Monday, 10 October 2011

iPhone 4S: Antennagate, check! Brain damage, check!

iFixed nothing
    Apple claims that the iPhone 4S features a new antenna design, intended to prevent any risk of 'Antennagate' reoccurring. But did they really fix or innovate anything? Let's start with fixing things. In the mockup on the right you can see that by "not holding it right" you are shorting 3 of iPhone 4S's antennas and you will be jamming the forth one once the phone touches your ear.
   The 4S's new dual antennas can automatically switch when sending and receiving information, a trick Apple claims is "a first" for a mobile phone.
    We won't go into explaining the dangers of SAR and why most manufacturers place the antenna on the bottom of the phone, away from your brain. You should know though that at any given time the best working antenna on iPhone 4S will be the one on top since it's the only one not shorted, it's the one the device will choose for best signal. It's right there next to your gray matter where most of the SAR radiation will dissipate.

   Frølund Pedersen, professor at Aalborg University's Institute for Electronic Systems in Denmark and one of the big names involved in the events of Antennagate last time around, feels that Apple's latest iPhone might be treading on toes stems from patents he and his associates apparently sold to Samsung some years earlier.

At the iPhone 4S launch, CEO Tim C(r)ook and co were quoted as saying,
“Improving on the innovative stainless steel external, dual-antenna design of iPhone 4, iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive.

Pedersen disagrees, primarily with the fact that Apple dubbed this an 'innovation',

"When Apple says that it is new, it’s not true. It has been in use for very long. For example in the DECT cordless phones. Both in these and in some other phones“

    The patents Pedersen has in mind were sold to Samsung back in 2007 and address both power and communication methods. The possible infringments are with respect to the Apparatus and method for stabilizing terminal power in a communication system and Apparatus and method for selecting an antenna in a communication system patents.
    Samsung haven't yet acted on the new ammunition in their ongoing patent war with the Cupertino based company, but they have already tried to have the iPhone 4S witheld from sale in both France and Italy with regard to a different set of patents that Samsung apparently own.

    Congratulations Tim, for kicking off your new career with a big fat lie and several patents stolen from Samsung.