Unlike many other people, I passed up both the pre-orders and the lines to purchase an iPhone 4 (s aapl). Throughout the day, I felt a tug of remorse, but I’m quite happy with the Google Nexus One (s goog) I use on a daily basis. But any sad thoughts were quelled after reading a number of accounts of the device losing its cellular signal when held in the left hand, which just so happens to be how I use my phone.
Based on videos and user comments on various sites, the issue appears to be directly related one of the newest design features of the iPhone 4 — the stainless steel frame that doubles as antennae for the phone’s radios. As I understand it, completing a circuit between the left side and the bottom side of the frame causes major signal degradation, but not on all units. Without an iPhone 4, I can’t test it, of course. Some people report that adding a rubber bumper, which Apple sells for $29, resolves the issue. But if this is indeed a problem, I’d call it a major design flaw.
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