Is Apple silently fixing the iPhone 4 antenna issue?
July 13, 2010 Filed under: Hardware — kyle @ 8:30 pm
Reports started surfacing today that Apple may have quietly revised the iPhone 4 to add a nonconductive coating to the metal band on the sides of the phone. This would fix the sudden signal drop from electrically bridging the antennas by touching the band in the bottom-left corner with your hand.
We got an independent report of a similarly updated phone from a member of our community, so we decided to investigate. We exchanged one of our units (that had been experiencing unrelated problems with its Bluetooth connection) to see if Apple has changed the manufacturing process since their initial production run.
The serial number on the unit tells you the manufacture date; our original phone was manufactured in mid-June (week 25). The replacement unit we got was made in early-July (week 27), apparently too soon for a manufacturing change.
The serial number also identifies which factory it was made in. (We don’t have a mapping of numbers to physical factories, but we can tell if two phones came from the same plant.) Apple has always done this, and we’ve occasionally had fun comparing Macs to see if they were birthed in the same place. A fun aside: I once had a Mac made in Apple’s Elk Grove, California factory. This information may be useful if Apple is rolling the production change out to their factories one at a time.
The iPhone 4 serial number is easy to decode! It’s in this format...