Our DNA is written in Objective-C

Dr. Touch #019 – "Hoopla"

Lots of hoopla around “Antennagate”. Was it really worth it?


The show notes and script after the break.

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App Store Review Status: New Apps 85% approved in the last 7 days. App Updates 95%.

Apple approves apps that do nothing more than turning on the flash LED of your iPhone 4. I used the LED several times already to illuminate my backyard. All you have to do is tap on the camera, switch to video, tap on the LED button and choose ON. Apple calls this “the torch” and it has less brightness than the flash used for photos. Having an app to do that means instead of 6 taps for turning it on or off you have 3. There are already a couple such apps in the store. I guess that’s Apple’s way of showing us developers that they are not as evil and restrictive any more as they have gotten the reputation to be in the past.

Analytics firm Flurry has announced that in-app purchases are generating $14.66 per user per year in June of 2010, which is a few times larger than it has been in the past. Previously to 2010, the games tracked were generating only a few bucks per user per year, but in January the total jumped to around $9, and it’s now in the double digits. Flurry says that money doesn’t include ad revenue — it’s strictly profit from in-app purchases, either unlocking features or selling virtual goods. So it seems that developers are finally getting the hang of it, In-App Purchases are easy to add to an app, if you haven’t added them to your apps, have a look at my DTPurchaseButton and DTShop for a convenient way of integrating them into your own apps.

iPhone software update 3.2.1 claims to improve Wi-Fi connectivity. I didn’t have any problems with mine, but let me know if you see a big difference in yours.

I updated my iPhone 4 to the new 4.0.1 software and several times I got iTunes error 1004. It turned out that I still had the redirection to the Cydia certificate store in my hosts file. As soon as I removed that all worked fine. I no longer need that anyway because I no longer have a need to jailbreak my iPhone. I’m with a carrier that has it and my iPhone 4 I bought unlocked in the UK anyway.

I made a blog post where I’m showing the difference in bars before and after the upgrade. In a high and a low reception area. You can see that the reported reception is way more useful and honest. Where I was getting 5 to 5 bars before I’m now getting 3 to 4. In the lower reception area there was almost no change, except for the psychological feeling of stronger reception due to slightly higher small bars. The formula to calculate the bars is now more linear then logarithmic. This also means that everybody can show a drop in bars by holding the phone “the wrong way”.

A new version of the iTunes Connect Developer Guide is now available.This new version includes information on:

  • Enabling your app for iAd rich media ads and the iAd Network module in iTunes Connect;
  • New support for requesting Promotional Codes;
  • Fetching crash logs on demand;
  • Requirements for submitting high resolution screenshots and small icons.

You’ll find the iTunes Connect Developer Guide available for download on the homepage of iTunes Connect.

Yesterday Apple held a press conference to specifically address what some blogs called “Antennagate”. Much to the amusement of people there they played a song in which Jonathan Mann sums up the Commotion rater eloquently: The iPhone 4 Antenna Song.

(play song)

Steve Jobs wanted to give the media a feeling on how big or small the problem really is. His facts where:

  • Smartphones have weakspots
  • Of all 3 Million iPhone 4 owners so far 0.55% have called to inquire about reception or the antenna.
  • ATT return rates are a third of what they where for the iPhone 3GS.
  • And statistically per 100 calls the iPhone 4 drops less than one additional dropped call

There seems to be a problem, but it only affects a small percentage of users.

Steve’s theory that they cannot prove yet is that because the design of the 3GS was identical to the 3G there where already enough cases available when it shipped. 80% of people who got a 3GS in an Apple Store walked out with a case. The iPhone 4 has currently only Apple’s own bumper case of which they cannot produce sufficient quantities and which some people don’t like. So it’s only 20% of customers who get a case for their iPhone 4 right in the store.

Lets take this a bit further. That means that 60% of customers would have gotten a case if there was one available that they like. Of 3 Million iPhones that’s 1.8 Million people who under the right circumstances would have never touched the iPhone’s week spot. Since a case generally seems to remedy any reception deterioration that means an awful lot of people who potentially could be annoyed by the drop in bars. And so it’s way more likely for the problem to be seen as major. Think about it. MILLIONS of people see the drop in bars once they read on the tech blogs about it. And the bloggers write about it naturally because EVERYONE seems to be having the problem and it makes for a good story.

Steve Jobs showed off some pictures from their anechoic chambers where they are doing an enormous amount of science and testing. There’s even a chamber where a person has to sit in a chair and hold the phone to his ear while they are testing reception from all directions. Awesome. This part felt like a bit of Steve Jobs Science Hour. You learn something astonishing in every keynote he makes. That’s why we love them so much.

So basically changes in reception characteristics are normal for smart phones. Most modern phones have their antenna on the bottom to be as far away from the ear as possible. Apple even has a page on their website that demonstrates the death grip working on several other modern phones.

But by far the coolest part in the press conference was this.

(Audio of Steve Jobs announcing that every iPhone 4 user will get a case)

So that’s cool. I wanted to get a case anyway for my birthday next week, now I get one from Apple for free. Honestly I dropped my iPhone 4 already 3 times but fortunately it was in a hand-knit pouch, so no damage. But for something that you use every day you just want to have some protection. And if it’s free all the better.

So what does this mean for us iPhone developers? People with the latest generation are plenty and are more satisfied with their devices than ever before. That’s good. It also means that you should think about adding high-res artwork to your apps as soon as possible. Apple has made a detailed technical Q&A article available that explains exactly what you need.

Other news that Steve appended at the end:

  • Apple is working on some solutions for the proximity sensor issues which they will put in the next software update
  • White iPHone 4 available end of July.
  • iPhone 4 coming to 17 additional country on July 30th.

Categories: Podcast


  1. Hi Dr. Touch,

    A) Loaded 3.2.1 on my iPad and my connection hasn’t dropped once. It would drop all the time at home(on work WiFi it never did drop).

    B) while waiting for my new iPhone, I have tested the signal strength / antenna problem with some friends phones and found if signal strength was low, it was easy to cause death grip antenna problem. Bumper or case corrected any concerns. If the person didn’t want anything on iPhone and they had clammi hands, a clear piece of rock chip tape ( or similar tape like shipping tape etc.) worked fine.

    Love your site!


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