Apple's new iPhone 4 has a problem: hold it the way you would normally hold a phone, and your reception will drop to one bar. Steve Jobs has a grumpy one line answer for customers.
One of the iPhone 4's big selling points -- the steel rim of the phone that forms its antenna system -- is proving to be a major headache for early adopters, who say touching the phone causes reception to drop from five bars to one bar, or no reception at all.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs launched the iPhone 4 in one of his trademark keynotes, explaining that the thin black lines on the steel rim separate three separate antennae that wrap around the phone. Apple designed the phone that way to provide optimal reception quality, since there would be nothing directly in the way of transmission.
It seems Apple somehow failed to take into account the attenuation introduced to antenna signals when you touch the antenna. Pundits are theorising that this wasn't picked up in testing due to Apple's secretive policies forcing employees field-testing the iPhone to carry it in cases to disguise it as a previous-generation iPhone 3GS.
Apple's has acknowledged the problem, but says customers should just hold the phone a different way. The company said in a statement to a Gizmodo reader, "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 wrote back to one Engadget reader with a terse one-line response: "Just don't hold it that way."
Steve Jobs holding the iPhone the way he says you shouldn't
However, fans have pointed out that it's not reasonable to ask customers to hold the phone in a special way. One even published a large set of photos from Apple's marketing videos showing people holding the phone just how Steve Jobs says you shouldn't.
Responses to Apple's suggested workaround have ranged from incredulous to sarcastic. "Remember, you don't adjust the iPhone to fit you, you adjust yourself to fit the iPhone," said Engadget reader Vexorg. "As an apple shareholder, i find that explanation to be not only unsatisfactory, but down right wrong," said another reader, Yankees. "Steve Jobs has failed me for the last time," said "Lord Vader".
What do you think of Apple's handling of this issue? Does it make you less likely to buy an iPhone 4?