Apple Engineer Warned Jobs of iPhone 4 Antenna Problems

Apple’s top brass, including CEO Steve Jobs, were apparently made aware of potential signal loss issues with the iPhone 4’s external antenna design during the product development phase. Senior engineer and antenna expert, Ruben Caballero, warned his bosses that the design could lead to signal degradation and dropped calls, according to Bloomberg.

An unnamed source gave the information to Bloomberg, along with a report that one of Apple’s iPhone carrier partners raised concerns about the design, too.

The iPhone 4 uses an external antenna design that’s intended to offer overall improved cell signal reception. Some users, however, have been experiencing signal drops when they hold their phone so the lower left corner of the device is covered.

Apple claimed the issue is a software problem where signal strength is being reported as artificially high. Consumer Reports, however, claimed their tests showed the issue is hardware-related.

Putting the iPhone 4 in a case seems to fix the problem by keeping user’s skin from touching the antenna bezel. Consumer Reports confirmed that on Thursday with a new report saying Apple’s own Bumper case cancels out the signal loss issue.

Apple will be holding a special press conference Friday morning to discuss the iPhone 4, although the company isn’t elaborating on exactly what it plans to say.

Apple and Mr. Caballero have not commented on Bloomberg’s report.