The iPhone 4 Antenna Problem Silently Fixed?

by Brian on July 14, 2010

Reports started surfacing today that Apple may have quietly fix the iPhone 4 antenna issue by adding a nonconductive coating to the metal band on the sides of the iPhone 4. This would fix the sudden signal drop which customers earlier reported that after holding the iPhone 4, their skin touches the iPhone’s antenna (death-grip) making signal strength to weaken, leading to poor reception and call drops.

Click image for full View

Click image for full View

On newer iPhone 4 units, it looks like they are being manufactured in a different way than as compared to the units available at launch. Ostensibly, one user noticed some sort of coating (nonconductive) on the antenna, and the proximity sensor was more noticeable.

I’ve been following all of the iPhone 4 stuff since I got mine the day before release. I was able to replicate the signal issue. I also had the proximity sensor issue, causing inadvertent mute button pushing. There were a few other software issues I was experiencing so I consulted Apple at the Fifth Avenue store in New York. They replaced my phone. The diagnostic showed that the OS was corrupt and certain utilities were failing. [They claimed that] all phones with a proximity sensor issue were being sent back to Apple for further study.

Well, when I got the new phone it was different. It was different hardware. The black [plastic] bezel isn’t as black on the new one. I couldn’t see the proximity sensor at all on the previous iPhone 4, now I can. The stainless steel band on the new phone is less ‘steel-y’ and more matte. I’ve also tried to replicate the signal drop and failure. While I can’t say for sure that it is entirely fixed, there is certainly huge improvement. I’m guessing they coated the steel with something, took some black out of the bezel and sent them out without saying too much about it. I also think Apple is willing to warranty a phone for any reason except the signal issue.

The guy next to me said that he had to press the home button several times before the phone would come back from stand-by. This happened once. The Apple tech ran the diagnostic, everything was fine. They still replaced his phone. I think they’re doing a ‘silent recall’. [via Gizmodo]

In a new and interesting article, iFixit reports that Apple is probably beginning to disseminate new models of iPhone 4 without having any antenna problem. The new models simply have a non-conductive coating on the lateral area at the antenna.

iphone4antennaproblems

Kyle over iFixit suggest to check the serial number if you have recently purchased an iPhone. If the production week is bigger than 27 (how to check iPhone 4 production week), try checking the impedance of the metal frame with a multimeter. Just hold the leads about an inch apart and the resistance should be less than one ohm. If it is higher, you may have a iPhone 4 with the new non-conductive coating.

It is contradictory to what Apple stated in a press release in which Steve did not accepted antenna problem as a hardware issue, but said that there is a problem in measurement of signal bars and a free software update will be rolled out to incorporate the correct formula.

Even ConsumerReports carried out the tests and found that iPhone 4s new integrated faulty antenna design is behind the poor signal strength rather being software or AT&T’s wireless network issue and even suggested not to buy iPhone 4.

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