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Wednesday, 30 June 2010 13:33

Apple now hiring experienced iPhone and iPad antenna engineers

Written by Jon Worrel
iphone_4_logo   fcclogo

Proper explanation of design flaw may lie with the FCC
If the onslaught of news surrounding Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna fiasco hasn’t already taken its moments of fame in the limelight, perhaps an interesting bit of new information may finally do the company more good than harm.

According to new search results listings in Jobs at Apple, the company is looking to hire not one, not two, but eight Antenna Engineers. In particular, those engineers would be working on the antenna system architecture of the iPhone and the iPad, in order to “Define and implement antenna system architecture to optimize the radiation performance for wireless portable devices.” In other words, Apple wants these guys to fix the purported iPhone 4 antenna design flaw that’s potentially ruined the PR image of its crown jewel device, and it wants them to address any potential minor issues with the iPad 3G and second-generation iPad models currently in development.

In the few months prior to the iPhone 4’s launch, the FCC had been privately testing the device in order to clear the market approval process. These tests typically include SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) plots on the device’s various antennas, internal photos, external photos, testing verification documents and manufacturer declarations.

iphone_4_fcc_diagram

However, Apple was able to somehow ask for an indefinite confidentiality on some details that contain information that are of top priority. In a letter from Robert Steinfeld, Apple EMC and Wireless Compliance Manager, Apple states that “these documents reveal technical and design information that has not yet been publicly disclosed in such marketing and that is protected by Apple as confidential and proprietary secrets.” The authorization form can be viewed here and is valid for 90 days from May 31, 2010.

The confidentiality request seeks to keep test setup, external and internal hardware, and user manual images out of the public eye. Apple has also implied that it wants to keep the bill of materials for the UMTS/GSM, WiFi and Bluetooth radios confidential for the long-term. Based on recent document leaks and hardware teardowns, however, the public already has access to a large sum of this information by simply Google searching for it.

What remains to be uncovered is if Apple is hiding any details about its antenna technologies with the FCC, whose lips must remain shut until the confidentiality request has expired. Perhaps the company’s antenna engineers had already anticipated potential signal disruptions after the device’s specifications had been finalized and sent to the FCC for market approval. Regardless of the undisclosed details, we have already been able to note that Apple is spending a lot of investment time behind advertising its iPhone 4 Bumpers to customers who are complaining about reception issues.

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 June 2010 14:04
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