A: When you’re left handed.
Surprisingly there is one big complaint about the new iPhone 4. If you make a call with the phone in your left hand you might not receive a cellular signal.
The redesign of the iPhone 4 moved the antenna to an external stainless steel band that wraps around the phone. A significant portion of this antenna band is on the left hand side of the phone. So when you hold the phone in your left hand, the flashy part of your palm below the thumb can significantly reduce or block the cellular signal needed to make a call.
Interestingly, at June’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Steve Jobs praised this antenna redesign as “brilliant engineering” and commented that it has never been done before. In a report on iPhone 4 signal issuesby cnet news’s Scott Ard mentions “some other companies may have considered a similar solution but backed off due to the attenuation caused when a person’s hand ‘covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band,’ as Apple put it”
He also points out that during Jobs’s demonstration he used WiFi instead of the AT&T cellular network. The Wifi signal portion of the antenna is higher up on the band, and less likely to be covered by your hand or fingers. Steve Jobs, himself, has a tendency to hold the iPhone in his left hand, so he may very well have been aware of the reception issue that would cause.
Now that word of the reception problem is spreading, word has it Apple suggests “not holding the phone in your left hand to make a call”. Or to use a case or bumpers that lift your hand off the edge of the phone. The bumpers from Apple cost $29. maybe Apple should send them out for free to iPhone 4 owners.
For more information on the signal reception problem with the iPhone 4see this report at AppleInsider.com.