Apple Press Conference: Problem not unique to iPhone 4

Steve Jobs may have eaten some humble pie by admitting that there is a fault with the iPhone 4 and that the phone isn't perfect, but he was also keen to point out that the problem was not exclusive to Apple's flagship smartphone.

"It doesn't sound like a good idea to grip your phone and lose signal", he said.

"But it's not unique to the iPhone 4. You can go on YouTube and see videos of other phones doing this, but we needed to do these tests ourselves".

"Blackberry Bold 9700, made by RIM. Perhaps the most popular smartphone in business. Video showing bars drop from 5 to 1 rapidly when putting it in a grip".

"Next, HTC Droid Eris. Starts off at 4 bars, grip, then goes down to 2 bars. The delay in bar drops is based on an algorithm, phone by phone. Samsung phone, same deal, grip in the right spot, the bars go down.

"We could have gone on and on with another five or six phones. Most smartphones behave exactly the same way. Now these phones were tested in areas of relatively weak signal strength, as other testers have reported. This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren't perfect".

"It's a challenge for the whole industry, and we're doing the best we can, but every phone has weak spots".

Jobs went on to claim that Apple has improved its algorithm so as the signal display is more accurate with iOS 4.0.1. He described the previous iOS software as showing "a far more catastrophic loss than it really was".

Jobs also talked about the research that went into the iPhone antenna. It included 17 anechoic chambers with a $100 million investment. There were18 PhD scientists and engineers on the staff.

So the message is clear. Yes, there's an issue with dropped bars - but is it really an issue? And anyway, it isn't just Apple who is affected.