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back to article Jobs tells iPhone users to get a grip

iPhone users having reception problems are just holding the phone wrong, according to Apple, which have released an official fingering guide for those who want to be able to make calls. The problem is those pesky users who insist on wrapping their fingers around the phone, specifically touching the side at the bottom left corner …

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Happy

Two handed dialing?

I'm interested to know if you're by any chance older. I (and most people I know) do one handed thumb dialing, holding the phone as one might a remote control. I know one girl who does two handed texting (ie two thumbs for speed), but the only time I've ever seen anyone use two hands as in index finger and and cradle, is in 80's movies when dialing land lines. Just wondering.

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Silver badge

Like the puck mouse no doubt:

Pretty but painful for the larger handed gentleman (or gentlewoman) to use for any length of time.

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WTF?

Not Just the Phone Function

It's not just about how you hold it to make phone calls though - most right handed people aren't going to be touching the 'bad' corner when they're using it as a phone, but conversely when they use it for anything else it's likely to be sat in their left hand with the dodgy corner well and truly securely wedged deep into the palm.

I'm right handed and have had no problems making phone calls. However, if I type a text message then the phone's in my left hand, I lose all reception and have to transfer it to the other hand and wait for reception to return before pressing Send.

And I'm also very aware that whilst I'm using my phone for anything else than phone calls, if anyone tries to call me they're unlikely to reach me.

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Jobs Horns

Antennae segments shorting is the problem, not blocking

This video demonstrates the problem with just a door key - a paper clip would also suffice:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvH-i7rKPJc

Note that the antennae are not being blocked by a mass of flesh and bone (head/hand) - it's just a small electrically conductive object that is connecting the two antennae segments together. And when you have a sweaty hand holding the phone in that area I'm pretty sure it will do a fairly passable impression of an electrical conductor.

The head and hands *do* block the radio signals on all phones, this is true, however the iPhone 4 is the only one designed with the metal aerials on the outside. The bluster from Apple about hands blocking the signal is pure smoke screen - it's not the problem, the design is the problem.

However some lacquer on the exterior of the antennae would solve the problem - nail varnish would also do the job for those already with an iPhone 4 - in which case this problem should be addressed as a manufacturing flaw/defect.

So Steve, be a good lad and replace the hundreds of thousands of devices affected by this flaw, it's not that big of a deal...

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Joke

I call BS

I think this whole video clip has been doctored and is BS.

Firstly his iPhone is showing full signal strength on AT&T.

Secondly you can't see the end of the key - he could be shorting it with his hand, and using the severed arm of a non-believer to block the signal

Thirdly You don't see him lower a massive Faraday cage over the phone after he zooms in on the screen.

Fourth - its all smoke and mirrors

Joke Alert in case the rampaging pack of fanbois thinks I'm serious as I agree with OP "Neil 7" above :)

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FAIL

But it is...

When you are unable to admit that you made a mistake. And sorry, putting varnish or paint or anything on the outside of your brand new phone is unacceptable. Its a cock up and a consumer shouldn't have to muck with the antenna to get it to work.

Then again, thats what you (Apple consumers) get for running out like slavering idiots as soon as some new "life changing" device from Apple hits the shelves.

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Here's how to do it

Hold the phone the same way as L does in Death Note.

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AHA!!!!

So his holiness is actually a Shinigami! I knew it!

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Thumb Up

Well L did seem to use a Mac

So I'm guessing L is Jobs' secret Japanese love child?

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FAIL

Left handed

As a left-hander (and I've just tried this with my blackberry and 3GS), my palm would lovingly embrace the joint just nicely, presumably meaning I'd always end up with dodgy signal. Epic fail Apple, epic...

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Jobs Halo

As a leftie..

I hold my 3GS in my right hand, and control the screen with the left, I would have thought it natural for any left handed person to do the same, I tried holding the phone in my left hand and using my right hand for screen control and it just felt weird.

