Suits Start Over Apple iPhone 4 Antenna

Kevin McCaffrey and Linda Wrinn of Maryland have had enough of the iPhone 4 experiencing significant signal loss if held in particular ways, and they’re not going to take it anymore: the two have filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of deceptive trade practices, fraud, negligence, and breach of implied warranty. The suit also targets iPhone carrier AT&T. The plaintiffs want unspecified financial recompense for the issue, as well as an injunction preventing Apple from selling the iPhone 4 until the antenna issue is resolved.

The suit is just he latest chapter in the ongoing headache Apple is experiencing with iPhone 4 reception: if the phone is held in particular ways—with a hand or finger making contact with the phone’s lower left-hand corner and antenna—the phone can experience significant signal drop. For some users in some locations, the impact of the signal drop isn’t a problem, but for folks in areas with spotty mobile reception, it can make the difference between staying on a call and having the call dropped.

Apple didn’t help matters by suggesting iPhone 4 users buy a case or hold differently, and avoid contact with the lower left corner of the phone if they experience signal loss. Apple’s own promotional materials for the iPhone 4 show users handling the device in ways that would result signal loss.

The iPhone 4 is not the first mobile device to experience significant signal loss caused by users’ hands, but the media attention surrounding the phone’s release and spectacular sales have fueled the controversy and public perception of the problem’s magnitude. Other phone makers—like Nokia—have been using the issue to promote their own devices.

McCaffrey and Wrinn’s lawsuit may just be the first of many to come. Other industry reports have additional suits being filed against Apple over the antenna issue, including one demanding Apple offer impacted customers free cases or bumpers to prevent users’ hands from coming in contact with the iPhone 4’s antenna ports,

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