Apple: yes, iPhone 4 has reception problems, but it’s your fault
So Apple has acknowledged that its brand new, revolutionary iPhone 4 has signal reception issues – because of the way the antennas are integrated into the stainless steel band that’s wrapped around the device.
The company doesn’t say when or if it intends to fix this, but it does provide a few solutions.
Engadget has Apple’s official response on the matter:
Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.
Moreover, a user wrote an email directly to Steve Jobs, complaining that “when I put my hand on the steel bands I lose all reception.”
The answer: “Just avoid holding it that way.”
So what Apple is suggesting is that it’s actually users’ fault that their iPhone 4s have reception issues.
I’m curious to know if Apple knew about this problem before launching the new iPhone. If it did, it’s not at all flattering that it waited until users discovered the problem, and only then acknowledged its existence. If it didn’t, well, that still looks bad for the company, as this proves that it didn’t test the device thoroughly.
Eldar Murtazin thinks that Apple mainly tested iPhone 4s units with protective cases on, “for security reasons”, and it’s likely that no left-handed person tested the device without a case on.
So, the simplest way to resolve the problem is, indeed, the one given by Steve Jobs: don’t hold your iPhone 4 in such way that you hand interacts with both antennas (yes, that’s a rather ridiculous demand, I know, especially for left-handed people). The other official solution (buying an Apple bumper case for $29) is not only expensive, but it will also make your iPhone look less cool. An alternative solution would be: go to a service center and ask if they can apply a thin isolation layer on the band portion that causes problems.
Perhaps the white iPhone 4 was delayed exactly because of the reception issue, and maybe Apple is looking for methods to isolate the antennas on it. It shouldn’t be too hard, I hope.