The iPhone 4 Death Grip

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    Posted: 25 June 2010 11:03 AM

    Some iPhone 4 owners are experienced signal loss issues when they hold their phone just right. How about you?

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2010 11:36 AM #1

    No, because I haven’t gotten the phone yet!

    Happy Friday y’all.

         
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    Posted: 25 June 2010 11:42 AM #2

    I didn’t vote because I don’t have an iPhone 4. However, I was in the Apple Store last evening and played around with the new phone; I couldn’t make the antenna condition happen and I tried a number of different grips.

    I am wondering if they are rushing these phones out of the factory, perhaps taking shortcuts, and some of them ship with defects. Note the yellow discoloration on some iPhone 4s

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  • Posted: 25 June 2010 12:17 PM #3

    Rushing is the truth. The yellow discoloration is apparently because they shipped them so fast, the glue hadn’t even had time dry!

         
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    Posted: 25 June 2010 02:02 PM #4

    Some experiments:
    If you ARE encountering the issue: Try holding the phone with latex gloves on. Did that help?

    If you ARE NOT encountering the issue: Try using the phones with moist hands (not wet, just moist). Try using the phone with sweaty hands (how you get them is your business). Try using the phone after applying hand lotion.

    Report your results here.

    (( I really wish there was a way to view the poll results without voting. ))

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    Posted: 25 June 2010 04:34 PM #5

    When I make a call I hold the phone in my right hand and my pinky tends to bridge the black separator.  When I do other tasks I hold it in my left so I can navigate easier with my right hand, thus my left palm bridges the gap.  I also notice that you have to hold it for a few seconds before signal begins to degrade (or before the indicator refreshes) and release for a few seconds before it shows improvement.

    So my worst signal loss has been when I’m checking my visual voice mail, since I hold it with my left hand and when I click the item then switch to my right to listen.  It has failed to completely load the message a few times and I have to quit back to the home screen and then re-enter the voice mail screen while not shorting the antenna before the message will completely load.

         
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    Posted: 25 June 2010 04:50 PM #6

    Holy frickin snit!

    I just did an experiment with my iPhone 36. It was sitting on my desk and showing 5 bars. I held it in my left hand and it dropped a few bars. Then I covered with both hands, peaked through a small opening between my fingers and I could see the bars dropping all the way down. I held it on a corner using thumb and forefinger and bars went back up to 5. As webjprgm says it takes a few moments for the bar indicator to change.

    Interestingly it wasn’t just the cell system bars that changed, but also the WiFi arcs.

    Try the experiment at let is know if you can replicate it.

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2010 07:42 PM #7

    Yep, I tried it. You’re right. That is what it does for me, too on my 3G! Maybe I need to not yell at AT&T so much.

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    Posted: 25 June 2010 07:52 PM #8

    I tried it with an old (3+ yr) Blackberry (EDGE network). Normally it gets 5 bars. That dropped to three when covered.

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    Posted: 25 June 2010 08:49 PM #9

    I just conducted a different experiment in that I did while on a call. I was sitting out which gives almost a line-of-sight to the AT&T cell site about 800’ away. I think that if there the trees were not blocking the view I could see the cell antennas. Anyway, I was talking to my mother, on my iPhone. Well mostly I was listening to her which made the signal a continuous wave. I had my bluetooth earpiece which left my hands free to experiment with different grips on the phone. Holding it in one hand might result in the signal strength dropping from 5 bars to 4, but no problem with the connection. If I covered the phone with my hands I was getting a lot of static and I could see the bars going down. Uncover the phone and the sound quality went back up. I tried this three or four times.

    Interesting that Geoduck could replicate the experiment on a non-Apple device.

    [ Edited: 25 June 2010 09:11 PM by Lee Dronick ]

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
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    Posted: 25 June 2010 09:15 PM #10

    You were probably getting static because of the bluetooth connection. That is pretty easy to block. As for the rest, radio signals don’t like to be blocked. I’m surprised that people are making such a big deal about this. Really the only way to design this problem out and stay FCC compliant is to do an extending whip antenna. Just about every phone on the market has some amount of attenuation because of the antenna placement at the bottom of the phone. It is apparently only news because it is the iPhone.

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    Posted: 25 June 2010 10:43 PM #11

    Yeah Intruder I thought about the bluetooth. I will have to give it a try with the headset/mic.

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
  • Posted: 26 June 2010 05:26 PM #12

    I am left-handed and I can force the signal indicator down by one bar if I intentionally hold it just right… but I have not noticed any problems with call quality or drops under normal use, so I am not inclined to worry about it.

    As an aside, I bought a case for it yesterday and am unable to reproduce the problem so far. Obviously it prevents my skin from bridging the gap between the antennae.

    [ Edited: 26 June 2010 05:28 PM by David Nelson ]      
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    Posted: 30 June 2010 04:19 PM #13

    I can’t answer the question as posed because I can get the bars to go down but I haven’t had any practical problems with it as a result. I’m right handed but tend to hold the phone in my left hand when tapping in data. 

    Readers may be interested to know that Apple have 3 openings for Antenna Engineer though, here, here and here. 3 different job numbers. I guess this issue is not going down well at 1 Infinite Loop.

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  • Posted: 23 July 2010 04:49 AM #14

    Yes, and I?m right-handed.
    sometimes it singal loss``