I guess I'll buy one of the current 4Gs when they're all recalled and worth £20, as it doesn't look as if it'll effect me \o/

Or if anyone decides they'd prefer to swap their 4G with my slightly used 3GS, feel free to reply here. :)

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Jobs Horns

WTF?

So their design fault is now user error?

iMbeciles.

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Happy

not apples fault

blame the designers!

i'm off to church on sunday to have a word about fingers being stuck in the wrong place

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Joke

Sinister Plot

Don't understand how being a leftie is going to make this all right...

Surely there's no difference if it's the palm of the hand or fingers that are bridging the band. If anything I'd have expected it to be worse for lefties as that side of the phone will sit firmly in the palm.

Bit of a snigger though if Apple have made a phone that's basically unusable by left handed people. Still, expecting a new Jesus phone to work for those in league with Satan is probably asking a bit much.

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FAIL

WTF?

How can it NOT be a design fault? I haven't heard about any other major mobile models having this issue! Maybe I'm just uninformed!!

Just another reason NOT to buy the Apple mini tablet!

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FAIL

RE: WTF?

I'll tell you why it's not a design fault - it's really hard to cover that part of the phone and still hold it in a usable way. I've had 5 mobile phones now and two of them have had similar problems - neither of them from Apple!

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Badgers

d'oh

you just don't get it do you.

Apple are always right.

If they design a phone which you can't use then that's your problem for being such a puny waste of human flesh.

People like being told what to do and they are worthless - it explains why some people still vote labour.

Really I think these people should go to a dominatrix every now and then and whip away their worthlessness so they can get on with life at other times.

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Jobs Halo

Not so sure...

"and being told they're holding it wrong isn't going to placate anyone."

"The 4G iGrip" will very soon become an iBadge of iHonour amongst the iFanBois - with iRidicule being aimed at those who Just Don't Get It.

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Jobs Horns

the problem lies in ...

How Apple / iPhone users handle themselves...

not just the products!

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Coat

Fact of life !?

Doesn't appear to be a problem for my HTC Desire.

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Jobs Horns

And we thought Microsoft was bad

I honestly can't ever remember Bill Gates coming out with zingers like "It's your fault, hold it a different way".

All you Apple Fanbois will reap what you sow.

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factoids

so, apart from the Jobsian response being it's usual anti-end user, the question I'd like answered is:

How real is this problem in reality. The iPhone 4 is supposedly got all sorts of schnarfy technologies to make the network handling better - so is it relative? is 1 bar strength on a 4 better or worse than, say, 3 bars on the 3G(S)?

Are all network bars equal?

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Silver badge

Going solely on YouTube vids...

...it's pretty bad. The video in the original article showed the signal dropping so far that service was lost completely. Another video posted elsewhere in this thread by a reader shows the same thing. The network switching tech - their non-standard method of trying to find a network with the least congestion - can't operate if it can't detect the networks in the first place.

Apple or no Apple, and my usual iPhone sentiments aside, it's a pretty shocking design oversight, and you really wouldn't expect it of any company that huge.

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Errr...

I would never buy an iPhone but this does happen a lot to other phones ... but not to the same extent.

A few Nokia phones I have owned in the past have had diagrams in the manuals pointing out the locations of antenna and warning that touching these parts will reduce signal.

The difference here is that the antennas in Nokia are placed in a non-stupid locations and even if you did touch them they didn't drop the call.

What can you expect though? Apple have only been in the phone business for a couple of years, more established companies made these mistakes years ago. Yet more evidence to reinforce my opinion that the iPhone has a good few years to go yet before becoming a mature device.

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Thumb Up

No one is safe!

Cue lots of pictures of people holding it wrong...oh yes over at Cult of Mac, a prime shot of the saviour, Lord Jobs...holding the phone wrong!

http://www.cultofmac.com/in-apples-tv-ads-people-holding-iphones-the-wrong-way/48347

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FAIL

mmmmh titles, drool

so the oh so genius antenna placement on the iPhone is basically... not so genius.

i LOLd

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WTF?

users not compatible with design

Style over substance.

nice pretty graphic.

large palm users swim faster.

