updated 11:55 pm EDT, Fri June 25, 2010
iOS 4.0.1 could show early next week
Apple may already have a fix for the iPhone 4's allegedly overly sensitive reception as soon as next week. The company's support discussions have reportedly had mention of an iOS 4.0.1 update arriving at the start of next week that would fix the phone's baseband calibration by having it switch faster to the cleanest available cellular signal. Visitors to AppleInsider have claimed, however, that Apple has not only pulled the originating discussion thread but all other related talk for the upgrade.
A software origin for the hand position bug, nicknamed the "death grip" for its tendency to kill the cellular signal if the antennas are bridged, would explain how some have replicated the problem on the iPhone 3G and the 3GS. As iOS 4 changed the antenna's priority from the strongest possible signal to the most reliable, it may have changed that behavior for all phones, not just the iPhone 4.
Owners of the 3G MicroCell also support this through their lack of trouble; since the femtocell is always the most powerful cellular signal when nearby, iPhones always stay connected. The same behavior may likewise explain why some without MicroCells haven't had success replicating the problem, as any attenuation of the signal might not be enough to confuse the phone if the user is close to a good cell site.
Despite some speculation, Apple isn't unique in having attenuation hiccups as the Nexus One and even years-old phones have exhibited similar symptoms.