Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

Summary: Now that the iPhone 4 has been out for more than a day (at least in some parts of the world), it's only logical that a number of bugs have popped up. It seems the biggest one has to do with reception. Apple's response? It's you're probably holding the phone the wrong way.

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Now that the iPhone 4 has been out for more than a day (at least in some parts of the world), it's only logical that a number of bugs have popped up. It seems the biggest one has to do with reception. Apple's response? It's you're probably holding the phone the wrong way.

Yesterday, a number of new iPhone owners reported dropped calls and bad reception when holding their shiny new smartphones in their left hands. Apple has responded to some of the glitches already, saying to "avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band."

I thought the new exterior antenna design was supposed to actually reduce reception issues rather than make them more confusing. After spending $200-$300, now they're trying to re-teach customers how to hold a mobile phone? I don't own an iPhone 4, but I think if/when I buy one, I should only be worried about blocking the speaker and microphone considering the most basic purpose of this device is to act as a telephone.

Or maybe the reason behind this is that Apple just doesn't like lefties.

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Topics: Smartphones, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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116 comments
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  • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

    We have actually just posted our opinion on this as well on our blog. To Blackberry or iPhone that is the question.

    I guess this debate will continue on for a while. www.eval-source.com/blog
    dylanp70
    • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

      @dylanp70
      OppositeOfLuck
  • I don't think this covers just lefties ;o)

    I think everyone switches hands quite frequently... It's weird having to worry about how to position your hand on the phone, next you wont be able to use your shoulder else it turns the mic & speaker off
    x21x
    • New Antenna Enhancement Available NOW from Apple!

      @x21x Now introducing CrApple's latest and greatest technology that we stole just for YOU our Loyal iFanatics!

      Quote:
      "Our NEW improved.... Designed to look nice but drop calls while doing it. Yes.... just imagine our new iPhone seems to drop calls more often than Steve Jobs, after contracting the dreaded Dropsy iPhone Virus. So you will have to buy our NEW Authentic Rainbow Colored Rubbers to muck it back up! ....talk about strong arm marketing incentives? We got 'em in stock now!

      OH.... or maybe you'd like an official "How to Hold Your iPhone 4 for Dummies" 50page Manual for ONLY $9.99 Today. But.... it's only available in iBooks Market NOW (for iPad owning purchasers only).

      If you hurry.... to buy this limited edition instruction book.... for just an additional $9.99 +sh & handling you'll get a Genuine Apple Rainbow Colored Rubber Band (made in China... TOP Quality) to improve signal handling!

      But WAIT... if you act now within the next 20 minutes
      we'll include an Official Retina IPS Halographic sticker for the back of your plain jane looking iPhone!

      Notice: This offer is made solely upon the assumption you were idiotic enough to purchase this latest blunderiffic genuine Apple product in the first place!" ;)
      i2fun@...
  • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

    Luckily Apple doesn't build cars...

    "...If you ever experience this on your iCar-4, avoid pressing the brake in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band on the peddle, or simply pull one of many available black turtle neck sweaters over your eyes.
    corefile
  • Wow the smartphone market sucks then.

    This is the best smartphone out there and you can barely make calls on it? I'm glad I left smartphones and moved on to the superphone market with Android. Even an entry level superphone like the Incredible is a pretty good leap over the iPhone.
    storm14k
    • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

      "superphone?" really? THat's just what this hype war needs, more meaningless buzzwords.
      whooizit1
  • Google, Nokia: Don't hold your phone that way

    Naturally Apple has to be targeted, but this "issue" is not limited to just the iPhone.

    Nokia 6230:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_RP7Fn1w8Q&feature=player_embedded

    Google N1:

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/android/thread?tid=34ae2c179184c33e&hl=en

    Its an issue that can happen with any phone that uses an internal antenna. I'm not saying it happens with ALL phones, but it *can* happen with any that utilize an internal antenna.

