The White iPhone 4

The White iPhone 4

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The "Death Grip" Sinks Apple Haters to New Lows

Of all of the noise about iPhone 4's alleged antenna issue, the loudest seems to come from those who would be hating on iPhone 4 no matter what.  Here's why it's just Droidbags who've found a new key to whine in.

The Droidbags are at it again.  Now, I call them Droidbags, but their community consists of pretty much any anti-Apple person.  They include the true Droidbags (Android phone enthusiasts), the Contrarians (who hate iPhone because so many fashionable/cool people like it, or who hate iPhone because they want to irritate someone specific who has one), and the Fuddy-Duddies (who think anything more than a free Nokia candy bar phone on the lowest possible minute plan with no free texts is a waste of money, and that iPhone is the ultimate symbol of excess).

They are all yelling at the top of their lungs these days, but their voices have taken on a distinctly gleeful tenor.  For the first time, they have a bead on what appears to be an actual flaw in an iPhone, one that was mistakenly allowed to pass quality control.

You know what I'm talking about.  The antenna issue.  The "Death Grip," as the Droidbags like to call it.  They cite fake emails, they cite reception tests that really are designed to test data transmission speeds and use it as evidence that voice calls are dropped, they deride any attempts to minimize the issue, as some rational reviewers have done, as disingenous.

Their critiques, in fact, are the disingenuous artifact in this particular debate, however.  Using fake emails to prove a point is irrational.  Attacking rational reviewers of the issue as biased is, well, biased.  But the real lies are in their use of reception tests designed to test data transmission speed to comment on both the data functionality of the iPhone 4 and the frequency of dropped calls.  Here's why.

First, if you grip the iPhone 4 in a way that bridges the two antennas, it is true that you get some interference, per those rational reviewers (one of which I linked above).  However, that interference is insufficient to drop a call under most circumstances.  iPhone 4 actually performs better than 3GS as a phone all the time.  So there really is no correlation between how you hold your iPhone 4 and whether a call gets dropped.  There just isn't.

Enter the Droidbag.

After baselessly discrediting the rational reviewer that pointed it out, the Droidbag will cite to a data speed test app study, and say, "So there!  It DOES lower reception!  Apple's lying to you, the design of iPhone 4 is flawed, you're a sheep, that review was biased in Apple's favor, blah, blah, blah," ad nauseum et infinitum.  They'll then point to the fake emails and emphatically declare Steve Jobs is fiddling while his personal Rome burns, or that he doesn't care about customers, etc.  You've probably read this same argument in different forms and in varying degrees of completeness and quality for the past two weeks.

The problem is, the Droidbags' logic is flawed, and they know it.  First, a reduction in signal quality doesn't drop a call, as noted above.  When you point that out to them, they respond with something like, "Well, the data speed is still slower!  FAIL!  I'm so 1337 for using FAIL so much!  NYEH!"  They then take a boisterous gulp out of a 3 liter bottle of Sam's Club Moutnain Lightning, stuff a fistful of Walker's potato sticks down their gullets, and go back to trolling Apple forums with their WOW characters grinding away in another open window.

The problem with that logic is, nobody holds the phone in the lower left corner while using data-transmitting functions.  You turn the phone sideways for that, with the lower left side up to keep from bumping the volume controls.  So unless you intentionally block the antenna while using data services, you're going to have no signal problems whatsoever.

Try pointing out this second logical flaw to them.  They'll probably devolve immediately into personal attacks on you as a commenter, or just stop responding.  At the very least, they'll feel bad about themselves and eat a donut stick instead of doing the soda-and-chips ritual.  It's an argument that can be won every time, making it a really fun one to have.

But the Droidbags are still doing damage!  They're using their chorus of whines to change the conversation away from all the awesome things about iPhone 4.  They're dominating the discussion with misleading information and outright lies.

Today, I saw a story by a Droidbag tech blogger who compared iPhone 4 to Windows Vista.  I kid you not.  Windows Vista, the virus that comes infected with an operating system.  WTF?  This is what people who google iPhone 4 are seeing.  They're trying to make us all look like lemmings jumping off a cliff becuase we're a bunch of morons who've been duped by a snake oil salesmen peddling a phone that doesn't make phonecalls.  It's total crap.

So what can we do about it?  Present the above counter-argument anytime you're faced with the viral smear-campaign noted above.  Keep it respectful, write with good grammar (type in your word processor first, use spell check and grammar check, then copy-paste into the browser), and shut them all down.  Eventually, the tech bloggers will see that people recognize the logical error in their analysis and start writing more balanced stories.  Fight back!  There should be no comments thread dominated by Droidbags.  If you come across it, write a response.  You can even save a canned one and paste it in.  If you don't want to take the time to sign up for a site that requires a sign-in for commenting, go to and get one for free.

There's one tried and true thing about the iPhone demographic that trumps the Droidbags in all their forms.  We're smarter.  We'll make the arguments more articulately, more artfully and more convincingly than any Droidbag can muster.  So let's hit back, before the whole internet accepts their lies as folk wisdom, and regards us as the fools.


  1. LOL...nice write up !! I am going to printout and show it to my EVO buddies :). Yup...I guess being on TOP means you will have haters on every street corner.

  2. Question: is it not the mere fact that you are, at least at some point, loosing reception, a major flaw of the design of the phone? I think that point is a larger point than any of the levels of reception issue perceptions you have out there.

  3. kique1980: All phones lose reception when you handle them in a way that interferes with the antenna. All of them.

    Consider this trade-off. An external antenna makes the reception better under almost all circumstances, but allows for more dramatic (but not debilitating) interference by handling. What do you do as a company designing a phone?

    You'd probably assume that people will look to functionality (call quality and number of dropped calls) as opposed to aesthetics (falling signal bars), and go with the external antenna. Especially when people normally consume data on the phone by holding it in a way that doesn't interfere at all with data transmission.

    What wasn't planned on by Apple (though it probably should have been) was the vitriol of the heavily anti-Apple blogosphere, who so far have taken a minor footnote about a functionality quirk of an otherwise remarkable device and turned it into some kind of imagined Waterloo.

    I'm not trying to say it isn't an issue, or something that shouldn't be rationally considered or examined. I'm trying to say the issue's been used for disingenuous and malicious purposes, namely to make Apple, iPhone, and its enthusiasts and users look bad. And it's unfair. So I thought I'd turn the tables in this article.