Antennagate Is Finally Over, Good Riddance

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If you got a $15 in the mail for no apparent reason, well, it’s because way back in 2010, Steve Jobs failed in convincing the world at large to “just avoid holding it that way.”

Yes, that cool $15 bucks you got in the mail? It’s an Antennagate settlement check.

In case you don’t remember, or don’t know why you didn’t get fifteen bucks, here’s a summary. Way back in July 2010, Apple released the iPhone 4, which was easily the most revolutionary iPhone design yet… and I’d say, to this day, the iPhone that out-innovated all others combined.

There was only one problem with the iPhone 4. The antenna was wrapped around the outside of the phone, and if you held it in a certain way, bridging the gap between two antenna segments, you ended up getting what is called antenna attenuation.

In a worst case scenario, holding your iPhone 4 in what became known as the “death grip” would case you to drop your call. At the very least, though, it resulted in dropping a few bars of signal.

With his typical angry bluster, Steve Jobs tried to convince everyone that the whole thing was a non-issue. He held a special event in Cupertino in which he essentially called the entirety of the tech press idiots, trying to prove that other competitors’ devices had the same issue. Apple rejiggered the algorithm they use to calculate how many “bars” of signal an iPhone user sees, and gave anyone who wanted one a free iPhone 4 bumper, which eliminated the issue entirely.

Even so, there was an inevitable series of class action lawsuits, and those cases eventually joined forced and was settled in February last year, with affected users encouraged to submit a claim for either another free iPhone 4 bumper or a $15 settlement check… and the latter check is what some lucky souls are getting in the mail today.

Thus endeth Antennagate. Good riddance.

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  • bdkennedy

    I didn’t participate because the whole thing is ridiculous. $15. Hope it was worth it.

  • lwdesign1

    Yes, it was worth it to the lawyers for the plaintiffs. While individuals got only $15 per person, the legal team netted at very least hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly more, for their legal fees as a percentage of the total amount. That’s how class action lawsuits work. They’re cash cows for the lawyers and a pittance to the individuals who’ve bought into the class action.

  • technochick

    Sorry but no, Steve never tried to convince anyone it was a non issue. His point, and a correct done, was that the same effect is not unique to the iPhone. It can happen with any cell phone. As shown by several tests and articles with non iPhones. And it was really only a serious issue for those in areas with crap reception in general which was even stated by Consume Reports not that anyone includes that part of the quote

  • WXMAN2001

    I’m $15 richer than I was yesterday. I remember filling out the online form. $15 for 1 minute of work. It was worth it.

  • joewaylo

    I’ve always held it by the fingers. But the antennagate is sometimes useful. Your nagging spouse for example, useful.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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