CNN: “Antennagate” Biggest Tech Fail Of 2010



Apple’s deservedly racking up a lot of year-end awards as the New Year fast approaches — from the iPad being named Walt Mossberg’s gadget of the year to Steve Jobs garnering the Financial Times’ Person of the Year award — but you can end this one to the more ignominious trophy pile: CNN has just listed Antennagate as one of their ten biggest tech fails of 2010.

As you will recall, Antennagate was the press term describing the iPhone 4’s tendency to lose signal bars when the phone was gripped in a certain way, causing antenna attenuation. Apple actually threw a rare press conference (and gave away free iPhone cases for three months) to deal with the public perception of the problem.

I’d actually tend to agree with CNN here, but the issue wasn’t with antenna attenuation, but rather with the way iOS measured reception. Because the algorithm they used to measure bars placed most of the signal in the first bar, many people who thought they had flawless reception in their areas actually had weak reception that was prone to a dramatic drop when their phones were held in a certain way. Apple fixing the algorithm mitigated the issue because people saw less of a drop, even if the attenuation issue was still exactly the same.

Either way, it may have been a fail then, but it’s pretty obviously a non-issue now.