Why the Verizon iPhone won't be any better than the AT&T iPhone (It's not the network)

People across America are excited that Verizon Wireless is getting the iPhone. AT&T has been blamed for network problems that prevent current iPhone owners from being able to do just about anything on their wireless network, like making a phone call. But I'm not so sure Verizon will be all that better, and I blame the iPhone itself.

I seriously think there's a fundamental problem with the iPhone itself, and how it is made.

Let's face it, there's a reason cell phone makers have never built a cell phone with the same type of materials Apple has: reception problems. If you look closely, you'll realize that the majority of people who complain about AT&T's network problems have an iPhone. People with other types of phones don't complain nearly as much about getting dropped, or not being able to place a call altogether.

When it comes to data speeds and connectivity, if you try to complete the same action on an iPhone as with any other smartphone (on the same network), there's a good chance the other phone will finish first. This happened to me the other day. I was with a buddy in downtown LA and went to check traffic on my iPhone with Google Maps. I couldn't get anything to load. (Same with my iPad, by the way.) Absolutely nothing. Zilch. He pulled out his Windows-powered Samsung Focus and Google Maps and traffic loaded instantly.

For this reason, I am skeptical that the iPhone on Verizon will perform significantly better than its AT&T counterpart.

I'm not saying AT&T doesn't have their issues. They do, and they have plenty. But I think Apple's problems are far worse than anyone would like to think.

(This problem extends to other Apple products, as well. Anyone who has used a Mac laptop knows that the range on the internal wireless card is far inferior to other laptop makers due to the metal casing. And yet, somehow, Apple has managed to dodge blame for that as well. While Apple makes "pretty" products, their aesthetics come at a price.)

I base my reasoning on my own hunch and experiences, and no published facts or statistics. I'd be interested in hearing what you think.

Update: Here's more proof.

10 responses
I don't buy this because I've yet to hear anything about the iPhone's terrible reception and performance issues overseas. If it were the phone, it would function crappily everywhere, right? However, things seem to be pretty rosy with networks in other countries.
Maybe the iPhone on U.S. GSM bands?

It's possible that could be the issue... I guess we'll find out when the Verizon iPhone is extensively tested :)
There are places in the country that just get crappy reception no matter what phone (with AT&T). San Francisco and NY are two of the most noted. I haven't really had too many problems with my phone (3GS) with the exception that I've had it replaced... twice. There are black holes though where calls are eaten. Inside buildings is the worst. Never had that problem with VZW or Sprint. Always had the issue with AT&T. Even 10 years ago with Nokia phone. Walk in a building, drop a call.

I plan on jumping ship when my contract is up in a couple months. I'll wait for any new iPhone that maybe announced in June/July. I might go Android though.

I think originally Apple made products that had a great balance of function and form. But nowadays, all I see is a silly obsession with the latter. I suppose this helps sales since the public is enticed by products that look pretty on TV, regardless if it's necessary/useful or if a more functional product (that doesn't have such aggressive marketing) exists.
here's my .02: Apple is really a baby in the mobile communications industry. The iPhone hasn't even been out for 5 years yet. If you compare that to Motorola, Samsung or HTC, you'll find they've been around for something like 12+ years. I don't have an iphone, but i know a lot of people who do. I think it's a really cool device, but i tell everyone this: "The iphone is one of the coolest portable devices, provided that your first priority isn't making phone calls." funny, but it's true. i think that in another 5 years or so, apple will have enough experience in the industry and know what to do in order to make a good phone, not just a good portable device...
A good post but I disagree. Apple, while they do like making pretty things, isn't solely about image, if they didn't build products that work then they wouldn't be in business to build pretty things. I've had my iPhone 4 since September 2010 and I've not yet had a single dropped call or connectivity issues. My phone is significantly faster in both the network connection and overall apparent speed than any of my friends smartphones (I'm not going to benchmark my friend's phones). While I don't completely disagree that the engineering is to blame, Apple started adding a non-conductive coating to the iPhone 4 around the time of the antennagate press conference (ostensibly why the case program ended September 30th). It seems to be helping. I use this phone as my main communications device on the go and a lot at home. I'm a heavy email, SMS, data, and voice user and I just don't see the issues others are having.

In the case of the iPhone 4, there were certainly some engineering lapses. It is overall a great device in my experience. I've even dropped it more times than I can count (one time dropping it then stepping on it), and not a visible mark or crack. (And to think I promised I'd be gentler on my iPhone than my previous device).

no such problems in germany...
I live right outside of Philadelphia and I have never had a data or reception problem. My wife's iPhone is the opposite. She has call and data problems among other things. She is actually on her fifth iPhone 4.
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