Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

iPhone 4: The duct tape solution

July 12, 2010: 12:33 PM ET

Consumer Reports is not the first to offer a workaround to the signal-weakening Death Grip

Photo: Consumer Reports

After minimizing the iPhone 4's antenna issues on its Electronics Blog 10 days ago, Consumers Reports made news Monday by announcing that it could not recommend Apple's (AAPL) newest smartphone phone after all. It had reexamined the signal attenuation problem and determined that it was real.

Then it did something unusual: It offered a funky, "affordable" workaround.

"Cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material. It may not be pretty, but it works. We also expect that using a case would remedy the problem. We'll test a few cases this week and report back."

And so ConsumerReports.org joins the dozens of sites that have found inexpensive ways to make the iPhone's so-called Death Grip problem go away. Among the fixes I've seen:

  • Electrical tape. I tried this. I didn't get the doubling of download speeds I'd read about.
  • Nail polish. Didn't have any handy.
  • Rubber wrist band. This worked like a charm until one of the holes I'd carved into it ripped.
  • Hold it differently. This is Steve Jobs' suggestion. Not so easy if you are left handed.
  • Apple's $29 Bumper. These are back ordered. I'm tracking mine through FedEx. It left Shenzhen, China, on Wednesday.
  • Third party cases. They are legion. Perhaps Consumer Reports will do a survey and get back to us.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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