Apple seeks antenna engineers after 'Death Grip' debacle
iPhone help wanted
Apple may be subtly telegraphing a tacit admission that the iPhone 4's "Death Grip" reception problems may not merely be due to users holding their brand-new smartphones incorrectly: the company has recently posted job openings for antenna engineers.
The company is now advertising three jobs under the heading "Antenna Engineer — iPad/iPhone." These were added to Apple's job-openings website last week:
"Santa Clara Valley" is AppleSpeak for its Cupertino, California, intergalactic nerve center
Apple's sudden drive to enhance its antenna-design expertise might best be filed under "better late than never". The iPhone 4 has engendered howls of protest from fanbois distressed by the device's reception problems. So many complaints have soared across the interwebs that one California law firm is now trolling for disgruntled iPhone 4 owners who are frustrated by the Jobsian handheld's "poor reception quality, dropped calls and weak signals".
Bad PR, frustrated users, a possible lawsuit, even a Fortune report which theorized that the iPhone 4's problems might give a boost to Android phones — Apple's antenna debacle makes this observer wonder if those three new positions are additions to Cupertino's engineering team, or are replacements for three ex-Appleonians who were called on the carpet, taken to the woodshed, forced to walk the plank, and handed their marching orders.
Not that Apple hasn't already been trying to beef up its antenna team. The three new positions join three older postings: an "Antenna Engineer — iPhone" listed in January of this year, an "Antenna Integration Program Manager" from last October, and an "Antenna SQE" (supply quality engineer) for its Foxconn operations in Shenzhen, China, which has been open since last August.
The three new positions are far from entry-level. Each position requires "10+ years of experience in RF with at least 5 years in antenna design and test for wireless consumer products." A Master of Science in Electrical Engineering is required, although a PhD is preferred.
Also required, it might be assumed: a thick skin.
If you're interested, just point your browser at Apple's "Look for a job in Corporate" site and search for "antenna". ®
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 early this month, a number of his demos choked due to what he at the time identified as Wi-Fi saturation in the auditorium. Perhaps his iPhone 4 demos balked simply because he was holding it wrong.
Thanks to Reg reader "M Gale" for the tip.
If the iPhone 4 Gizmodo "found" in the bar is typical, all the testers were using cases to disguise the phone as a normal 3GS.
If no real world testing was done without a case then it becomes obvious how this problem was missed.
I've been involved in cellular antenna testing in the past and I'm quite convinced antenna design is a black art.
But any high school physics student could have told Steve that when you touch an antenna you become part of the antenna system, a highly unpredictable and unstable part or the system.
It was a dumb design which was probably done so as to shave off another fraction of a millimeter of thickness. But that's the apple way, form over function. It's better to look good than to work good :)
Maybe that was the problem with the *old* antenna engineer --- perhaps his own built-in insulating layer meant that when he used the phone he didn't cause the capacitative problems that are plaguing lesser mortals.
Never be the first to buy a new model!
Perhaps they fired their last antenna engineers.
I take it that you are aware of Photons of Light?
I take it that you are aware of Light is part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum?
I take it that you are aware that Radio is another part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum?
I take it that you are aware that ANY Part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum works the same as any other?
I'm taking it that YOUR Education is worse than you thought!
A photon is just a handy name for a packet of energy transmitted via electromagnetic waves, it is technically a minimum Quanta of energy, the base unit of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum.