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A video on YouTube is showing what some of us feared – that the cell reception suffers when you touch the stainless steel band that surrounds the iPhone, holding the two pieces of glas (front and back) together while also acting as antennas.
There’s not much news about it yet, except from Danish professor Gert Frølund Pedersen from Aalborg University, Denmark, who’s an expert in cellphone antennas. When Comon.dk asked him about the iPhone 4 antenna system, he said that when human tissue comes in contact with an antenna, a part of the antennas energy will turn to heat and get lost – instead of doing what it’s supposed to – keeping a good connection with the cellphone towers. Basically the antenna will become less efficient in terms of sending and receiving signals.
Scientists from Aalborg University have previously shown that it’s possible to reduce the antenna efficiency with more than 90% if you hold your hand tightly around the cellphone where the antenna is located.
Engadget wrote, in their iPhone 4 review:
Apple has made the stainless band around the phone essentially a couple of big antennae, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job at hanging onto radio signals. The big question is obviously whether or not this fixes or helps with the constant dropped calls iPhone users on AT&T’s network have gotten used to. Well in our testing, we had far, far fewer dropped calls than we experienced on our 3GS. Let’s just say that again: yes, the iPhone 4 does seem to alleviate the dropped call issue.
While Walt Mossberg from Wall Street Journal wrote in his iPhone 4 review:
Yet, in some places where the signal was relatively weak, the iPhone 4 showed no bars, or fewer bars than its predecessor. Apple says that this is a bug it plans to fix, and that it has to do with the way the bars are presented, not the actual ability to make a call. And, in fact, in nearly all of these cases, the iPhone 4 was able to place calls despite the lack of bars.
This video below, unfortunately shows huge issues with the iPhone 4 antenna. We can only hope that the video is either fake, this particular iPhone 4 is faulty or that it’s simply a software issue that Apple will fix soon and that the guy in the video would still be able to make calls, despite the “Searching…”-message.
UPDATE #1: Another video has found its way to YouTube, showing the same issues. Let’s hope it’s a software thingy and not (only) hardware based…
UPDATE #2: I’ve heard that Apple is said to be releasing a software update that will fix these issues. The iPhones do have cellphone coverage despite the lack of bars, apparently. I don’t have a source yet, but I hope it’s true.
UPDATE #3: Check out Gizmodo’s “investigation” into the iPhone 4 cell reception issues.