iPhone 4 screen yellow tint may evaporate on its own; ‘reception’ issue likely fixed by software

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“Two main issues appear to be affecting new owners of the iPhone 4,” MacNN reports.

• Covering the lower-left corner of an iPhone dependably forces 3G and even voice reception to disappear. This may make the handset especially hard to use for left-handed owners, at least without a case. Apple has claimed that reception issues involve a software bug wrongly indicating bad signal, and that a fix is enroute. Because the iPhone 4 uses a new antenna design integrated into the edge, however, and covering part of the edge kills reception, concern has been raised that the flaw is inherent and could require a hardware revision. Cases, such as the bumpers sold by Apple, may provide a stopgap solution by preventing the interference caused by a hand.

• Some owners are also reporting discolored screens, tinted yellow in spots, typically towards the bottom corners. The exact cause is unknown, but one person claims that the problem may be related to a chemical called Organofunctional Silane Z-6011, used to bond glass layers together. Units may be shipping so quickly after finishing production, the person suggests, that the Z-6011 has not completely evaporated. If so, the yellow spots should disappear after a day or two of active use.

Full article, with links, here.

MacDailyNews Take: We can reproduce the issue of diminishing or disappearing AT&T bars on our units by blocking the lower left corner completely with our hands on iPhone 4 units without cases, but do not believe it to be a hardware issue. In fact, with 3+ bars, we don’t notice any loss of reception, even if we make the bars go away. According to a trusted source, there are multiple points on the iPhone 4’s frame for antenna reception. Our source says that the issues “can and will” be addressed by tweaking, balancing, and/or redistributing antennae reception and/or signal strength display via software. When asked if it could be a hardware issue, our source said, “Don’t be silly. It’s not the hardware. Apple’s too smart for that. In fact, most any handset maker is too smart for that.” As for the screen tint issues, we do not see them in any of our units – all of which arrived via FedEx yesterday, so maybe they were manufactured earlier than units showing the yellow tint. We’ll continue to follow this issue to see if it – ahem – “dries up” or not.

[UPDATE: 11:24pm EDT: Apple has issued a statement: Apple responds to iPhone 4 reception attenuation issue: ‘A fact of life for every wireless phone’]

48 Comments

  1. Capacitance changes the characteristics of an antenna. If Apple is saying its fixable in software, then it means that the circuitry is reacting too aggressively to signal strength changes.

  2. let’s hope these are not serious issues… otherwise there will be FUD field-days ahead and I don’t even want to mention names…

    Apple has a good track record on fixing these types of issues and replacing defective units.

  3. if verizon had the iphone 4 it would shit gold bricks and get reception in bomb shelters and on the moon. besides the obvious fact that all products have quality control issues apple is very good about fixing them. Once the supply comes in all a person has to do is get a genius bar appointment and in about 15 minutes they will have a new unit. see if your precious google will even take the call let alone replace the handset.

  4. @MDN Take:

    In fact, we don’t notice any loss of reception, even if we make the bars go away.

    This guy effectively demonstrates otherwise.

    Because of this video, I’m not certain this is just a software issue. I get that capacitance could make the “bars” change erroneously, but that doesn’t explain dropping a call when “bridging” the antennas with your hand.

    I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this story…

  5. @caddisfly:

    You’re correct, Verizon signals exist everywhere and can penetrate steel reinforced concrete bunkers as well. And if you ever drop a call, Verizon’s CEO personally apologizes to you and hand you a refund for your monthly service charge.

  6. These is one issue that needs to be looked at. Upgraded my 3G to the new OS. I have been having problems with the audio on the headphones, specifically when using the phone. The level of the audio has been cut in half. Checked the discussion boards and others are having the same problem. It surprises me that they would have changed the code in this area. Something so rudimentary should have been caught in the testing phase.

    Can’t wait to buy a new phone. The purchase got delayed by the washing machine going out 🙁

  7. I got mine yesterday and the screen is beautiful – no yellow at all. However I can reproduce the signal loss issue perfectly and consistently. As soon as I bridge with my skin the metal strips that are separated by the thin black bars on the bottom sides of the phone, I can watch the signal strength drop from five bars to one or none in about fifteen seconds. As soon as I set the phone down again and remove my hand, the signal returns to full in the same amount of time – about fifteen seconds. I am on the phone with Apple right now and they are telling me to buy the Apple Bumper Case, and if that is necessary to make the phone work, then it should have come with the phone, included in the purchase price. This is frustrating.

  8. @Silly

    Then if they release new ones without the screen issue you can swap yours for free ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  9. If I run a bandwidth testing tool on my iPhone 4 with the lower left-hand corner covered by my hand, the tool proceeds at a crawl (if at all). It’s definitely not simply a “bar” issue; connectivity is dramatically hindered.

    I cannot say with any knowledge whether software would fix it, but I’d be thrilled if so. I’m gradually retraining myself to hold it differently, and it’d be nice to not have to worry about it.

    Certainly not enough of an issue to consider alternatives. The iPhone 4 is a work of art, and I’m in love.

  10. Regarding the screen issue…

    If a thousand customers report a problem, that is a large number. But if you have sold a million of that something, 1000 is 1-in-1000, or one tenth of one percent (0.1%). So look at the big picture…

    As usual, the media will report it as if “everyone” is having whatever problems. Obviously, any complex electronic device will have a small percentage with manufacturing defects. The people with actual problems should get a replacement; that’s the purpose of the one-year warranty.

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