Inside Apple's antenna testing chambers

How do you test a phone so that it only has around 15,000 people out of 3 million complaining? Apple says you chuck it in their anechoic chambers.

Keen to prove that they really did test the new iPhone 4 to the limit, the company has shown off the testing facility that it has created to test its phones on Apple campus Infinite Loop.

Supposedly costing $100m to develop and build, every phone goes through the 17 different antenna characterisation chambers (or anechoic chambers) designed to accurately measure antenna and wireless performance.

But it's not just a case of sticking in a room with lots of sticky outy bits, says Apple.

"Our anechoic chambers are connected to sophisticated equipment that simulates cellular base stations, Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth devices - even GPS satellites. These chambers measure performance in free space, in the presence of materials simulating human tissue ('phantom' heads and hands, for example), and in use by human subjects".

The iPhone, and presumably iPad are then tested over a 1- to 2-year development cycle (presumably that means the iPhone 5 has already seen this room) with Apple engineers spending thousands of hours performing antenna and wireless testing in the lab.

This results, says Apple, in a phone that, while slammed by the media, has only had .55 per cent of users actually bother to phone AppleCare support to complain.

What do you think? Is it good enough, or should Apple look to spend even more money on testing the antennas in its devices.

Read more about Antennagate.



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