News - 06/30/2010
Best semi-solutions for iPhone 4 reception problems ... so far
There's no great fix for the iPhone 4 reception issues right now. Here are the best pseudo-solutions so far.
What is going on?
Depending on how you hold your iPhone 4 during calls you may or may not notice your reception drop. Some haven't seen it at all, but many of our readers and our staff have definitely experienced it while browsing, emailing or using apps. We think it has a bit to do with your initial reception and people in stronger coverage areas are affected less. But we're also pretty sure — and Apple confirms it — that touching the antenna does affect things — whether or not it has the final result of killing calls or speed of data connection.
This is how Apple explained it:
"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.
With our past devices, the antenna performance when the phone was held in a certain way didn't seem to be an issue or stand out in particular. But with the iPhone 4 we're definitely seeing an effect, particularly when using data or tapping away on our on-screen keyboards."
Stop holding it wrong
Apple has explained that the iPhone 4 reception issues end when people just plain stop holding their devices the wrong way:
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.
This explanation does fit with the user reports we've received, but the solution isn't exactly comfortable. It's awkward to avoid touching the antenna points on the iPhone — especially because the glass on the phone's back and front is extremely slippery. The bottom portion of the phone just seems like a natural place to hold the iPhone 4 in order to avoid dropping the gadget.
The additional problem is that when you hold a phone for data usage — browsing or apps or email — you're going to almost have to touch the bottom and sides at the same time. Especially in landscape mode. This is a major problem for smartphones.
Use Apple's "Bumper" case
Apple offers a $30 "Bumper" case which covers the edges of your iPhone 4—including those sneaky, evil antenna points—and protects it from reception issues and glass-shattering bumps. This case is not the most appealing of solutions as it not only covers part of your iPhone's gorgeous design, but also interferes with the usage of third-party docks and charging cables. It's also a $30 dollar rubber band meant to fix the problem that was engineered into the phone—which could be something you'd be against buying, on principle.
Use a third-party case or skin
So far the most attractive pseudo-solution for the reception issues appears to be a third-party skin like StealthArmor. Such a skin protects your iPhone from scratches and provides a barrier between your fingers and the antenna points. You can expect to shell out $25-$45 for such a skin.
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