It’s official. Consumer Reports’ engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception. When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal. Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.
That’s Consumer Reports, incidentally, which put the phone in an RF-isolated room to perform their tests along with a base-station emulator.
Oops – that’s about as close to proof as you’re going to find. In an RF-quiet environment it’s pretty easy to prove your case, and it appears that CR did so.
The tests also indicate that AT&T’s network might not be the primary suspect in the iPhone 4′s much-reported signal woes.
I have never been impressed with the iPhone (any generation) in terms of RF. Ever. It has always been a "form before function" device from my perspective, all the way back to the original units. Then again I’m spoiled – the best RF-performing GSM phone I’ve ever used was a Nokia 3395. I may still have one laying around here somewhere, and all of my old Nokias (including a 6610 which was nearly as good) still work just fine. Old, yes, but one thing Nokia does know how to do is design and build an RF section.
Incidentally, buying devices that work before selecting them for "sex appeal" may be why I’ve never had a material problem with the "can you hear me?" BS that so many suffer with when it comes to cellphones. I guess my view is that a cellphone is for communicating rather than trying to shag some hot chick at the local bar by flashing my "bling."
This is a common flaw for consumer devices – be sexy rather than be smart – or good. Of course sex sells, and so the more "sexy" you can make something look the better it sells, and as long as you remain within the "acceptable" functionality envelope you don’t get hurt – too badly. Witness Motorola, which had the "hot" phone for a long time…
Apple has had a hell of a time with what is arguably its most important product release since the initial iPhone in 2007. The handsets have been plagued with spotty screens, combustible USB ports, signal strength measurement inconsistencies, and the most damaging of the issues – an ill-conceived antenna design that causes attenuation when held from the lower left had corner. Steve Jobs did the Blankfein (Goldman Sachs CEO, stating that the Wall Street bank was doing God’s work) imitation by opening his mouth when he shouldn’t have and said that users were “hold the phone the wrong way”. Not only that, but Consumer Reports just came out with a report stating that they can not recommend the buying of an iPhone until the antenna situation has been rectified, prompting speculation that Apple will be forced to recall millions of phones.
As a matter of fact, the review was rather poignant:
“If you want an iPhone that works well without a masking-tape fix, we continue to recommend an older model, the 3G S.”
One solution to the Apple iPhone 4’s antenna problem is to cover the lower left corner with tape.
It is very easy to fall out of favor with the trendy crowd. While I doubt very seriously that Apple is in danger of doing this anytime soon, a massive recall will open the door for devices which are technically much more capable, flexible and open than the iPhone, ex. the Android powered HTC and Samsung devices. Basically, the danger to Apple here is not the expense of a recall, but the loss of mindshare and potential widening of the opening for some very capable competition – an opening that did not have to be there!
Don’t believe me, click the link to the consumer reports article and peruse the comment section…
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
Note from dshort: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through September. I've updated the charts in this commentary to include the latest numbers.
The New York Stock Exchange publishes end-of-month data for margin debt on the NYXdata website, where we can also find historical data back to 1959. Let's examine the numbers and study the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter.
The first chart shows the two series in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today's dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. I picked 1995 as an arbitrary start date. We were well into the Boomer Bull Market that began in 1982 and approaching t...
The story of energy is the story of human expansion. From the days when we roamed the African savanna, we tamed first fire and then other forms of energy, using them as tools to control our environment and improve our lives. The control of energy has always been at the heart of the human story.
This week our Outside the Box essay is from my friend Marin Katusa, who has written a fascinating book about a part of that story, a subplot of intrigue and conspiracy. Under Putin, Russia has aspired to dominate the energy markets. Called The Colder War, Marin’s book is a well-written tale of the rise of Putin and his desire to change the way the world’s energy markets are controlled.
I sat down a few months ago with an advance copy, not sure...
Bulls showed renewed backbone last week and drew a line in the sand for the bears, buying with gusto into weakness as I suggested they would. After all, this was the buying opportunity they had been waiting for. As if on cue, the start of the World Series launched the rapid market reversal and recovery. However, there is little chance that the rally will go straight up. Volatility is back, and I would look for prices to consolidate at this level before making an attempt to go higher. I still question whether the S&P 500 will ultimately achieve a new high before year end.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then o...
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If you're following Valeant's proposed takeover (or merger) of Allergan and the lawsuit by Allergan against Valeant and notorious hedge fund manager William Ackman, for insider trading this is a must-read article.
Linette Lopez describes the roles played by key Wall Street hedge fund owners--Jim Chanos, John Paulson, and Mason Morfit, a major shareholder in Valeant. Linette goes through the con...
There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock tou...
Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?
With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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