iPhone 4 Buyers Report Screen, Antenna Issues

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A salesclerk passes by a poster of Apple's latest iPhone 4 at a Softbank store in the Harajuku district in Tokyo on Thursday morning, June 24, 2010. Japan, along with the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, is among the first countries where the iPhone 4 will go on sale.

    Though lines for the iPhone 4 at Apple Stores around the world are as long as ever, with some stores already selling out, a group of early owners are reporting problems with the phone's screen and antenna.

    When powered up, some phones experience yellow screen discoloration or a constellation of white spots. Meanwhile, others are experiencing reduced call reception when holding the phone a certain way.

    The gadget blog Gizmodo has received more than 50 reports from new owners, many including photographs of the screen issues, most frequently a distinct yellow bar across one side of the screen, or in some cases yellow blotches.

    This yellow discoloration is thought to be related to an adhesive used in affixing components underneath the screen. There is some hope that the off-color will fade as the bonding material cures. One MacRumors forum member wrote that his "major yellow spots" had faded by the second day. "Keep an eye on it over the next day or so if you have the issue," he suggested. 

    The other screen issue seen in photos is a constellation of bright white spots, appearing in different patterns that persist regardless of the picture on the screen.

    While these problems do exist, it is not clear how widespread the issue is. Owners of the iPhone 4 are reporting that Apple customer service representatives are acknowledging screen discoloration as a known issue.

    Some Apple Care reps have offered replacement iPhone 4s — either on the spot or in a week — to owners who complained. Now, however, Gizmodo reports that in other cases, service reps are telling new iPhone 4 owners to wait to see if the screen issues fade over time.

    At the same time, many new users are citing issues of poor reception, but this appears to be related to the iPhone 4's design, rather than any manufacturing flaw. According to videos demonstrating the problem, holding the phone a certain way apparently interferes with the antenna.

    The issue, which initially surfaced on MacRumors, is that when a hand or finger is placed over a small gap in the iPhone 4's metal band, a gap identified by Apple as a key to the new external antenna construction, the phone noticeably loses reception bars, and at times drops calls or suffers data speed declines.

    Due to the placement of the gap, on the lower lefthand side of the phone's band, this alleged problem would be more likely to affect people who hold their phones in their left hands as they talk. Gizmodo has rounded up over 20 user-submitted videos of this phenomenon, all confirming the same issue.

    We have asked Apple for comment, but have not heard back from them.