PA Consulting Group claims that the so-called "iPhone death grip" (the method of holding the iPhone 4 to degrade antenna performance) is a problem unique to the new iPhone. After performing tests, the firm confirms that the phone's wireless performance was generally in the same range as other smartphones except when held in the "death grip" - then, it performed significantly worse than its competitors.International management, I.T. consulting and technology firm
According to Simon Tonks, the consultant who led the testing, "Our tests indicate that the 'death grip' issue is real, and is worse for the Apple iPhone 4 than for other smartphones."
PA Consulting Group: "Death Grip Worse for Apple iPhone 4"
The death grip issue is aggravated by the fact that the radio performance on the iPhone 4 was already fairly poor, the firm reports. "The iPhone 4's radio performance was also found to be generally at the lower end [of the range]," said Tonks. "This means it will tend to drop calls earlier than other phones and may suffer more in areas of weak signal. Though, overall it's still within the normal performance range for similar products."
In addition to testing iPhone 4 signal strength itself, the firm also compared the iPhone 4 to other leading devices, including the Blackberry 9700 and the HTC HD2. The results of the tests were recorded in a snazzy YouTube video which features an upbeat rock n' roll track, padded test rooms and humorous clips of people attempting to use the iPhone 4 by taping it to their head or augmenting the signal strength with a wire coat hanger.
The silliness of the video (at least until the halfway point) may detract from what are actually legitimate tests from the firm, an award-winning group known recently for its work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce methane emissions, work with the Butan government in using biometrics in border control, its design and development of the first disposable medical injectors for automated injections and its work in saving companies millions through supply chain optimization, among other things.
Is That Horse Dead Yet?
The group's experts confirm that ultimately, the iPhone 4 represents a trade-off between product design and innovative features versus ensuring a product works effectively. They also noted that a rubber band placed around the antenna provides a significant performance improvement.
While reporting on the iPhone 4 "death grip" seems a bit like beating a dead horse at this point, considering that Apple has already acknowledged the issue and announced it would offer free bumpers to iPhone 4 owners, it's notable at least for the fact that these iPhone complaints have now gone worldwide (PA Consulting Group is UK-based). This news confirms that the issues with the antenna aren't just a problem primarily affecting U.S. users dealing with AT&T's poor network performance, but also affect iPhone 4 owners in other countries as well.