One of the causes raised for the whole case involving the iPhone 4 antenna was the fact that a prototype was found inside a case that masked it as an iPhone 3G (S). “If the prototype was tested in the field in a case”, many thought, “it is logical that no one would notice the Death Grip! ” To dismiss this hypothesis for good, one of the objectives of yesterday's press conference was to show how much Apple thoroughly tests its products.
In addition to posting images of its anechoic chambers and commenting on the investment in research and testing, Apple took some of the reporters who attended yesterday's event to see its secret labs on Infinite Loop. “Secret”, because not even all Ma employees have access to them. In fact, installations are known only as “Black labs” and this is the first time that its interior has been revealed.
The staff of Engadget and the Wired participated in a tour with other members of the media and, despite the obvious restriction on the production of images inside Apple's facilities, they have some curious things to tell about what they saw there.
In addition to a mix of members of the Apple PR team (probably all with an eye on the good behavior of the guests), visitors were welcomed by Phil Schiller, Greg Joswiak, Bob Mansfield and engineer Ruben Caballero (the one from the Bloomberg). The reporters were taken to the labs in a building close to the center of the Infinite Loop and had to cross a series of portals and long corridors to reach the point where tests are carried out.
The devices are rotated during the tests to obtain measurements in all directions.
At the site, a kind of concrete and steel shed, in addition to several tables covered with black cloths (prototypes ?!), the reporters got to know some of the anechoic armored chambers, among them one with a “beak” shape (above) and another, internally called “Stargate” (below). They serve, respectively, to make passive (without interference) and active (with interference) tests of equipment. At the time of the visit, an iPad was being tested in the eight-meter “spout” that would have cost $ 1.2 million.
Each yellow + is a different antenna, used to capture the level of absorption in 360 around the device during normal use.
Here comes a curiosity: the test monitored, obviously, by software. Behold, the program runs on Macs, but on Windows XP. Like, neither Mac OS X, nor Vista, nor 7: Windows XP (ks-pi!). Well, I was also surprised and Phil Schiller said that this is “the most advanced radio frequency laboratory in the world. The designs we created would not be possible without them. ” Apparently Microsoft will still struggle to kill this animal
Also used in these laboratories are synthetic parts that mimic the physical properties of the human body: plastic, rubber hands, heads and feet (!). Yes, fake feet are used to test Nike + accessories or did you think Apple's commitment to accessibility reached that point? In addition, performance under real conditions of use is tested with a van full of these hands holding iPhones. The vehicle circulates at different speeds, in various types of scenery (highways, urban centers, etc.), and eventually a person participates in the tests, holding the device during calls.
So here it is: before it was even finalized, the iPhone 4 had already been tested for two years in these cameras and analyzed even with the use of computed tomography so that everything would be perfect and almost exited. There is a video on Apple that shows some of the facilities commented here, so remember to stop by to see a little of what Ma keeps in Cupertino. It's not the same as being there, but it already gives a taste of the thing without requiring maneuvers there "Mission Impossible".