Is that the new iPhone with the antenna thing?

July 18, 2010 holman

I’m in Fargo, North Dakota this weekend for a buddy’s wedding. Fargo is, in my view, primarily known for three things: the movie, the cold, and that it’s the only market nearing a quarter of a million people that has absolutely zero AT&T coverage. Forget San Francisco reception woes- Fargo has no AT&T presence at all. It’s a struggle for me to even see a two-bar EDGE connection while I’m here.

I’m no stranger to stoking my ego a little every now and then, and on this trip that means pulling out my shiny new iPhone 4 and showing it off to people that are interested. I’d wager I showed it to around ten people in the last 24 hours, and these two things always happened:

  1. “Is that the new iPhone? Can I see it?”
  2. “But don’t you have problems with the antenna?”

It kind of blew my mind. Here’s a community where no one is technically permitted to own any iPhone in the last four years, and they all seemed to immediately be able to decipher that this iPhone was the newest version. That in and of itself is testament to the incredible buzz Apple has been able to generate. Then they followed up with the antenna problem. That’s testament to how much people are captivated by a story.

Say what you will about bumpers, about the Apple press conference, and let RIM and Motorola go on the counter-offensive about their own antennas. The only thing I’m concerned about is that it’s still the best hardware I’ve owned. It’s got the best build quality out of any object I’ve seen. FaceTime is a different, meaningful experience that I’m unexpectedly still using — and deeply enjoying — weeks past that first launch day. The camera is finally to the point where I don’t have to lug around my SLR, my point and shoot, or my mini HD camcorder to most places.

I don’t experience antenna problems. I was able to reproduce it a couple of times earlier on out of curiosity if I tried hard enough, but the novelty of trying melted away once I started actually using it. My calls don’t get dropped. My texts all reach me fine. And the rest of the OS is great, as usual. It could be that maybe I’ve subconsciously repositioned my hand while using the phone, it could be that I’m usually in good enough coverage where it’s not a problem, but my workflow is never interrupted during my iPhone 4 usage. And that’s the most important part: if I had to consciously change my usage or how I operate that phone, that’d be a problem. But I’m not.

This isn’t a terribly interesting post. I’m not calling anyone out, I’m not link baiting people for those precious precious page views, I’m not posting a sarcastic YouTube video. Society loves a scandal, but good design on a good product doesn’t illicit the same response. Human nature, I suppose. Luckily for Apple, it also appears to be human nature to buy a shitgaggle of Apple products. They’ll probably be okay.