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Jun 25, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Poor Signal On iPhone? Steve Jobs Says It’s Your Fault

Apple iPhone users have rarely enjoyed great cell phone connectivity on their handsets. Many users often carry two handsets – one iPhone for bragging purposes and another handset to actually make calls. Such is the level of network connectivity from the AT&T network.

Of late though, AT&T has promised to rectify their network. The carrier is in the process of building a next generation cellular infrastructure that can offer its subscribers much improved network connectivity. While this is expected to take some more time before it is completely incorporated, the carrier has also been trying out other strategies like the implementation of Wi-Fi networks in highly congested areas so that subscribers in these areas can consume much more data.

While AT&T seems to be improving their network, it appears that Apple customers’ worries are far from over. The Cupertino based company introduced its latest iPhone this week amidst much fanfare. To their dismay, many users have noted that the new iPhone 4 has a peculiar problem – the cell signal strength drops to nil when held on the bottom sides of the phone. The iPhone 4 has its antenna band – that helps in connecting to the towers along this region (You can notice the black seam running on either side of the phone on the bottom sides) and by holding the iPhone in this region results in blocking signals.

Steve Jobs had in fact bragged about this new technology during a meeting with developers at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month. Back then, he had noted that the stainless steel bands on the lower sides of the iPhone 4 was a primary structural element of the iPhone’s antenna system that will help in better connectivity and that this has never been done before. Check out the video below.

Now, users are no longer amused. In particular, left handed users who typically HAVE to hold the iPhone at these designated spots during a call have been particularly inconvenienced. Several left handed users who had recently emailed Steve Jobs (sjobs@apple.com) seem to have received this response from the man himself (or his assistant)

“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.”

Well, no fact of life this. I just tried this on my lowly Samsung F480 – I simply could not succeed. Didn’t happen with my iPhone 3G as well. As some people have been noting, this could as well be a software bug that Apple has failed to take note of.

Nevertheless, as Apple has pointed out, you may either change the way you hold your iPhone (It’s your fault) or buy one of those colorful bumpers that are now available for sale at Apple Stores. It costs $29 only.

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