Everybody who’s remotely interested in either Apple, iPhone or tech news in general, will by now have heard about the iPhone 4 antenna issues. If you haven’t, well basically if you connect the two parts of the outside antenna (the stainless steel band), you will lose reception.
Apple first “confirmed” in a statement that antenna performance will suffer if gripping any mobile phone, with some being worse than others:
“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. 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.”
Steve Jobs then wrote in a few recent e-mails (if they’re real), basically “confirming” that the antenna performance does suffer if holding it the wrong way – and then he suggested simply avoid holding it that way.
What would seem to be the latest e-mail from Steve Jobs, is in reply to another iPhone 4 user who also wrote and got this reply:
“There is no reception issue. Stay tuned.”
So it’s getting more and more like a rollercoaster. First Apple tells Walt Mossberg in his Wall Street Journal review of iPhone 4 that they’re working on a software update to fix how reception bars are displayed. Then they issue a statement (perhaps to Gizmodo/Engadget, I’m not sure) that one should avoid gripping the iPhone 4 in the lower left corner if having issues (read statement above). Later we hear about a rumor saying that Apple will release the software update iOS 4.01 next week, maybe as soon as Monday June 28th. And now Steve says “stay tuned”.
Well, I’m hoping that this can be fixed in the software – if it has anything to do with how the iPhone 4 does its magic with frequencies etc. when short circuiting the two antennas, then I suppose it’s possible.
It’s also worth noticing that so far there’s no reports of antenna issues in Denmark, on iPhone 4’s imported from United Kingdom. Here’s one blog post (and Google Translated to English) and another post here (translated).
This thread on MacRumors seems to suggest that about half of the American iPhone 4’s are having problems, but keep in mind that people often goes online to get heard when there are problems – not when it’s working as expected, so the number is likely to be much less than half with problems.
Antenna problems or not – analyst Shaw Wu says that concerns are overblown and aren’t likely to affect sales:
“We don’t think the antenna issue is that big of a deal where it would warrant a product recall,” he said in a note to clients today. “The reason is that most users have a case anyway to protect their iPhone and to customize to their personal preferences.”
I’m still getting an iPhone 4….