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  • Apple Defends iPhone 4 Reception with General Swipe at All Mobile Phones

    Since Wednesday evening, we've heard from no shortage of readers and contributors on MMi who are confounded, amused, or downright angry about the peculiar phenomenon of cell signal dramatically tapering off when you hold the iPhone 4 by the antenna band. While we've investigated the matter and tinkered with possible fixes since the issue was first broached, Apple formally chimed in on the matter last night.

    Cupertino's response? "This is a fact of life for every wireless phone," the company said in reference to mobile phones having reception issues when held improperly. "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." Needless to say, some iPhone 4 buyers (and prospective buyers) aren't taking too kindly to Apple's terse response to the issue. Of course, Apple did at least present one viable solution: "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."

    To be fair, Apple is correct about other devices having reception issues when they are held or touched at locations sensitive to antenna disruption or blockage. But plenty of iPhone 4 buyers were, admittedly, looking for something more from Apple than, as the Financial Times reported, a recommendation to hold the phone differently. Luckily, as the company was more than willing to point out, there are products - like a $30 bumper - which can mitigate the impact of this reception glitch. But following a frustrating pre-order debacle and now massive iPhone 4 supply shortages, this latest headache likely isn't a welcome or timely headache either for customers or Apple.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Defends iPhone 4 Reception with General Swipe at All Mobile Phones started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 151 Comments
    1. iLaw-One's Avatar
      iLaw-One -
      That is just plain lame coming from Apple...spent a fair deal getting this phone and Apple has come to be associated with excellence...I expect a lot more from them period!!

      You'd expect for a company such as Apple to go through rigorous product testing phases prior to release...I assume that's why we saw so many 'leaked' prototypes...was this problem not discovered earlier, or were they (whoever is responsible for product design @ Apple)too lazy, or thinking about the cost of re-design to bother with amending a flaw in such a high profile product???
    1. domthebigbomb's Avatar
      domthebigbomb -
      hahaha sux for them
    1. Jmataska's Avatar
      Jmataska -
      Haha sux, but a small price to pay for an iPhone 4
    1. iLoveWindows&iPhone's Avatar
      iLoveWindows&iPhone -
      Man not a very friendly response by apple.... Hold it differently...or pay more money for your phone to wok!! Really?? Wow.
    1. madrigal77's Avatar
      madrigal77 -

    1. tekwiz's Avatar
      tekwiz -
      Yeah the signal dropping a little if you block it with your hand is normal in ALL handsets but completely degrading the signal to searching for a signal is NOT..no wonder they made the bumper cases.
    1. sendertimes's Avatar
      sendertimes -
      I tried it on my Iphone 4 , it does the same, in losing the signal, but I went to Best Buy and bought a case for it, and the problem was solved.
    1. k.nitsua's Avatar
      k.nitsua -
      I can only get poor reception issues with my iPhone 4 only when I'm actually trying to (taking case off and bridging the bands).

      Normally, no issues. Actually the signal appears stronger for me in places that normally only decent at best in signal.
    1. TheOrioles33's Avatar
      TheOrioles33 -
      They need to send everyone a free band thingy because $29.99 is nuts! Waiting for the Hong Kong version on eBay for 99 cents.
    1. katmeef's Avatar
      katmeef -
      Wow... My confidence in (and respect for) Apple has diminished even more.
      If they knew this would be such an issue (and since their saying all phones are affected to some degree, I think they did), then why did they put the antenna on the outside where it would have worse reception than the 3gs when held?

      It seems to me like the bumper has become an integral part of the phone now, I definitely think they should come free...
    1. k.nitsua's Avatar
      k.nitsua -

      Agreed. Losing signal completely is NOT normal.

      Maybe in the keynote when Steve couldn't get a wifi signal, he was just holding it wrong, haha.
    1. kingchkn's Avatar
      kingchkn -
      Back when the Wii came out there was an issue with the way people held the controller so they issued something and then provided a new strap and thicker protective cases.

      How much are these bumper really costing Apple to produce? No doubt slave labors costs. While I agree that there is an issue, the LEAST Apple can do is say hey, ok, register your name and info at www.apple.com/bumpers and we'll send you a free one of your choice. This is crazy.
    1. Dark Angel's Avatar
      Dark Angel -
      Wow!!! That is the most outrages unfriendly statement Apple can make regarding this flaw. How could their design engineers not realize this and note that a normal hand placement will interfere with reception? It is understandable if this phenomenon was caused by an un-natural placement of the hands, but on the contrary it is perfectly a normal grip. Furthermore, Apple has the audacity to push a $30 elastic band to remedy the dilemma. like apple products, however over the years they've gone the way of Microsoft's mass production and as a result lost their stringent quality control....in all of their products. Sad to know that Apple no longer stands for high quality products. I look forward to seeing the future developments on this dilemma, especially since I was awaiting the arrival of the iPhone4 here in Canada.
    1. swehbe's Avatar
      swehbe -
      well my iPhone doesnt have this issue, tried many times (maybe am standing too close to a tower). On the other hand though, my home button has a white dot on the edge from the inside! do you think i can have it replaced for that ??
    1. beantown6171's Avatar
      beantown6171 -
      just went to the apple store, he gave me a new phone but it did the same thing, he told me to just keep my original one and he will get me a bumper but they were sold out he said i can go online and order one, i said no way i am paying for one, he said well i don't know what to say he gave me a 1-800 number to call.

      i called and said i wanted to talk to a supervisor and explained to him that this is unacceptable, he then said he will send me a free bumper and hope that it will help
    1. iPhone3G[S]'s Avatar
      iPhone3G[S] -
      The signal drops off when you touch the bottom section to the others. Put a multimeter on it, you will see why.
    1. silent1643's Avatar
      silent1643 -
      "Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance"

      wrong, i have an old lg c2000 camera phone with an external antenna and i can't get the reception to go down no matter what i do to it
    1. iphnblues's Avatar
      iphnblues -
      this phone will change the world there is noting like it anywhere it is the most advanced piece of technology to date u can surf the internet text a friend play games fill out a spread sheet check ur bank account even video chat with a friend but because were "apples" we designed the phone to loose signal if u hold ur phone like pretty much evryone holds there phone we dont want people to hold there phone the normal way we want them to hold it the apple way Apple=1984
    1. stfudvs's Avatar
      stfudvs -
      buy a case because yourholsing it weong?

    1. ill_graphics's Avatar
      ill_graphics -
      Yeah I called Apple this morning about this, as I spent over 10 hours in line for one yesterday. The only thing he said was buy a bumper, I then told him I paid $550 for the phone & wasn't going to pay $30 bucks for a few cents worth of product. I also went on to tell him they knew of the design flaw & were exploiting it with the overpriced bumpers. I did tell him I would take one for free bumper & that I thought everyone whom bought an i phone 4 should get one. He's only response was to leave feedback on the Apple site Apple - Feedback, so everyone with an i phone 4 leave a nasty feedback so we can all get free bumpers. As we should if the design flaw was know, which I believe it was I think we should have gotten one with purchuse!