Apple boss Steve Jobs reveals iPhone 4 may be recallediphone 4 recall
The much-vaunted new iPhone 4 may be recalled, Apple boss Steve Jobs revealed last night.
Posting a message on the social networking site Twitter, the tycoon said: ‘We may have to recall the new iPhone. This I did not expect.’
Launched in Britain last week, the £500 handset has been dogged by technical problems.
Steve Jobs shows Russian President Dimitry Medvedev the new iPhone 4. The Apple boss said the new phone may be recalled following a glut of complaints
Reception has been found to cut out when users cover a metal band built into the phone’s bottom left-hand corner.
The new iPhone was also said to be unsuitable for left-handed people.
Mr Jobs responded to complaints about the new iPhone losing its signal by telling users to 'just avoid holding it in that way'.
Angry users have complained that the phone's reception suddenly plunges to almost zero when they simply hold it in their hand.
Dozens of videos have been placed on YouTube showing the iPhone 4 losing signal the moment the metal antenna that surrounds the edge of the new device is covered.
Mr Jobs issued his bizarre advice as he responded to an email from a user on the Ars Technica technology news site who had complained about the sudden loss of signal.
A clip from an iPhone 4 advert which shows the model holding the device in the 'wrong' way
In an astonishingly blunt response, Mr Jobs replied: 'Just avoid holding it in that way. All phones have sensitive areas'.
In a statement, Apple said: '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.'
'This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. 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.'
Apple claims that using one of its 'bumpers' - which cost £25 each and clip over the iPhone to protect it - will stop the user's hand interfering with the signal.
Another iPhone 4 ad shows the model's hand blocking the antenna
The firm is selling the rubber bumpers on its website but none will be shipped to the UK until July 16th.
Users have flooded Twitter with rumours about the problem and stop-gap remedies including using tape to cover the bottom of the phone.
Left-handed users are being particularly affected because when they hold the phone in their left hand their fingers cover more of the right-hand side of the phone - where the antenna is.
The left side of the iPhone 4 receives Wi-Fi signals while the right side picks up the 3G signal for calls.
Technology website T3 ran a test using one of the ‘bumper’ cover for the phone which appears to solve the issue.
Danish wireless technology expert called Gert Frølund Pedersen told Wired magazine that the problem is probably because the phone’s new antenna is built into the metal frame which surrounds the device.
‘Human tissue will have an inhibitory effect on the antenna. Touch means that a larger portion of the antenna energy turns into heat and lost.
'This makes the antenna less efficient to send and receive radio signals,’ he said.
A loss of signal, known as attenuation, can occur when an antenna is bridged.
Holding it in your hand will change the length of the antenna and interfere with the specific wavelengths it is calibrated to pick up.
The Apple iPad also faced some teething problems when it was launched with users reporting problems when they tried to connect to wi-fi. A software update had to be issued to sort this problem out.
A new iPhone complete with black rubber 'bumper' which Apple claims will help solve the problem
There have also been early reports of problems with the iPhone’s screen.
Launched by Steve Jobs as ‘retina display’, with an paralleled definition and number of pixels, some users in the US have complained about some yellow discolouration.
The spots can appear in corners and the thin bands have shown up toward the tops and bottoms of customers' screens.
Some Apple insiders on web forums have claimed that the yellow colour is down to the clue that the firm uses to bond the glass on its screens which has not had the time to evaporate.
They claim that the discolouration will clear after a day or two as the glue evaporates.
The iPhone 4 was unveiled earlier this month. At the time, Mr Jobs said it represented 'the biggest leap since the original iPhone'.
It offers video calling, a higher-resolution display and the ability to record and view high-definition video.
The new handset updates the iPhone 3GS which launched a year ago and sold more than a million units in its first weekend.
A spokesperson for Apple was not immediately available to comment.