Left handed Australians looking to buy an iPhone may have a problem after it was revealed that iPhone owners in the USA have been having an antenna problem when they pace their hand on a metal bar that surrounds the new iPhone 4.
According to several users the bars that signal network connections inexplicably disappeared when they cradled the phone in their left hands a particular way. Sometimes, but not always, the cradling resulted in dropped calls.
According to Apple the metal band that wraps around the edges of the device is supposed to pull in a stronger signal; software is supposed to choose the section of the signal with the least congestion.
According to the New York Times, a user calling himself FFArchitect appeared to be the first to report the phenomenon on MacRumors.com, a site for the Apple-obsessed. He said that touching the band in various places caused reception problems. His report, like many that followed, included a video demonstrating the problem.
“When the guy holds the iPhone in his hands, touching the outside antenna band in two places, he drops reception,” Jesus Diaz, a writer for the blog, said. “Placing the phone down gets him 4 bars.”
From then on, report after report began to ricochet across technology Web sites, and Mr. Diaz posted updates as new stories from around the Web dropped into his in-box. “This is worrying,” Mr. Diaz wrote.
Shortly after the problem was discovered Apple CEO Steve Jobs told users not to hold the phone in their left hand. He declared: ”Just avoid holding it in that way.”
This set off discrimination claims by several organisations.
Talking to the Daily Telegraph, Lauren Milsom, of the Left-Handed Club, which boasts 90,000 members and represents 10 per cent of the population who are left-handed, branded it a ”design flaw”.
She said: ”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.
”It is disappointing that a leading innovations and design company like Apple have not considered left-handers in their initial design and testing stages of the 4G.
”Clearly more testing is needed to be certain this is the case, but if so, left-handed potential customers need to be warned that the phone will not work for them, until it can be redesigned to remedy the fault.”
The casing of Apple’s latest phone is made of stainless steel, which also serves as its antenna. Apple sells a rubber ”bumper” that shields the sensitive area as do many other firms.
They have also advised customers to buy a case to stop the antenna being blocked by a hand.