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Steve Jobs Claims BlackBerry Bold 9700 Suffers From Antenna Death Grip

Today at 1PM EST Steve Jobs tried to explain away their “Antennagate” issue that Apple is having with the iPhone 4. In case you have not been living underneath a rock the iPhone 4 has really been slammed from all angles for its shoddy placement of its antenna [video]. If you put a finger on the bottom left side then your signal will go from full to nada in seconds.

BlackBerry Bold 9700 Antenna Issue Claim

Jobs tried to explain this away by saying that all phones suffer from this death grip dead zone. They even created a whole new dedicated page on the Apple website at www.apple.com/antenna to “educate” customers about it. His first example is the BlackBerry Bold 9700 which has its antenna on the back all the way on the bottom.

I have to say that I have noticed a bar or two drop when I hold my 9700 totally cupped in both hands so I agree that most phones have an antenna somewhere that you can block. The issue here seems to be that the iPhone has its antenna near where your hand naturally goes and it is sensitive to any part of your body touching it there. I have never really noticed any signal degradation when I use my 9700 and I cup it in my hands all day… Also using a case does nothing to improve my 9700s reception on AT&T like the proposed bumper solution does for the iPhone 4. Even more so I have yet to see a video of somebody touching a 9700 with one finger to bring the reception from full to none like they have on the iPhone 4. Personally I think Apple did the right thing by waving restocking fees and offering free bumpers.

So I wanted to put this out there. What do you think about Steve Jobs and his claim that the iPhone 4 antenna issue is also an issue on the BlackBerry Bold 9700?

31 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I just tried to reproduce this on my Bold 9650, and could not. I tried a whole bunch of different gripping combinations, and I never lost any bars. I think BB doesn’t have this issue because if you think about where the keyboard is in relation to the antenna, the antenna always has hand around it, thus if this really was a problem for BBs, then it’d been talked about long before iP4.

  2. No matter how I hold my Bold 9000 or for how long I cannot get the signal bars to drop, alt-nmll shows -70db and it stays there whilst held.

    My Nexus One shows -85db and lowers to -65db when in hand so it actually improves…

    My 3Gs with the new 4.0.1 os installed drops 2 bars when held in my left hand for 60 seconds, I’d tell you the db’s but Apple removed the ability to check the signal strength, now I wonder why they did that???

  3. the first thing i noticed when loading up this page is how they talk down to their customers, as if they’re idiots (no comment) the line “if you hold it in a certain way” should read “if held in a certain way”
    marketing fail.

  4. Nothing but Apple propaganda.
    Even if the 9700 had the same problem what does it have anything to do with the shitasticly built iphone 4 ???

  5. Man they must really think their customers are morons to buy this…

    It makes zero sense whatsoever…

  6. Mine only drops for a few seconds when using “two” hands to wraparound the entire device, and in a few seconds it pics them back up while still holding the device.

  7. Steve Jobs drank something before coming to this conference and it was not a non-alcoholic drink. We have a blackberry and we have never experienced this problem. What the heck is he talking about?! What’s going on with iPhones is between him, his users, and consumer protection groups/media. The only reason I am seething is because he is trying to excuse his device by throwing mud on mine. I would be fine if he said, “look, building these things is not easy. This was the best we could do. For the most part our customers like it. If they don’t, here are the options…”. How does it help him to inaccurately malign other brands? We have seen this arrogance and bravado in face of quality issues before. You would think a smart man like Steve Jobs would know by now how this clips runs and ends. All he has done is needlessly antagonize (he will find) a remarkable majority of people.

  8. I lose signal when I turn my phone off…. Weird.

  9. My bold is also loosing signal when turned off. Rim should look into this for OS 6.0

  10. Or hold a press conference announcing to the world that this seems to be common with all phones… And that the sky is blue…

  11. That is a bunch of bullshit. I did the same thing, even sat on my 9700 and the signal DIDNT change.

  12. You don’t even have to try it… No other phones use the same type of antenna design where you can directly touch the antenna unshielded with your hand.

    Apple is calling their customers morons and hoping they buy into it.

  13. Shouldn’t RIM at least respond to this?

    I don’t have any loss of signal no matter how I hold/strangle my 9700.

    • That would be really cool if RIM called a press conference to defend the 9700!

      • “Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”

        – Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

        http://crackberry.com/rim-official-statment-response-apples-iphone-4-antenna-propaganda

  14. Talk about trying to get the attention off yourself Jobs!! Seriously though, who “death grips” their phone under normal circumstances?? BUT… just to prove this to myself… I lose NO bars by the “death grip”
    Booyah!

