iPhone 4 for Verizon also susceptible to death grip

Though Apple did change its antenna design for the CDMA phone, holding it in a particular way hurts performance

Bad news for Verizon subscribers who've eagerly wrapped their hands around the CDMA version of the iPhone 4: Your device may be susceptible to death grip -- a loss of signal strength due to how you hold the phone -- like the version that runs on AT&T's network. Fortunately, putting your phone in a case (thereby preventing the phone from touching skin) may solve the problem, just as it does with the AT&T version of the device.

The Website iLounge has posted a video showing how gripping the Verizon-groomed version of the iPhone in certain ways can results in a substantial loss in cellular signal strength, to the point of outright stalling. Holding the device in a different position can similarly hinder the device's Wi-Fi performance, according to iLounge.

Apple faced a heap of criticism last year after complaints arose that gripping the phone in particular manners wreaked havoc on connectivity. The company adamantly defended itself, saying that rival smartphones suffered similar performance problems. Indeed, all phones can have their attenuation change based on where and how they are held: The human body distorts the EMF and, thus, the antenna's reception.

Unluckily for Apple, a common pose to hold the iPhone 4 ended up causing attenuation that reduced performance. To the company's credit, it offered free cases to iPhone users affected by the problem.

Observers wondered whether the CDMA version of the iPhone, built to run on the Verizon network, would have a similar problem. According to iFixit, which disassembled the new iPhone to see what makes it tick, Apple redesigned the entire logic board, including the electromagnetic shields, and restructured the antenna. iSuppli performed a teardown and found that Apple retained the device's fundamental integrated antenna and enclosure design.

Through Apple's efforts, the death grip location has moved, but if the new phone is handled in a specific style, its performance suffers similarly.

The good news is that simply using a case or bumper can solve the problem, as it puts a barrier between human and antenna. Whether Apple will dole out free cases for the Verizon version of the phone the way it did for the AT&T version remains to be seen.

Ultimately, though, Apple needs to figure out a way to design its high-priced device to function no matter how a user decides to grip, grasp, or otherwise hold it.

This story, "iPhone 4 for Verizon also susceptible to death grip," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.


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