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Has Jobs finaly flipped????

Obviously all the joking is funny with "its not our hardware, its you" thats gone on in the past but now he's ACTUALLY gone and done it! The human body is wrong, NOT the design of the iPhone.....

The mans rapidly approaching a raving looney!

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Bronze badge

How not to hold it...

Before it was release hundreds of shots were released by Apple showing you how not to hold it, so you only have yourself to blame...

http://iphonehold.tumblr.com/

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Anonymous Coward

Case closed

Or just beginning.

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All wireless phones eh?

Well, we've just been round the office testing everyone's phones.

We had and N900, an HTC Desire and HD2, several Nokias, a couple of Samsungs and some Sony Ericssons.

We could not find a single phone where the method of holding it affected the signal. Even with one person surrounding the long perimiter with fingers and another covering the back and most of the front most did not drop at all and those that did were only by a bar.

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Lmao

I have an Iphone 4, a simple case sorts it out, which most people use anyway. It took me 10 minutes to get that, how long did it take for your "experiment" and then to post? Muppet

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WTF?

Who is the Muppet?

So you are happy to pay hundreds of pounds for the device and then had to spend more money on a case to overcome a design flaw to make it work as it should?

You are calling the other guy the Muppet?

If it were me, I would be seeking a refund right now.

Obviously, exactly the type of customer Apple expects/relies on... ;o)

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FAIL

LOL

We are all laughing at you for being such an Apple lemming. Insted of being pissed at being insulted and handed a dodgy phone, you laud the extra $30 or whatever pound equivelent you had to spend just to get the phone to work. Who's the muppet?

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Anonymous Coward

RE: All wireless phones eh?

"Well, we've just been round the office testing everyone's phones."

I've got a couple here that ARE affected by the problem. So your point is?

Besides which, the one in the video is not an iPhone 4, it's a 3rd gen model. I've tested my 3rd gen model and it's fine, so maybe it's a limited problem?

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FAIL

Genger mikey

One post = shill

Oh and if Apple had decided that their phone needed a plastic case then you/Apple would have supplied one.

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FAIL

I've just designed..

..this great car - called the AppleCarT ! Only downside is that the user MUST, just MUST, lean out of the open side window to see. The front windscreen is this really sexy black.....

If they can't grasp this basic idea then they're too stupid to understand my "Design before practicality" concepts. And that really upsets the AppleCartT.

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FAIL

Someone wasn't paying attention in Signal Propagation classes...

Mr Jobs would appear to have a bit of a problem understanding signal propagation, that is, the way in which radio signals can be effectively sent by means of antennae. Come to that, it's quite probably that his engineers might need a refresher, too.

The ideal place for a radio antenna on a hand-held RF-radiating device is the top, that is the uppermost, part of the device. Why? Simpler: There's less chance of the antenna being obstructed by human flesh and bone (thus reducing the effective strength of radiated and received RF signals), the antenna is also higher as you raise the device to speak into the devices' built-in microphone (thus increasing the effective range, however slightly, of the device), and it also reduces the chances of RF burns in higher-powered devices (not that mobile phones or hand-held walkie-talkie style radios have much chance of that, they don't tend to generate enough power to do that).

So, what do Apple do? They bury the antenna in the heel of the device, and add to their design error by ensuring that the human hand to come into contact with the shell-mounted wrap-around antenna as well. Um... oops?

Could they have done anything more to reduce the effectiveness of the antenna? Well, yeah, they could have made sure that the transmitter and received weren't actually connected to the antenna, but that's probably a tad obvious, even to them.

Epic Fail, anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

FCC wont let me be ....

