Antenna Expert Says FCC Guidelines, Not Apple, Responsible for iPhone 4 Reception Issues

Antenna Expert Says FCC Guidelines, Not Apple, Responsible for iPhone 4 Reception Issues

Having problems with your iPhone 4 reception when you touch the bottom of your device? According to antenna expert Spencer Webb, don’t blame Apple… blame the FCC.

Just about every cell phone in current production has the antenna located at the bottom. This insures that the radiating portion of the antenna is furthest from the head. Apple was not the first to locate the antenna on the bottom, and certainly won’t be the last. The problem is that humans have their hands below their ears, so the most natural position for the hand is covering the antenna. This can’t be a good design decision, can it? How can we be stuck with this conundrum? It’s the FCC’s fault.

You see, when the FCC tests are run, the head is required to be in the vicinity of the phone. But the hand is not!

Basically, because phones have gravitated away from clamshell or extendable antenna designs, and because the FCC has rigid guidelines on how much radiation a cellphone is allowed to pump directly into your skull, Apple had to put the antenna at the bottom of the phone… right where most people will grab onto it.

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 wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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