Amidst the excitement and hype that greeted the launch of the iPhone 4 in a number of key global territories yesterday, a major concern was raised about a potential design flaw that can lead to reduced signal reception on the handset.
The new phone uses an innovative new antenna design previously identified by Apple boss Steve Jobs as one of the highlights of the device’s design. A metal band that encases the outer edge of the phone acts as both a 3G and wi-fi receiver.
However, it now seems that holding the iPhone in a way that has the user’s hands touching both parts of the antenna severely reduces reception. Some are claiming that this leads to dropped calls, while others are saying that calls seem to remain stable.
Now Apple has finally spoken about the issue – and seemingly confessed that holding your phone in a certain way can cause it to drop signal.
“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,” a statement reads.
“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.”
The only way to avoid the issue is either to ensure that your hand doesn’t make contact with the lower left hand section of the phone (a real problem for left-handed users in particular) or to buy a case or rubber bumper that stops skin contact with that part of the phone.
Understandably, many consumers are up in arms about the problem. Expect this to rumble on and, if Apple doesn’t address the issue further, expect a string of US lawsuits.