A brief look inside Apple's antenna labs

Before Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced free iPhone 4 bumpers, he offered a very brief look inside Apple's antenna testing labs.

During Friday's iPhone 4 press conference , Apple CEO Steve Jobs offered a very brief glimpse inside immense padded rooms that make up the company's antenna testing and design labs. According to Jobs, and to statistics posted later on Apple's Web site, the labs consist of 17 antenna characterization, or "anecohoic," chambers that are used to measure overall antenna performance. Various equipment simulates cellular towers, Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth device, and GPS satellites, and the phones are tested in a variety of positions including free space and next to human dummies and real people. The carbon foam on the walls eliminates signal bounce, and a copper seal on the door keeps out radio interference. The whole thing cost $100 million and is staffed by 18 PhD scientists and engineers.

Here are a couple of photos of the labs courtesy of Apple. Our favorite is the guy sitting in the high chair in the middle of the big ring. If this were a bizarre tropical island, we'd swear we were watching "Lost." For an explanatory video, click on over to Apple's site.

Phones are tested with human subjects. Apple
A phone is positioned for testing. Apple
About the author

Senior Managing Editor Kent German leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he still writes about the wireless industry and occasionally his passion for commercial aviation.


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