I think you will find that most phones these days have the aerial in the base of the device. This is because the FCC dictates a maximum SAR level, and most manufactures have decided to move the aerial further away form the brain .... probably to ensure they pass ....

So not really a apple specific thing

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Boffin

Signal Propogation

Actually, on most handheld devices, your body acts as the signal's ground plane. Having the driven element in contact with the ground plane is going to cause problems with voltage standing wave ratios (the broadcasting power getting reflected back into the transmitter) rather than your hand itself blocking the radio waves.

I've taken apart numerous mobile phones. All of them have their driven element at the top, back, usually towards the centre. Some of them may have had things like wifi or GPS antennas in wierd places but the cellular antenna has always been in the place where you are least likely to have your hand.

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FAIL

RE: Someone wasn't paying attention in Signal Propagation classes..

"So, what do Apple do? They bury the antenna in the heel of the device, and add to their design error by ensuring that the human hand to come into contact with the shell-mounted wrap-around antenna as well. Um... oops?"

Err, "design error" is it? It's really hard to cover that part of the phone while also holding it to your ear. I just tried it.

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FAIL

Jobs Reality Distortion Field

has now reached singularity strength.

While proper mobile phone producers warn against shielding the antenna with the users body,

Apple conveniently puts the antenna in an ergonomically to grasp place.

The whole went through by a classic test cook up (think Mars Polar Lander).

Answers Apple: Get your gritty fingers off or buy a case.

Yeah, right.

In our universe, with class action lawsuits and stern warnings not to touch the antenna,

Apple would have a complete product recall disaster at its hands.

Not holding the phone properly will lead to early loss / damage.

Using a case will only lead your hand to be microwaved a bit slower.

They have to go back to the drawing board.

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FAIL

RE: Jobs Reality Distortion Field

"Apple conveniently puts the antenna in an ergonomically to grasp place."

Grammatical and syntax errors aside, I just tried to use my iPhone and cover the bottom left hand corner with my fingers - I couldn't easily hold it to my ear AND allow the mic to pick up my voice...

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Jobs Horns

Great feedback from Engadget here

Showing all the official marketing media with people holding the phone "wrong":

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/25/hey-apple-youre-holding-it-wrong/

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Jobs Horns

Design flaws...

Its clearly a design flaw. My HTC handset doesn't lose signal if I hold it in my left hand or right hand.

Can see an IPhone 4.1 already.

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Jobs Halo

Solution?

Change your grip. Not that big of a deal.

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FAIL

Oh Dear

There's always one isn't there - I hope he was being sarcastic, although I doubt it.

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WTF?

This affects all phones... with 2 antennas seperated by a black strip in the lower left corner

"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."

So I thought this antenna thing was a "reall cool bit of design" or some such statement? But now they are saying every wireless phone is like this? OK, I know that isn't what they are saying, but in one breath it's "all phones do this" followed in the next breath with specifics about "the black strip in the metal band"... so do all phones have this black strip in the left corner? No! So this problem is specific to the iPhone 4 then? Yes! so not all phones have this problem then?..... erm, no

I think it is pretty poor to explain this away by "all phones experience a loss in signal when you hold them". That isn't the point here. The point is you hold the phone normally, which causes the 2 antennas to be shorted, and the reception fails completely.

Only an iPhone 4 problem. Only an Apple problem.

Or, it is a cunning way to sell more accessories?

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FAIL

RE: This affects all phones... with 2 antennas seperated by a black strip in the lower left corner

"So this problem is specific to the iPhone 4 then? Yes! so not all phones have this problem then?..... erm, no"

I've had the problem on a number of phones.

"The point is you hold the phone normally"

It's really hard to use a phone if you've got your fist wrapped around over the microphone end...

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Silver badge

Wrong way up

They should have put it top-left, so that it would be above the hand, and would end up top-right when rotated for landscape mode.

You're also a bit wrong in the article about us sinister types - I hold a phone in my right hand, always have done. It makes it much easier if I need to take notes while on a call.

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