Apple posted a defense of the iPhone 4’s left-hand call drop issue today that doesn’t repeat the “you’re holding it wrong” gaffe but still deflects blame from the actual design of the phone and on to a software problem. The bottom line being: there’s nothing wrong with the iPhone 4.
To start, Apple pointed out that “gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars.” The company did not expand upon whether any of these “certain ways” include the natural and reasonable grip most people use. The real problem is that the software charged with displaying the signal strength was falsely showing too many bars.
For instance, in an area where a customer has two bars of strength, the iPhone would show four. This caused users to think that the signal was strong when that wasn’t the case. So when customers hold the phone and cover the black strip in the lower left corner, they reduce the signal in already weak signal areas, and thus the call drops.
Apple plans to release a software update in the next few weeks that will more accurately reflect the strength of the available signal which will warn people not to hold the phone incorrectly. Once the patch comes through, I’d be interested to see if customers in areas with a strong signal still experience dropped calls.
Though the company still stands behind the antenna design on the iPhone 4, they did admit that the issue is partially their fault and apologized “for any anxiety we may have caused.”