Shortly after the iPhone 4 launched on June 24, users began to report several problems with the phone including discolored screens, volume control problems, and breakable glass coverings. But the biggest news was that if you held the palm of your hand over the lower left corner of the iPhone 4, you could kill the device’s network reception. Apparently, your hand ends up interfering with the cellular signal resulting in attenuation, also known as signal loss, because the iPhone 4’s antenna is integrated into the outer metal band surrounding the device.
Apple responded to the issue by saying that it was normal for phones to have reception issues when certain areas of the phone are gripped. Cupertino admonishes iPhone 4 owners to “avoid gripping [the iPhone 4] 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.”
Although Apple says that buying a case for the device fixes the issue, a solution that can cost $30 or more, others have found the cheaper alternative of applying Scotch Tape fixes the iPhone 4 antenna problem.
Apple’s solution to avoid reception issues by not gripping the iPhone 4’s lower left corner ignores the fact that the company is asking some people to change the natural way they hold their phone. Specifically, left-handed people whose palm would naturally rest on the lower left corner of the device. Because of this, Apple has been accused of discrimination over the antenna issue, according to London’s Telegraph. The British newspaper on Saturday quoted Lauren Milsom, a spokesperson for the U.K.-based Left-Handed club, saying that Apple’s response to the antenna issue was “ludicrous.”
”I would strongly suggest that Steve Jobs employs left-handers in his design and testing team in future, and urgently address this issue to ensure the phone is fit for purpose,” Milsom told the Telegraph. “Left-handed potential customers need to be warned that the phone will not work for them, until it can be redesigned to remedy the fault.”
Although the Telegraph says Apple is being accused of discrimination, it’s worth nothing that the paper only mentions discrimination in its headline and never uses the word in the body of its reporting or in any of the quotes attributed to Milsom.
The Left-Handed Club boasts 90,000 members and is dedicated to promoting research into left-handedness and development of new left-handed items, according to the Telegraph.