Skip to main content

Steve Jobs: Just Don't Hold the iPhone 4 That Way

As a legion of new iPhone 4 owners found out yesterday, the seemingly ingenious steel band antennae design turned out to be one glaring drawback in terms of reception.

Specifically, hands wrapped around the antenna break on the left side of the device would quickly kill the cellular reception.

Many worried iPhone 4 consumers emailed Steve Jobs directly about the issue, and the Apple CEO has replied with various answers. One of the most dissatisfying is the following exchange between Steve Jobs and new iPhone 4 owner Rory Sinclair, as detailed on his blog.

Hi Steve,_____

After a few other "Non issue. Just avoid holding it in that way" responses, Steve Jobs (and the rest of Apple support) arrived at the following official statement:

Gripping any 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.

Such attitude only adds fuel to the fire of speculation that Apple's move to introduce its own "bumper" cases was just an admission of the problem and a chance at the resulting cash grab.

It's interesting to note that some people on YouTube have demonstrated that holding the iPhone 3G and 3GS in the same manner results in a similar drop in signal, but thus far we haven't been able to reproduce the same thing on our own units.

One more thing. This image hit reddit, perhaps mocking the discontinuity of Apple's statements and its adverts.

  • Fokissed
    It's not Apples fault, it's everyone elses.
    Reply
  • kelewan
    Simply not good enough!
    Reply
  • Spanky Deluxe
    Yup, I'm afraid this is a real problem. I may love Apple products and apart from this love my iPhone 4, the aerial design as it stands is an epic fail. I'm not going to blindly accept it's a non-issue because Steve Jobs says so.
    Reply
  • sliem
    Hold on, how are you suppose to hold it? That pic is very confusing (to me).
    Reply
  • Spanky Deluxe
    Here's a fix I made btw for anyone worried:
    http://yfrog.com/f/0ziphone4fix2j/
    :-P
    Reply
  • RooD
    how did i know he would say hold it differently... wtf?... DROID DOES STEVEN TRULY IT DOES, i can touch and hold it anywhere and it does what iWant
    Reply
  • Spanky Deluxe
    That's not a serious solution btw, I created it as a joke but it does stop reception dropping from four bars to no signal. Instead it only drops to two. Needless to say, I am *not* using that fix!!
    Reply
  • godwhomismike
    That is piss poor customer service!!! They should take a lesson from Nintendo, and include the bumper accessory for FREE!!!! Instead, they are charging customers $29 for an accessory that is basically required to make the phone work properly. I was planning on getting an iPhone 4, but I am now holding off until the company steps up and does the right thing.

    I am really put off by the overly cocky and arrogant stance they are taking with this huge issue.
    Reply
  • ghostie
    Well at least Apple's response to this has stopped me buying one
    Reply
  • hellwig
    How many people guessed that this would be Apples response? Jeebus Krist! Admit it was a mistake and ship people free iBands or whatever you called em. I bet every tester for the iPhone4 wore latex gloves so as not to contaminate the product, and therefore, no one noticed this little issue during quality control.

    Seriously, "Just don't hold it that way?" You have got to be f-ing kidding me. Gotta love their own advertisements showing people holding it "that way". The same way everyone holds a cell phone.
    Reply