File under: what was the point of that?
Apple iPhone 3G users have been blighted with poor 3G reception since day one. So bad is the problem that it prompted Apple to release an iPhone software update which has had mixed results. Apple says iPhone OS 2.0.2 improved 3G communications, many users have said it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever.
Now, just to add to the confusing array of opinions, a Swedish company selling wireless device test chambers has apparently tested an iPhone 3G and concluded everything is fine.
No doubt that Bluetest, the company in question, performed perfectly viable tests under laboratory conditions. Its testing chambers are used by many of the world's major mobile phone manufacturers after all.
The testing antenna engineer, who comes complete with a M.Sc in Engineering Physics attached, has said that the values were completely normal, and compared them with test results for a Sony Ericsson P1 and a Nokia N73. The difference between all three was minimal. The iPhone was tested with WLAN, GPS and Bluetooth switched off and then again with them all on. The Bluetest boffins concluded that there was no obvious interference from any 'noise' caused by the assorted connections.
OK, so this means that the iPhone 3G hardware is not at fault, that Apple are off the hook and that it must be the network operators that are causing the 3G reception problems. Right?
Despite the fact that many people in the media are now reporting just that, and laying the headline blame squarely at the mobile network operators, I would say wrong, wrong, wrong.
Not least because I suspect that the tests are fundamentally flawed because they revolve around a sample of one. What's more, that sample was not one that had been impacted by any 3G reception problems. The reporter whose phone was used in the tests admits that "my iphone has worked perfectly" and says that "the only time a call has been disconnected was on the train to Stockholm, and that has happened with other mobiles as well."
So what does this tell us? Basically that a properly working iPhone 3G has been tested and found to be working properly. No surprise there then, other than that the testers and the reporter in question did not think it might be a good idea to actually test five or six iPhones and compare the results. Maybe even ensuring that some of the handsets were ones that the owners had been having 3G connectivity problems with.
The publication of this report was meant to bring scientific fact into the iPhone 3G connectivity debate, but all it has succeeded in doing is throwing a huge lump of FUD at it instead...