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Apple defends iPhone 4 amid poor reception claims

updated 09:25 pm EDT, Thu June 24, 2010

Attenuation common to all wireless phones

Apple has released a statement defending the iPhone 4 against claims of poor reception if the phone is held a certain way. The company suggests that gripping any phone, including the new iPhone, will "result in some attenuation" of antenna performance. The effect is said to be more pronounced in certain places, depending on the positioning of the antennas.

"This is a fact of life for every wireless phone," the statement reads. "If you ever experience this on your Phone 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."

Quickly after the handsets landed on the market, a number of users noted a significant drop in signal strength when the device was held in the hand. Further experimentation appeared to concluded that the problem was worsened if the fingers covered each of the three black bands on the frame.

The issue may be exaggerated due to an issue with iOS 4 that reportedly misrepresents the signal strength, causing the number of bars to suggest a weaker signal. Apple has promised a software update to address the issue, although a timeframe has yet to be announced. [via Gearlog]

by MacNN Staff



  1. sailin74

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wait a minute

    You mean RF isn't fool proof? Doesn't anyone remember the world prior to cable TV? Yeah, your hand blocks the signal on a phone. When you cover up the antenna you attenuate the signal. Coincidentally walls block Wi-Fi and Bluetooth! OMG, the laws of physics only apply to Apple products!

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The positions should have been flipped

    Who does not hold the lower half of the phone? This is the most cockamamie phony baloney excuse I have ever heard.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I hope so

    Hope Apple is right that this is a software issue because I'm getting 1-2 bars at my house where my 3Gs was getting 4-5 bars. Moments later my 4G will show 3-4 bars when I'm not holding it, so it's fluctuating depending on being in my (left) palm.


  1. Le Flaneur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's not simply the laws of RF

    If you look at the YouTube videos, the signal strength goes from maximum to *zero* (i.e. no carrier). That's not typical of any cellphone I know of!

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Didn't the iPhone 4 come with a manual

    showing how to hold the iPhone properly? Doesn't anyone read manuals anymore.

    How about coating your hands with conductive grease? That way your whole body turns into a big antenna.

  1. stevesnj

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple basically said ' Oh well, deal with it' ! This is not the Apple I used to know.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple has been that way for a long time

    Go F yourself has been Apple's attitude for a long time.

    iPod battery
    MagUnSafe adapter
    MacBook Plastic Sh*t Junk

    quite a few more.

  1. macnixer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple seems to be right..

    I did not try any scientific test but my trusted Sony Ericsson really did show the bars going down rapidly till I had no signal at all on it. This is the W550i international model and has been failthful for close to 4+ years.

    My iPhone 3GS does not have more than 3 bars normally at home. Thanks to ATT's sucking network where I live, I suffer dropped call like leaves falling during fall. ATT sucks. I wish America woke up and dropped ATT altogether.

  1. Integr8d

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Little too convenient...

    Let's be honest guys, Apple releases a phone w/ an issue it HAD to have known about AND a rubber case to fix it...

    You don't have to be below the bell curve to put this 2 and 2 together.

    That case probably costs them $0.50 to make and package. They're selling it for $30. Straight up profit. And it's most egregious, in the same way cell co's sell you $20 text messaging packages that cost them literally $0).

    I predict that after the 'software patch' will come free $0.50 rubber cases to all iPhone 4 owners. It's a PR win for all those foolish enough not to see what's going on.

    And this is coming from an Apple hater that owns 2 iphones, 3 iPods, 1 MacPro, 1 MBP and just bought his girl a MB.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    me so phony

    me so phony
    me drop your calls long long time

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