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iPhone 4 signal problems: Apple says "don't hold it like that"

Apple has responded to the furore surrounding the iPhone 4's antenna problem with its usual approach: "Problem? What problem?"

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Nick Hide
2 min read
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Apple has responded to the furore surrounding the iPhone 4's antenna problem with its usual approach: "Problem? What problem?" Holding the phone in your hand in a certain way severely reduces reception on the mobile, but according to Apple, you shouldn't worry your little head.

"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," said the company in an official statement. "This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. 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 many available cases."

Conveniently, Apple offers a case for the iPhone 4, which it calls a 'bumper'. It's a strip of brightly coloured, moulded rubber and plastic and it will set you back a mere £25.

iPhone 4 pink bumper

Engadget, meanwhile, has published an email it claims is from Steve Jobs to a customer disgruntled by the problem. "Just avoid holding it that way," is the extent of his Jobsness' sage and compassionate advice.

In our (otherwise very positive) review of the iPhone 4, our reviewer Flora agrees with Apple: "The drop in signal strength only seemed to occur when we held the phone in our left hand, with the bottom of our palm slightly covering the bottom-left corner of the phone. Holding the phone in our right hand, or along the top, didn't seem to affect reception. We lost one bar just by pressing a fingertip against the seam that's on the bottom-left corner, so perhaps this is where the trouble lies."

The iPhone has form in this area, however, with previous models displaying little patience for the dreary, quotidian task of phoning other people. "We did experience one call that failed to connect and went straight to voicemail, so it seems that the iPhone's call issues haven't been totally resolved," Flora added. "We'll be keeping our eyes on this issue during our long-term test of the phone, during which we'll use other networks, so stay tuned." You heard the woman!