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Apple on iPhone complaints: You're holding it wrong

Doug Gross
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Watch the iPhone 4 lose reception
  • Customers say that holding band on iPhone 4 interferes with reception
  • CEO Steve Jobs: "Avoid holding it in that way"
  • Metal band around phone houses antenna, helping make it ultra-thin

(CNN) -- Hours after its iPhone 4 went on sale to excited crowds Thursday, Apple found itself responding to complaints that holding the phone by its metal edge causes mobile reception to suffer.

The company's response, in a nutshell? You're holding it wrong.

"Just avoid holding it in that way," Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in an e-mail that was making the rounds on the Web on Friday morning.

An official statement from Apple expanded in less pointed language than Jobs, who is known to occasionally answer e-mails from customers himself.

"Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas," Apple said in a written statement.

One of the new phone's vaunted features is its sleek design -- nearly 25 percent thinner than its most recent predecessor. That's achieved, in part, by snaking the antenna through a metal band around the edges of the phone.

The Apple statement, like early user reviews, said that putting a cover on the phone also reduces interference.

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"If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases," the company says.

The iPhone 4 -- with its dual cameras, high-resolution display and glass-backed design -- has received mostly positive reviews since its release. But by late Thursday, tech blogs and other websites were filling up with complaints about the reception issue.

On CNN's iReport, several contributors noted the problem.

Keith Taylor of Sarasota, Florida, submitted a video review that initially said gripping the metal band made reception slightly worse than that of the iPhone 3GS.

Hours later, he wrote a follow-up saying that "the reception problem is very real" and that it improved when he bought a protective cover for the phone.

Share your thoughts on the new iPhone 4 with iReport.

The reception issue is chief among complaints that surfaced in the day since the iPhone 4 went on sale in Apple stores and other outlets.

There have been some reports of the phone's glass casing cracking easily and of its "retina display" screen, billed as one of the sharpest in the industry, scratching even after only a few days of wear and tear.

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Other owners of the new iPhone have reported that the display has an annoying yellow tint, although most have not noticed that.


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