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iPhone 4 signal problems for lefthanders
The recent launch of the iPhone 4 promoted huge excitement because of all the technological advances in the new mobile handset. However one glaring problem soon became clear when left-handed users claimed that calls were being cut off because the signal was interrupted when the phone was held in the left hand.
The antenna in the new model is wrapped around the edge of the phone in the stainless steel casing, and can apparently become masked when held in the left hand, causing a drop in signal strength (in fact, there is a small “deadly spot” that causes the problem – see the video linked below).
The issue was brought to the attention of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, at one of the high-profile press launches for the iPhone 4, and many journalists were amazed at his seemingly dismissive response to the problem when he commented: ”Just avoid holding it in that way.” Apple's official advice is to ”avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band” yet for some left-handers this is the most comfortable and natural hand placement when using the phone.
After the launch of the iPhone 4 the Left-Handers Club were contacted by a number of publications, including the Daily Telegraph, wanting our comments on the problem and we expressed our surprise and disappointment that Apple had not considered left-handed users during their design and testing stages of the new handset. Lauren commented: ”It seems ludicrous to suggest that 10 per cent of potential users should be told they have to adopt a less natural hand hold to use this latest technology. I would strongly suggest that Steve Jobs employs left-handers in his design and testing team in future, and urgently address this issue to ensure the phone is fit for purpose.” A bit ironic really given the often quoted fact that 4 out of the original 5 designers of the original Macintosh computer were left-handed (has anyone got a reference to back that up?).
On consideration of the problem, Apple's advice to left-handed customers was to buy a case to stop the antenna being blocked by a hand. Apple sells a rubber ”bumper” that shields the sensitive area as do many other firms. A later update of the operating software iOS 4.1 was rumoured to fix the problem but actually just changed the height of the signal strength bars!
Click here to see a good article on this topic and a video demonstrating the deadly spot
There has been a huge amount of comment in various forums about this and one recurring theme is that this is not actually a left-handed issue because most right-handers hold their phone in their left hand so they can write etc while talking. On the other hand (!) they say most left-handers will hold their phone in their right hand. This may be true when actually writing but we suspect that is only a very small part of phone use and most people DO use their dominant hand to hold a mobile phone (though it can also be affected by the person's dominant EAR – our survey on this a while ago showed that 70% of left-handers have a dominant left ear as well).
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