A Look Inside Apple's Wireless Testing Facilities

230812 anechoic chamber 1

Earlier today, Apple posted a video of today's press conference addressing antenna issues with the iPhone 4, also adding to its website a section dedicated to antenna design and testing as highlighted during the press conference.

While the new section of Apple's site provides an interesting glimpse into the company's $100 million investment in antenna design and testing labs, Apple went one step further and invited 11 members of the media on a brief tour of the previously-secret labs following today's event. Macworld reports on the tour, which was led by Apple engineer Ruben Caballero, who was the subject of a Bloomberg report yesterday claiming that he had warned Apple CEO Steve Jobs early in the iPhone 4 design process that the antenna design could cause reception problems, a claim Jobs today called a "crock" and "total bullshit".

The point of the tour was clear: to show that Apple takes the testing of wireless issues very seriously, and that suggestions that the company was simply sleeping on the job when it came time to test the iPhone 4 are misguided.

The report highlights the secrecy of the facility, noting that even Apple's PR representatives on the tour had never visited it before and that the lab's workbenches were covered with black cloths, a security procedure followed even when other Apple employees enter the facility.

We toured several different chambers, and they're pretty eerie places. Caballero would occasionally step into a chamber, leading in a few reporters (they're generally far too small to fit more than a handful of people inside), and the moment he entered the chamber his voice became nearly inaudible, due to most of his sound being absorbed by the foam on the chamber's walls. Even the handles of the heavy doors are made of Fiberglas, and the doors are lined with copper to ensure the entire room is a Faraday cage.

Apple's tests, which can take up to 25 hours to run across all frequencies, are conducted in a variety of settings in the company's testing chambers, including positioning the device on styrofoam blocks, in human hands, and in the vicinity of realistic "phantom" mannequin body parts.

230812 anechoic chamber 2

Finally, Apple showed off its CT scanner purchased for scanning products for defects without requiring them to be opened and changing their electromagnetic properties, as well as a field-testing van that allows engineers to test reception in real-world settings.

Update: Engadget has also posted a description of the behind-the-scenes tour, offering a similar perspective.

Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
New MacBook Pros Launching Tomorrow With These 4 New Features 2

M5 MacBook Models to Use New Compact Camera Module in 2025

Wednesday July 17, 2024 2:58 am PDT by
Apple in 2025 will take on a new compact camera module (CCM) supplier for future MacBook models powered by its next-generation M5 chip, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Writing in his latest investor note on unny-opticals-2025-business-momentum-to-benefit-509819818c2a">Medium, Kuo said Apple will turn to Sunny Optical for the CCM in its M5 MacBooks. The Chinese optical lens company...
tinypod apple watch

TinyPod Turns Your Apple Watch Into an iPod

Wednesday July 17, 2024 3:18 pm PDT by
If you have an old Apple Watch and you're not sure what to do with it, a new product called TinyPod might be the answer. Priced at $79, the TinyPod is a silicone case with a built-in scroll wheel that houses the Apple Watch chassis. When an Apple Watch is placed inside the TinyPod, the click wheel on the case is able to be used to scroll through the Apple Watch interface. The feature works...
iphone 14 lineup

Cellebrite Unable to Unlock iPhones on iOS 17.4 or Later, Leak Reveals

Thursday July 18, 2024 4:18 am PDT by
Israel-based mobile forensics company Cellebrite is unable to unlock iPhones running iOS 17.4 or later, according to leaked documents verified by 404 Media. The documents provide a rare glimpse into the capabilities of the company's mobile forensics tools and highlight the ongoing security improvements in Apple's latest devices. The leaked "Cellebrite iOS Support Matrix" obtained by 404 Media...
Apple Watch Series 9

2024 Apple Watch Lineup: Key Changes We're Expecting

Tuesday July 16, 2024 7:59 am PDT by
Apple is seemingly planning a rework of the Apple Watch lineup for 2024, according to a range of reports from over the past year. Here's everything we know so far. Apple is expected to continue to offer three different Apple Watch models in five casing sizes, but the various display sizes will allegedly grow by up to 12% and the casings will get taller. Based on all of the latest rumors,...
iPhone SE 4 Vertical Camera Feature

iPhone SE 4 Rumored to Use Same Rear Chassis as iPhone 16

Friday July 19, 2024 7:16 am PDT by
Apple will adopt the same rear chassis manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 that it is using for the upcoming standard iPhone 16, claims a new rumor coming out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker "Fixed Focus Digital," the backplate manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 is "exactly the same" as the standard model in Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 lineup, which is expected to...