Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

AT&T still smarting from antennagate

February 9, 2011: 10:39 AM ET

Making sure reporters know about every flaw in the Verizon iPhone

Verizon iPhone death grip. Source: iLounge

You can almost hear the pent-up frustration in the e-mail one of my colleagues at CNN Money received Tuesday from AT&T (T) public relations:

Hi:

I urge you to view the video you can find when you click on the link.

Verizon said the launch of the iPhone would be "flawless."  Their word, not mine.

All I ask is that you ask Verizon about this as vigorously as you questioned us about similar issues last year.

The link, of course, is to the now famous 7-minute video of iLounge's Charles Starrett demonstrating how to reduce four bars on a Verizon (VZ) iPhone to one bar by wrapping your hand around the phone's external antenna in a "death grip." Starrett was also able to attenuate the phone's Wi-Fi's signal by holding it horizontally in what he called a "death hug."

Steve Jobs will tell you that all cell phones lose signal strength if gripped too firmly. The problem with Apple's (AAPL) original iPhone 4, however, was that you could interfere with reception with just one finger.

The iLounge video, posted below the fold, has already come under some good-natured ribbing. "Covering the iPhone in four feet of concrete will also likely affect signal strength," wrote TechCrunch's MG Siegler. "We're still waiting on the video proof of this, but consider yourselves warned."

Also on Fortune.com:

[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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