Apple has acknowledged that the iPhone 4 has a serious problem when you hold the device in a certain way, which just so happens to be the most common way a right handed person holds a phone, with their left hand at the base of the unit. For now, the fix is free bumpers for everyone which mitigates the problem. Not content to stop there though, Apple is claiming other phones have the same issue, and going to great lengths to document it.Apple has listed several phones at their Antenna Performance page. This shows how the iPhone 4 loses its signal, and then goes on to explain how the Blackberry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, Motorola Droid X, Nokia N97 mini, Samsung Omnia II and the old iPhone 3GS also suffer the same fate.
This defies common sense though as neither the makers of those devices nor the carriers are having a flood of calls complaining about dropped calls due to the way you hold the device and no one is thinking about offering $30 bumpers to solve any problem.
Smelling something fishy, PC Magazine has rounded up many of these phones and run their own tests. They pretty much ignore the bars though as those aren't the best indicator of signal strength. Instead, they relied on the "signal receive strength in -dBm" which is a more accurate indicator of the phone ability to connect.
To make it more interesting, PC Magazine gripped the phones with both hands covering the entire surface of the phone except for the screen. While all of the phones show signal degradation when gripped in this wholly unnatural way, none had the propensity to drop a call like the iPhone 4 did when it is gripped like a phone should be gripped.
Why is Apple bothering with this? They have already owned up to the issue, so they should just fix the problem. Stunts like this only server to make them look childish, and provide fodder for the blogosphere.