On new iPhone, a mystery of dropped calls

Apple’s touch-screen smart phone has been a sensation since Day 1 three years ago, and many who own the device believe it to be almost perfect—if only it worked better as a phone. That might be the case with the new iPhone 4 as well, reports the New York Times. What surprised many of the new phone’s earliest adopters as they tested the phone after its June 24 launch: The precious little bars that signal network connections inexplicably disappeared when they cradled the phone in their hands a particular way. Sometimes, but not always, the cradling resulted in dropped calls. In the hours before Apple weighed in on the problem, iPhone fans turned to one another on the internet in a zealous exercise in crowd-sourcing for answers to the mystery. They were all the more baffled because the iPhone 4 was designed to have better reception. A metal band that wraps around the edges of the device is supposed to pull in a stronger signal; software is supposed to choose the section of the signal with the least congestion. Late on June 24, an Apple spokesman, Steve Dowling, acknowledged that the issues experienced by users were real but played down their importance. “Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, depending on the placement of the antennas,” he said. “This is a fact of life for every wireless phone.”

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