RIM and Nokia take the bait, whine about Apple’s demo of RIM, Nokia phone antenna issues [Updated]

Apple on Friday, during a press conference led by CEO Steve Jobs, and ongoing via the company’s website in photos and videos, demonstrated how different grips cause attenuation on many smartphones: BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS.

RIM issued a joint statement from their half-CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, in response:

Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.

MacDailyNews Take: The evidence on Apple’s website proves otherwise. And, yes, when it comes to running a smartphone maker, two heads obviously aren’t better than one.

Beleaguered Nokia also issued a statement:

Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models. Nokia was the pioneer in internal antennas; the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was the first commercial phone with this feature.

Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on. As you would expect from a company focused on connecting people, we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.

In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, the evidence on Apple’s website proves otherwise.

UPDATE: 9:40am EDT: Well, that didn’t take long. The sucker parade continues:

HTC CFO Hui-Meng Cheng:
“The reception problems are certainly not common among smartphones. They (Apple) apparently didn’t give operators enough time to test the phone.”

MacDailyNews Take: Again, the evidence on Apple’s website proves otherwise.

Jung-Ah Lee and Ting-I Tsai report for The Wall Street Journal that Samsung said “the company ‘hasn’t received significant customer feedbacks on any signal reduction issue for the Omnia II.'”

MacDailyNews Take: In other words, a non-answer. Here’s some feedback, Samsung: The laws of physics apply to everyone.

Apple has now successfully changed the conversation and already two four suckers have taken the bait, hook, line, and sinker. We await the rest of the also-ran smartphone makers’ responses or stony silences with bated breath. Better start looking for another FUD talking point, iPhone roadkill, present and future.


  1. If apple is wrong let them sue. Otherwise statements of empty rhetoric mean very little – especially if there is plenty of emperical evidence to support apple’s case.


  2. MDN keeps missing the point…

    C’mon folks, we should be holding Apple to a higher standard…. they are supposed to be making products that are far superior to everybody else…

    Could you imagine the response if Steve J went out and said; It’s okay if Macs have this really crappy performance, because look, Dells, HPs, Lenovos, Acer all have this crappy problems too.”

    I say ‘pathetic’ and if anything, Jobs has lowered Apple to the same level as these other players basically saying that Apple’s no better….

    Your Mom never accepted that excuse… ‘But Mom, everybody else is doing it….’

  3. @Hugh Jass,
    First of all, I dont care what size your rear end is. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Second, “C’mon folks, we should be holding Apple to a higher standard.” I ask WHY. You want better hardware from Apple yet you complain when it charges a little more or whine when it does not to your extra high requirements!!

    Must suck to be you. Buy or do not buy, its as simple as that.

    Just a thought,

  4. @ Hugh Jass

    The problem is radio signals “will always” be affected by your hands. There is no getting around the physics of it.

    The only way to avoid this is to go back to external stub antennas. Personally I wish they made one model that way so we the people could choose a phone with internal or external antennas.

    My kids used a LG Migo kid cell phone when younger. It had dual stub antennas. It got signals inside buildings that you could only dream of.

  5. the apple demo doesn’t seem to be a scientific demo at all — just seems to be deflecting the issue. they would be better off doing a controlled experiment. this useless video proves nothing and makes them look foolish.

  6. @ Hugh Jass

    When Apple is able to circumvent the laws of physics, they will do so. Until then, they will have to live with the fact that the human body absorbs RF radiation and therefore a hand held radio device is going to have it’s efficiency affected according to how you hold it.

  7. I love my iP4, but the fact that I can produce this lost of signal does not make me happy. I know other manufacture have the same problem and you can dig up lots of proof on the Internet.

    Steve, next time make sure that Apple gives no company a chance to PR iPhone in a negative light. This issue still cast a shadow over the CORE part of any phone- RECEPTION!

    Wonderful phone, damaged image.

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