Apple statement on iPhone 4 reception flaw

Apple has issued an official statement advising iPhone owners how to overcome the problem in which the device can lose signal when held by its lower left corner.

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs also emailed one user to say: "Just avoid holding it that way."

The company advises customers who may have purchased an iPhone 4 yesterday to, "avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band."

Apple also said that using a protective iPhone case -- such as this -- will resolve the antenna issue. Recent iPhone 4 customers may point to the $29 cost of the case as an additional cost that isn't advertised as required for the smartphone.

iPhone 4 hit the shops yesterday, with thousands queuing outside shops in Japan, Germany, France, US and UK to be among the first to purchase it.

Within hours, customers were complaining that signal strength fell when the device was held in certain ways, this was eventually identified as taking place when the iPhone was held in that lower left corner.

In its statement, Apple said:

"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."

For incredibly obvious reasons, left-handed iPhone owners are particularly impacted.

Mashable speculates at what is behind the problem. Asking, "How did Apple miss this?" they note the state of the stolen prototype iPhone 4 which ended up with Gizmodo in a widely-reported pre-launch leak.

The reason the device was outside Apple HQ was because the company engages in extensive product testing. But the prototype was held inside a protective case which made the device look just like an iPhone 3GS.

"I bet Apple didn't realize the iPhone 4's reception issues because they did field testing with a 3GS lookalike case," speculates Matt Schlicht, Ustream's Product Lead for Social and Virality.

The problem is likely to lead a wave of negative sentiment toward the company and its flagship device. Piper Jaffray analyst, Gene Munster, believes Apple will have sold up to 1.5 million iPhones by Saturday night.

However, other mobile phones suffer similar problems. MacRumors points to a support thread for Google's Nexus One which warned of a similar issue in February, for example.

Despite this competitors will be hoping this problem gives them the opportunity to grab back a little market share.

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