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Apple on iPhone Signal Woes: Don't Hold It That Way

Apple CEO Steve Jobs uses the new iPhone during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Monday, June 7, 2010, in San Francisco.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs uses the new iPhone during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Monday, June 7, 2010, in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The iPhone Death Grip is somewhat real, but it's more subtle than a lot of people have been putting on. It's not a deal breaker and it's not a reason -- by itself -- not to buy the iPhone 4. But the nearly hysterical online reaction to the death-grip news reveals what people are really thinking.

First, Apple has issued an official statement, with which I completely agree.

"Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone," Apple said. "If you ever experience this on your Phone 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."

If I hold the phone in a slightly sweaty left hand, with my fingers covering the three black lines on the phone's edge and the bottom left corner in my palm, signal strength is somewhat reduced. If I had to pick a number out of the air, I'd say it's by 3 to 5 decibels per milliwatt (dBm). Feel free to correct me if you have the appropriate lab equipment. The hand involved has to be a little sweaty to encourage conductivity, or the trick might not work.

This doesn't have any effect on connecting voice calls in areas with a strong signal, but it can make the difference between connecting and not if you're already in a fringe signal area.

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