Apple fans are known for quietly accepting the faults in products from their favorite company, but this is one for the record books. The Cupertino consumer electronics giant sold 1.7 million iPhone 4 smart phones over its first three days of availability, most of them to previous iPhone users. The company described the milestone as "the most successful product launch in Apple's history." Unfortunately, it was also the buggiest: Every one of those 1.7 million iPhones 4s shipped with defective antennas that don't work at all if you hold the phone with your left hand.
Apple is reportedly working on a software fix, though CEO Steve Jobs issued a glib "don't hold it that way" suggestion to at least one email questioner. Apple's official statement about the issue is surprisingly similar. "Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases."
That Apple would suggest that customers purchase another one of its products in order to fix one of its other, very expensive products is, of course, somewhat amazing. But again, you won't hear many complaints from the Apple-centric press. And none of the early iPhone 4 reviewers—each of which has a cozy relationship with the company and thus got devices early—mentioned this flaw in their wildly positive reviews. Maybe none of them are lefties.
In the past, Apple fanatics were able to blame AT&T for most of the iPhone's issues. But this one is all on Apple. It will be interesting to see if the company can actually fix a serious hardware flaw with a software fix. But its public response so far has been underwhelming.