Apparently, one Apple Genius explained to an iPhone 4 customer that the problem is with his ear--not the proximity sensor on the iPhone 4. A blogger reported that he was informed that "Apparently, the re-location of the proximity sensor in iPhone 4 causes the sensor to be more likely to be triggered by light 'bouncing around the ear canal'."
The recommended solution? The Apple Genius told the blogger--allegedly with a straight face--"try closing the windows because extra ambient light bouncing around my ear will cause the sensor to light up the screen."
So--to sum up--the iPhone 4 does not have a signal issue, it just displays the signal bar icons wrong, but if you hold the iPhone 4 at just the right angle you might be able to maintain enough signal strength to carry on a call. But, make sure you don't clean your ears too often, and draw the curtains and turn off the lights or your ear might trip the proximity sensor and cause you to inadvertently hang up the call.
I haven't even addressed the exceptionally poor sound quality of calls on the iPhone 4, or the complaints of poor battery life spanning the iPhone 4, previous iPhone models, and iPod Touch devices following the upgrade to iOS4.
Can I just have my old iPhone 3GS back? Well, yes--but only if I act quickly. Apple has responded to the backlash and various law suits by dropping the restocking fee. Any iPhone 4 customer can return the iPhone 4 for a complete refund--as long as it is within 30 days of purchase. For those who purchased the iPhone 4 online, that clock started when the device was shipped, not when you received it and took it out of the box.
The problem is that returning to the iPhone 3GS is really the only viable option available at AT&T. The Android options are improving at AT&T, but are still notably inferior to the compelling Android smartphones available from other carriers. The HTC Aria is a step in the right direction, but AT&T won't have a truly competitive Android smartphone until it unleashes the Samsung Captivate later this year.
Besides, switching platforms is not that easy. What Apple understood, and other mobile OS developers have followed suit on, is that the app culture shackles you to the platform. Businesses have invested in a portfolio of apps to make the smartphone productive. Switching platforms means starting from scratch to find suitable alternative apps, and paying for them all over again.
Customers like me who pre-ordered the iPhone 4 online have a little less than two weeks to take advantage of the option to return the device for a full refund. Hopefully, Apple will stop living in denial, and issuing ridiculous explanations and workarounds, and really address the issues during that time. Otherwise, many iPhone 4 customers will be forced to make a difficult decision between the lesser of two evils.