When the iPhone 4 went on sale in June 2010, it appeared to be yet another flawless piece of engineering from the Apple design teams. The previous three releases had all featured a similar design to one another with the iPhone 3G and 3GS being practically identical. The iPhone 4 made a break away from the tried and tested iPhone form and featured an entirely new and beautiful design which comprised of two panels of hardened aluminosilicate glass and an uninsulated stainless steel frame.
As well as being aesthetically pleasing to consumers, the stainless steel frame was actually a piece of engineering brilliance from the guys in the Apple design labs and had the various device antennas built into the steel band. The metal band which provides support to the phone also serves as a home to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, GSM and UMTS connectivity, separated by the small black dividers. Upon launch of the iPhone 4, it didn’t take long for customers to start reporting that the new antennae set up might not be as functional as its form indicates.
The small black strip on the bottom left hand corner of the device served as a separator between the different antennae which are housed in the stainless steel band. Consumers quickly worked out that by placing a finger, or the palm of their hand over the strip, that the gap between the two was bridged and the network signal on the device degraded, in some cases to the point where it showed ‘no service’. Apple quickly responded to the claims by showing the iPhone 4 alongside a number of other popular smartphones at the time, demonstrating that when gripped ‘the wrong way’ signal also drops on those devices.
Unfortunately the company actions weren’t enough to stop a lawsuit being filed against Apple in 2010 which alleged that "the case and antenna design led to a substantial degradation in signal quality and dropped calls when the phone is used in a normal and foreseeable fashion by users". Judging by the outcome of the case, which has been hanging over the company for over a year, the defense of "you’re holding the phone in the wrong way" was not deemed suitable, with Apple agreeing to settle the class-action lawsuit.
The outcome of the suit means that buyers of the iPhone 4 in the United States will be able to choose from either a $15 compensation or one of the company’s bumper cases which covers the affected steel band and prevents the error from happening.
For all those affected, as soon as the www.iphone4settlement.com website is live, buyers will be able to redeem their chosen compensation. The company will also be issuing alerts to email addresses before April 30th, but it remains to be seen whether individuals who accepted one of the free of charge cases provided in the original case program back in September 2010.
You may also like to check out:
- Apple’s iPhone 4 Antennagate Is Biggest Technology Fail Of The Year 2010 – CNN Report
- iPhone 4 Antenna Song from iPhone 4 Press Conference [Video]