  15. I and my friends have been testing our phones and to be fair, we tried to do it in as scientific a way as possible: all in the same area, at the same time, from the same provider. We tested an old HTC Tilt, a Blackberry Bold 9700, an HTC Aria, and an iPhone 4. We tested them in the middle of Westwood here by UCLA and never had a problem till we got on the North Campus where signal is often weak. Sure enough, each phone would have a grip that would knock out the antenna signal if you were patient enough to wait for it. We moved to the Stadium where signal is great and none of the phones had grip-related signal losses (not even the iPhone). Now, I love my Blackberry Bold 9700 and don’t plan on trading it in for an iPhone, but I hate to agree with Jobs in that this is a problem that all phone manufacturers face under certain conditions. We need to separate the love we have for our devices and hate we may have for whoever we dislike and do as objective a test as possible, and allow for the possibility that we might still be biased even if we claim we are not. My brother still loves the Sprint network and disowns me for being on AT&T but this is another example of emotionality getting in the way of facts: all providers suck in some areas, all are great in others, sometimes you happen to spend most of your time in all those sweet spots, so you will love your phone and swear by it, but this is not proof positive that that provider is unquestionably superior everywhere. So it is with the phones: the phones we tested under equal conditions and locations did as well as can be expected – they did well and struggled in poor areas – and there is no sign of any of them being inferior. My Blackberry is wonderful, but I would be a panderer of ignorance if i badmouthed the iPhone when i clearly saw all our phones suffer equally and recover well equally. We need more objective reporting and less emotionality. Remember, just because your experience is wonderful with your phone but poor with the iPhone doesn’t mean someone else won’t have the same complaint about your phone and love for his iPhone. ignore the fanboys on each side and be objective!

  16. Or is rim preparing for a lawsuit against steve?

  17. A little sign I knocked up in photo shop, feel free to share the love! :-)

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_DsIiH-_k92G5tLqH8nw_g?feat=directlink

  18. “Tell the Lie loud enough and long enough and – in this case – spread the mud, and people will believe it.”

    All the Apple FanBois are nodding their heads in unison with Chairman Steve, asking to drink more of the JobsKoolAid!

    Bullshit, Steve, Bullshit: Clearly (1) A Poor design from jump street and (2) a case of form over function. Just admit it: Apple dropped the ball and made a mistake; Give the FanBois your $1.00 bumper solution and move on.

  19. I have no such issues with my 9700. Apple just need to admit to their fault already and just fix the problem and stop trying to point fingers that’s NOT true…

  20. Ok, I don’t agree with the mud slinging, but there are a few points to make here about the reproducibility of the signal loss on ‘all’ smartphones.

    1) Jobs clearly said those test were done in places of *low* signal strength. For those that didn’t see any drop, try moving deep inside a building or something and repeating.
    2) Note Apple used AT&T phones in their demonstration, which may suffer from the same ‘flawed’ signal strength algorithm that the latest iphone update ‘fixed’. Whether this is a smoke screen or not is not clear, but can someone using a 9700 on AT&T reproduce this issue? How about those on T-Mobile?
    3) I do indeed see the signal strength go down from -72dBm (5 bars) to -82 dBm (4 bars) on my t-mobile 8320 when held in similar ways to their demonstration, but that’s in a place with good reception. Perhaps a bigger drop would be seen in poorer reception areas.

    I think this all comes down to a perception issue, as adrian pointed out above, all phones suffer this to some degree, and I remember my curve manual telling me to hold it in a certain way to maximize signal strength. If AT&T’s call drop statistics are to be believed, then all of this is a non-issue really that has been blown out of proportion.

  21. The difference here is that instead of Jobs trying to fix things and as he said “we love to make our customers happy or users” instead he try to share the blame he almost sounded like he was about to cry. But aside from that yes depending where you are and if your are really trying to block the signal on any device you will achieve it. I can do that with my 9700 and withing seconds the data arrows start to show and the signal strength goes back up. He just needed to fix the problem admit it and go on with his business instead of pointing fingers and it would of been way better. The fact like rim said the BB does not require a bumper case to work is right even if the signal strength drops. Only reason I have experience drop calls is while driving through area with bad coverage.

    • As I said, I don’t think there is a significant problem with dropped calls on the iphone 4. This suggests that, despite the decrease in signal strength on holding it in certain ways, one can still use the phone, what is the issue then? It just comes down to people’s perception that there is a problem.

      I’m not defending how apple has handled this, but it seems to me the whole situation is blown out of proportion.

  22. I also find it interesting that – for the first time – Apple had a bumper / case solution one the first day of the iPhone 4 sale! Never had that before – they always depended on 3rd party solutions for cases.

    Steve – you can say it as loud as you want but Apple’s actions will reveal the truth – Apple knew they had a problem before the first FanBoi bought the 4G iPhone. Just admit it – you guys dropped the ball and take the heat. The AppleFans will forgive you. (pass the AppleKoolAid, please)

  23. Apple is so full of crap! Funny how this issue has only been a major one after they redesigned the Iphone! This would have been complained about when the first 3 Iphones were released as well as any BB with similar problems! C’mon Apple!

  24. What a terrific theme you have! your website articles are quite informative too! Thanks 😀

  25. I tried to reproduce the same signal drop with my Blackberry Bold. The signal doesn’t drop no matter how I hold it. Must be some problem with my Blackberry. It cannot do what the Iphone can….,i.e. drop the signal.

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