If you watched the D8 interview last week with Steve Jobs, you might have noticed a question about dropped calls and call availability. Steve said something along the lines of reception "should be getting a lot better soon" on the AT&T network. We first thought that this was all related to AT&T making changes to their network and upgrading it across the US, but after watching the WWDC keynote yesterday, we noticed a lot of information was given about the new antennas included on the iPhone 4. It appears that both Apple [AAPL] and AT&T are working on fixing the issues.
You might have noticed that there are 3 gaps in the stainless steel band that wraps around the edges of the iPhone. These are not a design flaw, but rather a feature of the phone that separates the stainless steel band in to three sections that makes the whole structure of the phone act as antenna. The left side section of band handles the GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity while the right side band and lower band (that also stretches over the top of the device) handles UMTS and GSM connectivity. Having the whole structure of the phone act as an antenna should hopefully give a stronger signal and hence, fewer dropped calls or fewer "searching" messages that often show up in the status bar.
When we pick up our iPhone 4 in the next couple of weeks, we'll make sure that we give it a full check to see if the signal has improved. At my home the network I use is very bad and often turning my head whilst making a call makes it drop, so it will be good to see if I can actually use the new iPhone 4 at home.