iPhone 4 users have been very concerned about the reception issues observed when they touch iPhone 4’s side antenna bands, especially on the lower left corner.
Apple has finally responded to the issue stating that this is "fact of life" for any wireless phone.
Apple has released the following official statement:
Gripping any 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.
Steve Jobs had also responded to a user who had complained to him about the issue. Here is the email exchange between him and the iPhone 4 user:
Question – What's going to be done about the signal dropping issue. Is it software or hardware?
Steve Jobs replied:
Non issue. Just avoid holding it in that way.
He later sent him Apple’s official statement on the issue.
Issue observed on an iPhone 4:
Similar issue observed on iPhone 3GS:
Similar issue observed on iPhone 3G:
MacRumors also points out that Google’s Nexus One users had also reported similar issues:
If you go to Settings -> About Phone -> Status you will see a display for "Signal strength". When my phone is sitting on the desk, the signal stays consistent. However, the second I touch my phone, the signal drops up to as much as -20 dBm. I am able to replicate this test every single time, whether the signal is incredibly strong or weak.
You can also see a similar issue with Nokia 6230:
So looks like users have the following solution to avoid the problem:
Avoid gripping it in the lower left corner (which might not be practical)
Use a case for your iPhone such as Bumper for iPhone 4
A simpler solution (cheap but not pretty) would be to place some sort of tape on the bottom portion of the iPhone 4's antenna, which will prevent the antenna bridging when holding the phone (courtesy folks at MacRumors)
We don’t think new iPhone 4 users will be pleased with any of these solution even though previous iPhones and other mobile devices like the Nexus One have similar issues. It seems like an engineering issue that needs to be fixed by companies like Apple that manufacture mobile phones and if they can't fix it then in the interim, they should at least provide a free case for new iPhones rather than suggesting users should change the way they hold their mobile phone or asking them to buy an iPhone case.
What do you think?