UPDATE: iPhone 4 fever ... but is the new antenna the weak link?

Summary:Today is the launch day for the Apple iPhone 4 ... but some early adopters are concerned that the new style antenna is causing problems.

Today is the launch day for the Apple iPhone 4 ... but some early adopters are concerned that the new style antenna is causing problems.

Excitement is building at Apple stores across the US. Hardware 2.0 reader Ashutosh Dharap is at the West Towne Mall Apple Store in Madison, WI.

6.30AM: In a relatively small town like Madison there's a huge line for the prebooked iphone and an even longer one for the non-reserved! I see people of all ages, but the lines are dominated by teenagers and young adults. I'm standing in the prebooked line thankfully.

Update: 6:50AM: apple store employees took a head count of the non reserved line vs # of phones in their inventory.

Update: 7AM : apple store employees...at least 20..ran thru the lines high fiving ppl, yelling and greeting everyone. At least a 100 non-reserved folks are getting their phones today. The line has started moving!

Here's a photo from the scene:

Apple employees are handing out snacks and drinks to those waiting in line.

But the iPhone 4 isn't without its teething troubles. Users are claiming that by just holding the phone in a certain way, the signal strength drops dramatically. Other users claim that this has a detrimental effect on call quality. Some early adopters have posted videos online showing the problem.

The issue here is very likely the new design antenna, which forms part of the stainless steel chassis of the iPhone 4. It's seems likely that hands (sweaty hands?) are causing interference or attenuation of the signal.

Can this be fixed with a software update? It's hard to tell at this stage. It is possible that a firmware update can be used to dial in the antenna, but it's too early to tell.

Is this why Apple decided to market $30 rubber "bumpers" for the new iPhone?

UPDATE: Seems like there's a potential screen issue too ...

UPDATE 2: Ashutosh seconds the antenna issue:

"I also did the antenna test, and unfortunately I've to agree with the other users - the antenna problem does exist. As I hold the left side of the phone in my hand (pretty much a natural position while on a call), the bars disappear one by one until there are no bars left."

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Smartphones


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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