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Verizon iPhone 4 fixes death grip problem

Early reports are suggesting that Apple's modified iPhone 4, which is soon to be in the hands of Verizon customers in the USA, is not prone to the much-reported 'death grip' signal attenuation issue.

For those readers with short memories, Apple was roundly criticised in the media because holding the freshly-hatched iPhone 4 in a certain way, which effectively short-circuited two of the metal case components, led to what looked to all the world like a massive drop in signal strength.

Steve Jobs initially said that people were holding their shiny new iPhones the wrong way, then insisted that Apple antenna engineers had got their sums wrong and that the drastic drop in the number of bars shown was due to an error in the way signal strength was displayed. A firmware update was issued to fix the display but reports of dropped calls continued apace. Antennagate was the hot subject of the day but punters continued to buy the gadget in their droves.

Steve Jobs eventually called an emergency press conference at which he tried to tell everyone there wasn't a problem, then gave everyone who didn't have a problem a free case to fix the problem that they didn't have.

At a glance the new Verizon version of the handset looks identical to the original iPhone 4, but closer inspection reveals that the black band which sits on the left of the top surface next to the headphone jack on the original model has slid down to the top of the left side. Another band has been added to the top of the right side bringing the total to four and making things all nice and symmetrical.

Unfortunately, the redesign also means that anyone thinking of switching from AT&T to Verizon will also have buy a new case as the mute button has been moved slightly to accommodate the tweaked antenna design.

The only other change to the specification thus far discovered is the inclusion of a CDMA chip which lets it talk to Verizon's US network.

Whether the apparent disappearance of the death grip issue is simply down to a different - or , some might say, better - network than AT&T's will only emerge in the fullness of time.

For the time being, Ars Technica is reporting that holding the phone in the wrong way “did not result in any kind of CDMA signal attenuation," and SlashGear says the best it could manage was a one-bar drop, no matter how it held the hardware.

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