In light of the problem with the antenna on the Apple iPhone 4, are people actually returning them?

That's the question we've put to Vodafone, Orange and O2, as well as Carphone Warehouse and a number of retailers in the UK over the last couple of days.

Since launch, there's been a mass-furore over the handset, with a number of sites and magazines around the world, including high-profile titles such as Consumers Reports (the US equivalent to Which?) discussing the problem. They have all said or implied that they have research to show that the phone is flawed when it comes to making calls;  due to poor antenna design which affects reception - and citing the way you hold the phone as the main cause of the signal strength issues.

Indeed, we've even reported the on the issue several times.

And it's a problem Apple is seemingly aware of, with the tech giant promising a software fix in an update expected in August.

However, Pocket-lint has looked into this further, past the headlines, and has found that, while the media on both sides of the pond jump up and down demanding Apple must enforce a full scale product recall, customers of the iPhone 4 - in the UK at least - aren't actually that bothered. Or don't believe there's a fault at all.

How do we know this? Because they aren't returning the phone once they've bought it.

"We've seen returns in line with expectations", a spokesperson for O2 told Pocket-lint. "By that we mean no more than usual. They aren’t flooding back in".

"In line with expectations" essentially means that there are some people returning the handset, but not in great numbers, and certainly no more than other phones the operator stocks.

Every handset sees returns.

But it's not just O2 - "home of the smartphone" - that is telling us it's seeing minimal returns. Vodafone has also confirmed to Pocket-lint that, of the thousands of iPhone 4 customers on the network, few are returning the new Apple phone.

"Returns have been tiny", a Vodafone spokesperson confirmed when we asked them.

As for Orange, although the operator had no official answer to our question, our own sources suggest the situation is the same as Vodafone and O2 - in that it also hasn't had many returns of the "magical iPhone 4".

But what about the retailers? We spoke to the chaps behind Pocket-lint's mobile deal website, who in turn asked a number of affiliates on our behalf.

The response? Although none were willing to formally provide specific numbers, they were able to say that there haven't been significant numbers of returns.

As for Carphone Warehouse, they've also seen nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to returns: 

"Trading have reported that there has not been an issue with the iPhone 4 and we aren't seeing many returns at all, customers seem satisfied to wait for the software upgrade", a spokesperson for Carphone Warehouse told Pocket-lint. 

Apple are yet to reply, but rarely add more than the official statements.

The fact that people aren't returning the phone and, in most cases, are still queuing up to get one, suggests that people either aren't that bothered that the iPhone 4 has the potential to drop calls, or that they haven't experienced the issues found in the controlled tests carried out by various other parties.

Perhaps it's time for the media to get a grip.