Apple addressed public concerns that the recently released iPhone 4 loses reception if its outer edge, which contains a built-in antenna rim, is touched in a certain way. Apple advises that users avoid gripping the phone by the lower-left corner in a certain way. The iPhone 4 debuted in stores on June 24 to around-the-block lines and incited pandemonium, along with generally positive reviews from tech writers. The reception issue, however, has also incited its own share of online chatter, to the point where Apple felt compelled to respond.
Apple moved to address concerns about its newly released iPhone
4-specifically that touching the smartphone's rim in a certain way will result
in reduced reception.
The iPhone 4 debuted in stores on June 24 to around-the-block lines and
general pandemonium as Apple fans strove to be the first in their office to
obtain the device. Just as thousands of people began to test their new iPhones,
however, a portion began to experience a technical issue: Touching the device's
metal antenna band, which runs along its outer rim, seemed to reduce their
reception to zero. The tech blog Gizmodo-likely not Apple's favorite media
outlet, thanks to its public dissection of a lost iPhone 4 prototype in
April-began collecting videos from around the Web demonstrating the phenomenon.
Some of those reports suggested that touching the bottom-left part of the
rim was responsible for the reception drop, and the problem could be rectified
with either a piece of clear tape or a daub of nail polish. In any case, Apple
responded to those complaints.
"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," Apple wrote in a
widely circulated June 25 statement
. "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 the many
The situation also became fodder for online jokes.
"First of all, this is not a big issue," Fake Steve Jobs, the alter ego of
Newsweek journalist Dan Lyon, wrote in a
June 24 posting on his eponymous blog
. "If you're experiencing this, most
likely it's not the phone at all-most likely you're just living in a place
where there's bad reception, in which case the solution is simple: You need to
The iPhone 4 retails with a two-year contract for $199 for the 16GB version,
and $299 for the 32GB version. Features include a front-facing video camera for
video conferencing, a larger battery and the new iOS4 operating system, which
includes multitasking among its bevy of new tricks.
The iPhone 4 has received largely positive reviews from some high-profile
tech critics, including
The New York Times' David Pogue and the Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg
the latter of whom was kind to the device but not AT&T, which is the
iPhone's exclusive carrier in the United States.
"The most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., it's
shackled to AT&T," Mossberg wrote in his review, "which not only still
operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many
cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans. Apple needs a
Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe predicted in a June 22 research
note that, based on "channel checks by our communications equipment and
semiconductor research partners," the
iPhone will launch on Verizon in early 2011
. Should that occur, he
predicted that between 500,000 and 1 million AT&T customers, dissatisfied
with their carrier service, will jump with their iPhones onto Verizon's
For their part, Verizon
executives have indicated that an iPhone on their company's network
a question of "when" than "if."