Verizon’s iPhone antenna ‘death grip’ proof?

January 11, 2011

vzapplOn the face of it, the iPhone 4 unveiled by Verizon Wireless on Tuesday is pretty much the same device that AT&T has been selling. It costs the same, and features essentially the same bells and whistles — with the nice addition of a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, that allows up to five other devices to share its wireless signal.

But the blogosphere quickly picked up on one intriguing change in Verizon’s iPhone: the all-important antenna, which wraps around the device. You can see some pics from Gizmodo here, highlighting the differences between iPhones offered by Verizon and AT&T.

You will recall that the antenna for AT&T’s iPhone was the source of quite the uproar last summer, when some users complained of poor reception and dropped calls when holding the device a certain way.  The issue unexpectedly snowballed, giving rise to such memorable phrases as “Antennagate” and “iPhone 4 death grip.” Of course, none of it seemed to dent iPhone sales.

Last July, weeks after Apple rolled out the iPhone 4 for AT&T, the company was forced to hold a press conference to address the issue. Apple ended up offering free cases to users, but a defiant Steve Jobs maintained that the issue had been blown out of proportion and rejected any suggestion  that the design was flawed.  But the executive in charge of iPhone engineering left the company weeks after the controversy erupted.

In a statement on Tuesday, Apple acknowledged that the antenna design on the Verizon iPhone 4 is different. Although it declined to provide any details or specifics, the company said the antenna was built to work on Verizon’s network, which uses different technology than AT&T’s: “iPhone 4 has a great antenna that allows it to have an amazingly thin design, great battery life and reception. We designed the  iPhone 4 external antenna to work great on Verizon’s CDMA/EVDO network.”

Bloggers were quick to begin testing the reception of the Verizon iPhone, mimicking the famous “death grip.” But so far, there have been no reports of problems. The true tests begin Feb. 10, when the device goes on sale.

(Photo: Reuters / Apple COO Tim Cook (l), Verizon Wireless COO Lowel McAdam (r))

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

VZW uses CDMA which operates differently and in a different frequency band than the GSM technology ATT uses.

Posted by khurt | Report as abusive