Verizon’s iPhone May Not Have the ”Death Grip” Problem

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When AT&T’s version of the iPhone 4 debuted last summer, users complained that holding this smartphone in just the right way would cause their calls to drop. Some experts say that Verizon’s version may not have this problem.

Apple iPhone 4 Death GripThe design of the current version of Apple’s smartphone uses the outer rim as a collection of antennas. While in most cases this improves the phone’s wireless performance, touching a specific spot on the iPhone 4’s lower left side — an easy thing to do, especially for lefties — can short out the cellular antenna enough to cause the device to lose its connection completely in areas with low signal strength.

Apple redesigned the antenna system for the version of the iPhone 4 that’s going to be released by Verizon next month — something that Tim Cook, the company’s COO, confirmed last week. And while Cook made no mention of the “death grip” issue, other experts have been more forthcoming.

Spencer Webb, president of AntennaSys, a company that specializes in mobile antennas, has given several reasons why he believes that the Verizon version won’t suffer from this problem.  In its FCC filing for this device, Apple says its new model has a “Planar Inverted-F Antenna” for Wi-Fi access. That’s not a description that fits an antenna that runs around the outer rim of a device. In addition, the gaps between the pieces of the rim have been moved in the upcoming version. In the AT&T version, these gaps separate the different antennas.

In addition, reporters at Verizon’s announcement event for the iPhone 4 launch were not able to see any signs of the “death grip” issue on demo units.

However, a definite answer to the question likely will not come until the release of Verizon’s version of the Apple iPhone 4, which is scheduled for February 10.

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