 50,000 odd subscribers) and AT&T did finish last (on a scale of 0 to 100 AT&T scored 66, Verizon scored 1st with 75).

    That being said, in my area AT&T works fine and I benchmarked as 3x faster than Verizon’s data plan. So personally I’m pretty happy with them (though I am switching to android because iOS 4 is a steaming pile of shit).

  6. says

    It very much depends on your location. Where I live, AT&T has great coverage and works incredibly well. I can consistently get 2-3 megabit speeds on my 3G connection, and have never had a dropped call.

    Some places simply grew faster than they could keep up with demand, I think.

  7. says

    My 3G was doing great until a few weeks ago – I started dropping calls in places I never had before. Signal was/is less consistent. Where I was in love for months, now it is turning toward an uneasy: “Aw crap, did I do the right thing?” by-skipping-Android-feeling.
    If the grass is always greener over there, does it mean the signal on the other side of the fence is also usually better, too?

  8. says

    Using my AT&T Back Flip with Droid O/S. Love the phone and data plan. Couple the phone up with my Motorola blue tooth earpiece and I’m good-to-go. The signal around southern Virginia is good even through the HBT tunnel.