By Matthew Keys
June 30, 2010
A Sacramento-based law firm is considering the launch of a class-action lawsuit stemming from complaints about reception issues in the new Apple iPhone 4.
"If you recently purchased the new iPhone and have experienced poor reception quality, dropped calls or weak signals, we would like to hear from you," a statement read on the website of Sacramento-based Kershaw, Cutter and Ratinoff.
The new iPhone 4 features a metal band around the side of the phone that acts as the phone's WiFi and 3G antenna. Complaints have plagued social media websites suggesting the phone suffers from weakened reception when the phone is held in a normal fashion.
That metal band may have been at the center of a fight between industrial designers at Apple and engineers, who cautioned the computer giant that the design of the phone might hinder the reliability of the signal. That fight is one of the focal points of the law firm's potential class-action lawsuit.
"The industrial designers insisted on the design, and the engineers said 'well, this isn't going to work very well,'" Attorney JR Parker with the law firm told FOX40.com by phone. "The industrial designers won."
When held normally, a person's fingers come in contact with the antennas of the iPhone 4.
Apple's Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs suggests iPhone 4 users "hold the phone differently." However, Jobs himself was seen holding the iPhone 4 with hands wrapped around the metal band antennas during the product's unveiling at his keynote address in June.
Another solution suggested by Apple: Customers can purchase a $29 rubber-plastic band that wraps around the outside of the iPhone that covers the metal antenna. That solution is another focal point by the law firm considering the class-action lawsuit.
"Cases have always been sold by third-parties, they haven't been sold directly by Apple," Parker said.
The law firm has obtained several iPhone 4 devices and will be testing them in the future to see if they can replicate the reception issues, Parker said.
Apple claims more than 1.7 million iPhone 4 units have been sold since the product's launch on Thursday for people who pre-ordered the phone. The public sale of the iPhone took place several days later.
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