Software Fix for Death Grip Still Possible?
A New York Times story
, quoting a "person with direct knowledge of the phone’s design," said yesterday that the problem was not strictly a hardware issue but rather a "complex interaction between specialized communications software and the antenna." These statements have led a number of observers to wonder if the so-called Death Grip problem might yet be fixed through a software update. The New York Times
's source made it clear, however, that there would be no recall.
The problem is generally considered to be a result of either the antenna or transceiver detuning when you touch both the GSM antenna and the WiFi/Bluetooth one where they come together on the bottom left. Like twisting the frequency knob on your car radio, the signal gets worse when it's out of tune. As has been repeatedly noted, the human body has this effect on all handheld radios, but it's dealt with to a greater or lesser degree through software. According to the person the New York Times
spoke to, the unusual placement of the iPhone 4's antennas "exposed a longstanding weakness in the basic communications software inside Apple’s phones," which caused the reception issues rather than a hardware flaw per se
. If this is true, then it's possible for the problem to be fixed in a future firmware release. The source, however, didn't specifically allude to any such release coming soon or whether it was even in the works.
Apple will presumably outline their response to the issue at their press conference, at 10am Pacific Time today. Though nothing is yet known about what will be discussed, the New York Times
report says that Apple will not
announce a recall of the phone, an assertion that is echoed up by a separate anonymous source being quoted by the Wall Street Journal