"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 Friday in an e-mailed statement. "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 introduction on Thursday of the iPhone 4 was marred by criticism that signal strength diminishes when users cover the bottom-left corners with their palms. The iPhone has become Apple's top-selling product since its 2007 debut, accounting for 40 percent of sales last quarter.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs added a high-definition video camera, multitasking and video calling to the iPhone 4 to fend off competition from phones running Google Inc.'s Android operating system. It also has a stainless-steel band that's designed to improve network reception.
Customers have posted videos on the Internet demonstrating trouble with the iPhone 4's new antenna.
According to an e-mail exchange posted on the MacRumors.com website, Jobs called the matter a "non issue." Users expressed disappointment with the response.
"I'm an Apple person going back a long time and have spent a small fortune on Apple stuff over the last few years," said Patrick Coleman, 58, a senior systems administrator from Rockville, Md., who purchased two iPhone 4s. "It's really awful when Jobs has this kind of attitude."
Shaw Wu, an analyst at Kaufman Bros. LP in San Francisco, doesn't expect the antenna problem to lead to a product recall.
In general, reviews of the device have been positive, and Apple may sell more than 10 million iPhones in the quarter ending in September, said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners in New York.
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