Apple Seeks Antenna Engineer As Lawsuit Looms

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Apple has placed a job advert on its website for the full-time position of “Antenna Engineer-iPhone”, as a Californian law firm ponders legal action

Apple is looking to hire a full-time engineer to deal with the antenna problems with its newly released iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4 has already proved to be a sales success once again for Apple, but late last week reports began to emerge of an antenna problem linked to the way the device is held.

Dubbed the ‘iPhone 4 Death Grip’, users who hold the device in the left hand with their palm covering the lower left part of the stainless steel band – that houses some of the antennae – are likely to either lose signal altogether, or experience a much weaker signal strength. The problem has been demonstrated in this YouTube video.

Antenna Engineer

In response to the complaints, Steve Jobs and Apple opted for a very simple approach and described the problem as “a fact of life for every wireless phone”. He advised users to either change their grip or buy a ‘bumper’ to break direct contact with the antenna. However, these bumpers cost £25 – and will not be shipped until at least 16 July.

And in a new development, Apple this week posted a job opening for the full time position of “Antenna Engineer-iPhone” on its website.

The role will require the applicant to “define and implement antenna system architecture to optimise the radiation performance for wireless portable devices. The candidate should be able to design antennas suitable for wireless handheld devices with excellent radiation performance, including TRP, TIS, SAR, and EMC,” said the company.

Apple’s advertisement follows the leaking of an Apple internal document, allegedly explaining to AppleCare staff about how to deal with any reception complaints for the iPhone 4.

No Free Bumpers

In the leaked document, Apple advised its staff to say the following. “The iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. Our testing shows that iPhone 4’s overall antenna performance is better than iPhone 3GS.”

“Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception,” it added. “This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world.”

Apple also warned its staff not to perform warranty service to fix the problem and said that they must not promise a free bumper to customers. “Use the positioning above for any customer questions or concerns,” the document said.

Potential Lawsuit

Meanwhile it has emerged that Apple’s problems with the antenna could be about to get a lot worse, after PC World reported that California law firm Kershaw, Cuttiner and Ratinoff is seeking to build a class action lawsuit over its network reception issues.

At this stage they are only conducting an investigation, and have not yet announced a formal lawsuit.

“If you recently purchased the new iPhone and have experienced poor reception quality, dropped calls, and weak signals, we would like to hear from you,” reads a notice on its website.

Nokia Mocks

Nokia meanwhile lost little time in mocking Apple’s antenna issues. The Finnish phone giant produced a tongue-in-cheek guide entitled “How do you hold your Nokia?”.

This is despite the fact that Nokia’s own handsets are equally at risk of the same issue of signal loss. A number of videos have emerged on YouTube showing Nokia phone reception dropping when held. These include videos of a Nokia E71, Nokia 6230, and Nokia 6720.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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