Have a brand-new shiny iPhone 4 already? Great. You may want to hold it by the glass, carefully avoiding the new steel antenna band that runs around the edges. A loss of reception is being widely reported when users touch the new embedded antenna while trying to make voice calls.
You can test this for yourself, to see if your new iPhone is being affected by the glitch: hold your iPhone 4 with one hand carefully by the glass only and observe it’s signal strength; note the number of bars being displayed. Now, touch the embedded antenna band preferably the left and bottom sides together with your other hand. You should see your signal drop-off completely, or at minimum, reduce by 3-4 bars.
For more information, Gizmodo has managed to collect scores of videos from users experiencing this apparent launch-day glitch. Wired.com is reporting that 35 out of the 40 respondents to their article on this very issue, are reporting a similar problem. A few readers are claiming this loss of signal results in dropped calls and loss of data throughput:
If you hold the iPhone 4 in your left hand, or touch the lower-left corner of the outside steel band, the signal indicator starts losing bars within a few seconds. Many respondents indicated that this led to dropped calls, and one, “Edward,” did download speed tests that showed a dramatic drop in throughput when holding the iPhone 4 in his hand, from 2Mbps to a measly 12Kbps.
Some users are claiming that keeping the new phone in its protective “bumper” case will help alleviate the problem; likely because the material helps insulate the antenna band from the hand. While it’s unclear how this issue made it past Apple’s strenuous testing process, it could be a product of how the iPhone 4 rotates through frequencies in an attempt to locate the highest-quality signal, an improvement that is not apparently included in the phone’s latest firmware.
With any luck, Apple can address this glitch rapidly via a firmware update. Head over to MacRumors Forums for further info, as they seem to have a pretty lively discussion going on this launch-day problem.