Apple has scheduled a press conference Friday afternoon (1 p.m. Eastern) to address the concerns over antenna problems with the iPhone 4.
Some are wondering if there will be an iPhone 4 recall. Gizmodo reports that Apple may be quietly replacing phones with "death grip" problems with improved versions, according to the site's readers.
Analysts say it's more likely that Apple will give away their rubber bumper cases that hug the border of the phone. The cases, which are sold for $30 but probably cost about a $1 for the company to produce, cover the metal rim antenna of the phone. Recalling phones would be much more expensive than simply handing out the rim covers -- a solution that Consumer Reports says will fix the problem.
The signal in an iPhone 4 will weaken or drop off completely when the bottom left corner of the antenna is covered by the palm of the hand. Touching it with your skin breaks the strength of the connection. I found this to be true in the unit I was able to test for a couple hours on launch day. A plastic or rubber case, however, would keep your hand from disrupting the signal.
A Bloomberg report out today states that Steve Jobs was warned that there could be reception issues with the antenna design. The story states:
Apple's senior antenna expert voiced concern to Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs in the early design phase of the iPhone 4 that the antenna design could lead to dropped calls, a person familiar with the matter said.
Last year, Ruben Caballero, a senior engineer and antenna expert, informed Apple's management the device's design may hurt reception, said the person, who is not authorized to speak on Apple's behalf and asked not to be identified. A carrier partner also raised concerns about the antenna before the device's June 24 release, according to another person familiar with the situation.
But considering there are also concerns about how the iPhone 4 shatters easily when dropped (since both sides are made of glass), users should look into buying a cover that protects more of the phone than just the outer rim.
If you were hesitant to get an iPhone 4 because of the reported reception problems, would a free rubber bumper change your mind? I asked this of my Twitter followers, and most said they were glad they didn't buy one and will wait for the next upgrade.
I wonder if Friday's press conference will be as amazing and incredible as the last: