Originally Posted by pats
Tell me why did the original cell phones use external antennas. Oh yes that's right to improve reception. And why did handset manufactures go with internal antennas, yes again to improve aesthetics. Apple has provided a design which meets both requirements performance and aesthetics but in the process may have overlooked the huge variation in human behavior. For example some people can't follow simple instructions like don't run red lights or keep your meaty palms off the antenna gap and therefore they believe the company owes them compensation. It has yet to be proven that the problem is actually the antenna design, it could just as likely be a problem in the receiver which occurs when you intentionally detune the antenna.
Ok, Noob ... the origional cell phones all had external antennas - yup they did. And those antennas had a RUBBER cover going the length of the antenna in the early phones, later phones used a carbon impregnated core with a plastic surround. The antenna NEVER served as the handle.
Apple opted to use the antenna as a handle, as it's impossible to hold the phone without touching the antenna. Apple could have opted for a poly clear-coat, or better yet, they could have applied an annodization layer to the exterior of the antenna. The annodization could be clear, or any color they could want to create. (Hint, poly and annodization can be an insulator).
However, this does not reduce the capacitive effect we humans introduce to the RF issue. Simply standing near an antenna changes the impedance of the system. Maybe you've noticed your radio works better, or worse if you touch the antenna, or simply tuning it to the station, then walking away changes the radio's ability to grab a channel. Cell phones are no different.
Your radio has a stainless steel telescoping antenna - but guess what? That antenna is specifically designed to NOT be a handle, and to NOT be held during normal use.
Your statement regarding re-tuning the receiver is flawed - I am unaware of a digitally tunable capacitor. Digitally controlled resistors, yup. But there just aren't digitally controlled energy storage media in a microchip format (inductors or capacitors). Thus, you 'tune' your receiver in hardware and use software filters to further re-fine the tuning - but if you detune the antenna system by adding a variable 10-40 pF (human) load - I don't see how Apple can overcome this in firmware.
Apple advertised, and Stevie stated that you can hold the iPhone anyway you want. ANY WAY means any way. Are we clear on that? Perhaps the stupidest statement that Jobs could have made - "You are holding it wrong". Utterly inane. We have photo's of the phone being held 'wrong' by Steve Jobs during his presentation, as well as their televised commercials. A wiser reply would be "We are aware of some issues, and are looking into them". No committment, no admission of fault, no timeline. It's better than calling your customers an idiot.