Originally Posted by DJRumpy
There is obviously more going on here than just the external physical location of the antennas. The phones don't look physically different, yet some iPhone 4's exhibit symptoms and some do not (including 3G and 3GS), which don't have external antennas..
Everyone keeps missing one simple fact. I've reported it several times, but no one is apparently paying attention:
1. The normal degradation of signal when a hand is placed near or over the antenna. Every phone has this and it is controlled by the laws of physics. Apple can not change it. Even the Droid manual mentions it. This is the issue that Jobs suggested that people might hold their phones differently if it bothers them. Since Apple can't override the laws of physics, I don't know what else they could do. I suppose they could increase the signal power by an order of magnitude, but the FCC won't let them - and all the whiners would be complaining that Apple was frying peoples' brains.
2. The abnormal degradation of signal if you touch the antennas at the spacer. As someone else pointed out, this is apparently due to a capacitance issue (like the lamps that turn on or off when you touch the base). Mossberg reported this in his review and the response from Apple was that it was a software problem and they would be fixing it. (There is a rumor of an iOS 4.0.1 coming out this week). This problem appears to be related to the quality of the signal - look at the tests in SF-some locations showed the problem and others didn't. I'm guessing that you can thank your friends at Gizmodo for reducing the number of iPhones in field testing.
Now, if the software fix solves problem #2, then there's no issue. If the software fix doesn't solve problem #2, then Apple will have to do something else. Apple has consistently fixed customer problems throughout its history and there's no reason to think that they won't solve it this time.
For the record, I have an iPhone 4. Problem #1 is no better or worse than the 3G I used to have. Problem #2 exists, but I was able to patch it by putting a small piece of electrical tape over the joint and have ordered a case from Belkin which is a little less gaudy than the bumpers. I'm not suggesting that this will work for everyone, nor is it an acceptable solution, but if the software patch fixes the problem as well as the electrical tape, then this is a fantastic phone.