Jobs on iPhone 4 Problem: “Just avoid holding it in that way”

Engadget reports this morning that Apple is aware of the iPhone 4 reception problem that occurs when the handset is held in the left hand in such a way that a small gap to the bottom left outer edge of the phone that separates the Bluetooth-wi-fi-GPS antenna from the GSM-UMTS antenna is bridged, causing the device to lose its 3G signal. Its response: don’t hold the phone that way.

The site quotes a statement from Apple that reads:

“Gripping any mobile 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.”

Better still, it has an email exchange between a disgruntled iPhone 4 owner and Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The owner describes the problem and asks if Apple has any plans to fix it. Jobs replies: “Just avoid holding it in that way.”

Engadget notes that previous iPhones have suffered from the same problem, adding that in its own tests, the latest version was better in this respect than its predecessors. In any event, it appears there is a pretty simple fix in the way of a standard “bumper” case that fits round the outer edge of the phone. It remains to be seen whether Apple will start giving these away with every handset bought. Or indeed, whether the average iPhone 4 user would be seen dead with his ultra-sleek iPhone wearing one.