The Best Way to Fix the iPhone 4 Problem: Stop Holding the Phone

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    The broohaha over iPhone 4 reception issues reminds me of an old vaudeville joke. Man goes to a doctor and says "It hurts when I do this." Replies the doctor, "Well, don't do that!"

    First, I agree with Jobs — both about the tech and talking haircut media, which loves to build up then tear down because "Apple sucks" is always a better story than "Apple is great," and it's blown the reception issue out of all proportion. But Newtonian laws of marketing physics states that when you create over-the-top ballyhoos and hullabaloos for your products, you have to expect an equal and opposite over-reaction when things go wrong. Jobs has no one to blame but his own hyperbolic huckstering self for this PR nightmare.

    Second, the Sept. 30 deadline for getting a free bumper tells me there'll be a new, slightly revamped iPhone 4 in the fall. I'm no propeller head, and despite Jobs' denials of the idea, but it also seems to me something can be done to compensate for when the user accidentally touches the iPhone 4's G spot (i.e. "IF reception signal drops below X, THEN activate something...").

    Of course, Steve Jobs can't even facetiously recommend a solution as stupid simple/radical as "don't hold the iPhone 4 that way," or even the more obvious solutions (such as opting for the sudden wide selection of similarly spec'd AT&T Android suerphones such as the new Samsung Galaxy S Vantage or the HTC Aria).

    But I can.

    Reception suffers when you hold the iPhone 4 a certain way? Don't hold it that way, he said with more than a hint of sarcastic incredulity in his voice. Even if you opt for the free bumper or some other case, don't hold it that way, he said a bit more seriously. Why?

    Well, not because of some minor reception issue. SAR — Specific Absorption Rate — the amount of radiation your body absorbs from a cellphone. True, studies have yet to prove a definitive cigarette-causes-lung-cancer-like link. But ignoring even the flawed "SAR = brain cancer studies" are akin to wandering around Tora Bora waving an American flag and hoping the Taliban or Bin Ladin's posse — or both — don't notice you.

    There are dozens if not hundreds of iPhone-compatible wired and Bluetooth mono and stereo headphone options out there (the new $250 V-Mode over-the-head Crossfades I've been auditioning, which include an iPhone inline mic and control, kick beat-heavy house music ass, and are $100 less than Monster's similar Beats), and the iPhone has excellent voice dial functions.

    So, slip a sheath on that bad boy, slip on some headphones, and stop holding the phone.