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Experts agree: External antenna not that good

It turns out, external antennas are not that revolutionary after all and they could be more problematic than internal ones. At least, this is what one antenna expert from Denmark is saying.

Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen from Aalborg University’s Institute for Electronic Systems saw Steve’s presentation at WWDC10 and says that the design of the antenna as a part of the phone’s frame is really not anything new. In fact numerous phones in the past have used a similar design. The professor is currently leading an international research team to develop a more effective mobile antenna technology

What’s different with the iPhone 4 is that the installation of the external antenna is flawed and it is causing reception problems when the phone is held in a certain way.

There are now claims that Apple will be releasing a patch to solve the issue but we’re wondering if a software patch can really solve the problem?

We don’t think so.

This is because the root cause of the reception degradation is direct physical contact with the iPhone 4’s antenna. The professor explains: “the human tissue will in any event, have an inhibitory effect…Touch means that a larger portion of the antenna energy turns into heat and lost. This makes the antenna less efficient to send and receive radio signal.”

Researchers at Aalborg University is quick to point that found that if mobile phones are held tightly generally where the antenna is located can cause reduction in reception by more than 90%.

To compensate for this lost, we think Apple might release a software patch that would boost the antenna’s power when the phone is being used to compensate for receptopn degredation. If this is indeed the case, users can definitely expect a drop in battery performance and worse, the possibility of increased SAR.

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The professor also believes that a poorly designed antenna could be the main factor behind the failed FaceTime demo. Pedersen explained that a weak antenna would more willingly drop signals compared to antennas with better reception capabilities. A fact that we’ve noted after WWDC10 here.

The thing about all this is that the professor knew that the iPhone 4’s external antenna will be a problem before the phone was launched. The professor’s findings also puts weight on our observations of the iPhone 4 antenna’s design flaw here and here.

Again, we’re asking the question: is the hardware in the iPhone 4 seriously flawed? We’re very inclined to think, at the very least, the antenna is.

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