∞ Apple offers advice for iPhone 4 antenna issues

With all the stories going around today about the iPhone 4 antenna problems, I decided to speak with Apple directly and find out what was going on. An Apple spokesperson told me today that the issue affecting the iPhone 4 is the same issue that would affect any phone if you covered the antenna. The end result is signal loss.

The Apple spokesperson said a simple workaround for the problem is to not cover the antenna on the left hand side of the device in a way that bridges the gap where the antenna is, with the metal band. Another thing to do is keep the iPhone 4 in a case.

This explains why the people that I talked to over the last 24 hours that were using a case were not experiencing the problem. Those that didn’t have a case were.

  • That’s pretty weak. The way I hold the phone when browsing Twitter or reading news feeds (which is the way I’ve held my 3G for 2 years) causes the signal to drop from full 5 bars of 3G to 1-2 bars of GPRS, or lose signal entirely, within 10-15 seconds. This isn’t “normal behaviour” for a phone.

  • Only thing, there isn’t “any other phone” out there that puts the antenna on the outside If the phone. LOL.

  • shuckster

    I received mine on launch-day and have been able to reproduce the problem. I’m not a huge phone-user though, so I haven’t yet had a chance to see how this affects real calls.

    However, it does seem like a huge oversight to produce an external antenna system – with each one requiring insulation from the other – and to not account for the conductivity of human-skin.

    All that’s needed is a thin, transparent lacquer on the steel-band to prevent greasy fingers from shorting the antennas. If the problem becomes more widespread I daresay a product-recall is in order; or at the very least a free Bumper as compensation.

  • Perry Clease

    This issue should have never reached the wild, it should have been caught during field tests. Put a clear varnish/epoxy on the metal band/antenna.

    • I imagine it wasn’t caught during field testing because the field tested units were in cases to be disguised (as discovered by the whole Gizmodo fiasco). I’m not sure applying a varnish would make any difference though.

  • elmor

    They (Apple) were probably testing the antenna receptivity when the phone was obtained by the “Giz” group.

    Maybe had the purveyors of the questionably obtained said iPhone returned it without the rumored extortion the issue may have been solved before the iPhone in your hand was released to the market.

    • Listen, I’m a very big critic of Gizmodo and Gawker Media in general, but give me a break. That’s a REACH.

  • Perry Clease

    I just returned from the Fashion Valley Apple Store, San Diego California, and had a chance to handle the iPhone 4. In particular I wanted to see if I could see the antenna issue. No matter how I held the device the bars remained strong. Now I do normally have dry palms and perhaps it is perspiration that makes the difference. Also I am wondering if the Apple Store has an AT&T microcell which could put out a strong enough signal to overcome the hand. Anyway, we should find out in the next few days how widespread is this problem.

    At 7:00 PM there was still quite a line outside the store to buy iPhones. Two lines actually a dozen or so in the will call line, and a lot in the take your chances line. If you weren’t buying an iPhone you could freely enter the store to shop for other items. I only had a few minutes to play with the new iPhone as I didn’t want to hog it.

    I also took the time to see the grand opening of the MicroSoft Store a few doors from the Apple Store. I didn’t go in, there was also a good sized waiting line. I did peek through the “windows.” Looks nice, looks like an Apple Store, spacious and well lit. I will check it out next week or perhaps this weekend. I did get a free t-shirt “I’m a PC.” I took some photos of the store if anyone is interested or see http://www.10news.com/news/24018369/detail.html

    @macpaul I am thinking that a varnish or something covering the metal band/antenna would keep it from shorting out from palm sweat. If indeed that is the problem.

  • Note to Apple:

    Instead of “Just avoid holding it that way” – how about “Just test it properly”?

  • Kilessi

    This is not good enough, telling us how go hold an iPhone does not solve the problem. Holding the phone any other way is awkward and uncomfortable.

  • Ben

    That’s pretty pathetic corporate double speak, trying to confuse the issue.

    In one sentence he suggests it’s just because you’re covering the antenna up “like every other phone”, then in the next he admits it’s a conductivity problem, which every other phone doesn’t suffer from.

    Perhaps you could have asked the spokesman exactly what he meant? You know, like a journalist would?

    • “You know, like a journalist would?”

      Wow. That’s pretty discourteous, don’t you think?

  • “Wow. That’s pretty discourteous, don’t you think?”

    A jerkwad is born every moment.

  • KEN

    ok so your apple u already built lets say 2 million phones probly end of last year ? ahh then you find out the antenna u design sucks what ya do throw em out ? no u push it like the greatest thing since sliced bread and getem out the door as quick as possible and worry about the issue later hummmm that sounds about right.