Is There an Antenna to Help an iPhone & iPad?
By Danielle Fernandez
A number of antenna products enhance your iOS device's usability by boosting various signals sent to your iPhone and iPad. Antennas aimed at boosting cell signal -- also known as range extenders -- improve phone reception in low-signal or signal-obstructed areas. On the other hand, if you wish to tap into programming from local television stations, you can use a television antenna. Finally, GPS boosters enhance the connection between the iOS device and GPS satellites, offering quicker navigation loading in satellite-sparse areas.
Cell Signal Antennas
Several products claim to strengthen your iOS device's cellular signal. Vehicle extender antennas, for example, are installed in your car and act both as a device cradle as well as a signal booster. Indoor antennas operate similarly within a building and are designed in a variety of ways. Some kits have elements that attach to the outside of buildings, while indoor kits plug into your computer to act as a miniature cell tower. MacWorld even features a few protective device cases that have antenna wiring built into the plastic for strengthening the cell signal to the phone.
Other Signal Boosting Products
Signal boosting stickers that purportedly boost cell phone signal are also available for sale at various stores and online retailers, though reviews -- including one on CNET -- are ambivalent as to their real success rates. Apps like Antenna Booster and Signal Boost, both of which are available in the iTunes App Store, also promise to enhance signal but fare poorly with user reviews.
Television Signal Antennas
Television signal antennas, like the EyeTV Mobile antenna, plug into the Lightning-to-30-pin adapter and broadcast a live television signal using local airwaves. A miniature telescoping antenna -- reminiscent of an old fashioned television or radio antenna -- bypasses your Wi-Fi or network connection so you don't pay data usage fees while watching your favorite shows. MacWorld also reports that the product supports closed captioning and enables a connection to Twitter so you can share your television activity.
GPS Satellite Booster
GPS satellite boosters enhance your connection with the satellite signals feeding you navigation information. TomTom manufactures one such device that promises navigation even in areas with weak GPS coverage -- and it also has a built-in speaker to hear navigation instructions as well as facilitate phone calls and stream music. An accompanying car clip mounts your device to the dashboard where you can rotate it to your desired angle and orientation.
- PC Mag: Wilson Sleek 4G-V
- MacWorld: FCC Rules Might Tighten Up Use of Cell-Signal Boosters
- MacWorld: New Case Promises to Boost iPhone Antenna
- CNET: Another Sticky iPhone Cell Signal Strength Booster
- MacWorld: EyeTV Mobile Offers Live TV on Your iOS Device
- MacWorld: TomTom Intros ProClip Car Kit for iPhone
Based in Tampa, Fla., Danielle Fernandez been writing, editing and illustrating all things technology, lifestyle and education since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Working Mother magazine, and a variety of technical publications, including BICSI's "Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual." Fernandez holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of South Florida.