Seriously, I'm flabbergasted.
The Webs are atwitter with reports of the iPhone 4 "Death Grip" issue, a widespread bug resulting in loss of signal and dropped calls. Holding the new iPhone such that your hand covers both sides of the black band on the lower left corner of the case causes the problem - it's something to do with antenna placement and the conductivity of human hands - and that's a pretty natural way to hold an iPhone. So people are upset.
One of those upset people emailed firstname.lastname@example.org. Steve Jobs replied, and the customer sent the reply over to Engadget, who ran it along with Apple's official response. And like I said, I'm just flabbergasted.
Customer: "When I put my hand on the steel bands" of iPhone 4 "I lose all reception."
Steve: "Just avoid holding it in that way."
Really, Steve? The magical, revolutionary phone doesn't like to be held certain ways? C'mon, man, you guys can do better than that, right?
Wrong. Here's the official Apple response as quoted by Engadget:
Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it 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.
Now, look. I've had an iPhone 4 for about 9 hours now and haven't had any issues with the reception. In fact, thus far it sounds noticeably better than my 3GS did - on the same account on the same network in the same locations. So I'm not (yet?) complaining about my own experience with the product. But I have been able to replicate the Death Grip issue by deliberately trying to. So it's worrisome.
But customer service wise, this is pretty amazing. You're holding it wrong. It's a fact of life. Get a case. Really, that's the official customer service line?
Not cool, Apple, not cool. At least offer up a cookie: "We're working on a fix," "Thank you for contacting us, we're investigating and if there proves to be a widespread issue we'll issue a statement," or "Here's a free bumper, how's that?" But, instead:
"Just avoid holding it that way."
Blows my mind.