    I haven't actually experienced this issue with my iPhone 4, though I don't usually hold it the way that causes problems.
    tk_77
    • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

      @tk_77 When you do experience it you'll notice that you don't have to hold the phone awkwardly as you do the N1 to interfere with the signal. You just touch the metal bands and you are already causing a problem. Bridge the gap between the bands and you'll drop a call. Its really not even similar.
      storm14k
    • Apple Plainly Did this on Purpose!

      @tk_77 Notice they're pre-emptively marketing Rainbow colored Rubber Band Bezel covers for improved antenna signaling insulators! So they wanted to sell you a phone that requires that you cover it up to insulate it from hand contact. Notice it must be a Apple certified product. NO fingernail polish or tape that alters your phone and voids your warranty.

      BTW... this is not a poorly designed internal antenna problem, like older model iPhones this was meant to fix! ;)

      Next thing they'll be informing some unwitting Apple Jail Breakers, with it's built-in Stun Gun Antenna feature or perhaps you just fail to pay your bill on time. Then when you attempt to make a call with your hand making contact with two of the three circuits, you'll get the SHOCK of your LIFE!
      i2fun@...
    • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

      @tk_77 I haven't seemed to find this problem with my HTC Imagio phone running WinMo. Guess it's not one of the "others" that has the problem.
      ComputerDinosaur
    • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

      @tk_77

      I upgraded to a Blackberry 9700 to get a phone with a decent internal antenna.

      And I haven't had a dropped call yet.. Strange that, RIM did a better job than Apple.

      Apple isn't being "targeted" because it's Apple, we're laughing at them because this is a major flaw in a 4th generation product. For any company, that's just pathetic.
      Cyberjester
    • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

      @tk_77 - Wait... I'm confused.

      The article mentions that the problem is with an external antenna. You say it's a problem for phones with internal antennas. Which is it?
      pacsguy
    • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

      I have not been able to replicate the problem on my iPhone 4. I tried my best to cover both sides, but never got a signal drop or lost call.

      Maybe their algorithm for calculating the signal strength is faluty and I go from 3 to 1 bars and could not see it? I find it very hard to beleive that. Apple and AT&T would NEVER make that mistake.
      jdb@...
  • phone cover?

    do the phone covers (non-conductive) help fix this at all?
    gtvr
    • Re phone cover

      @gtvr Good question. As a leftie this is a bit of an issue.
      Nihon8888
      • There's an app for that...

        @PedroTabs
        Download RightEarDominant. It will train you to "properly" use your right ear for phone use.
        faxmonkey
      • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

        @PedroTabs
        HAHAHAHA!
        Oh~ Good thing I'm right handed!
        swt0616
    • Covers will help

      Yes, they should make a big difference. I don't know if that impacted Apple's decision to create a case -- I tend to doubt it, since they made a case for the iPad too and it has no such issue, so I think it's a matter of wanting a piece of that market -- but it will certainly help. Since most people buy a protective case of some sort I think the issue going to be largely moot, even though I think it's something they really ought to have noticed during testing.

      As for the quip about lefties in the article, be serious. A huge percentage of Apple developers -- some five times larger than the population as a whole if they are anything like the general software and design industries -- are lefties. I think the problem was missed mostly because the phones were disguised, and the disguise masked the problem.

      As for the general populace: I bought a case for my iPhone 3GS the day I got it, and the case would have corrected a problem like this. I'm sure if I bought an iPhone 4 not knowing about the problem I would have done the same thing. Looking at fellow iPhone users cases are almost universal. So ... eh. It's a nice caution about the risks of secrecy, but practically not much of an issue.

      The real problem with the iPhone 4 is that it's still stuck on AT&T. I think the phone is brilliant (though not brilliant enough for me to care to upgrade any time soon), but I hate AT&T.
      jimfrost
      • RE: Apple: Don't hold your iPhone 4 that way

        @jimfrost I have a "non-apple" smart phone, and I didn't buy a case for it. I don't plan to. I don't need it. Evidently if it were an iPhone I would.
        ComputerDinosaur